reading levels - am I being a bit precious?

(30 Posts)
igivein Thu 31-Jan-13 11:36:22

DS is in Y2. He's bobbing along in the middle ability-wise, which I think is pretty good, since he was late-August born and very 'young' when he started school.

Reading only really started to 'click' for him towards the end of year one, and he ended the year reading green level. We carried on reading over the summer, and by the time he went back to school he'd read all the green books, so started bringing orange home. He didn't have any problems with them, he just brings them home, reads them and takes them back.

I'm starting to think it's about time he moved up a band again, as he hasn't had anything in any way challenging yet this year. Anyway, we were chatting about school 'what sort of a day have you had?' etc and he tells me that one of the other boys in his reading group is now on orange level too, and he hopes the others catch up soon as they have to keep reading green books in the reading group at school until they're all ready for orange. The comments in his reading book from the teacher / TA always say 'read well today' 'reads with fluency' 'showed good understanding' etc.

So, finally getting to the point ... is DS being left treading water at school and should I say something, or does it not really matter much? It seems to me that he should possibly be reading two bands above what he's being asked to do at school. I know there's not that much difference between the colour bands and you need to consolidate at each level, but I'd have thought that if he's showing he's mastered one level he should be being encouraged to move on.

I wondered if maybe he was a little ahead of his reading group, but they think he would struggle in the next group up, or it would unbalance the numbers in the group or something. I've put comments in his reading book along the lines that he's finding them really easy and they're not presenting a challenge, but would I be really pfb to ask the teacher why he's not getting harder books? I do try and encourage him to read other stuff at home, but in his six year old brain this isn't 'proper' reading, and doesn't count like the books he gets from school!

Farewelltoarms Thu 31-Jan-13 11:44:35

I dithered over this as I'm paranoid about pushiness. I kept writing mealy mouthed notes 'found books unchallenging' etc and then would stew that still she stayed on same level. Finally wrote a more (but not very) aggressive note along the lines of 'there is a huge gulf between her books from school and her ability at home. Can we discuss the disparity if she's not showing same aptitude with with you'. Or something like that. Teacher immediately reassed her herself (had been reading to TA) and moved her from yellow to orange (ie a lot). There was no issue about it and I realised they welcome input as they've got 30 children and you've got far fewer. I also realised that a bit of advocacy for your children wields results (teacher sil confirms this).

Farewelltoarms Thu 31-Jan-13 11:45:41

That should read 'reassessed'...

igivein Thu 31-Jan-13 11:52:30

Thanks farewell, I'll give it a go, just hope teacher doesn't send me a 'he's not anywhere near as good as you think he is' note back in return!

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 11:58:15

I would definately ask for him to be moved up and if the teacher says no he is not ready, you can always ask what you need to do at home to support him.

Any teacher should welcome this smile

expansivegirth Thu 31-Jan-13 12:00:07

Just to add, on a similar note - I very politely pointed out that I thought that maybe there'd been a mistake as the books my daughter were getting home were so easy she was literally singing them. The teacher reassessed (the TA had been reading with her for five weeks), and moved her up four levels. And apologised for not noticing.

expansivegirth Thu 31-Jan-13 12:00:48

were = was

expansivegirth Thu 31-Jan-13 12:03:52

I didn't really mind about the levels. It was more for my reassurance. I wondered if I was missing something: I thought she could read but the school books suggested that the teacher thought she could not. It was useful to find out I was right, simply to reinforce trusting my own judgement. Now the kids read what they get from school - although they are allowed to choose their own which makes it much more pleasant and motivating for then - and then they can choose whatever else they feel like reading from around the house.

igivein Thu 31-Jan-13 12:15:28

Glad no-one seems to think I'm being pushy, it's just I'm such a reader, could read before I started school and always loved it. I'd love for DS to love it too, and I think I worry that I'll push it too much and make him hate it! I think I'm a bit too eager to get to the point where he can discover Narnia and Five Children & It and The Phoenix & The Carpet and Harry Potter and and and ... I would hate to think that in my enthusiasm I'm pushing him along faster than he should be going.

Houseworkprocrastinator Thu 31-Jan-13 12:16:00

I had this with mine, it was like she was at the top of her group and waiting for the others to be ready. i asked verbally a couple of times and mentioned that some of the books on this level we had read 3 time (perfectly), when nothing happened i simply wrote a note in her reading diary that said "please assess reading level" and that day she came out and had gone up 7 levels and changed reading groups. I just don't think they noticed.

igivein Thu 31-Jan-13 12:21:40

You see the thing is, I don't think he's miles ahead, just a bit further along than where he's been put. That's why I'm not sure it's worth making a fuss - but on the other hand I want him to keep moving forwards rather than stay in the same place.

Me23 Thu 31-Jan-13 12:30:05

Not pushy at all, sometime the teachers just don't notice. Just last night I put a note in Dd's reading record asking if she could try the next level as she is finding current one easy, fluently reading, comprehension good etc...

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 13:08:05

I agree with everyone else. Do ask.

