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?

pigletmania Sat 23-Mar-13 23:22:15

As long as they are reading i dont see a problem tbh

WorraLiberty Sat 23-Mar-13 23:22:53

YABU really yes.

Dull or not, it won't take more than a few minutes for them to read their school books.

The sooner they get on and do this, the sooner they will become free readers and will be able to read their own books.

They'll have to get used to reading books they don't particularly like anyway as part of group literacy.

Fanjango Sat 23-Mar-13 23:23:22

If they are reading, they are reading. Surely that is all the school want to ensure they are doing? IME many children don't read often at home so any reading is good and if they enjoy it more then it should be encouraged by the school. Reading for pleasure is a good thing.

Feenie Sat 23-Mar-13 23:23:29

This wouldn't have been a problem to me when I taught Y2 smile

EvilTwins Sat 23-Mar-13 23:25:59

Worra - their school books are about 70 pages long, so longer than a few minutes. DTD2 has one that DTD1 had the week before last - it's about a dog at a football game. Neither twin is interested in football. I don't read books about things I'm not interested in, so why should they?

YouTheCat Sat 23-Mar-13 23:26:20

If it was 1 book each for over the holidays I'd say get on with it. 4 is total overkill.

I'd go with the reading HP and the BFG and if the school don't like it then that's a bit tough. Once they've got to the point where they are able to read independently pretty much anything, then school should let them enjoy their books.

Bluelightsandsirens Sat 23-Mar-13 23:26:56

Just write books read, great reading.

DD3 is in reception and reading beyond what is sent home so we Amy or may not read school books but do have evening books we read every night as part of her gong to bed routine, DDs teacher doesn't care less as long as she is learning to love reading.

AgentZigzag Sat 23-Mar-13 23:27:47

It might be better to talk about it or suggest it to the teacher rather than telling them what's happening?

It wouldn't be a big enough thing for me to stick my neck out and take the school on about, are you really that blood boiling about it that you want to make a stand?

Sometimes they have to do stuff they don't want to, and reading a few things they're not keen on is hardly going to damage them for life.

Bluelightsandsirens Sat 23-Mar-13 23:29:53

X post re reading what we are not interested in.

I ask them to read the first 3 chapters and then move on because. Wouldn't be able to read something that didn't grab my attention.

We have books available all the time at home so school reading is an extra if interested.

We also go to the library for subject books in the holiday if they get a bit bored with being at home/club

WorraLiberty Sat 23-Mar-13 23:30:28

I don't read books about things I'm not interested in, so why should they?

Because you're an adult and they are children at school.

I had to read Shakespeare and many other things I wasn't keen on at school as part of a lesson.

Your kids will have to do these things as well and if you're already unsupportive of the school at year 2 level, it's going to be a long journey through their school lives.

In the grand scheme of things it's really not a big deal. Let them knuckle down and do their school reading the same as every other pupil in the class.

HP or any other books can be read for pleasure in their own time.

Feenie Sat 23-Mar-13 23:32:04

The point of reading schemes is to get kids to read and enjoy reading. Your dds already are. Win, win!

YouTheCat Sat 23-Mar-13 23:32:05

It is their own time, it's the holidays.

I think 4 books each (so about an hour per book) is way too much. What if they were going away for a week and didn't have time?

EvilTwins Sat 23-Mar-13 23:32:43

I know it's not going to damage them, but I don't really see the point. Their school is very wedded to the reading scheme - I was talking to a friend this morning whose DD is the same kind of level with reading - at her school, the children can take their own books in, and can choose from a box of non-fiction books so that there is something the school can "monitor". At my kids' school, they have to work through the scheme books - they don't just use one scheme, they use several, so the number of books in each level seems endless. My DTDs are on lime books, and they are good girls who do what the teacher says, but they get far more enjoyment from their own books than the reading scheme books, and as a lover of reading, I find it odd that the school would rather DTD2 read the particularly dull "Jam Street Mystery" than enjoyed The BFG or Matilda.

aldiwhore Sat 23-Mar-13 23:33:03

My youngest needs the reading scheme books so if it were him I would definitely stick with them.

My eldest never read his boring reading scheme books, and was freereading early on anyway, because I kept records of his reading up to date (as did he) so his teachers could easily plot progress away from the scheme.

YANBU. So long as you keep the diary up to date. #

I was guilty of writing "My son refuses to read another BIFF & CHIP book on account that they are utterly dull, instead he has read 'x' and is on page y" it was never a problem.

ujjayi Sat 23-Mar-13 23:34:06

DS2's school take the attitude that whether it's a great classic or a comic it really does not matter. If they have read to you then write it down. I was a little sceptical at first, having had very strict reading policy in DS1's school but DS2 soon became a free reader despite being bored senseless by sodding Biff & Chip due to his love of Harry Potter and Beast Quest.

WorraLiberty Sat 23-Mar-13 23:34:07

The OP isn't complaining about there being 4 books

She's complaining that the kids find them dull

Well kids find all sorts of things dull but it doesn't mean they don't have to knuckle down and do them.

MissEleanorLavish Sat 23-Mar-13 23:34:09

I regularly write something similar in the reading diary - my 6 year old reads HP, Cressida Cowell, Roald Dahl etc at home through choice (although tonight went to bed with an atlas) - teacher said not to worry at all, she just likes to know they're reading (and school reading books stay in bags for reading at school). It's the holidays, I'd let them read what they want. Surely they're pretty much free reading if they're coming home with 70 page (I assume chapter) books?

YouTheCat Sat 23-Mar-13 23:36:43

Yes but 1 dull book is all well and good and a bit of time to read one is fair enough. I do agree about their being plenty you have to do/read in school that will be soul-destroyingly boring.

I don't agree with homework during holidays anyway. Holidays are there so pupils and teachers can recharge their batteries a bit before the next term.

YouTheCat Sat 23-Mar-13 23:37:31


MissEleanorLavish Sat 23-Mar-13 23:38:44

If they're particularly wedded to the scheme, can they read their own books first then make a start on the school books?

olgaga Sat 23-Mar-13 23:39:22

IME as long as the teacher knows they're reading, they'll be happy.

My DD (now 12) hasn't read a single Harry Potter book, she finds them dull and ridiculous. But she's always read loads - both fiction and non-fiction.

WorraLiberty Sat 23-Mar-13 23:39:56

Exactly MissEleanor this is not an either/or situation.

They can quite easily do I'm sure all the other kids do.

LandofTute Sat 23-Mar-13 23:41:24

I think the teacher is unlikely to mind. S/he is probably more concerned about the kids who never read at home than the ones who are reading Harry Potter and BFG in Year 2.

EvilTwins Sat 23-Mar-13 23:42:06

I know that there will be plenty in school that is dull, but really, at age 6, given that they've discovered the joy of reading, I think it's unnecessary to make them read books they find dull. I enjoy reading, but if I find a book boring, I don't bother to finish it. If someone told me I had to finish it because I just have to, then I would perhaps decide that reading was a bit crap, and I wouldn't want to do it any more. I love that my 6 yr old DTDs are developing a passion for reading. I love that they are reading challenging books, extending their vocabulary and enjoying stories. I would just rather they read their own choice than the boring reading scheme books the school has sent home.

LandofTute Sat 23-Mar-13 23:43:28

I think most teachers would agree with what you wrote above.

