and pushy or is teacher failing dd?

(152 Posts)
Mingnion Wed 20-Nov-13 22:22:54

Dd is six. Without sounding braggy, she's bright and could write and do sums and read basic books before beginning school. I like her school and she enjoys it but I don't feel they do enough to encourage the children to learn. For example, dds reading book is about five times easier than the books she reads at home and is rarely swapped more than once per week, though it was stated at the beginning of term it'd be swapped three times per week minimum or more if book was read sooner. We were told they'd have a spelling test every Monday and dd always knows them for the Monday but sometimes the teacher doesn't do the test until Thursday/Friday. I appreciate that if the child knows the spellings it shouldn't matter when the test is but the delay between tests means they're actually only getting six spellings every two weeks or so which I don't think is enough, plus dd feels unmotivated when the test isn't when the teacher said it'll be. After the test there is no record sent home of any mistakes so I cannot praise dd/revise any mistakes. Dd is, at the moment, really enthusiastic about learning. Every night she wants to do half hour of a maths workbook, read to me, research history/geography info on the internet etc. But she comes home from school not really having learned anything. Aibu to think dds teacher should be a bit more on the ball when it comes to reading books/spellings and encourage dds enthusiasm rather than ignore it?

mathanxiety Sun 24-Nov-13 05:16:51

Learning words for tests involves more than just memorising them and producing them on a Friday morning, or at least it involved more in my DCs' elementary school. All week they had exercises to work on using the spelling words, from sentence making, to thinking of words that rhymed with the words on the list, writing paragraphs using several of the words, completing the words when they are presented with some letters missing, making crosswords...

mathanxiety Sun 24-Nov-13 05:09:20

I think the problem is the spelling tests use words that the kids do not use frequently in their writing, it's almost like the spelling test is being used to both extend vocab and improve spelling accuracy but as a consequence does neither job very well.

If they were using Dolch frequently found word lists then learning spellings for tests would contribute both to reading fluency and spelling accuracy. Dolch was an advocate of whole word recognition but mastering his lists can be combined with a phonics approach. The idea behind his lists is to expose children to 75% of the words they will find on every page of literature aimed at children under about age 8 (where, what, only, the, and, know, came, said, many, you, etc.) Once the frequently found words are mastered (or at the same time) children can progress through phonics patterns in their spelling lists.

I agree with Volestair. The fact that this teacher didn't produce what she said she would produce makes me suspect she is disorganised, not on top of some brilliant new method.

Norudeshitrequired Sat 23-Nov-13 15:18:46

I vote volestairs post above as the best post so far on this thread.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 14:27:45

Living they'll do all that in school and for many like my DS they only have to look at a word once to learn it.

Learning for tests is pretty easy,using and applying not so much. Learning 10 words for one week doesn't mean a child will be spelling them correctly the next particularly if it's not one they're likely to use in the immediate future.

Personally imvho I would have thought there are far more useful ways of teaching spelling in homework.

But as the previous poster said,the issue was they were told it was going to happen and I have to admit I hate school saying something and not delivering.

volestair Sat 23-Nov-13 14:18:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nitsparty Sat 23-Nov-13 13:41:41

YABU and uber pushy. There is some good online stuff she could do at home-look at Studyladder and and Purplemash. you could let her keep a diary and a reading record. if your funds allow it buy her a piano and skype music lessons.

paxtecum Sat 23-Nov-13 13:21:32

My frinds DGC learn loads in their state school school.
They know all about Ganesh, Buddha, Jesus, Nelson Mandela, Segregation in the USA, apartheid.

I was amazed that they knew stuff like that aged 6.

OP: Can you get your DD library books to read at home?

livinglifeandgettinghappier Sat 23-Nov-13 13:10:52

The weekly spellings are an ideal vehicle for teaching word difference because a word conveys ideas and clarity of thought. The tests provide an opportunity, also, to introduce study/thought/making time/parental support in the home which can be built upon. Ongoing tests can also focus on similar sounding words spelt differently and then applied in sentences (homework) so weekly spellings reinforced by application. It is also great to demonstrate/highlight the English language - nuts and bolts, component parts. Useful to pair up the words too: their, there, prey, pray, way, weigh, site, sight, I, eye, bye, by, etc. Pairing up the words is of great benefit. My elder daughter started this at 7 years of age. Prior to this for two years the only words she could spell were: the, a, as, an, for, it. Tunnel was a "tulo" for example. DD1 and I were stuck on spellings for weeks at a time until I moved her. I also could not understand why the Infant Teacher could not see the issues. :-/ Weekly one on one with a support teacher using special computer based programmes, psychology etc at the new school, a very small class and being bright (IQ 140) helped reverse the switching off from a large class where the only activities she enjoyed were art based activities/crafts.

Snowbility Sat 23-Nov-13 12:22:01

I think the problem is the spelling tests use words that the kids do not use frequently in their writing, it's almost like the spelling test is being used to both extend vocab and improve spelling accuracy but as a consequence does neither job very well.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 11:22:47

Spelling is important but as others have said tests aren't necessarily the way to go re improving it.

Reading avidly has a massive impact.Learning rules etc I'd have thought is equally important.

Tbh unless they're learning mistakes made in their writing the benefits from weekly tests are limited.

One of my dc is a phenomenal speller,he is now learning quite complex weekly lists at 10 to support work in literacy which he only needs to glance at.He never makes spelling mistakes in his writing,ever,so I can see the benefit of lists at his stage to support quite tricky rules.

His sister who is lazy and litters her writing with mistakes doesn't even have spelling tests.If she did she'd get 10 out of 10 without fail,still wouldn't use them in her writing though.Her voracious reading and literacy work will improve her spelling naturally(by osmosis I'm hoping grin) if her brother is anything to go by.

