to write a note in the reading diary saying...

(191 Posts)
EvilTwins Sat 23-Mar-13 23:20:02

...that my DTDs are not going to read their reading books this holiday.

DTDs are in Yr 2. They each have 4 reading scheme books for the Easter holidays. At home, DTD1 is currently reading the first Harry Potter book, and DTD2 is reading The BFG. I am very very happy to listen to them reading these, and to write which chapters they've read in their reading diaries, but they find their school reading books so dull. WIBU to not make them read their reading books over the holidays but to listen to them reading their own choice of books instead?

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 00:14:57

in, fgs!

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:19:29

Feenie - you're right. What do you think, though - AIBU? I know that if I just write "DTD1 read "The Boring Football Book" really well", she is bound to say "I didn't read it" to her teacher so I don't really want to do that. I would rather write "DTD1 read chapters 5-10 of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" and we talked about the story. She asked about unfamiliar words and we used the dictionary to find out what they meant, then discussed how they might be used in other contexts".

I don't get the "kids have to lean that some bits of school are boring" viewpoint. Not at 6, and not where it comes to reading.

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Mar-13 00:19:32

I would speak to the teacher first. If they are just the standard readers, then it shouldn't be a problem, but I will often send a book home for the school holidays which every student gets, and then a lot of the early part of the next terms lessons will be based around that book. A parent deciding that they didn't like the book and wouldn't read it would seriously impact their child's learning until they caught up.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:20:04

'I don't think my DTDs should have to work through the reading scheme when they are more excited about reading better books, just so that the school can see where they fit against the national average.'

But if you're going to take advantage of a free education (presuming it is) then you have to dance to their tune a certain amount.

I don't think that much to the stats they try to measure children by, but the alternative is to have no national standard and let every child fight for themselves.

Although it is about enthusing them into wanting to learn about the world when they're old enough to choose for themselves, it's not about excitement, it's about learning things so they're set up to have a successful and fulfilling adult life, and making sure they're on track and in line with what's been worked out to be the national average is part of that.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 00:21:45

Most teachers are actually very flexible on this issue too - they want children to enjoy reading and as long as the child is reading regularly and at a vaguely suitable level, they are happy to accept that.
You certainly don't need to home school due to such mad, hippy beliefs as wanting to enjoy books! That is perfectly acceptable in mainstream schooling!

At school, it may be the case that they do have to read the prescribed book since, in guided reading sessions, there will be a whole group reading to a teacher not a 1:1 interaction. As others say though, it does no harm for them to learn sometimes you have to read this book at school because everyone else is reading it in your group and it won’t make sense if you read a different one. At other times though, you can read what you fancy. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of balance but also nothing good about forcing them to read books they don’t like at school and at home. Few of us read things we don’t enjoy for work and for leisure so why would a 6 or 7 year old?

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:21:48

Midnight - not the case here. They are reading scheme books. Each of my DTDs has 4 books - no theme or whatever - just 4 each out of the box of lime level books. They're doing the great fire of London for their topic at the moment, and none of the books are about that. We're on holiday now, so no opportunity to speak to the teacher.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 00:21:53

Not at all, EvilTwins - I posted upthread that as an ex-Y2 teacher, I would have been very happy if children could read and enjoy their reading.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 00:24:17

it's not about excitement, it's about learning things so they're set up to have a successful and fulfilling adult life, and making sure they're on track and in line with what's been worked out to be the national average is part of that.

That's possibly the most depressing comment I have ever read regarding Year 2 reading (or the purpose of education in general)

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:25:22

Agent - my DTDs are above national average. Their reading material has no bearing on the national average. What they are reading does not change the national average or have any impact on the achievements of the other children in the class, so I don't really see your point.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:25:55

Are you saying I'm writing goading posts in opposition to the OP just because we're on AIBU feenie?

And that the OP would get the sympathetic answers she's maybe looking for on another board?