Shanghaidiva Thu 31-Jan-13 13:21:14

I think it's fine to ask. I help with reading in year two and make comment in the reading diaries. Some parents have written that x is finding the books too easy. IME teacher will -
explain why they are on that level - e.g may be able to read but weaker comprehension or
reassess and move bands accordingly.
I have been helping with reading for nearly 4 years and the progress children make is not linear and once reading 'clicks' they can rapidly move up a couple of levels and then progress slows a little and then there seems to be another jump in ability. One of the children I read with ended year one on green and has now just started gold which is great progress in just over one term.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 13:25:00

Presumably some children are being asked harder comprehension questions than others about the same book simply because of the age of the child.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 18:05:32

I would have thought that if a child was at a level regardless of age they are asked the same questions (maybe worded differently) as to be at a particular level they need to fill certain criteria etc...

However I guess younger kids obviously couldn't do a book report or anything...

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 18:09:29

This is my problem with tying levels to comprehension. Some schools don't seem to be doing this so you can have children reading high levels in Reception and others do seem to be asking the children 1000 questions per book and getting tetchy about how the questions are being answered.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 18:19:45

Apparently my DC school have a typed list of questions that each child is supposed to be able to answer (or show a particular skill at) before moving up a level. As well as being able to decode obviously.

This list is for teachers only, not the kids to see.

I only know this because at the beginning of yr2 DS was bumped down several reading levels and I asked the teacher about it. Needless to say within 2 weeks he had gone back up them hmm

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 19:52:50

I would have a problem with a system like that, especially if it involved only decodable books, because a child's ability to decode may well outstrip her comprehensive ability. And to be denied access to more complex words/sounds because they are in higher band books is wrong. I'd say give the child the books and sounds and ask the questions later. The questions will wait.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 19:57:29

But if a child's ability to decode (DS in yr1) was higher than his comprehension then they cannot access the higher level books as they haven't shown they have mastered all the skills needed.

They need to be able to understand what they are reading.

CocktailQueen Thu 31-Jan-13 22:13:45

How bizarre not to move children up independently of their reading group!!! I'd def have a word, say that ds is reading so much better at home and bored with his level - and see what she says.

I think there is a risk with pressure from the HT that teachers have to move children on to levels that they're not ready for sometimes. They have to be able to understand what they're reading as well as to decode the words. Just musing aloud - I hear Year 1 children read every week - as there can be a gap between reading and understanding - not suggesting this is the case with your ds, but this may what the teacher us concerend about.

Dd is in Y1. Our school only have ORT and she is currently ploughing through more robins sent home level 9. In guided reading she is on level 6 Biff stories.
Either her teacher is clueless or lazy. I'd say latter. The group has grown from two to eight children. Dd is repeating books.

However, on the level 9 books, because they are 20 years old, the stories are not particularly of interest to a 5yr old girl. Eg rust on cars - she doesn't care for cars and has no idea what rust is as modern cars don't rust.

Language, vocab and comprehension are good enough but she doesn't really get the point of most of the stories. More often than not, the humour bypasses her.
I wish they used a wider range of books. She is currently loving The Gaskitt books. And pretty much reading them to herself with the exception of some words like flabbergasted ! Fair enough. She doesn't follow metaphorical meanings though, like smelled a rat. She is simply too young.

treas Thu 31-Jan-13 23:27:02

Ask - just state what your perspective is on the situation and ask what their's is. If there is a big divide in experiences of your ds's reading ask what the school think should be done to encourage your ds to demonstrate what he can do at home within the classroom setting.

Also you could always write in his reading record all the books he reads to you that are not school reading scheme books so the teacher can see what he is capable of doing at home.

Whatever, you do please do not be worried about being perceived as a 'pushy' mum when all you are is an 'interested' one. At the end of the day if you don't say anything the only one to miss out will be your son.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 06:44:38

If you're going to write about non school reading books in the reading record you first need to see if the teacher is open to that behaviour. There is already a debate about whether children are reading harder books independently or not or whether they are understanding them. So a teacher could easily dismiss harder books, home books or library books as having been spoon-fed to the child in question and not representative of what the child can actually read. So she might either ignore the mentions completely or worse ask for such books not to be included in the reading record.

igivein Fri 01-Feb-13 12:23:00

I already do include whatever he reads at home in his reading record (even stuff like his Pokemon Directory) - teacher told us he doesn't mind what he reads so long as he's reading.

One comment the teacher made did concern me though. They get to bring home two books a week, and at orange level reading half a book a day isn't a stretch. We normally read in bed, he reads to me then I read his bedtime story to him. So after 4 nights we've run out of school reading books. I asked the teacher if ds could have extra ones to keep us going and he said it's ok to take an extra one, but he wouldn't want him taking any more than that because 'he'd get through them too quickly.'

By the way, his comprehension is good, we don't just read, we talk about the story, how the characters felt, think up different plot twists and endings etc. The comments in his reading book say he has good comprehension, so it can't be that holding him back.

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