Startail Sat 23-Mar-13 23:46:31

Leave books in bags, write vague comment like the twins read well over the holidays. Let teacher assume they read dull books.

Dyslexic DD1 returned loads of dull books 1/2 finished or I read them to her. Life is too short for dull books.

YouTheCat Sat 23-Mar-13 23:49:54

Anyway, if your dtds are reading HP and BFG the books you describe that have been sent home are hardly likely to stretch them.

Startail Sat 23-Mar-13 23:50:09

DD1 now never has her nose out of a book, but she had to come to love reading (which even at 15 still isn't totally easy to her) in her own way. Through the familiar characters of the magic key and non fiction that interested her. 70 pages about football would have been an absolute non starter.

EvilTwins Sat 23-Mar-13 23:51:54

YouTheCat - they have come on so well with reading in the last 6 months - at the beginning of Yr 2, the school books were challenging, but now they're just not. It seems like the school is going through the motions. I'm quite sure that in other schools, they'd be termed "free readers". angry

tiggytape Sat 23-Mar-13 23:52:17

The sooner they get on and do this, the sooner they will become free readers and will be able to read their own books.

I always hated this aspect of reading schemes - that implication that books are something to be endured in prescribed stages that can go on forever. I remember the howls of disbelief the day we found out that the Oxford Reading Tree had about 5 more levels than we'd previously feared known about! And it wasn't just the kids howling either! I just let them read their own books from about Year 2 onwards. They are well past that age now and both very avid readers with reading ages years ahead of expected levels.

I didn't write snarky comments in their reading diaries, I just ignored the reading scheme books at home and wrote 'littletiggy read very well to page 15' and just failed to mention it was page 15 in a completely different book.

YouTheCat Sat 23-Mar-13 23:55:20

I was so lucky with dd's year 1 and year 2 teachers. She was free reading in year 1 as the teacher saw no benefit to keeping her on the reading scheme and let her choose her own book to bring home.

In year 2, the teacher did the same. By year 3 dd's teacher said there was no need for her to bring books home and she'd be satisfied with dd telling her about whatever book she was currently reading.

AgentZigzag Sat 23-Mar-13 23:57:01

I know what you're saying about encouraging your DC to feel what it can be like to totally escape into a book and it fire up their imagination, but if you think that schools are trying to bring a lot of totally different children to a point where they can be compared to each other/national averages, then making them go through the same kinds of processes has to be a part of that.

Lots of people don't like this kind of 'one size fits all', but how else can they go about making sure everyone, regardless of their ability, gets a fair shot at a relatively decent education?

Your DC have to fit into that, and some parts are going to be dull, it'll be less of a shock then when they realise that life can be fucking dull sometimes grin

WorraLiberty Sat 23-Mar-13 23:59:42

What AgentZigzag said.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:00:18

And I'm saying that as someone who won't finish a book if it's crap.

But I have had to read really difficult and uninteresting things in my time, working or studying, and you do have to learn how find things to keep your interest at some point.

I mean, nobody finds a business report interesting unless they're a total freak, but they have to be read and acted on by someone.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:00:56

My concern is that the school is very keen on the reading scheme, and seems to like DCs to work through all the books before moving up (being in the unusual-ish position of the mother of two DCs in the same class, I know that they like them to work through all the books - it tends to go in the same pattern - fiction, then non-fiction, then some poetry, then some play scripts) I don't think they go beyond lime level, so the end is in sight, but I would love to be able to just send their own choice of book into school, know that when it's their turn to read to a teacher/TA, they could read a bit of that book to them, and then be able to enjoy sharing that book with them at home. It's not like at secondary school where they have to do a certain novel for GCSE or whatever, it's reading for the sake of reading, so surely HP/Roald Dahl/Enid Blyton/Laura Ingalls Wilder is just as good as Cambridge Towards Independence Level C or Oxford Reading Tree Stage 11.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:01:58

I was thinking that strayed over into 'you're taking this a bit too seriously' territory worra grin

Yfronts Sun 24-Mar-13 00:03:27

I think the most important thing is to foster a love of reading. With a love of reading, kids will easily master the regular phonetics. We stayed away from Biff and gravitated towards other books too and my DS aged 10 has absolutely blossomed over the years. He often has a book in his hands at home. His teacher says he writes like an author and about 4 years ahead. Avoiding boring Biff in year 2+ hasn't been an issue for him.

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:05:10

It all sounds very idealistic and lovely OP but I do think you're over thinking this a tad.

Kids need to learn from an early age that some things they'll like doing and some things they won't.

They won't like this particular aspect of homework but once it's done they can then relax and read for pleasure.

I read for pleasure last night before going to sleep.

This morning I woke up and read a 400 page report.

That's reality for you.

christinarossetti Sun 24-Mar-13 00:05:26

In a similar position here, and planning to discuss at parent's evening next week.

I've given myself a little break from trying to persuade Y1 dd to read her school books and listen to her read whatever she likes - she's just finishing 'The Twits'.

Aside from not being particularly challenging, I agree that books about sheep playing football or whatever feel very much like reading books because they 'have' to be read not for any pleasure or enjoyment.

It's not the same as 'they may not like Shakespeare although they will have to read him' - a Shakespeare text will be chosen and studied with thought and care, not randomly plucked from some book box.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:05:49

Did you read the chip and biff thread posted recently ET?

Brought back horrible memories for me grin (and reminded me having DD2 means I've got to go through it all again hmm) but the OP thought along exactly the same lines as you.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:06:35

Agent - I disagree that DC have to fit into the "one size fits all" approach. Teachers differentiate for different levels of children - it's part of the job. 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. We had parents' evening this week - their teacher is very well aware of their abilities as compared to the other children in the class and national expectation at this stage in Yr 2. She knows what they are reading - the girls talk about it and she listens.

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:09:13

Have you considered home schooling OP?

Only it might be better than telling the teacher that you know best and going against what the kids are being asked to do...which is basically what every single child in the class is being asked to do.

Just a thought.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 00:09:55

Agent - I am not sure why one child's reading ability needs to be compared against another child's reading ability or why they would both need to read the same books in the same order to do this.
Many tests including the Year 1 phonics and the Year 2 SATS exist for those who want to compare each child against a standard measure or against each other. They aren’t reliant on a child having read a certain stack of books in a set colour-coded order.

Ability to read should be quickly followed by establishing a love of reading which in turn naturally enhances existing skills.
The ability to read dull texts is a specialist skill that should never be introduced before the love of reading is totally secure and the skills advanced enough that they do not stall or regress when exposed to deathly dull books. There is no advantage to a sticking to a prescribed reading scheme that isn’t hugely outweighed by the damage it will do if it turns a child off reading or makes reading a chore.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:10:44

Haha. No, I'm not going to home school. That seems a bit of leap from "I would rather my kids read the books they like that the dull book about a football-playing dog I found in their book bags".

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:12:12

Oh well 'I would rather' is totally different to 'My DTDs are not going to read their reading books this holiday.'

Isn't it?

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:13:50

I'm not saying this is always the case, but I wonder how much of it is just a taking easy way out decision? (which I'm not averse to doing myself of course)

That it's easier to let them off doing something the school's asked of them when you've got the justification of knowing as an adult the amazing things books can give you, at the same time as knowing what a stink DC kick up when they're made to do something they don't want to.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:14:03

I am not going to force them to read the books they have brought home. It doesn't follow that I think I know best and that I should home school.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 00:14:09

You'd have been better posting this on the Primary board, Eviltwins. Posters here are arguing about a principle, when it is clearly counter productive ti the ultimate aim of getting your dds to read and enjoy reading.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 00:14:31


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.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 00:52:08

'I can safely say that none of the kids I teach think Shakespeare is boring.'