I appreciate the opportunity to talk about school books and the like because I've not posted about it before, why is my opinion counter productive if it's talking about the principle?

What's counter productive about discussing what I think? (and I mean that in a non-goady way)

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:27:27

I don't get the "kids have to lean that some bits of school are boring" viewpoint. Not at 6, and not where it comes to reading

Really? So at what age do you think they should learn this fact?

Imo you're in danger of coming across a teensy bit as being 'one of those parents'.

Just chill out

Get them used to doing homework that they're not particularly keen on ( a very valuable thing to learn) and let the teacher do the rest.

They can read their own choice of books at absolutely any other time of the day or night...but at least they'll have got their homework out of the way first.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:30:42

It might not be palatable to you for me to say that tiggytape, but in the scheme of things and looking at the aim of the end result, it's realistic, IMO.

What do you think is the aim of school?

How else should they make sure there's a level playing field?

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Mar-13 00:31:23

Based on the fact that it's school holidays and you can't talk to the teacher, I would try and get them read. You don't know what work has been planned around them for after the holidays, or if they are doing reading groups, or some other requirement. Sometimes it can be about having certain key words in the story that they are working on in class. After the holidays, then go and talk to the teacher and see if they are optional. If you have a good working relationship with the teacher, then you should be able to talk about things and come to a compromise.

Perhaps you could work on your kids getting excited about the books? Like the dog at a football match one - Go to a football match and count how many dogs there are there, take some photos and make a storyboard/collage of the books, ask them to write a play based on the book, make costumes and act it out for you. Select key words from the book and ask them to write their own stories, or ask them to write the "what happens next" story. There's a lot of ways of turning topics that aren't so interesting in to something more engaging for children.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:34:55

Actually, I don't think that they ever need to learn that. I disagree that it's a "fact".

Reading should never be boring. Even at secondary school, where DCs have to study a particular text because it's on the exam spec, it still doesn't have to be boring. In the hands of a skilled, enthusiastic and passionate teacher, nothing is "boring".

LOL at being "one of those parents". If "those" parents are the type who want to instil a love of literature, no matter what the age of the DC, then I'm happy to be one of "those".

I think there is a difference between "homework" and reading. They have a couple of worksheets for homework. Reading, however, is reading. If they read a book they love, how is that less valuable than reading the books sent home by the school? If I don't want them to find reading boring (and potentially be turned off books) then surely allowing them to choose their reading material is the obvious solution?

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:35:57

And actually come to think about it...

How will your kids cope if they're asked to write a synopsis of the dog at a football match story? Or if they're asked to discuss the characters/given questions on comprehension?

'Sorry Miss I read Harry Potter because Mum said I could do that instead', is going to be a real lesson plan spoiler isn't it?

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:37:21

'If they read a book they love, how is that less valuable than reading the books sent home by the school?'

Because they're not being educated in a vacuum which only contains them.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:39:59

Midnite - I'm not going to take my children to a football match and count the dogs. I'm going to take them to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and the Roald Dahl museum...

Their school reading books are all different - there are 8 books which are all different. Given that they are in the same class, in the same groups for literacy, numeracy, phonics and guided reading, I can safely say that their reading books are in no way linked to what they are going to be doing after the holiday, but are simply the next 8 books in the box that the TA pulled out when sorting books to bring home for the holidays. The point of the books is to make sure that my DTDs have reading material for the holidays, which is at the level the school deems appropriate. My point is that, since they are reading appropriate books anyway, of their own choosing, why should I force them to read the books the school has sent home? If the point (and I believe this is the point) is for them to read, then surely reading HP/The BFG is just as good?

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:41:45

Worra, Agent - DTD1 is the only child in the class with that book. DTD2 is the only child in the class with the books she has. There are not going to be lessons planned around these books. These are not guided reading books (done in groups) or books linked to the topic or theme the class is studying.

