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?

Awww do they still do Biff and Chip? Sorry my DD is 2 so I only remember from my youth....I hated them.

Mostly because my nick-name has always been Biff so I used to get the piss taken constantly at school...

I don't think YABU at all to read other things at home if you want to and DS wants to. As long as he fulfils what the school ask then what else he does is up to him.

PhyllisDoris Fri 08-Mar-13 21:17:24

My DD (now 17) was a brilliant reader at home, but refused to read any books in primary school because they were really boring. Her teacher was amazed when I told her at parents' eve what she was reading with us/by herself!

SizzleSazz Fri 08-Mar-13 21:17:28

My DC love B&C and are on Level 7 and 9. However they get to choose their own books so can avoid any they don't like. I'm surprised they are not able to choose their own books at that level tbh. Perhaps you could ask whether this would be a possibility (as a positive step) rather than 'banning' B&C?

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:17:51

Well of course we read lots of other stuff at home, but the point is really the reading books that the school sends home. We have suffered through so many of these things, they are not getting any better (or any harder to be frank, other than a few more words to a few more pages). They are just getting longer and even more tedious to plod through. I just don't think he should now be stuck on Stage 9 readers unless he ploughs through even more of the darned things, when he is clearly capable of reading more worthwhile things. I can't blame him for saying enough is enough!

PleasePudding Fri 08-Mar-13 21:18:18

Jeesums - Stage 9! We're only at 1+ or something.

I can't bear it! Is there a plus for each level? Is this like some kind of Dante's circle of 18 plus rings if Biff, Chip and Kipper hideousness. The only one I like is Floppy

bluecarrot Fri 08-Mar-13 21:19:20

I think you are being a little bit unreasonable. Regardless of what I think of the work, I have always impressed on DD that if homework is set, it must be completed, and theres to be no fuss about it.

However, we also hated Chip and Biff. You have my sympathies. Do his homework reading (10 mins?) then do other stuff at home.

YADNBU! I hated those books with a passion.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:20:01

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.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Fri 08-Mar-13 21:20:37

My DD gets those books, omg they are awful. So NBU.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:20:58

See I won't ever force DS to do homework that is actively working against what it's supposed to achieve. If these books are making reading a chore, then they are the wrong books IMO. And what dreadful dreadful books they are.

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:21:59

Feel pity for me. I teach the ones who struggle (reading support in Primary) and have read every single Oxford Reading Tree book many times over in the past 11 years (15 years if you count when dd was reading them - might have had a 2 year break as she'd finished with them in year1).

If he's on stage 9, then there aren't many left to go. If he is reading well at that level, then a book shouldn't take him much longer than 20 minutes to get through so I'd just get on with it.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 08-Mar-13 21:22:26

We love them here, especially Floppy grin

DS1 makes me get all the new phonics ones out of the library so that we can get through more than the 3-4 a week that school send home.

We do read other things as well.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:22:47

I can't force him though, what's the point in that? He's 6, he's hard to reason with.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:23:47

And really it shouldn't be a rite of passage to be struggled through should it? The aim of school readers, once a child can clearly read - which DS can very well - is surely to instill a love of reading?

nellyjelly Fri 08-Mar-13 21:24:25

God hate them too. Hate the magic key ones especially. It's like they ran out of stories so introduced the magic key so they had licence to print any old tosh. My DD's last one had Biff turn i to a bear and go to some bear convention ffs.

lappy Fri 08-Mar-13 21:25:04

I remember one of the Biff and Chip books featuring Jeremy Beadle confused Very random.

We got totally fed up with them too.

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:25:39

That was Kipper who turned into a bear and take his teddies to Switzerland - the Kidnappers. grin

and WHY are they called BIFF, CHIP and KIPPER? These are not names. I can't even see that its some important phonics reason

Jude89 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:28:50

I love Biff and Chip!

LynetteScavo Fri 08-Mar-13 21:29:18

DS1 only had Biff and Chips for the first three years of school. He never once read any of them. He learned to read perfectly well. Very well, in fact.

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:29:30

I'm now trying to remember which book has Beadle in it.

Oh my poor fried brain.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:29:34

Just a question, those of you who love these books - how many of them have you had to suffer?

SoSweetAndSoCold Fri 08-Mar-13 21:29:40

I love a bit of Chiff and Bipp. I cried at the one where the mum and dad propose to each other at their 10 year anniversary party.


<recently divorced>

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:30:23

I suppose the alternative would be to send them back and say he's read them, but that is lying and I told DS (who suggested this) that it is better to be honest and ask for something else instead.

LynetteScavo Fri 08-Mar-13 21:30:59

And one of the very first words he learned to read in reception was.... concrete. grin

If I sent a child into reception in 2013, however, and they came home with Biff and Chip I would be having a word. (with myself for sending them to that school).

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:31:21

All of them.

They are really good and the children learn from the repetition. Most children like them.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:33:06

Indeed Lynette! Allowing for the fact that we have missed a (very) few, I reckon we have had over 100 of the godforsaken things in DS's year and a half at school.

SoSweetAndSoCold Fri 08-Mar-13 21:33:19

I can't remember what stage my DC1 went up to before he became a 'free reader'. Probably Year 2?

DC2 is reception and only just started stage 3, so I suspect there'll be a few more years. And then all again with DC3.