Woah shock that's a lot of confidence packed into one short sentence.

You'll probably find a lot of them had worked hard on their poker faces.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:53:52

So far, I've not spoken to the DCs about their reading books. They broke up yesterday, and today I went through their book bags and discovered four reading books each. Generally, we read the books on the day they come home - they get changed 3x per week. My heart sank, though, seeing that DTD1 had the same book that DTD2 had the week before last. Both girls read a lot - they can read well, and are reading above expectation for their age group. In other schools they would be "free" readers. If they ask to read their school books to me this holiday, then fine, but if they don't, I'm not going to push it. I am much happier listening to them reading whatever it is they want to read.

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:54:26

Really? Sad?

I loved Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway and actually I loved A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare.

And to be fair, I never told my teacher I found Shakespeare boring and nor did she I doubt you can safely say that every single child you've taught has found him interesting? confused

Literacy (like anything else) is about personal taste. You won't be privy to all your pupils thoughts about their personal tastes.

Anyway I meant to bow out ages ago.

My advice is if you think you know better than the teacher, either home school or change schools.

Otherwise you've got a very long road ahead of you and your kids.

ravenAK Sun 24-Mar-13 00:55:21

But it's not micromanaging what they do at school is it?

It's taking a pragmatic line on what they do in the holidays.

I would argue that the scale of desirable reading activities in the holidays goes from 'reads nothing' via 'plugs dutifully through reading scheme books' to 'enjoys choosing & reading a range of texts which MAY include reading scheme books'.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:55:43

Agent - nope. I can say it perfectly confidently, thank you. Shakespeare is not boring. The language is unfamiliar and potentially difficult, but it's not boring.

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Mar-13 00:56:05

So really, this is about you finding the books boring? You had to listen to one of them already, so you don't want to do it again? Now your motivations truly become clear.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 00:57:29

Agent - I am very interested in my students' opinions. If they find something boring, I change the way I teach it. They don't find Shakespeare boring. What's boring about those stories? Kids find it tricky, but not boring.

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 00:57:44

Agent - nope. I can say it perfectly confidently, thank you. Shakespeare is not boring. The language is unfamiliar and potentially difficult, but it's not boring.

Yes to YOU it's not boring.

And football stories aren't boring to every child in year 2.

Now do you understand?

I doubt it....

Itsaboatjack Sun 24-Mar-13 00:58:13

My dd1, now in yr 3, was getting very disinterested in reading because the books she was getting sent home with were so dull. I mentioned to the teacher at parents evening that it was a struggle sometimes to get her to do her reading and the teacher said not to force her. She was, and still is, above national average so I don't know if that made a difference to the teachers remark but she now loves reading and reads all the time, but books of her choosing. Some of those books are, imo rubbish, bloody fairy books and the like, but she is also currently reading War Horse. I actually don't think she's read more than 1 or 2 school books all term, and I've only written in her reading diary a handful of times, and the teacher has never made any comment about it and has only had good things to say at subsequent parents evenings.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 01:00:06

Football stories do not interest my daughters. I know that.

Children in my classes are not bored by Shakespeare. I know that too.

I am quite sure that some children in my DD's class like football, and would enjoy the book DTD1 has this holiday. Equally, some kids in my DD's class wouldn't enjoy the Rainbow Fairies books or The Magic Faraway Tree stories, so why would they be force to read them?

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 01:00:44

MidniteScribbler this entire thread has been about the OP and what she's happy to hear her kids read and what she's happy not to.

OK you all have my full permission to shoot me if I post on this thread again, because I should know better than to get wound up over the usual 'ex teacher knows all about PFB's schooling'...far more than their actual teacher.

<< Really gone >>

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 01:02:20

grin at Midnite, the OP might have a point there though if the truth be known grin

I'm a huge reader and really value what they have to offer, DD1's the same and so is my Dad, but this isn't about them being put off by having to read things they're not keen on, if that were the case I wouldn't be such a fan of reading.

It's about you saying that because you can't see the value in it that you're not prepared to make them do it. I can understand that, but the aim of reading at school is about the process as well as the content, and they're never going to meet up for every child.

Some they win some they lose, you can't have the free education (or even pay for it) and not accept that's the case.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 01:02:26

I'm a teacher, not an "ex" teacher, and really, with twins, it's not possible to have a "PFB".

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 01:05:31

I would argue that Harry Potter is more challenging than lime level reading books. That children are more likely to come across interesting vocabulary in HP than their school reading book, more variety of structure etc etc. So if they're doing something more difficult, why should they be forced to do the easier thing as well?

WorraLiberty Sun 24-Mar-13 01:06:05

<< Shoots self >>

You are Mother of PFB personified if this thread is anything to go by OP

Really, just take a step back.

Yes your kids are the most wonderful readers that ever graced the earth but still they'll have to do homework like everyone else.

And sometimes it'll be down to their teacher and not you....

<< Scatters own ashes and goes to bed >>

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 01:08:34

My kids are above national average expectation, but in no way geniuses. I have two of them, born at the same time (ish) on the same day, so which one is my PFB? grin

I am not going to take a step back, if taking a step back means that they will be turned off reading by being forced to put down the books they are engrossed in to read the sodding books sent home by school.

ll31 Sun 24-Mar-13 01:09:54

Op you are sounding silly to me. Do you support school and it's aims or not? They've to read the books, it won't take long , so just get them to read them. .. really can't see problem.
Am hugely amused , tho, as mother of teenager, at your ability to read their minds. I would suggest a ... self awareness course for you"

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 01:12:08

Because they have to learn certain standard things, like in maths where you have to be able to show the working out so they know what they're being taught.

They might read the same and more difficult concepts in Harry Potter, but they have to be taught that they're there and have it explained to them why those things are so important in reading and the construction of a story.

Like even a basic thing like the recipe for the beginning/middle/end of a story and what they should contain, if you're just soaking up the atmosphere of the book you don't necessarily realise how important that framework can be.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 01:13:05

Hmmm. Not reading their minds - having conversations with them...

Yes, I support the school, and had a lovely chat with their teacher at parents' evening last week. Reading 4 books with 70 pages each will take a while though - time they would rather spend reading their own books.

Is it so bad to write "DTD1 read pages X to X of <insert interesting book here>" in the diary though? I don't think so.

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Mar-13 01:13:06

Zigzag - spare a thought for me.... I get to listen to it read over and over and over and over with a class of twenty four!

I think I need to go and scatter myself near Worra. The OP is so firmly convinced that she is right and everyone else is wrong, so I wonder why she even bothered posting.

OK, so add a 's' to PFB. Whatever. You're still one of them.

Someone shoot me if I ever question my sons teacher the way some people question theirs. If you think you know so much, then home school them. But expecting them to be educated in a group setting means that sometimes they may need to do things that align with the group and not just what they personally want to do. That's life. Suck it up.

ll31 Sun 24-Mar-13 01:13:46

Also, have yet to meet child who can't see difference between
bt reading that they have to do, and reading that they want to do. Children are not stupid.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 01:14:14

Eek - midnite - don't let OFSTED hear you say that. Aligning with the group is not the way to do it.

