To ask the school to send home no more blooming Biff and Chip books

(178 Posts)
gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:11:38

DS is now on Stage 9 of these bloody things and has gone on reading strike. I've asked to school to read them with him at school if they really must be read, as the darned things continue to be so tedious they are putting DS off reading. We will be reading other things at home with him from now on. He is perfectly capable of reading far more interesting and varied books than this drivel.

If you are a teacher, would you think IBU?

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 08-Mar-13 22:26:41

Gaelicsheep - I totally agree with you, it's terrible that schools are so inflexible! I have similar issues with the 11+ and 14+ stickers on library books, and actually petitioned against them when I was "too young" to take them out on my own card. However, it the child's school is anything like mine then those books are impossible to escape until the paperwork has been done - at mine, you weren't allowed to take any proper books (i.e. anything other than picture books) out of the library until you'd finished them, and you couldn't stay in the top English set unless you were getting through them at the right rate. I don't know if that still happens, but I know that my old primary was still doing it 3 years ago when I last asked a friend about it.

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 08-Mar-13 22:28:44

Gaelicsheep - just saw your last post, I'm glad to see that your DS's school isn't as rigid as mine regarding library access. It probably isn't such an issue, then. I loved Little Wolf's Book of Badness, by the way - thank you for reminding me of it!

KindleMum Fri 08-Mar-13 22:31:28

gaelic - I think it's that they have to be able to tick off the levels for the endless achievement records they create, I think that has reduced flexibility for teachers and also presumably his class teacher didn't get to choose the reading scheme. To be fair, she's not making him do every single book, we're racing through the levels and she's supportive whereas when I was at primary my parents were called in to see the head because .... da da da... I was reading books outside of their reading scheme and they wanted my parents to stop me! My dad told them he had no intention of stopping any child reading widely, least of all his own, but slavish obedience to reading schemes is certainly not new.

I write (polite) criticism of the books in his reading record regularly.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:32:04

Yes, that does sound beyond the pale. Still we'd be using the regular library anyway so it wouldn't matter unduly, but honestly schools do exist in a different dimension don't they?

Yes Little Wolf's Book of Badness. At first I started reading it to him as a bedtime story and I just though what on earth? But after a few pages I got into it and it's pretty good isn't it, very original! And DS was thrilled this morning when he realised he could read it perfectly well himself. That is the other danger of reading schemes of course. If a child is anything like me DS they think those are the only books they are "supposed" to read themselves.

littlewhitebag Fri 08-Mar-13 22:33:06

Floppy barked and barked and barked. That's all. Kids grown up now. I miss Biff and Chip and Kipper.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:33:06

my DS

MissBrown Fri 08-Mar-13 22:36:28

Sorry, have not read all the posts but I am a teacher!

I hate those books. I think the best way to encourage children to read is to give them books that reflect their interests. If a child likes football, give them a football book. My children all love reading (oldest 2 with reading ages of 16+. Youngest goes to welsh school with reading and writing age above actual age in both english and welsh).

Over the years we have read very little of the school texts and stuck to texts that interest them. I wouldn't read something that I had no interest in so why should the kids?

That, however, is just my opinion.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Fri 08-Mar-13 22:37:39

I love Biff etc. We even had the DVDs in this house. I work with year one so see them every day. Did you know they are based in Dagenham/Romford - sometimes you see local posters in the pictures grin.
Level 9 is practically finished now, push on through....

'Having fun with the magic key' <sings to self>

mrsstewpot Fri 08-Mar-13 22:39:24

It was Tom and Lad in my day - anyone remember that lot?

Any impact from reading for pleasure will be positive.

SpareHeadThree Fri 08-Mar-13 22:43:05

YANBU. I have no nostalgic connection to Biff and Chip from my youth, so can freely say that they do tend to put me to sleep after a while.
Come on people, a bit of variety in books would be nice, just to stop me falling asleep!
There's only so many magic bloomin' key adventures I can take!
Bring back Topsy and Tim, and while you're at it The Village With Three Corners. Never mind Biff and Chip, you need a bit of Roger Red Hat, Billy Blue Hat and Jennifer Yellow Hat.
THOSE were the bees knees school books.
outs self as old fart

BookFairy Fri 08-Mar-13 22:43:06

I have nothing helpful to add other than I hate the Chip/Biff books. I used to work in a primary school and the children used to ask if we could read about anything other than Chip/Biff!

KindleMum Fri 08-Mar-13 22:43:31

oh dear god, there are DVDs too? the horror!

Yanbu I had many a weekend of tears over the damned things. Dd hates then with a passion and won't even enter the shop where she saw them
Displayed!!! Soooo glad they r over with now she's so much happier!!!!