I just really like the family dynamic, they do fun stuff, take care of each other during times of need but also get cross and shouty sometimes and their house is a mess. And there's always a pair of glasses hidden in every book. What's not to love!

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:34:39

And the nosy neighbour. grin

SoSweetAndSoCold Fri 08-Mar-13 21:36:35

Ooo yes, with his jumpy dog. And that strange man who is sometimes the caretaker, but sometimes has other roles. I always wonder if he's like the ghost / hobo character on the Polar Express. Creepy but is there protecting everyone.

Am I overthinking this? grin

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:36:44

Yes but YouTheCat once a child can read all kinds of interesting stuff, the repetition become plain tedious. The stories are badly written and tedious in the extreme. The longer they get, the worse they get. We can't get through them in a single sitting any more - neither of us can bear it - which means double the pain.

I think I stand by what I wrote in his reading diary. I will await a response when someone bothers to look at it.

FierceBadIggi Fri 08-Mar-13 21:37:32

You can't force him to do homework?
Heaven help you (and his teachers) when he reaches secondary if he's taught homework is optional at 6.

Scholes34 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:38:43

Loved them. Miss them. Had three children go through the scheme. Loved the chap with the ginger hair and glasses. The humour in the illustrations was lovely and subtle.

Scholes34 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:39:48

As much as I love them, I wouldn't class them as "stories".

I beg to differ LilyAmarylis - I've been called Biff all my life grin

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:40:01

I won't force him to do homework that is counterproductive, no. That meant in the past not forcing him to do handwriting-heavy homework when the mere thought of writing something down reduced him to tears. And it means not forcing him to read books of highly dubious value. We do alternative work instead and send that in. I have no doubt I am a teacher's nightmare, but I would rather my child was not put off learning by the time he reaches juniors.

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:42:31

Seriously, he won't get to pick and choose what homework he does for much longer and it's probably more productive that he learns to get on with it for the sake of 20 minutes. Give him something fun to do afterwards as an incentive?

simpson Fri 08-Mar-13 21:43:18

What's with the nosy neighbour always peeking over the fence??

I hate these books (I read with yrs 1&2 in my DC school and always have to look interested when they come out with Biff et al).

If I hear "and the magic key began to glow" one more time.....

DS (yr3 has finished them a while ago) and DD reception has managed to by pass them totally which is fab but the jolly phonics books are not much better sad

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:44:14

Jolly phonics is so crap. Hate them.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:44:28

I really don't think reading should ever be a chore to be endured, and any teacher who thinks it is not worthy of the name. So I am now even more determined to stick to my guns.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:45:57

And as his mother, I will always get to pick and choose which homework is and isn't worth ruining a weekend over. What are they going to do? Send me to jail?

YouTheCat Fri 08-Mar-13 21:46:53

No, put your ds in detention.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:47:00

Sorry, I just get very pissed off with the school.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:47:20

Over my dead body.

PoppyWearer Fri 08-Mar-13 21:48:38

Halfway through Reception, have just had a flick through DD's reading record and we've had about 55 Chiff and Bipp books so far.

There are 150?!?! I had noticed a couple of repeats creeping in and was kinda hoping we had exhausted them. <naive>

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 08-Mar-13 21:49:52

If he is on stage nine surely there are not many stages left, if memory serves me right!

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:50:43

Honestly, can someone please please explain the educational value of these things? There really is none is there? Once a child can decode words and understand and narrate complex stories, they really are redundant are they not?

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:51:44

anotherplace - I think that's the point, it's kind of so near and yet SO far. But again, it should not be the case. If it has reached saturation point then no good can be achieved by forcing him to continue.

LilyAmarylis - Biff is really Barbara, Kipper is really Christopher, can't remember Chip's real name.

One of the books explains all this. How sad that I can remember this 15 years after my DS read it!

mrsstewpot Fri 08-Mar-13 21:56:52

YANBU and I'm a primary teacher. Soooooo dull! Read something of interest and encourage fellow parents to do the same!

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:57:20

I'm actually amazed no one has expressed surprised that children are being forced to plough through just one particular, very narrow, reading scheme. It really is no wonder that so many children today do not read for enjoyment.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:57:57

Thank you mrsstewpot smile

"Ooo yes, with his jumpy dog. And that strange man who is sometimes the caretaker, but sometimes has other roles. I always wonder if he's like the ghost / hobo character on the Polar Express. Creepy but is there protecting everyone. "

Sosweet, that guy is the illustrator Alex Brychta. he sneaks himself into the books now and again smile

RIZZ0 Fri 08-Mar-13 21:59:05

My fave is the one where they all hang around the dump and build a den, and some big boys help them because there's like, NO jobs (fucking Thatcher), then some yuppie architect/ project manager woman brandishing plans tells them they're outta there becaue she's building a tower block or seven.

80's much?!

DeWe Fri 08-Mar-13 21:59:53

One of my uncles was always called "Biff" so it took me ages to realise that Biff was the girl.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 08-Mar-13 22:00:02

YANBU, you go for it!

Morloth Fri 08-Mar-13 22:01:56

No but if doesn't do set homework it will start to effect his marks and that will have an effect when they start streaming and as he gets older it will become more and more of a problem for him.