BandersnatchCummerbund Sun 24-Mar-13 01:15:18

Agent - I honestly think that very occasionally you need to be "that" parent. The job of the school is to develop a passion for learning in the children they teach. But they aren't super(wo)men - they have 30 children to teach, and they can't always give each and every one all the individual attention they might like to. So I would see it as my job to step in only - and always as quietly and undisruptively as possible - if I should see the school system occasionally diverging from that primary goal (of developing that education, and that passion for learning). Which, fortunately, doesn't often happen. And a good school can cope with negotiating with a parent when it does.

I think it's important to differentiate the necessity for a child learning to do something challenging from something boring. So if the OP were saying "my children find <insert children's literary equivalent of Shakespeare> boring, I want to ignore the school's wishes and have them read <insert children's literary equivalent of Fifty Shades of Grey> instead" then I'd be thinking "get a grip". But as it is, I think she's protecting their passion for reading amazing and imaginative books, and I think that's one of those things it is worth being "that parent" for.

Fwiw, my own parents were "those" parents when it came to books, and it paid off: I still remember how grateful I was when they saved me from having to spend weeks reading some ould shite just because it was on The List, and I ended up as an academic so I reckon they and the school between them must have managed ok. grin

Gawd, that was long. Sorry. blush

ll31 Sun 24-Mar-13 01:16:33

I see, conversations-think back to your own school days op-do you remember them? Do you remember always telling teacher what you thought it telling them what they wanted to hear. .. teens seem't stupid either. .. good night!

ll31 Sun 24-Mar-13 01:17:14

It should be or! Really good night!

ravenAK Sun 24-Mar-13 01:17:33

It's not really homework.

It doesn't have an outcome (eg. write an account of the footy match from the POV of a spectator, or 'we will be doing a class project based on the story next term').

It's just: read this book.

So it's entirely appropriate to ask - why are my children reading this book in the holidays?

It's so that they maintain their reading level. If they are free reading then that's taken care of.

Entirely different from reading a set text for further study, & any intelligent reader of any age knows the difference.

OP is hardly locking the book away & forbidding her dc to read it. It's just not a priority, because it doesn't in any way need to be.

I honestly don't know a single primary colleague who'd have an issue with this. They aren't setting the readers to be slogged through by otherwise enthusiastic readers who are reading something else.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 01:19:33

31 - I'm confused. Were you talking about conversations with my own kids about their reading books ("I've got a book about football, Mummy. I don't like football") or conversations with the kids I teach? I'm a good teacher and I teach in a school where the kids don't have "poker" faces - they're pretty up front about what they do and don't like wink If they're not getting it, I change it.

Gruntfuttocks Sun 24-Mar-13 01:21:32

What's all the fuss about? Just let them read what they want to read and don't make an issue of it, surely. Send the school books back un-read. What harm can come of it? You're obviously confident in their abilities, so why are you so bothered about this?

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Mar-13 01:24:47

Eek - midnite - don't let OFSTED hear you say that. Aligning with the group is not the way to do it.

Well I'm in Australia, so no such thing as ofsted. Our Australian Curriculum does include a "General Capabilities" section, which includes things such as Social Awareness and Social Management, of which working collaboratively within a group is a vital part.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 24-Mar-13 01:31:49

Don't read the books. Don't tell the teacher.

WafflyVersatile Sun 24-Mar-13 01:34:12

This has reminded me that in p1 we would be sent home with instructions to read pages 4-7 and I would occasionally read ahead because it was well below my ability and I could have read a book a night but I thought it was naughty to read past the page instructed. blush The teacher did eventually pick up on this and the fact I did not have enough to read and she would let me take books home with me that were meant to be kept at school.

Yeah, so yanbu not to want to make your kids read boring books in their holidays but no need to get all stroppy with the teacher. They're getting enough shit from the government.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 24-Mar-13 01:43:09

Seriously, what are you worried about? It's not as though the school are going to send SS round is it? I'm sure half the class will have parents who won't even open the bag never mind the books. I can't understand why you're making such an epic of this given that you're a teacher yourself. You must know that the school can't enforce this reading that has been sent home.

AgentZigzag Sun 24-Mar-13 02:02:22

'I thought it was naughty to read past the page instructed.'

That's so lovely grin

MrsLouisTheroux Sun 24-Mar-13 07:57:16

It's all well and good being able to read Harry Potter and BFG at 6, many children find reading words quite easy. Understanding what is read is another matter. Hence the school reading scheme.

Panzee Sun 24-Mar-13 08:15:44

MrsLouisTheroux that's what in-class guided reading is for. I only send books home to make sure the child has at least one book in their possession. If they're reading other books that's fine with me, I'm glad they're enjoying reading.

RubyGates Sun 24-Mar-13 08:23:44

Please let them read whatever will keep them as readers for their whole lives.
If they are already fluent readers don't make them read stuff that will stifle their desire to keep reading.

4 hideous, clunky books from the reading scheme over the holidays would be enought o make me never to want to pick up another book. As long as they are reading, and reading things that are age-appropriate and challenging then you are doing the right thing.

They are not going to suddenly stop being able to read at the right level because you ditch the reading scheme for the holidays, they won't pull the grade-average of the class down, they won't miss out on some essential piece of truth without which their whole lives will be blighted.

Keep a note of what they do read, listen to them reading and explain why you've done it.


RedHelenB Sun 24-Mar-13 08:30:02

Very interesting that as a teacher I have only ever had one parent complain that the book sent home was too hard for their child! Competitive reading thrives amongst parents!!!

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 24-Mar-13 08:30:22

Used to do exactly that, just recorded what they did read. I also used to tell the school 'sorry this book is boring' and ask to swap. Life is too short to read boring books. Never had any issues from teachers as long as they were reading.

I also just used to ignore tedious homework and do somethinng else and explain why.

SanityClause Sun 24-Mar-13 08:32:07

Write what they have read, absolutely!

DS really surprised me with his reading ability, once he was allowed to read what he liked, rather than the dross that came home from school.

And once you get to those long books, towards the end of the reading schemes, it's sooooo boring for both of you.

So, yes, do get them to read the bit they are up to to you, for say, 10 minutes, so you can be sure they are eg not skipping the hard words or mispronouncing words and that they are attacking unfamiliar words in a suitable way, write that in their book, and let them get on with the joy that is reading!

LtEveDallas Sun 24-Mar-13 08:32:44

Since the start of year3 DD has read what she wanted. She sorted it out herself: apparently told her teacher in the first week that she "wasn't going to read his boring books any more" - I didn't know this until the teacher told me at parents evening blush

From then on she has read what she wanted - and it's an eclectic mix - from the bloody rainbow fairies, to the Buffy Watchers Guides, to Military History and a travel guide of Cyprus!

As long as I add her current book the the book bag, and write where she has got to, the teacher can ask her questions and check she is understanding it. (It probably helps that there are only 17 kids in her class so he has the time to do this). I'm glad the school supports this - I was sick and tired of the 'official' books too.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 08:32:48

I agree with RichmanPoorman - many parents won't open any book with their DCs.
Why not let them write their own entry and then you just add a bit saying - read part of chapter 3, 6 and 14 to me?
As a teacher I would be quite happy - but might ask the DC a few questions about the story.