<supportive hug>

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 08-Mar-13 22:44:26

MissBrown - I agree with you regarding children who are still learning to read, but do you feel that primary school pupils should never be expected to read fiction that they find tedious? I only ask because I presumed that part of the logic behind getting children to follow reading schemes and the termly "class book" is that it prepares them for secondary school, where they will be required to study a single (generally quite tedious) book for an entire term before moving on to another (often equally tedious) play or poetry anthology.

I think it's a very difficult balance to get right, but my primary school managed it pretty well - thanks to the ORT books, I got used to reading the set texts in secondary school, college and university as soon as they were announced (often just to get them out of the way) and then going back over them at my leisure, in between things I preferred to read. I remember being surprised during my undergrad degree when I found out that I was the only student on my course who still read for pleasure during term. It turned out to be because all of the others would put off reading the set texts for as long as possible (which is obviously stressful when you have to read 4 or 5 novels per week, plus all of the secondary material), so they had no time left for enjoying leisure reading.

Blackbird that is revelatory info about the names!

*ScarletLady" what is your Biff name short for?

SpareHeadThree Fri 08-Mar-13 22:46:54

I think DS is holding out for free readers (which I think they get when they reach Stage 12 or something?) and that's been keeping him going, but I think he's lost the will now.
Nope, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there's 17 levels to get through before free reading.
DS1 has just finished and is now a free reader (even though could have easily been a free reader years ago but had to plough through a million Biff books first)
Now ds2 has just started on them and is on level 5 so have to go through the entire range of books again cries

thebody Fri 08-Mar-13 22:47:18

Totally agree, oldest child 23 and youngest 12 and I am now a TA in reception so that's 18 years of the bloody family.

Please can anyone tell me what the makes mean?

Are they shorts, have I missed something.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 23:05:01

You are joking me. Stage 17? There are lots of Year 3's on free readers and DS, I understand, is a bit ahead of his age on Stage 9 so Stage 12 sounded about right. Stage 17? I think we're all going on strike.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 23:06:08

It's times like this that I really really wish we could home educate!

OhIDoLikeToBeBeside Fri 08-Mar-13 23:09:37

Thank you Spare - all I have been able to think of while reading this thread is who was Yellow in the village with three corners.

And to make sure I find out from prospective schools for DS (3yrs) what they would do in the situation the OP describes.

Lovelygoldboots Fri 08-Mar-13 23:10:05

My third DC is in reception, so yet again back to the beginning with chiff, bip, flipper and koppy. They are all merging into one now. I still don't get the pervy neighbour, the glasses that have are always being mislaid, Gordon Brown and his lost briefcase and sandwiches, the one with Jeremy Beadle and Dad forgetting he'd run the bath and causing a flood. They are however, a distinct improvement on Peter and bloody Jane and Pat the frigging Dog which I had to endure as a small child. grin

CloudsAndTrees Fri 08-Mar-13 23:21:48

I've only read your posts OP, but I 100% agree with you. And I teach reception.

You've got it sorted now, so I'm pleased to see your son is now enjoying reading something other than the boredom that is Biff and Chip. I was going to say that you should just choose different books and comics with your ds, read things with him, and then write about whatever you have done in the reading diary.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 23:26:06

Thanks CloudsAndTrees - and yes that's a good point, we should of course continue to use the reading diary to record what we read. I suppose there isn't anywhere that I could find guidance as to what books are "suitable" for certain reading levels? (Although I dispute their validity anyway. DS is on Stage 9 because he's only been in school and progressing through the reading levels for 2 and a half terms (long story) and it wasn't possible to fit in any more books than he has over that time).

I've read them 4 times with my 4 DC. And I have read in school one day a week for the past 5 years. I know them off by friffing heart.

Do I win the thread?

Our school do not seem to use the phrase "Free Readers", please could someone define it for me? Although, it;s perhaps a bit stable door-ish - my youngest is 6 and on Stage 10, so I think I'm coming to the end of reading them at least with my own DC.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 08-Mar-13 23:38:42

The thing about reading levels is that they only make much sense when used in relation to the particular reading system the school has chosen to use.

I only remember biff and chip from my own children reading them, but I'd think that the idea is, that by the time children have covered the whole series of books, they have come across all the standard sounds and combinations of sounds that they are likely to come across as free readers. In my opinion, by the time a child is coming to the end of a reading system, there isn't much that needs to be covered that can't be gained from reading a variety of other books instead.

I'm not saying I think you should ditch Biff and Chip completely, the teacher will need to know that your ds can fluently read everything that is covered in those books. So make sure he knows he will still have to read them sometimes, but definitely write down everything your ds reads so the teacher can be confident your ds won't miss anything if she lets him skip a few of the Biff and Chip's.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now