Your stand won't hurt the teacher any, but if you continue it will eventually impact your son.

DS1 was reading way above the books he was having sent home. So he read his school book and wrote that he had done so andbthen went did sonething else. We also wrote the other books he was reading in the list. Now they have caught up.

Sometimes you have to do things you find boring, that's life.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 08-Mar-13 22:06:10

I disagree Morloth, if a school can't modify it's scheme to accomodate the reasonable needs of a child, it's a poor school. Our policy is that parents should nt force children to do homework, as it is counter productive. Boring comes later in life, sure, but at 6 should be avoided in relation to reading etc.

rosy71 Fri 08-Mar-13 22:06:19

My boys (ages 8 and 5) love(d) Biff and Chip.

I once read that the authors chose Biff, Chip and Kipper as the children's names so that no child would be reading their own name constantly in the books.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 08-Mar-13 22:07:50

Its/it's, computer chooses for me!

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:08:37

Oh come on. Set homework this term has included:
Writing accounts of various things - which he does, now that the thought of writing no longer reduces him to tears (since I didn't force the issue before).
Designing a poster - yawn - he produced something under duress.
Entering the Eistedfodd competitions - well that was a waste of time that wasn't even acknowledged.
Oh and the one piece of useful work - maths this week - five examples of counting on in tens. He'll do it of course, it will take all of 2 minutes (unlike some of the others that wasted most of the weekend) but for what purpose I really do wonder.

Homework at this age is almost always pretty pointless, serving only to impinge on already limited family time. The headteacher has pretty much admitted it is only set because some parents expect it. When there is an educational purpose to it, he will be made to understand that. But I don't do jumping through hoops for the sake of it.

Conversely reading is very important (as would maths be if they ever set proper work). Which is why it is so vital it isn't frittered away on drivel like ORT.

KindleMum Fri 08-Mar-13 22:08:44

I hate them. DS's teacher knows this and she agrees with me that he's learning nothing from them and reads well above them. But we spend about 120 seconds each morning before the school run (usually while DD puts her shoes on- we take a little of the tedium off by DS trying to finish the book before DD gets the shoes on!) speeding through whichever one has been sent home because I don't want to give DS the message that I'm against what the school is teaching for the sake of 2 minutes. I don't know anyone who likes them. We read what we want at home.

It cannot be a good idea to force a child to read books that they hate - reading is supposed to be fun as well as educational. And there are so many reading books available for children that it is perfectly possible to provide a variety of reading books for the class to choose from and still be advancing their reading skills perfectly well. I do not believe it is either necessary, or a good thing, to stick rigidly to one series of books.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:14:08

KindleMum - if your son's teacher agrees he is getting nothing from them, why on earth are they being set? I do not understand this sheep mentality on the part of schools. Are they not allowed to be flexible any more? What happened to child-centred learning?

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 08-Mar-13 22:14:47

I totally sympathise but, as others say, the bloody things will haunt him until he's read them all and (more importantly) you'll be making a rod for your own back if you let him get away with going on homework "strike" because plenty of his future assignments will be pointless and tedious (as will many aspects of his job in adulthood).

FWIW, I read them all before the end of Y1 (including an extra series of non-fiction monstrosities that my teacher brought out as a "surprise" just when I thought it was all over) purely because I loathed the damn things. I got it changed as regularly as possible (which got easier as I got further and further ahead of the class, as there wasn't a supply issue then), and my parents let me choose a good book in exchange for every crappy Magic Key story I read. I think they got a box of Roald Dahl stories and then a bigger box of those little Puffin Classics (the little abridged things that were 60p each), and then I'd read all of the bloody books and the madness could finally stop. We also talked afterwards about what terrible fate I wished the writer had inflicted on Biff, Chip and Kipper after I finished each story, which was a good venting exercise grin. Maybe some of the above might help to make it go faster?

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:16:06

Because honestly, nobody can possibly say these books are educational. They are from the very limited stand point of learning to read. But once a child can read there is no educational value at all. Occasionally DS gets the ORT Fireflies books and those are much better, at least he is learning something and being challenged by new words. There is nothing at all educational about the Biff and Chip books. Nothing.

SoSweetAndSoCold Fri 08-Mar-13 22:18:06

Thanks HeadFirst grin

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:19:27

But my goodness Nom, no one should be having to bribe a child to read the crappy offerings sent home by the school. It's all so wrong, don't people see that? The schools have quite clearly forgotten what their purpose is.

Fakebook Fri 08-Mar-13 22:20:09

I loved biff and chip when I was in school. Dd is 5 and just finished Floppy phonics stage 1+ and has gone onto green Read Write Inc books ( if anyone knows them?)

The biff and chip books are better than the other ones. I used to love the magic key stories. They really captured my imagination as a 7 year old.

blackeyedsusan Fri 08-Mar-13 22:21:00

just don't ask. forget to send in the reading folder.... no more books come home. use the library instead.

NomDeOrdinateur Fri 08-Mar-13 22:22:56

(NB: Having read back over my post, I thought I should just clarify that I don't hate reading, or even compulsory reading. I was reading books of my own choosing throughout that time, and was overjoyed when I was declared a free reader. I do still resent the fact that children are forced to read those crappy books regardless of whether they are helping or hindering their progress, but I do think it was good preparation for being made to focus on understanding texts that seem/are tedious. I went on to get a first class module for every module of my English Literature degree, despite loathing Shakespeare, Chaucer, Pynchon etc, and I think that learning from a young age to accept that a lot of fiction isn't interesting or entertaining was a helpful form of preparation for my later studies.)