SanityClause Sun 24-Mar-13 08:37:08

Forgot to say, discuss it with them a bit, too, to ensure comprehension. You can do this in a casual way, perhaps ask what they think will happen next, or how they would've felt if this had happened to them, whether they like the characters, that sort of thing. But, you know that, as you're a teacher!

Bakingtins Sun 24-Mar-13 08:42:54

My DS is Y1 and on white band. He gets school reading scheme books twice a week and we read them and put a comment about whether they were interesting or not in the diary. Sometimes the TA seems to have taken note of what I said he enjoyed. The rest of the time he chooses what to read and I make a note in the diary. His teacher is fine with this approach. He has one school book for the holidays we read it already, it was beyond dull but if he was given four I would not have read four dull books. I suspect this is to ensure that all the children have enough reading material to last the holidays, and that if those who have lots of books or choose their own from the library want to read something else the teacher won't mind at all. I would think if a child who is reading well for their age is reading anything and enjoying it in their own time they would consider that a good thing.

mamapants Sun 24-Mar-13 08:46:35

I think its funny that some of you are accusing the OP of being PFB, disrespectful and that her actions are going to get in the way of learning outcomes and being "that parent' who will have a bad relationship with the school. A number of teachers have posted that they wouldn't have any problem with her actions, they would be happy the children were reading appropriate texts, so if the teachers are happy what's the problem.
Oh and for what its worth I enjoyed Shakespeare too.

Emilythornesbff Sun 24-Mar-13 08:47:09

YAbu, sorry. It just sets a poor start in their approach to school work IMHO.
Just get them out of the way ASAP.

Oh,what a bore I've become.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 10:03:24

A number of teachers have posted that they wouldn't have any problem with her actions, they would be happy the children were reading appropriate texts, so if the teachers are happy what's the problem.


exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 10:44:26

As a teacher you haven't time to wonder which parents will go to the library, find books of their own, or even if those who normally would will be busy. There will also be parents who take it amiss if you don't give books. Much simpler to give every child 4 books. You are not going to get upset if someone takes their own initiative. They read books in the holidays-result!

Diamondsareagirls Sun 24-Mar-13 10:59:59

OP, I was ready to support you on the reading for pleasure thing but you lost me on the 'all kids enjoy Shakespeare in my lessons' comment. As a teacher you must know this isn't true! It isn't a reflection on your teaching skills, it is the reality of teaching kids!

Don't be 'that parent' and teach your children that you know better than the teacher and homework doesn't need to be done if mummy thinks it isn't important. You are undermining their teacher and if you were in her position I'm sure you would find that frustrating to say the least.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 11:00:16

Exactly - most teachers really won't mind because at this age reading for the love of reading is the most important thing. At school there are set books and things which must be read but at home, all reading should be for pleasure when you're 6.
The school supply 4 books per child to help people who don't have the time or inclination to source enough books to keep the child going for a 2 week holiday or don't know it is necessary but the books supplied aren't magically devised to improve the child's reading any more than reading an alternative and more enjoyable book.

Molehillmountain Sun 24-Mar-13 11:08:09

Okay-so I have dd who is in year two. She is a fluent reader who has just scored full marks on the sats tests given. I had to squeeze that out because it gives a bit of context to where she is with her reading, btw. More to the point she loves reading. She reads all the time. At the moment, her school books aren't the most exciting thing that she's reading and her maths homework and spellings are well within what she's capable of. But she is learning the discipline of getting things done. I'm really proud that she's come up with an informal timetable of when to do spelling sentences, reading books and maths. I fundamentally disagree with there being so much formal work, it isn't well targeted to her ability. But we support the school and it seems that learning has come out of it in other ways. And yes, I think she would get more out of reading her own books in school and out but apart from the odd comment when there's been a glaring mismatch in the early days when her reading was going in leaps, I don't think it's doing all that much harm. Just in case it's relevant, I'm a teacher, although ks1 is a bit of a dark art that I don't fully understand!
I don't think in the grand scheme of things (slight pun I guess) that reading scheme books being dull for the able reader is one of the biggest concerns. Think of those who have to struggle for ages with helping their children decode simple words. I try really hard to put that in a way that will not give dd cause to be smug-she's doing what comes naturally after all, but I don't think it does any harm to think how hard and patiently some parents and children are going at reading without the same success and enjoyment.

storynanny Sun 24-Mar-13 11:10:52

Teacher here, just write " enjoyed reading a variety of books over the holiday" , their teachers should be perfectly happy with that. They are your children.

lyndie Sun 24-Mar-13 11:13:03

DS read at 3. I was a big bit PFB in P1 with the books that were sent home but the teacher was very patient with me, and explained that it wasn't just about reading but about comprehension. So even though he was reading well above that level it made sense to continue with the class books. I think it did help in the end, it's about so much more than words.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 11:19:18

lyndie - there is nothing magical about reading scheme books that enhance comprehension more than non-authorised books!
In fact, if a child is engrossed in a story to the point of not being able to put it down, they are likely to suck up every meaning and inference far more easily than going through the motions with a book they don't enjoy (as anyone whose had to re-read a paragraph in a boring report or book will have experienced when the words go in but the meaning doesn’t).
As most teachers here say, they don’t care what the child reads in the holidays as long as they read – the books are supplied for parents who prefer to have things sent home but aren’t compulsory for children who have other books at home that they’d prefer.

storynanny Sun 24-Mar-13 11:20:09

You are right it is all about the comprehension as well, you could perhaps add... And we talked about the books. That should satisfy any teacher. Sometimes new teachers are a bit anxious about getting it right, which may mean they stick to the scheme a little more rigidly, they soon learn though that mums opinion is important as they know their own children the best.
When my own children were reading at school, the roger red hat stories drove us demented! I just read the "story" to them and then they chose a different book to read to me. As long as they get plenty of reading time with you and are making good progress it doesn't actually matter too much what they are using to learn to read. In my humble opinion that is.

storynanny Sun 24-Mar-13 11:21:18

... And of course teachers don't always know if children have any books at home, so they have to sent school books home.

Thumbwitch Sun 24-Mar-13 11:22:44

Goodness, I'm glad I wasn't forced to read the books everyone else was at school. I could read before I went to school (I was the PFB, could read at 3) and was beyond the Ladybird readers by the time I was 6. If the teachers had tried to keep me reading those graded books I'd have got so bored. So they didn't. They let me read to the level I could manage. I'm very grateful that they didn't try to shoehorn me into the "national average" or whatever.

Molehillmountain Sun 24-Mar-13 11:26:31

I have a bit of an issue with the comprehension argument too. I can't say I necessarily think that dd's reading books are necessary at the moment or amazing-we're just not seeing it as a battle to fight. I do find it frustrating the "they're reading but probably not comprehending" bit. I remember it first hand from a similar age. I went into school buzzing with a book I'd read, about Louis Pasteur and the teacher basically said I might have read it but I probably didn't understand it. Crushing - albeit not the end of the world. I don't actually think children persevere with things they don't understand. And nightly reading isn't about probing, inferential questioning. But nonetheless, I still don't think dd's books are doing much harm given the other things she reads.

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Mar-13 11:27:03

The teachers on here are saying that they generally don't mind what they read, as long as they are reading, but to check with the teacher first as she may have very valid reasons for requiringthat those books be read.

crashdoll Sun 24-Mar-13 11:28:56

Life's too short for reading boring books is not a great attitude to pass on to your kids IMO. Do you say the same about Maths homework?

