Thoughts on guided reading please

(30 Posts)
SandyChick Mon 16-Sep-13 23:35:07

My sons school dont do any guided reading but i feel that he could really benefit from it.

He is in yr2 but only turned 6 last month. He is on red books for reading.

He is improving and I'm not overly concerned but I'm really surprised that they don't do any guided reading at all.

He is on red reading books and had been since reception.

When I mentioned last year that I was surprised they didn't do any guided reading especially when I think ds would really benefit from it I was told that they obviously do read during the lesson and that the teacher just doesn't have time to sit down with each individual child.

Should i push for it?

simpson Mon 16-Sep-13 23:44:11

If he does not do guided reading and the teacher does not listen to him read 121 then what happens?

Does the TA listen to him?

How often are his books changed?

whenigrowupiwanttobeaunicorn Mon 16-Sep-13 23:53:39

Guided Reading at my school is what we call reading in small groups, led by teacher or TA. Every child in my Year 2 class experiences this at least twice, preferably 3 times per week and I think it is one of the most valuable activities we do.
We don't have time to hear every child read 1:1 every week but our Guided reading groups are the next best thing. Maybe even better as the children can learn from/observe others' good reading behaviour and skills.

NewNameforNewTerm Tue 17-Sep-13 07:18:10

Ask to see the school's literacy / English / reading policy. It should layout what teachers should be doing at your school. If it is not school policy you can't demand it, schools can't change their agreed practice on what a parent wants for their individual child. But if it is in the policy you can discuss with the teacher how they could implement it.

I am confused by the school's comment about not having time to sit down with each individual child; that is not what guided reading is, it is working with a group.

SandyChick Tue 17-Sep-13 07:48:44

Thanks everyone.

They do read in groups so ds tells me. I thought guided reading was more 1:1.

It is a brilliant school and I don't have any issues with the way they teach. They have been an 'outstanding' school until recently. There is a lot of change happening at the moment within school (amalgamating primary and juniors) and there has been some concern from parents. Things just don't seem to be running as smoothly as they were.

Ds brings a new reading book home on a Friday and takes it back to school on Monday. He has been on red books since he started in reception. Toward the end of last term he brought yellow books home for a while but then they reverted back to red.

I think I am just concerned that next year will be a big change going into yr3 and i don't want him to start falling behind if that makes sense. He is doing well over all. He struggled for a while but it all seemed to click for him half way through yr1 and he has figured out how to decode. He is managing now with 'ch' 'sh' etc. He can recognise some words from sight eg 'the'. He has a list if high frequency words that we work on at home.

Confidence has been an issue for him too. He was really aware of the other kids in the class who he said were better than him. We give him lots of praise etc.

He has got off to a flying start this term and seems to be really enjoying the work. He says its hard but fun.

I am usually really relaxed and not pushy at all but I can't help but feel concerned that he need a little more attention. It's not just his reading that I'm concerned about its more am over all concern. He still struggles with counting to 20. Still muddled up 16 & 17. Although he can count in 2's and 10's to 100. Once he figured out the technique he flies.

It's parents evening next month so I'll speak to his teacher about my concerns.

If your Ds is still on red they should really be listening and helping him more. I'd ask what they plan to do to help him.

Redlocks30 Tue 17-Sep-13 07:54:53

So they do guided (group) reading, but not individual reading. This is the same as most schools. If your child is still on red level in y2, they are working at a level below that expected. Do they read daily with you-that's the most important factor.

simpson Tue 17-Sep-13 08:16:23

Guided reading is reading in small groups (say 5 kids) all at a similar level and they would each read a few pages out loud and discuss the book in more detail.

In my DC school they are not listened to 121 after reception (unless by a parent helper) but have one session of guided reading a week.

Do you listen to him read every night? I don't think one reading book a week is enough and would either be asking the school to change it more often or supplement with other books at home.

You can check out the Oxford owl website (free ebooks), look at the reading chest (postal service of school type books - although you have to pay) and check out songbirds books (on amazon).

I would be asking at parents eve what interventions are in place to help him.

It does sound as if your ds is struggling a bit, and it would be good to go in and talk with the teacher. I agree that one red book a week is not enough. Dd2 is in yr2 and expected (though doesn't always manage) to read for 20 mins a night. I can't think that one red book would take over 2hrs over the period of a week to read. Ds is on pink and reads 3 a day in that timr. If the school won't give him more then order them in at you library - it's free and it means that you can read a variety of books. You might need to do a bit of research to find the right books to order. Also look in charity shops who often have easy reading books. If he finds it daunting reading every day then maybe take out pink books too which should be easier.

Do discuss it with the teacher and see what extra things can be done at home and school to suppprt him.