Snowbility Sat 23-Nov-13 11:08:18

Spelling properly is of course important but learning 10 spellings a week is not necessarily the best way to retain the spelling pattern. My dd learns spelling every week and every week she gets 10/10 but her spelling is really shit in every day writing and she loves writing and loves reading - learning her weekly spelling is not improving her ability to spell but she still does it - there must be a better way? And this is why a lot of people will say learning for spelling tests is not important because it doesn't improve spelling in many children.

livinglifeandgettinghappier Sat 23-Nov-13 10:58:12

Agree OP that you have noticed a certain slackness in the teacher's ability to stay on course with a basic and necessary routine. It was fashionable to think that spellings were of little importance but this is no longer the case. Spellings/knowing how to spell is fundamental and is being highlighted once again in future formal examinations, along with grammar, with marks being deducted for not mastering these skills. To say spelling does not matter is silly...in the real world we expect Doctors, lawyers, secretaries, journalists etc to be able to communicate effectively and spell (yes I know A A Gill is dyslexic and has done really well and surmounted a big hurdle). Keep interested in your daughter's education...what you do at home matters. For my younger daughter I supplement school learning with a math tutor on a Saturday and a theatre group on a Fri evening as learning lines and reading her scripts improves reading, memory and confidence. Playing a musical instrument and belonging to the school orchestra and choir also stops her being bored and keeps her motivated and involved with others in the school environment. My elder daughter was/is dyslexic and I transferred her from a state to private school as the state, in my opinion, was not properly helping her. She went from being seriously challenged by words (and thus was switching off school) to an A- in English skills and although spellings are still a weakness she is not being picked up on it by her employers. She had a science based degree where knowing how to use the written word is very important.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 09:00:10

What Join said too.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 08:41:54

Tbh I'd do your own thing at home,it's her time,there are no restrictions as long as she gets her school work done.

Be aware though you'll need to do some research re steering towards/ providing books.

We had one fab rec teacher who when she put DS onto free supported him to some degree.He was free to choose but on certain shelves in the school library for a period of time.

With the others we had no guidance and were left to our own devices.Thankfully my degree was children's literature so I was well equipped to guide.

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 08:36:17

Um who mentioned gifted.

Plenty of kids are able readers at 5 and not gifted.They still need books out of school that stimulate,make them want to read and to a certain degree stretch.

bronya Sat 23-Nov-13 08:35:31

Early readers simply have the advantage of being ABLE to read, and not having any problems, earlier than other children. In adulthood, those who were early readers might be marked out by the speed at which they read, but little else. It is important that children continue to progress up the book bands so they develop their vocabulary and understanding, but it's not a race.

What level is she on? At home, she should be reading books that she can confidently read on her own, perhaps sounding out the odd word. When reading with an adult who can confidently teach her to read (strategies, comprehension etc), you'd aim for a couple of difficult words per double page spread up to about Lime level, then it's mostly about comprehension and it takes much longer to go up a band.

mathanxiety Sat 23-Nov-13 08:04:51

Being streets ahead of peers in literacy and numeracy at age 4 does not equal G&T. Focusing in on the 'talented' end of it can bamboozle people, whereas it's the 'gifted' aspect of the phenomenon that really matters, since it relates to potential and the long term outcome.

www.nsgt.org/giftedness-defined/ (American) National Society for the Gifted and Talented description of giftedness. It's not what you know, it's how you come to know what you know, and what you do with what you know, what sort of connections do you make between the things you know..

Retropear Sat 23-Nov-13 07:54:59

Re the free reader at 5,I disagree re the unable to comprehend bollocks.

All of mine were free readers at 5 or 6 (one in rec) as was I. All could comprehend everything they read thanks.Re punctuation,grammar etc sorry but unless you're doing a punctuation lesson you wouldn't expect expect every bit of punctuation etc to be understood.My dc are now 10,10 and 9 and reading some pretty weighty stuff which has masses of educational value.Not being degree level English just yet of course there is plenty in their books above their level of written English.The higher level of spelling,punctuation etc improves writing.

Reading ability is often ahead of written.My 3 would have been bored shatless if unable to read what they wanted and not the avid readers they are now.

I was able to read the Times at 5, fat lot of good Janet and John would have been.

That said I am sympathetic to GR sessions using books easier than a child's reading level in order to drag out literary devices etc for discussion- to a point.

There is a balance.

mathanxiety Sat 23-Nov-13 07:36:27

There is a lot of middle ground between the average scheme reader and LOTR. A 'free reader' at age 6 could easily find plenty within that middle ground that would be productive and enjoyable reading material.

If getting through LOTR is to be the hallmark of a free reader then that makes my DD2 not a free reader. Which is patently ridiculous.

Your not my SIL are you?

She's so pushy the teacher probably groans when she sees her! wink

It has taken me a Very Long Time, and far too many mistakes along the way, to realise that, when it comes to my kids, patience is the most important virtue. Because what is patience, but another word for love?

Don't wish the years away. If she can do the reading and the spellings in an eyeblink...then see that as lovely time you can have together.

likepeasinapod.com/2013/11/22/on-patience/

bolderdash Fri 22-Nov-13 20:27:01

The whole "free reader" thing is a bit of a poisoned chalice. They stop being given interesting history/geography/science books and get to choose themselves. For mine that meant badly written paperbacks about kittens getting lost.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 22-Nov-13 20:21:05

I'm really loving the circular logic on this thread.

A five year old can't be a free reader.

What is a free reader?

Not a five year old.

My five year old has better reasoning skills. As well as being a free reader grin

SunshineMMum Fri 22-Nov-13 15:55:46

Possibly a little U. Won't she just fly through the reading scheme anyway?

bumbleymummy Fri 22-Nov-13 15:06:47

hmm hippy. Based on what criteria?

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