Floggingmolly Sun 24-Mar-13 11:31:05

If they're comfortable with Harry Potter, their reading scheme books will take literally minutes to read. Don't make a mountain out of a fecking molehill hmm

Thumbwitch Sun 24-Mar-13 11:41:46

I read this at 6. Had no problems with the comprehension that I remember; and if I did have troubles with it, or a word, I would ask the teacher.

Sorry, I know this is a bit tangential - I just wanted to point out that I still remember reading this book by myself at school because it was a bit of a Big Deal. It's the only book I remember from Infants' School!

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 11:44:52

The teachers on here are saying that they generally don't mind what they read, as long as they are reading, but to check with the teacher first as she may have very valid reasons for requiringthat those books be read.

Which teachers, midnite? Haven't seen any asking OP to check first.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 11:47:59

Someone shoot me if I ever question my sons teacher the way some people question theirs. If you think you know so much, then home school them. But expecting them to be educated in a group setting means that sometimes they may need to do things that align with the group and not just what they personally want to do. That's life. Suck it up.

Am very shock at this attitude from a teacher with regard to 6/7 year olds and their enjoyment of reading.

The system must be very different in Australia.

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 12:17:10

Slight disclaimer with the Shakespeare thing... I'm a Drama teacher , so when we do Shakespeare (one SOW per year in KS3, so a term's worth every year) it's very much a case of Shakespeare as a performance, rather than language analysis or whatever, so I can say that they all enjoy it.

Thanks for all the comments. With regards to the "just suck it up" kind of stuff, I think that's wrong where it comes to reading. If this was a KS3 or KS4 class reader, I would be dealing with it differently, but when it's books for the sake of ensuring a DC is reading, I don't think I should force them to read something they're not interested in or challenge by when there are plenty of alternatives. I don't think this is the same as Maths homework. They are in differentiated groups for Maths, and all the children in their group have the same two sheets for Maths homework, so I can safely assume that it's to do with what they're all learning at the moment. Reading books are individual.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 12:26:42

With regards to the "just suck it up" kind of stuff, I think that's wrong where it comes to reading.

I agree. And even more wrong when it comes from a teacher, whose prime objective has to be to get children to enoy their reading. I'm staggered.

b4bunnies Sun 24-Mar-13 13:09:37

tell the school what they are reading.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 13:13:48

I can't see any point getting them to read 4 boring books. As an an adult I might do it with one but not 4 in a row. I don't see the point in lying-it also isn't a good example to children. I can't see a teacher saying 'how dreadful that you read real chapter books-and enjoyed them'!

crashdoll Sun 24-Mar-13 14:18:12

I am slightly baffled that some parents think it's ok to undermine the teacher because the homework they sent home is "boring". I would have thought this was a good time to teach children that sometimes in life we have to do things and read things that are boring.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 14:22:59

But at the crucial point where a 6/7 year old is teetering on the point of becoming a proper reader, and hopefully one who is just starting to develop a real love of reading, is soooo not the time to be learning that, crashdoll, as 99.9% of teachers of this age know only too well.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 14:31:33

It would be true of homework-but reading is a bit different. The purpose is to enjoy reading and 4 books they enjoy have to be better than 4 they don't want to read.

DeepRedBetty Sun 24-Mar-13 14:33:20

I'm gobsmacked so many of you are insisting the OP's dtds read the books the TA hooked out for them. By all means send books home to read, and make whole class do it so that the ones from families who aren't readers don't feel they're being singled out, but it's silly to insist those particular ones are read.

My dtds were early readers and moved on to choosing their own books by Yr 2. Fully supported by the school and the teacher - she was overjoyed every time a child moved on from sodding Biff and Chip!

OP Frankly I'd be considering moving schools if they are this hidebound.

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 14:37:14

Fully supported by the school and the teacher - she was overjoyed every time a child moved on from sodding Biff and Chip!

only too true!!!

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sun 24-Mar-13 14:40:24

"Life's too short for reading boring books is not a great attitude to pass on to your kids IMO. Do you say the same about Maths homework? "

No, because maths is supposed to be boring; that's the time to use the some-things-in-life-are-dull-but-suck-it-up line. Not for reading fiction! In the holidays!

TheFallenMadonna Sun 24-Mar-13 14:49:19

Hope that was tongue in cheek re the Maths?

harryhausen Sun 24-Mar-13 14:54:23

YANBU. I really don't see the problem.

When my DD was in Y2, I mentioned to the teacher on parents evening that my dd was lacking enthusiasm in the books she came home with. The teacher just said to let her read whatever she wanted and just log it in the diary - basically she just said from then on she was a free reader. The teacher said that she picked a book herself anyway from school so it made no difference. We had to put the book (from home) in her book bag everyday so the teacher could check her progress etc.

Ds (y1) isn't as good a reader as dd but the teachers have still suggested similar to him to keep up enthusiasm.

I get the idea about having to read texts in English lit that they may not like at an older age, but come on - we're talking about young children and nurturing the enthusiasm for reading. Surely interest is the most important thing (as long as the teacher can monitor like any book)?

To be honest, when my dd became a free reader I didn't know it was supposed to be this big deal. The teacher just seemed to say - fair enough if she's bored with the books. I think the first one she read was Charlie and the Chocolate factory.

OP, put your note in the reading diary and go and have a conversation about it with the teacher after Easter if there's an issue.

idshagphilspencer Sun 24-Mar-13 14:55:24

I've read the op's posts as mountain out of molehill and a not so stealth boasting session

TwllBach Sun 24-Mar-13 15:08:02

<puts hand in air>

I'm a teacher, although KS2. Firstly, I don't really cout reading as homework. If a child didn't do homework I set because they didn't enjoy it, I would be a bit miffed.

If a child is reading Harry potter I would guess that their comprehension of texts is fine.

I would also not have a problem with children in my class reading their own books, unless they were struggling/below where they should be, in which case I would do the belt and braces method, as mentioned up thread.

Yes, children need to know that homework is compulsory, but they are six. as long as they can read, I, as a teacher, don't care what they read as long as they enjoy it.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sun 24-Mar-13 15:28:38

TheFallenMadonna - nope, I've done a lot of science in my time which has entailed a lot of associated maths, and I have never found the maths to be anything but boring and frustrating. But I plough through as a means to an end.

Now, one of my best mates is such a nerd that she will curl up on the sofa of an evening pondering a thorny problem in our field, and I am sure there are maths lovers who do similar. However, I suspect it's unlikely to ever reach the popularity of fiction reading as a hobby...!

TheFallenMadonna Sun 24-Mar-13 15:54:11

Maths worksheets - dull homework.

But then spellings list - dull homework.

Maths problem or investigation - we rather like them.

Sadly, it all seems to depend on what the school's homework policy is. At 6, homework should be for capturing interest and sharing enthusiasm for learning with parents I think.

BandersnatchCummerbund Sun 24-Mar-13 15:55:48

Homework is overrated, anyway, at that age. wink Wasn't it Tiffin - aka one of the academically highest-achieving schools in the country - that basically said "homework is a load of bollocks for small children: let them play instead" and abolished it? Good on them, if so.

BandersnatchCummerbund Sun 24-Mar-13 15:57:10

Actually, it must have been even older children - I forgot Tiffin don't even start until age 11!