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:23:46

Well, it's too late I asked (although it hasn't been read yet, so I suppose I could scrub it out). I don't want the school to think he's stuck on Level 9 forever more though. There's no issue with reading other books. We use the library tons, and instead of "Superdog" this morning, I got DS to read some pages from "Little Wolf's Book of Badness" instead, which he had chosen for himself from the school library. It's the principle of the thing, god damn it! <bangs fist on table>

simpson Fri 08-Mar-13 22:24:38

DD hates hates hates the jolly phonics crap books she has to wade through.

We had one the other week on Henry Ford (I nearly died of boredom let alone DD).

Fiction wise her school are pretty good and she comes home with a variety of books but we just need to work on the non fiction.

However I do remember an ORT Biff etc book about gran going on a bouncy castle in her high heeled shoes which was quite amusing grin

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 22:25:28

Just realised if DS's teacher is on here, I've quite possibly outed myself. Oops. If so, sorry! (and please don't say anything, I'd be too embarrassed).

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.

Dromedary Fri 08-Mar-13 23:39:24

My DCs and I all enjoyed Biff and Chip, especially pre- Magic Key. But they definitely didn't read 150 of them! I remember being a bit disappointed when they ran out so soon.
The way to teach children to read is to let them read what they enjoy (in our case Biff and Chip, with lots of other stuff, fit the bill), and encourage them to read a lot of it. With both my children we got to the point where they were being given ridiculously easy books to read, which they then sometimes lost which was a big issue. A complete waste of time, when I knew far better than the school what kind of book they would like and what they were capable of, and could get books from the library and charity shops. So I just asked the school not to give them any books any more. Also refused to fill in the bloody reading diary, though my DC2 is more conformist than I am and fills it in herself. It just puts her off reading.
If you have a viable alternative to learning with Biff and Chip, just explain to the teacher and go for it. If the teacher makes a fuss, just go ahead with your plan quietly. Is the teacher going to put your child in detention every day because they haven't read the latest Biff and Chip? My DC1's teacher gives out and tests on spelling lists every week. This is apparently to help with reading. My DC doesn't bother to look at the spellings even, and I am happy with that (though I haven't instructed her not to do the work), as I don't think it's a good way to improve either reading or spelling - or at least not for her. I explained this to the teacher at parents' evening, and as she had just said that DC was more than 5 years ahead with her reading there wasn't a lot that she could say really. You don't have to force your child to do homework that they really don't need to do. Homework is designed for the average child, or whatever. What matters is that your child is doing the homework that will help them to progress. So I put more emphasis on my child working at the things that she is bad at. I stress that I do not instruct her not to do homework that I think is a waste of time, but I do sometimes encourage her to do the minimum on it, rather than spending hours toiling over yet another poster that she has been set just because the teacher is supposed to set homework and that's the easiest thing for them.
I know that some people will disapprove, but isn't one of a parent's jobs to make sure that the child is doing what they need to do as an individual?

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 23:40:40

Oh god really, you think? But it's blatantly obvious he can read everything fluently in those books - the vocabulary is so so limited! Unfortunately they have stopped reading the Biff & Chip books with them at school, preferring to foist them entirely onto us poor parents instead.

nosleeps Fri 08-Mar-13 23:43:28

Shame on the school.
Send it back and ask for a 'real' book in its place.

Though these books do have a place in teaching reading, over-reliance on schemes kills reading and it becomes a ticking off exercise.
Good on you for trying to object.

Biff and chip put ds off reading for life.

xigris Fri 08-Mar-13 23:48:41

YNBU one tiny bit. They are awful. It's become a running joke with DS1's TA and me. She actually wrote in his reading record 'hurray! No more Biff and Chip books!' when he completed the torture course. grin I'd rather read War and Peace again / have root canal than read another magic key adventure

CloudsAndTrees Fri 08-Mar-13 23:51:27

It's obvious if the one teacher that needs to know has enough time to hear your ds read regularly one to one, but she probably doesn't. If she's not hearing him as often as she could or should, then she will probably just look at the comments you, the TA and parent helpers write in the book to know that he is reading. That's why it's worth your while writing it all in the book.

Maybe if reading your own books is working well, you could ask that he reads the Biff and Chip's during his reading time at school to show that he can do it.

The bottom line is that your ds just needs to learn to read, and the teacher needs to know about it. How you come to that stage is open for debate.

no sleeps has it spot on.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 23:55:52

I don't think they do individual reading at school at all any more. Initially he was being read with every day (although it could have been he was getting special help as he missed a year of school). Now they just do something called Guided Reading. I'm not sure I entirely understand what that is, but he gets very good comments about it. I don't know what the material is like of course.

I've no problems with writing in the diary, it's just the thought of still reading the odd Biff & Chip book to prove he can do it. My impression is that once they get to Stage 7 or so, the books just get longer but the vocabulary really doesn't change at all.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 00:06:28

Oh God, now I'm thinking over the practicalities of this and wondering where I will source all the books from. I think what I really need is for DS to be able to skip up the levels to get onto the free readers quicker, rather than having another 50 or so of these things to get through first. I just really don't think it's necessary, his reading is way beyond what he's getting. Perhaps I might have to "reword" my note!