DeWe Tue 17-Sep-13 10:00:31

Guided reading (at our school) is where a group reads a book together, discusses it and does an activity based around that book. It could could developing and performing a play based on the story (yes, at year 2 level), writing a letter from a character, describing a character, drawing a scene, researching the author, rewriting a different ending.
These activities can be done individually, in pairs or as a whole group.

With dd1 they only did guided reading (no 1-2-1) in year 1. I don't mind guided reading, but it should be along side individual reading. For those who struggled they did get individual reading too though.

I would be pushy with school. Ask for more books for you to go though at home-struggling readers would be given a short book every day in ds' class.
See if he's more interested in other things than books. Reading anything is good.
Maybe he's interested in (eg) Dinosaurs and you can get a fact book to go through with him. Fact books are great when they're first reading, as there can be short little snippets of information that the early reader can be helped through, while the bulk read by the adult.

noramum Tue 17-Sep-13 10:44:05

I agree with others, guided reading means small groups.

I would make an appointment with the teacher and ask how they plan to improve your child's reading. Red in the beginning of Y2 is far below average.

We get three books each week and DD reads to us every day, when she finishes her school book in one sitting she reads a library book or one we own.

Periwinkle007 Tue 17-Sep-13 10:59:57

my daughter has just started Yr1 and so far she says they haven't done any guided reading (last year they did do some whole class reading on the interactive white board) but she might not realise they are or they might not have started yet, only week 2.

in reception it seems they read to a teacher/TA/helper twice a week individually and can have up to 3 book changes a week. In Yr 1 it seems they read 2 or 3 times a week to someone individually and again can have up to 3 book changes a week. Am not sure what happens in Yr2 but I think they then cut down on the ones who can read very well and concentrate on those who are behind expected levels for their age. On the school website it says about extra help schemes they do for children already falling behind with reading in Yr1 and extra support available for children who need it. I think your school certainly OUGHT to have something similar. Red level with no progression (even though you can see some improvement) for that amount of time sounds like he does need extra support and I think you need to speak to the school and ask exactly what they are doing to help him and what specific work you can do at home with him. Keep reading with him at home every day but he probably needs some other exercises or games to try and get him reading a bit better. I wouldn't wait until parents evening - he needs the support NOW. One book a week doesn't sound enough to me, not unless he has it all week and can keep going through it.

If you can afford to I would invest in something like Songbirds phonics by Julia Donaldson (part of Oxford Reading Tree) as they would be excellent practice for him when he hasn't got a school book, they are phonetic so he can work through them more easily than biff chip and kipper and he will probably enjoy the stories.

Shanghaidiva Tue 17-Sep-13 11:12:29

I have been a parent reader for 5 years - currently reading with years one and two. In year 2 the children have one to one reading at least three times per week (usually with a parent reader or TA ) and teacher listens to them read at least once per fortnight.
A child on red level in year 2 (who has been on red level for 2 years) would receive more support e.g book changed every day. I read with year 2 and the teacher always gives me the children on red level to ensure they have as many opportunities as possible to read to an adult.

If you look at the Oxford Reading Tree website I think there are some free resources which you can use with your son. Also you could write your own stories for extra phonics practice, concentrating on paticular sounds he has learnt. I would not wait until parents' evening before speaking to the teacher.

Ds enjoys can't stand them myself the project x books too - trying to be more 'boy' friendly. I'm sure that not everyone will agree but phone apps are also useful at that stage - again ds enjoys the read write inc one. It practises the basic phonics sounds and some of the more complex ones.

SandyChick Tue 17-Sep-13 13:18:24

Thanks everyone.

We read together every night. We all love reading and books. He likes to read me a story first then i read him a story. His favourite books and the ones he reads most nights are the oxford reading tree/chip&kipper books. I think they are around the red level and he finds them really easy. Will look into some new ones. He really enjoys us reading the Jack Stallwart books and Roald Dahl who was/is my favourite. The books are mine from when I was a child. He enjoys playing on the oxford owl website too. We also practice his high frequency word that school has given him.

I try to incorporate reading, writing, maths etc in everything we do. He likes writing lists and letters etc. He is doing great with trying to write words as they sound ( not sure of the technical term) eg yoo for you.

He is our eldest so we are new to how schools teach i suppose. I didn't want to come across as pfb hmm

I will definitely arrange I speak to his treacher about my concerns. From speaking to a few friends who have children in ds's class I'm not the only one who has concerns. Some have older children who have been through the school. As I mentioned in pp there is a lot of change happening at school right now. Ds's teacher isn't there everyday. They have 3 teachers in total throughout the week plus TA's.

What should I be expecting the school to do?

MrsMelons Tue 17-Sep-13 13:31:33

Guided reading is the reading they do in groups with children of a similar level, often they use books a level higher than those that are sent home. 1:1 reading should depend on the individual child, if they are a very high level reader then just now and then for assessment would be ok IMO but I would fully expect if my child was on red level in Y2 and had been for 2 years they should be reading to an adult every day.