Stixswhichtwizzle Sun 24-Mar-13 16:01:14

I actively encourage this in my class OP they are reading for fun which is important. I'd much rather see BFG in the reading record being read to mum than nothing! I' ve even encouraged patents if reluctant readers to buy comics. I can't imagine any teacher I know finding fault with this.


ByTheWay1 Sun 24-Mar-13 16:12:48

Reading for fun is great - and should be encouraged...but reading for the sake of it should be encouraged too -

when you get to Y6 SATs a lot of kids do really badly in the reading/comprehension test BECAUSE THE TEXT IS DULL AND THEY DON'T WANT TO BOTHER READING IT PROPERLY ...... so if you get them over that hurdle from an early age, things like reading/comprehension tests got through a lot less stressfully!

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 16:20:02

Couldn't disagree more - I have never seen a child who loves reading mess up a Y6 reading comprehension because it's dull (but I do agree they are dull as ditchwater). Children who love reading are invariably very good at it.

No - the children who struggle are the ones who don't read, can't read well and never read for pleasure. The way to avoid this is NOT to teach them that reading boring texts is something you have to do from the word go.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 24-Mar-13 16:36:12

Maths homework has a point, reading a boring book when you could be reading an interesting one instead is just a poor use of one's life.

I didn't mean all books were boring or all reading is boring, in case that is what you inferred from my post.

Roseformeplease Sun 24-Mar-13 16:37:37

My experience of 6 year olds is a bit out of date (my youngest is 11) but FWIW I think you do still need to do some of the school's reading scheme. Much of what we read is mechanical and for absorbing information, not just because it is a great read. Just as with everything, effort brings rewards. My own children were reading far, far ahead of their peers. We live in a remote area and their peer group is very small so they were working with those one or two years ahead. However, I encouraged them to do what they had to do at school and then we supplemented it with home readers. That way, the school had ticked their boxes and knew what level they had achieved but they also loved reading.

I have just finished reading "How Children Succeed" and it talks about "Grit" as an important part of character that will see children through to having successful lives. I think that teaching them to do what they have been asked to do and then go on and do more is a better life lesson than, "We will just read things that interest us."

I am a Secondary English teacher and we run three separate schemes. In one, pupils choose any book they want from home or the library and report on progress (allowing totally free choice). In the second, they choose a book in a group of 3 from a series of books (to allow them to work with others). The third strand is class texts which we discuss and analyse in greater depth. In that way they are learning both to read what they are given and to read what they choose.

To be honest, OP, I think you have made up your mind, however, and nothing we can say will change it.

If it was another subject (say PE) would you be saying to the school, "My child doesn't like badminton, she will just be playing tennis instead?" Or "Sorry, we don't really rate the Tudors in this household, we will be studying the Victorians."

If they are good readers, they will gallop through the books quickly enough.

tiggytape Sun 24-Mar-13 16:38:27

Totally agree with Feenie - children who do badly in Year 6 SATS are not the ones who read for pleasure. Reading for pure enjoyment does not in some way spoil you for later experiences of reading dull texts. In fact it makes it much easier because you are fluent, not struggling over words and are used to putting in some effort to glean understanding.

If you introduce the notion that some books are boring before you've got them hooked on books and into a daily habit of reading for fun, you've lost them.
They won't read for pleasure so their skills won't improve. If their skills don't improve rapidly through varied and frequent reading, they will not see the point of putting so much effort into what can be a very difficult skill to master.
By year 6, a child in that position is likely to find all reading disheartening and difficult so turning them on to the idea of reading for pleasure at that stage is nigh on impossible let alone getting them to plough through pages of difficult text and pass a Year 6 literacy test.

The children who really shine in literacy tests (since these have been mentioned) are the children who devour books for pleasure. Specific learning needs aside, avid readers cannot fail but to pick up a broad vocabulary and excellent comprehension skills when they read voraciously. The ones least likely to do well are the ones who see reading as an awful chore and may or may not read their prescribed 10 pages of Biff and Chip a day, tick the reading journal and breathe a sigh of relief it is over and done with.

Which is why most teachers on this thread say just let them read - anythign they want - just let them love reading.

piprabbit Sun 24-Mar-13 16:48:45

My DD has to write about the scheme book she has just finished, before she is allowed to move on to the next one. If she hates the book, I encourage to write saying what it was she didn't like, how she would have written the story differently etc.
If the book is so dire that she can't complete it (and there are very few books that she isn't prepared to have a very good crack at) then that is what she writes about "I couldn't read beyond chapter 4 because I found the characters to be unbelievable and unlikeable. The author had not written the story in a way that I found interesting or engaging. I would not recommend this book to other children unless they are very big football fans"

Read the books your DTDs enjoy, encourage them to attempt the other books and talk about what makes them less enjoyable than the books they love.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 17:10:16

If you introduce the notion that some books are boring before you've got them hooked on books and into a daily habit of reading for fun, you've lost them.


Much of what we read is mechanical and for absorbing information, not just because it is a great read. Just as with everything, effort brings rewards

Yes, but when everything has just clicked for that child, we need a love of reading and a desire to read to click to at that moment. And that moment is crucual. Everything else can come later.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 17:10:24


katrinefonsmark Sun 24-Mar-13 17:22:02

OP- why do you need to make anything pof this? If they start the books and get bored just say they're done or read them to your dcs instead. No need for passive aggressive notes.

Molehillmountain Sun 24-Mar-13 17:22:05

In fairness, the op's daughters are already reading for fun and the books sent home aren't going to stop that being the case. That's neither here nor there on some ways but with already confident readers I don't think reading something dull is going to undo the enjoyment they derive from other books.
Although this may not be the case for the op's children, geberalky speaking the reading books are the most differentiated piece of "work" they get in school. The maths homework that op was happy about being tailored to the children's needs would be one of four different pieces of work. I never find it to be stretching to dd and I suspect in her class the sane piece of work is given to everyone. Books sent home are at least given on an individual basis, even if it takes a bit to keep up with children.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 17:26:24

But they are only in Y2, Molehill - they can't have been reading this well for long. It's a really important stage, and I do think that reading something dull could affect their enjoyment. It's the wrong message and the wrong time. The Y2 teacher will want to make sure her children learn to read and to enjoy it. Her work here is done, and she will be delighted about that!

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 24-Mar-13 17:26:45

The reading is not differentiated, it is just 'read through this scheme' usually. That is the whole problem.

Kazooblue Sun 24-Mar-13 17:32:52

Another teacher (literacy co-ordinator)who would go with the non scheme.

One of my dtwins was reading the same in rec(thankfully he had a fab teacher who encouraged him to go off piste). The other two did the same in year 1 autumn.It was pointless as they couldn't fit in both and no way was I going to plough through Biff and Chip instead of Roald Dhal.

All 3 are avid readers now and very able at reading,they devour shedloads.

When they get to the level in the op surely you're flogging a dead horse with scheme books.confused

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 17:34:45

I am also a Literacy coordinator <waves> grin

Kazooblue Sun 24-Mar-13 17:36:04

Oh and now and again my dc drop books they find dull. Not often but simply won't read for hours with a book they hate.

My 3 read a couple of hours a day.

I do it too.Did it this week in fact,doesn't happen often.

Kazooblue Sun 24-Mar-13 17:36:22

Waves backgrin

Kazooblue Sun 24-Mar-13 17:37:34

Actually I should say I was.