Dromedary Sat 09-Mar-13 00:15:27

You can easily source books from the library and cheap charity shops and jumble sales. Children can even order library books for free. To make any progress, children need to read far more books than they get from school, anyway.
Some (bad) teachers have the attitude that every child has to do everything on the list before they are allowed to move on. I knew someone with a gifted child who was a big problem at school because the work she was given was far too easy for her and she was not prepared to do it. She was playing up because she was bored. But the school, while threatening to expel her, refused to allow her to move onto more difficult work before she had completed all the easy work. Even when the parent obtained an educational psychiatrist's report saying that the child was bored because the work was too easy, and was highly gifted. Crazy.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 00:18:30

Oh I know there's the library, we use that loads. Charity shops around here, not so much. I suppose I'm thinking if I actually need to present an alternative "plan" then the read it yourself type books in the local library are really abysmal. And if I need to demonstrate that DS will learn every single sound and word that he would learn in Biff & Chip (and I'm sure he knows them already) then I'd need to find stuff the appropriate level, not just the random fiction we choose at the moment.

There are the e-books on Oxford Owl, but not enough of them and I don't like e-books for children as a rule.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 00:19:21

Am I starting to overthink this do you reckon?

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 00:21:32

But then, no I don't really understand. If he's reading, he's reading surely. And if he can read a book and only need a bit of help occasionally, then that's fine. Yes? So we could just continue with the stuff he enjoys, and lots of non fiction too.

And I will try some of the stuff from oxford owl too. There are some nice looking books there at Stage 9/10 level, ORT too but much more challenging and varied than Biff and Chip. eg

Iaintdunnuffink Sat 09-Mar-13 00:28:14

My eldest son hated the Biff, Chip and Pin books. Luckily the school ran several different methods of teaching reading concurrently. The ORT ones were added into the colour banded books to be taken home so they were never the only books sent home. My youngest son goes to the same school and loves them! We have some at home and he loves reading them over and over in bed.

Dromedary Sat 09-Mar-13 00:30:16

I think you're worrying too much about the teacher. I would just politely and confidently explain the situation and that you will be doing loads of other reading with him, and just get on with letting him read anything that a) he enjoys, b) is at the right level (aiming to stretch him slightly most of the time). You can always put some of that in the reading diary.
If the school makes a big fuss, then maybe just read the first page or so of the BIff and Chip with him, and sign it off in the reading diary, and then do your own stuff. This is meant to be about your son and helping him to progress, not about pandering to some system that does the opposite, by putting your son off reading at a crucial age. YOu don't need to be so sensitive about the school. They only things they should care about are a) that your child is progressing adequately, b) that what he does is not disruptive to other children. If they are just being petty, then ignore them and get on with your own thing. It is parents that make the most difference to how a child does at primary level, not the school, even if it's a good one.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 00:35:38

It's some of the earlier posts that have made me worried! It is difficult because I work f/t and can very rarely get to see his teacher face to face, so mostly have to communicate through the reading diary. I want to be firm about what I think without coming across as stroppy or difficult. It's quite hard! But thanks for your support (and all the others too) and I shall go forth and fly the flag to rescue reading from the clutches of the reading scheme!

nosleeps Sat 09-Mar-13 08:12:59

How old is your ds? What year in school?
BTW, guided reading is great if done properly, much, much more effective than simply hearing children read. It involves teaching, concepts.
My feeling on teaching reading is that a good, well engaging phonics programme supplemented by a phonologically decodable books - i.e. ones without words that don't sound as they look - with some scheme bks and lots and lots of high quality real books.
I think the "I'm on stage ..." thing is useful, well essential for the teacher, but unproductive for the child.
Just ask for real books, it shouldn't be too controversial.

If your on stage nine there should be more variety now. I had to request no more B&C as it was just getting too much and she just Couldbt bare to do them she would be in tears. We got given ORT books still but we had William and hamid who were fairly amusing and she much preferred. Just ask if there are alternatives at this stage as there's magpies and jackdaws and glow works etc a wider range of material than three characters.

nosleeps Sat 09-Mar-13 08:44:56

Oops, teaching and practising

HANIEL Sat 09-Mar-13 08:54:24

Ha Ha! Can't believe Biff and Chips books are still around. I used to read them in the 80s when I was learning how to read

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 11:58:05

Nosleeps - he's 6.5, in Yr 2.

gaelicsheep Sat 09-Mar-13 12:11:22

Oops, make that 6.7!

coatonarack Sat 09-Mar-13 17:37:03

I once got booted out of Mumsnet for writing a pastiche about Biff and Chip's dog, Floppy. Floppy had all sorts of adventures, going up and down and in and out. I've only just been allowed back in here!

LaQueen Sat 09-Mar-13 17:43:50

I fucking hated those did the DDs, after ploughing through the first 347, of them (or so it felt like).