My friend said their school did this for her DS going from YR to Y1 as he was still on read level. It brought him along to an appropriate Y1 level within a couple of weeks.

I would be speaking to the school again as although it is probable he will catch up eventually he is not where he should be for Y2.

Here is the reading chest link, I believe it gives ideas of books to read at each level and tips about choosing books. www.readingchest.co.uk/15/book-bands

In that case he sounds as if maybe he isn't being challenged enough - you need to ask them to reassess his reading and also for them to help support him more with it. The ORT website has a chart showing expected levels - am fairly sure that red is low for yr 2 so either they aren't pushing him enough or they aren't making arrangements for him to have more support.

I would also try borrowing some of the higher up songbirds books from the library and work through them until you find a level which suits him to read while the school gets their act together. I think that a rule of thumb is 90% words correct to go up a level - although sometimes a reluctant reader might benefit from slightly easier books to give them confidence.

From the library I would order 'the big match', the scrap rocket, the wrong kind of knight, the upside down Browns. Dd2 enjoyed those ones particularly. The first two are just one stage above, then the next ones are each a stage avove the one before. Once you've found a level which suits your son, read these alongside any from school. The songbird books are based on phonics so although there may be a few words he can't decode, in the easier books these are kept to a minimum. Some of the older biff chip and kipper ones were based on recognition rather than phonics so have words which are just repeated rather than can be sounded out, so don't develop their phonics understanding in the same way. It sounds as if you are really supporting his learning and the school need to be a bit more proactive.

Cross post with MrsMelons her link shows he should be further on. Obviously all children are different and he may have specific needs, but by yr 2 the school should be beginning to identify these and work with you and him.

MrsMelons Tue 17-Sep-13 13:45:39

I am not sure I would be as worried about his actual reading level as much as the fact the school do not appear to be giving him the support he requires.

How is he finding the red level books? He should be able to read 9/10 words as a basic guide.

SandyChick Tue 17-Sep-13 14:21:34

Mrs Melons. He does great with the red books. He pretty much reads them all on his own without any help. He can blend really well and almost always gets it right when he concentrates on the sounds. I've noticed a change from sounding out each letter to putting letter sounds together eg sh o p rather than s h o p. He has also started to do the 'working out' in his head so the words flow better.

I will definitely look into getting the books mentioned further up out from the library. He hasn't had a reading book yet since going back at the start of the month. Reading books and homework aren't starting again until Monday.

I think its a combination of not enough support and he's not being challenged enough. I will arrange a meeting with his teacher. I agree that he would benefit from 1:1 reading with a teacher until his reading is at a level you would expect in yr2.

MrsMelons Tue 17-Sep-13 14:25:34

You can buy box sets of ORT books L1-5 so you can just move on when he's ready. If he is still sounding out then maybe he is not ready to move up yet but the school should really be looking seriously at additional help so he is ready.

I am no expert but have 2 primary school age children and to me it sounds as if he phonics knowledge is not that great, 'sh' is a sound taught to children very early in YR IME so he should never have been sounding out the s and h separately. Have you tried any Read Write Inc stuff, I found that helped with DS2 as it showed me which phonic sounds he needed to learn, sh ch oy ow and all the different sounds they can make.

SandyChick Tue 17-Sep-13 14:58:13

Just looking at the Read Write inc website. Amazon sell the individual books. Which is best the books or the packs the read write website?? They have a phonics level 1 pack?

We have a box set or ORT as well as a set of phonics ones. Think they are stage 1+ which i think is equivalent to red. Ds finds them very easy.

I've just been looking at the oxford owl website. Great to see it is now tablet friendly. He usually goes on laptop to play the maths games but now he can read their ebooks on iPad. He has brought some of the songbird books home from school. I've ordered a set off Amazon.

Mine didn't like the RWinc reading books much but they have done well on the phonics scheme at school. Ds also enjoys the read write inc app - you do have to pay for some of the sounds, but I would say is value for money. It goes beyond just the basic sounds.

MrsMelons Tue 17-Sep-13 15:06:40

I think have some L2 ORT books (equiv to yellow) I would be happy to post to you if you PM me your address.

I would probably get a RWI pack and work through the levels, the flashcards with the extended phonic sounds are great as well. I would start with pack 1 just to make sure he is confident with all the sounds then I would imagine he will whizz through. If you want to try just one or two books from RWI then maybe do that first to see what you think.. DS2 loved the way they did red (tricky) words as it helped highlight those tricky high frequency words such as said, me, be etc.

MrsMelons Tue 17-Sep-13 15:07:39

I can understand that the RWI books may not be that interesting but worth it for the sake of really embedding the phonic sounds especially for older children.

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