Still on a break.grin

Pozzled Sun 24-Mar-13 17:38:52

As a teacher, I want the children in my class to enjoy reading and be motivated to read. If they're choosing their own books, that is fantastic - my only concern would be whether they were reading at the right level. If I needed them to read a particular book in order to do follow up work, I'd make that clear to the child or parents depending on the age.

As a parent, I have a lot of respect for my child's teacher. I therefore assume that she also wants children to enjoy reading and is likely to be more interested in whether or not my daughter is making progress, than in whether or not she has read book 7f in some monotonous scheme. I have seen on here that there are some teachers (and schools) like that, but the sooner they are challenged, the better.

My personal opinion on the matter is that they should read at least a substantial chunk of the school books alongside their personal choices. My PFB (Y1 not remotely a stealth boast honest ) is on lime books so I know the level and length and that at least some of them are pretty dire. Some of the non-fiction ones have been a big hit however and are on amusingly random subjects! What they do however, along with a weekly spelling list, is reliably consolidate all of the phonics knowledge and rules she has gained to date and I don't want her to miss out on this important step in her learning.

IMO a truly proficient reader at this level should be able to handle the school choices and still have time and appetite for free reading.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 18:07:59

Really? Why should they?

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 18:21:20

As a teacher I would ask why? I wouldn't read a 'dire' book-why expect a DC to spend their holiday doing it? It is hardly as if they will do it well-skim over it to get it out of the way, I expect.

spottyparrot Sun 24-Mar-13 18:30:28

Op, I think it is completely unacceptable for you to show your dds that not doing something the teacher has sent home is ok.

Your dd's are good readers for their age. Their reading will not be harmed by not doing the books the teacher has set. However, their attitude towards the teacher's authority and resect for the teacher may very well be harmed.

I don't allow my dc to bypass anything the school sets. Earlier this term, my dd was reading four ORT levels too low at school. We still whizzed through the school books and then read some of our own. Teacher then put her up those 4 levels so now we mainly read the school stuff with a smaller quantity of home stuff. Point is my dd understands that she must respect the teacher and the homework set.

I am sure that they could whizz through the school books and you should set a good example by asking them to IMO.

On one occasion (having been exposed to some of my bad language, so believe me I am far from a perfect parent!) my dd said of a school book (aged 4 blush) - "ugh, this book is completely shit". I said, yes it was but MissX had asked her to read it so we should do that, whilst pmsl. So, she read it. And then I reminded her not to use the word shit!

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 18:33:35

Ofgs, the teacher, if she is any good, will not mind and will be v pleased that her prime objective was actually surpassed using real books.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Sun 24-Mar-13 18:41:22

i think it is completely unacceptable for you to show your dds that not doing something the teacher has sent home is ok

You see, I think it is really bad to teach kids they have to do exactly what they are told even if it has no benefit. I think initiative is a vital skill, as is self-directon.

Feenie Sun 24-Mar-13 18:44:36

i think it is completely unacceptable for you to show your dds that not doing something the teacher has sent home is ok

Not doing it would involve no reading whatsoever.

No one is suggesting that.

storynanny Sun 24-Mar-13 18:52:50

Not sure that the op will actually be letting her children think they don't have to do what their teacher tells them will she? Surely there is a way of getting round this reading at home situation without a lot of angst and drama?
" let's have a quick look through the school books to make sure you can read any tricky words"

cory Sun 24-Mar-13 18:54:16

I think a useful skill to teach dc is how to negotiate. By e.g. (if you haven't broken up yet) asking the teacher nicely "would it be ok to read a chapter out of X instead?" Or (if you have broken up) reading some reading books and putting those in and then reading a few bits of other books and putting that in the reading diary.

pointythings Sun 24-Mar-13 18:59:45

I'm with the OP, and with Feenie and with all the other teachers on this thread who are talking sense. This school is not a good school. A very able reader should have differentiated reading material sent home, and should be able to skip chunks of the scheme if they have demonstrated ability well above the average.

I have two very able readers, and they were both allowed to leapfrog whole sections of the scheme, bring books in from home and log their progress, and read these books out loud to the teacher/TA and discuss the content to test comprehension. This is how you teach reading well. All this 'you must plod through every single bloody book in the scheme because it will make you a good drone instil good habits' is Govean dystopia.

I wouldn't force my DC to read the school books either, and just log what it was they had actually read. The teacher's reaction will be the acid test of whether the school is doing right by its children.

harryhausen Sun 24-Mar-13 19:22:44

Totally with you Pointythings. This happened with my dd. She didn't finished the levels....just skipped straight to free reading. I never realised what a big 'issue' it obviously is. Our teacher never really made it a big deal so I took my cue from her.

edam Sun 24-Mar-13 19:32:03

Oh good grief, I thought all this plodding along you-must-read-every-book in the scheme nonsense had finished years ago. Used to drive me crackers in primary school - I was bookworm but every school year I had to waste the first week or so reading the next tedious level of the crappy scheme before I was allowed to choose my own books from the library. Grrr. So cross to hear it's still being inflicted on some poor children today!

exoticfruits Sun 24-Mar-13 19:38:04

People are making mountains out of mole hills! It is hardly a problem. The teacher would like the DCs to do some reading in the holidays. As a teacher I would far rather they showed some initiative and read for enjoyment than plodded through books they didn't like.
I was like edam-a real bookworm. I have always had a book on the go since I was 6 yrs and found I could read -I have at least one book lined up for when I finish. I remember the sheer boredom of 'group reading' where I was surreptitiously reading ahead.
The last thing a teacher wants to do is put a 6 yr old off reading!

EvilTwins Sun 24-Mar-13 19:56:22

This is the only thing I have ever had issue with at the school. It is an OFSTED outstanding school and their teacher is fabulous. The girls are very happy there abs I have no concerns with their progress. I have no idea why they're so doggedly wedded to the reading scheme, but they are. The only time the girls skipped through levels was at the start of Yr2 where they were re-tested and skipped through three levels. However, since then they've slogged through scheme books. I did write a lengthy note in their link books last holiday, explaining what they'd been reading and there was no problem with that. Perhaps I need to be more overt and ask if it's ok for them to read their own books instead. They both take their books to school and the teacher knows what they're reading as they talk about it- and they talked to me about it at parents' evening last week.

Molehillmountain Sun 24-Mar-13 20:45:30

If its the only issue, I'd be tempted to leave it tbh. I know I've posted that I get dd to read the school books, but within that I a) don't get her to read them every night b) only get her to read two pages out loud and then the rest in her head c) did raise issues when they were clearly not keeping pace with her when she had clicked with reading in reception d) when she was given three books for hols, I write super reading in her record and we hadn't read all three. So I'm not dogged in my plodding through the scheme. I just don't think that, now she's fluent and selecting her own stuff to read at home, the reading scheme is damaging her love of reading. The day she says that she doesn't want to read at bed time then I'll be concerned. Do you think that's likely with your two?

Thewhingingdefective Sun 24-Mar-13 20:58:08

When my children bring home several books for the holidays there is no expectation that they read all of them, it is just giving them a selection to have to keep them going. It is no big deal for us as we have plenty of our own books so they won't run out of reading material, but some kids probably go home to houses with no books at all.

I sign my DCs reading records whenever and whatever they read; sometimes it's their school book, sometimes something of their own choosing. School have never had a problem with it. They have certainly never ticked off my DCs for not reading a bunch of reading scheme books in the holiday.

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