By the end of Yr 1, the same forlorn book just got carried back and forth to school in their book-bags, week in/week out - and they were happily reading more interesting stuff, at home.

grin at x rated floppy

ChoudeBruxelles Sat 09-Mar-13 17:49:53

Hate them - so did ds. I just use to send them back, say ds hadn't read them because he found it boring and we read x instead. He can now choose his own book from the band he's on now he's in year 2

MissAliceBand Sun 10-Mar-13 00:45:25

I am not too keen on them understatement DD is only in reception so is level 5, and she's already gettin bored of them. Though I can at least ger her interested in Gran. She liked the one about Dolphin Rescue anyway.

She gets through 4 of the bloody things a week.

We dutifully read them, but we also get books from the library. Usborn readers she enjoys and we've recently discovered the Big Cat non fiction books, which she loves. We're currently reading about the differences between frogs and toads and she is really engaging with learning 'facs'

We write everything she reads in her reading diary. 97 books so far confused

Reading schemes are just one of those things you have to do at school. I did Peter and Jane. My sisters did the Village with Three Corners and Puddle Lane.

Hell even in Latin we had Caecilius. I kind of miss Caecilius.

SunflowersSmile Sun 10-Mar-13 09:25:17

My ds loved the magic key ones so much we got the follow on books 'The Time Chronicles'.
He liked the pictures and finding the glasses/ bones etc and spotting the care taker.
There are far worse book knocking around his school.
Awful one called 'The cape of rushes' springs to mind- love story/ odd concepts- sent it back.....

The magic key were like the stories we were told never to write at my school grin my teacher always said never end a story with "and them I woke up" or " it was all a dream" as it was a cop out!

I still can't hear those words .....and the magic key began to glow,.....
Aaaahhhh and dd2 to go yet grin

I hate them. Boring bastards.

Poor DS is in year 3 and still reading them. I can't bear it. He finally got diagnosed as dyslexic on Friday so I'm using it as an excuse to not read them anymore. So boring!

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 13:32:52

You know what, scrub the whole thread. The little blighter is refusing to read anything. I suppose the question is whether I am can blame that on Biff and Chip (I'd like to) or is he just a little arse. I feel crap and I could cheerfully throttle the little devil right now. angry

Happymothersday Sun 10-Mar-13 13:35:28

Buy him a Ben 10 comic and refuse to read it to him. Graphic novels are good too. Graphic as in pictures, not content. They were based on comics and are designed to get reluctant boy readers to read.

gaelic I know it's hard and frustrating I've been there! I can honestly say if he hates them that much biff and chip probably did kill the enthusiasm for reading anything!!! My dd refused to read anything the whole time we were given them she lost all interest I have spent a fortune on books just to try and find something she would read as she honestly couldn't face it.

Just surround him with things u know he might like and don't pressure him. It takes time but you will get there.

Happymothersday Sun 10-Mar-13 13:42:02

The incredible book eating boy by oliver jeffers is good too. It's got a picture of a boy being sick down the toilet. My boy (6) laughs and laughs!

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 13:42:44

It's so frustrating, though. He does read, all the time. Doctor Who is his thing and Power Rangers. He devours the magazines when he gets them ( one every couple of weeks - boy they're expensive!). He loves all manner of books being read to him. But the moment anything becomes linked to school and "work" that's it. Total shutdown. I guarantee I wouldn't have a problem getting him reading today if it wasn't to report back to school. Aaargh.

Startail Sun 10-Mar-13 13:45:49

Cheat, read a page each, act them out doing silly voices and take parts.
If all else fails just sign the book of as read when it hasn't been.

DD1 is dyslexic, she loved Biff and Chip because they were familiar character names in a familiar setting. What she hated were the other ransoms we got where 1/3 of the book described new characters, usually with ridiculous names in fictitious places, also with idiot names, before there was any plot.

I confess several went back 'finished', when truth was anything, but.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 13:47:35

This is one reason why we considered and decided against home ed. We thought he'd be unteachable! But then I think fgs he does read, he CAN pretty much anything you put on front of him. So maybe an unstructured HE approach would have been best?

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 13:49:50

Sorry, left hansed typing on phone. Being pinned down by zonked out toddler!

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:02:34

See for all people said earlier about me not forcing DS to do useless homework, one thing I wouldn't do is cheat. It's tempting, but I don't want him to think dishonesty is OK. Even if it is Biff and Chip prompting it!

nosleeps Sun 10-Mar-13 14:07:51

Gaelicsheep, have a look at this site.
ORT Stage 9 is equivalent to purple, but some are the bands either side.
You can get the books from the library, or Amazon. You'll get used to what he can read and can go from there, but the school ought to be fine with a no more B&C or any other ORT for that matter.

nosleeps Sun 10-Mar-13 14:13:36

You're right, no need to cheat, make sure you're totally up front with the school.

gaelicsheep Sun 10-Mar-13 14:16:20

Thanks nosleeps, that looks like a useful place for inspiration. :-) IF we can get over the latest hurdle that is.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 21:14:28

UPDATE - no joy. We got another one tonight with a terse note that it is a popular reading scheme used throughout the school and he has to read them. Annoyed much! DS has been "spoken" to and read it tonight without a fight. I guess that told me. Harumph.

coatonarack Mon 11-Mar-13 21:16:50

God, teachers are annoying. And if any teachers write an indignant post in reply to this, can you please explain to OP how they would encourage DS to read in school?