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:42:08

Reading should never be boring. Even at secondary school, where DCs have to study a particular text because it's on the exam spec, it still doesn't have to be boring. In the hands of a skilled, enthusiastic and passionate teacher, nothing is "boring"

Yes well in the real world it certainly can be boring....just as the report I read this morning was...and just as the Shakespeare I read at school was.

The difference is, despite the boredom I achieved an A Level in it...because I had parents who told me to suck it up and get on with it.

I was taught from an early age that reading for school/work/exam purposes and reading for pleasure can be two entirely different things.

I'm going to bow out of this thread now because you obviously think that undermining the teacher is the right thing to do.

But seriously, I think it will come back to bite you all when your kids need to knuckled down and do something that isn't particularly 'fun' for them.

BandersnatchCummerbund Sun 24-Mar-13 00:42:18

Totally agree with Tiggytape.

Get children to love reading, turn them loose on a decent library, and they will pretty much educate themselves (exaggeration, sure - but not by too much).

Imo children learn to deal with the boring stuff and to motivate themselves to do it (e.g. musical scales) by having a clear sense of what lies on the other side (the ability to play incredible music). Turning reading into an activity for drones (you must read this because you need to understand that sometimes life is dull) is an utterly crap reason to get them to read something. They'll learn nothing other than to hate reading. OP - the school books sound shite. Agree with trying to find a diplomatic way round it - but I would not be taking my kids' precious reading time away from Harry Potter and forcing them to read boring shit instead. And I say that as someone who believes firmly in supporting the school - just not to the detriment of a child's passion for something so important!

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:43:11

Worra, Agent - DTD1 is the only child in the class with that book. DTD2 is the only child in the class with the books she has. There are not going to be lessons planned around these books. These are not guided reading books (done in groups) or books linked to the topic or theme the class is studying.

Yes like I said...'that parent'.

Good luck!

ravenAK Sun 24-Mar-13 00:45:15

Speaking as a secondary English teacher, I've always been absolutely fine with my dc going off piste wrt reading scheme books.

They read - I have to stop ds & dd1 reading long into the night in fact, just as I did. Both free reading well above their reading scheme levels.

Dd2 (5) has struggled a little with reading, so we'll be reading her scheme book & then reading something she's chosen, in a belt & braces approach.

I do tend to assume that the scheme books are for struggling readers OR for valuable guidance to parents (like dh, if I fell under a bus) who don't read for pleasure themselves & wouldn't know where to start in encouraging their dc to read.

No harm in them at all & great if you/the dc don't have anything of a similar or more advanced level they'd prefer to read instead.

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Mar-13 00:45:50

Actually it isn't always good. Reading materials supplied by the school are designed to work on a progression basis. Their keywords and sentence structure are specifically designed to work with what lessons in spelling, grammar and punctuation are being worked on within the classroom. Stories such as HP and BFG, whilst fun and interesting, do not have the same focus, and often include made up words and phrases.

Surely, if your children are such great readers, then the school books should take very little time out of their own choice of reading over the holidays?

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:46:28

Worra - I think it's sad you found Shakespeare boring. I can safely say that none of the kids I teach think Shakespeare is boring. I think a lot of it is to do with how it's presented.

I am not in the habit of undermining teachers. My DTD's teacher is fabulous. Clearly she's doing a brilliant job because they're well ahead of the game in terms of their achievement. I do not think that they should have to learn, aged 6, that some of the stuff you have to read in school is boring - certainly not when the books are provided simply for the sake of reading. The day my kids fail to find learning new things exciting will be a sad day in our house.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:48:09

How can you firmly support the school at the same time as thinking you're in the right trying to micro-manage what your DC does there Bander?

And how much of that comes out when talking to your DC so they know it's you who'll choose what they do/don't comply with when it comes to the school? (and I'm not saying I think teachers and schools are the be all/end all of everything, because I don't)

But it's giving DC the choice when I don't think they should necessarily have one.

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