Thanking you.

missorinoco Mon 11-Mar-13 21:18:37

Seeing as you are all suffering with Biff and Chip, which is which? Just suffered through a few Kipper and Floppy books, with Biff and Chip making a side appearance. I presume Biff is the boy, but what on earth does Chip stand for?

If I don't recall them from my childhood does that make me officially old? Peter and Jane ruled the roost when I was wee.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 21:27:59

I had probably already pissed her off by suggesting that DS's 60 second maths homework might have been missing a few pages. grin

Honestly I don't blame classroom teachers, but I do blame headteachers who should do more to combat this stream of drivel. Perhaps instead of the umpteenth new computer they should buy some more bloody books!

FierceBadIggi Mon 11-Mar-13 21:30:30

I am a teacher. I am not annoying. But please, generalise away if it makes you happy.

LiegeAndLief Mon 11-Mar-13 21:32:29

We had just the same problem at about level 10. Not so much Biff, Chip and Kipper, as at least ds's school does seem to have a good range of different reading schemes, but they were all horribly dull. Actually seemed to be getting much worse the further up the levels we went. If it had all been uninterrupted ORT I think I might have lost the will to live. Also these books were quite long, and ds only had a limited "reading aloud" tolerance, so if we read them all like we were meant to there wasn't any tolerance left for reading something good. I tried to make up for it by reading good books to him instead.

He is a "free reader" now which basically seems to mean he gets to choose from a load of different books, some of which are still on reading schemes but are colours like copper and topaz (I don't know what this means!), but the stories seem to have got a lot better. Thank god. If a child is capable of reading and enjoying some of the easier Roald Dahl, for example, why on earth should they have to plough through such dire books at home?

Really sorry the teacher has come back to you with that sad

LiegeAndLief Mon 11-Mar-13 21:33:40

Missorinoco, bizarrely Biff is the girl.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Mon 11-Mar-13 21:36:45

Yeah, Biff is a girl, who calls their daughter Biff......well apart from mean parents.

Pozzled Mon 11-Mar-13 21:41:14

"God, teachers are annoying."

Could I just add a 'some' into that sentence, please?

Gaelicsheep's DS's teacher is clearly bloody annoying. Biff, Chip and Kipper have their place but forcing a child to work through a reading scheme they're not interested in makes my blood boil. There are so many absolutely fantastic children's books out there at all levels, no child should be regularly reading something they hate. Certainly not at 6.

OP, I would refuse to read the ORT books. I would find books that interest and motivate your DS and read them with him. And if they're not exactly the right level, you can help him with the harder words. The danger of turning him off reading is far greater than and more important than annoying the teacher.

thegreylady Mon 11-Mar-13 21:54:25

My dgs has these and the latest story in two books was The Riddle Stone.Book1 ended with the 'riddle' "How do you want to die?"-honestly I kid you not-it really disturbed him.It sounded to a six year old as if something was going to happen to him.
Today he had Book2 with the answer, "of old age!"

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 22:00:34

That's awful. We have had more than one occasion where DS has had one part of a two parter and missed the second part. Talk about it being a reading by numbers exercise.

BombayBadonkadonks Mon 11-Mar-13 22:08:56

I spoke to DS1's teacher about some of the books he was not getting on with and we swapped them out.

I like the Rigby star ones!

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 22:13:46

LiegeAndLief has it right though with the reading tolerance thing. DS finds reading aloud tiring, and he never wants to read anything afterwards. I too try to read lots of good stuff to him, but it does worry me a lot that for him reading aloud = Biff and Chip = boring. I am horrified that DS's teacher cares more about saving face than about DS's enthusiasm for reading.

helsbels03 Mon 11-Mar-13 22:33:20

It is very unusual for children to follow one reading scheme in order and only have these books to choose from. Does your school not have book vending where the children can choose from within a graded coloured band? My dd2 doesn't like the school reading books and we just read whatever she wants and put that in the reading record- teachers are usually looking for regular reading , discussing the story and using strategies like blending and sounding out, rather than reading specific books. I would speak to the teacher if I were you and take it from there. I teach reluctant readers and also promote reading ANYTHING rather than nothing

Smudging Mon 11-Mar-13 22:39:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 23:36:44

I'm afraid I have keeled over and we'll just have to engage in damage limitation at home. That's what parenting a child through school is all about, right? DS's teacher is very hard to speak to. Nice but very firmly dismissive of alternative viewpoints. I don't see me getting anywhere, but it will be continued at parents evening, oh yes.

missorinoco Tue 12-Mar-13 10:12:57

Biff is the girl?! What does Biff stand for then? confused

nokidshere Tue 12-Mar-13 10:26:41

Whne my boys were in primary and they were bored of the books, the teacher simply said that it didn't matter what they were reading as long as they were reading. She did also say however that they would continue with the books in school as they used them as a benchmark for the guided reading sessions.

And of course reading isn't just about being able to read the words, its about understanding the text.

LynetteScavo Tue 12-Mar-13 18:19:19

Biff is short for Barbara, apparently!

DD's reception teacher told me- she had a book which explained the background to the family, and what the children's real names were, etc. She never shared, though.

It took me 3DC before I could actually remember which one was which. I'm either thick or really disinterested.

LynetteScavo Tue 12-Mar-13 18:25:33

More info here;


Kipper Robinson
Biff Robinson
Chip Robinson
Floppy the dog
Wilf and Wilma Page
Anneena Patel
Nadim Shah

Pozzled Wed 13-Mar-13 07:46:58

Gaelicsheep please don't give up. If you don't get anywhere with the teacher, take it to the Head. Honestly, this is such a ridiculously outdated and damaging policy. It won't just be your son that is affected, I bet a lot of the children at the school are switching off. Have you spoken to any other parents to see how they feel?

Pozzled Wed 13-Mar-13 07:48:36

Another question- does this scheme include any non-fiction, or is it all just the stories?

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 08:59:09

No, no non fiction. We have occasionally had a short run of Fireflies which are much better in every respect, more interesting (usually) and more challenging at the same notional level. One of my big gripes with the others is the limited vocabulary. And they are so formulaic and predictable.

I don't know what to do. Since he was "spoken" to by the teacher DS has been keen to read. It seems he has his enthusiasm back for racing through to get to the end of the scheme, having been assured there is light at the end of the tunnel. I really feel that misses the point quite badly. However I don't want to be confrontational or make problems for DS, and we all know teachers can be so petty.

shewhowines Wed 13-Mar-13 09:32:48

I just used to write "not read, DC found it boring/too easy/too hard" etc, then I would write the title of the book we did read and make a comment about that, in their reading record book.

No teacher ever moaned at that, as they were clearly reading at home.

Home work isn't compulsory and they can't make you read specific books or indeed any books at all.

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 09:42:44

I think DS would probably be held back from progressing up the stages if we did that. He's desperate to get to stage 12 bless him.

bryte Wed 13-Mar-13 09:44:11


We're in the same boat. DD2 is 7 and on ORT stage 9. She has been reading well for at least a year. We mentioend at PE how boring she and we found these books and the teacher sympathised but still they are the only books being sent home. I can only assume it is school policy to have to read every book up to a certain stage before they are allowed free-reader books. My DD1 was had a choice of colour-coded books and then was declared a free-reader long before this age when she was in Y2 even though she was my slow-to-read child! But she was at a different school. ORT books are tedious. They take so long to read by this stage because they add more and more pages.

I really like DD2s teacher though so I'm reluctant to make a big deal out of this.

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 09:49:43

I know, DS has come on well with this teacher so I don't want to rock the boat too much either. DS seems to think he'll see the last of Biff and Chip after Stage 9. Anyone know if that is true? <desperate but not hopeful emoticon>

bryte Wed 13-Mar-13 10:18:07

I hope that is true, for all schools. I think we'll have a party.

Pozzled Wed 13-Mar-13 13:17:08

OP, I keep thinking about this and I am fuming on your son's behalf- and all other children in schools like this. Apart from anything else, how can the children possibly make progress in reading if they only ever read one particular type of fiction? They NEED to experience a wide range of texts so they can make comparisons, learn about different genres, know how to use a contents page or glossary... There is so much that they can never get from
Biff and bloody Chip!

I can see why schools want children to read only books at a certain level (although I firmly believe that they should sometimes have easier/harder ones). But this is utterly ridiculous.

5Foot5 Wed 13-Mar-13 13:26:01

I am surprised how many people dislike the Biff, Chip and Kipper books. When DD was that young I seem to remember thinking they were quite amusing. Mind you I have no idea now how far through the stages they went before moving on to other things. Stage 9 sounds like a long way, so maybe her school abandoned them earlier than that. Obviously hse always had access to plent of other books as well sho her reading wasn't restricted to the ORT.

In reception I recall they had some other reading books too, Crown readers I think they were called. They had a King, a Queen, a big guard, a little guard and a baby. OMG they were truly boring and repetitive!

Is anyone else here old enough to have learnt to read with Dick and Dora and Nip the dog and Fluff the cat?

Peter Jane and pat the dog when I was a kid. If take them over the magic key grin

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 18:34:20

pozzler -I'm told they do read other books at school. I should blooming well hope so.

We had a marginally better book last night which had a more imaginative story. DS read it all when he came home, boy he's motivated to get past them. That earned him a gold star from the teacher. Break their spirit early to make them compliant and easier to teach. That seems to be the goal. sad

itworksonmymachine Thu 14-Mar-13 16:00:06

SUCCESS!! - (sorry, have name changed, can't be bothered to change back for this post)

So, today I asked one more time for something different since DS has really worked hard to plough through the set books. I also suggested he could do something a little more challenging as he never needs any help. So, we have a Stage 10 Treetops book alongside the Biff & Chip. A small but highly significant victory!

Also they have tested his reading age today and he has come out with a reading age of 8! I am so proud of him because he started school a year later than all his peers and has come from behind. Well done to my little boy! smile

Woohoo . You can join the biff and chip are go e forever club lol it's a lovely place to be . Welcome

itworksonmymachine Thu 14-Mar-13 18:09:57

Not quite gone forever, but I reckon if he does well with a few Stage 10s they might cave <fingers crossed>. He has already read the whole Stage 10 book and was very excited about it. We kind of have to read the other one to, to keep our side of the bargain (so it feels) but we're getting there!

Glad it's going better for u smile been there , it sucks! Well done ur ds!!!

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