How to not be 'that' parent?

(34 Posts)
TallyGrenshall Tue 14-Jan-14 10:26:37

I need help with approaching DS' teacher about his reading books.

He will be 5 next month and is on red band books (has been since October) His teacher said at his prents evening in November that he is well ahead of his class and that she was really limited with what she can do with him because she has to focus on basic phonics etc.

Which is fine and understandable BUT DS is still on red band books and they are far too easy for him. He brings them home, reads them in 2 minutes, we have a little talk about the story, characters feelings etc to check his understanding (no problems) and then thats it. There is no challenge in the books at all for him. His teacher has noted that his expression/emphasis is also good.

DS has lots of books of his own and reads every night so it's not really a massive problem but I think he should maybe be moved up another band. I don't know how to put it best so I don't look like a reading loon

Onesiegoddess Sat 18-Jan-14 08:48:42

It's easily remedied. Look on line for reading owls. They have a huge range off biff chip books at various levels. You can read online

SlightlyTerrified Sat 18-Jan-14 07:53:02

Absolutely but it is not fun reading two words on a page if you could enjoy . Harry Potter. The school should also ensure reading is fun otherwise children will associate school reading with being boring and could be reluctant.

ipadquietly Fri 17-Jan-14 22:44:01

Personally, with 20 years experience, I don't think it matters a jot what they read in YR. If they're reading - buy or borrow books; if they're not - practise phonics and read daily.
Just read, read, read - anything - road signs, newspaper headlines; game instructions - anything! Make them realise that reading is USEFUL!

Reading should be FUN!

TallyGrenshall Fri 17-Jan-14 22:18:51

Thank you everyone.

I put a note in his reading diary because his teacher was sick for a couple of days. He's been moved to green band now (and given a blue band one as well because he really wanted to read it) and she has said that he can change his book more than twice a week if he wants to smile

pointythings Netherlands Wed 15-Jan-14 14:39:56

If raising things politely with the teacher is being 'that' parent, then I am 'that' parent. A good school won't need you to do more than that, there is no excuse for not differentiating.

When my DDs were in Reception there most certainly was differentiation, and the one time it looked like going a bit wrong I took a book DD2 had read fluently at first sight at home that night in with me and asked the teacher what she thought - she was reassessed the following day and put up several levels at once because her reading had just made a leap. Teacher was happy to be told because she had 30 children to deal with and DD was not due reassessment for a while. It's all about being polite and wanting to help.

2014newme Wed 15-Jan-14 12:19:21

No, I would insist on a more challenging book

OpalQuartz Wed 15-Jan-14 12:14:00

I think it's fine to raise issues with teachers as long as it is done in a reasonable, polite way and as long as it is not excessive. There is a mum in my dd's class who is forever berating the teacher and head every time her rather naughty 10 year old gets into trouble over something, as she believes said 10 year old can do no wrong and it must be the teacher's fault. That is a world away from politely asking about reading levels

I am 'that parent' but in a subtle way (I hope!). I noticed this year that there were no comments in DD1's reading diary. I asked why this is - last year we had comments that would help me help DD - read with more expression, careful with this and that etc. What I was really getting at was that DD1 had been on the same book level for ages. The literature from school said that they should be able to read 95 per cent of the book, which she definitely was. So I mentioned the lack of comments on a Monday morning and got a plausible explanation. That week, DD1 got 5 reading books, and went up a level, which she eventually zipped through (while maintaining excellent comprehension skills I should add!).

I'm not at least 'that horrifically rude parent'. There's one in my DD's class. He berated a teacher one morning as he hadn't been informed that the regular teacher was off sick (with D&V!) and how did he know how competent she was. And another time he objected that his precious dc was having their reading heard by "Great Aunt Nellie" (i.e. a volunteer) on occasion.

TallyGrenshall Tue 14-Jan-14 16:15:42

The teacher wasn't there this afternoon so I'll fight my way to her in the morning, before she gets cornered by the person that has probably already taken the mantle of 'that parent' for this year

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 13:29:00

My daughter got given a set of hfws and said to the teacher I can already read and spell these. The teacher replied I know, now put it in your book bag!

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 13:26:57

To be fair to the parents though, there are often perfectly legitimate reasons for some sorts of gaps between what the children read at home and their level of home-school-reading book. But teachers are often not good at explaining to parents what those reasons are. So parents go away feeling that the teachers haven't got a clue what their children are capable of reading (when the teachers actually do know.)

gingercat12 Tue 14-Jan-14 13:21:36

I always leave little messages in DS's reading diary along the lines of "this is not a challenge for him" or "we need to practice this or that". I noticed DS's teacher reacts to these, and sends home books accordingly.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-Jan-14 13:20:54

Tantrums grin Does the teacher duck when they see her coming??

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 13:17:40

I think the phonics per day only takes a few minutes and there's no reason why they shouldn't participate in it whether they can read or not or whether they're strong whole word readers or not. It's a group activity and as such they should join in (seeing as they are part of the group.)

But I think having pupils on the wrong level reading books for years and years (for lots of internal or external reasons) is mad and bad. I know coordinating the level of the home reading book with the parent (especially the active parent) can be hard or harder still, depending on the level of awkwardness of the school/teacher/parent/child. But it's still not rocket science, no matter what!

You are only "that" parent if you are my otherwise lovely PFB friend who asks the teacher every single day when little x will be moved up a book band.

Asking twice in 3 months is perfectly fine.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 14-Jan-14 13:11:11

I actually didn't mind them doing the basic phonics. a little frustrating because they personally could have made more progress had they been able to skip the large amount they already knew BUT at least if they do all of them then they really will be secure in their knowledge of them and there is no chance they have missed any.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 14-Jan-14 13:09:30

DD1 was reading fluently when she started school, she still did all the class phonics and class reading (which was a bit frustrating later in the year as I do think she could have had some differentiation then) but she did have her own reading book. The school had her levels below what she could read but I don't think they realised just how good she was and at least they did move her up when I asked them to check her ability etc. DD2 is in reception now and is doing class phonics etc but again her reading book reflects her individual ability and the staff are moving her up when they think she is ready. There is no reason why a reception child should be sat on red books if they can read them easily.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-Jan-14 12:36:24

OP have you had info from school about when in the year they are focusing on new sounds, rather than consolidating?

Our school spent half a term doing new sounds, then half a term consolidating and using the sounds in different ways, then they learn new ones and so on. Halfway through YR they split the class for phonics so that those who were more advanced could move on faster.

His reading level shouldn't be dictated by what phonics they have covered though, that is ridiculous. If he is ready to move up then he should be moved up.

PeterParkerSays Tue 14-Jan-14 11:35:39

In my DS's school, a few children have been moved up a year for phonics, could you ask if your DS could do phonics with a Year 1 class?

OpalQuartz Tue 14-Jan-14 11:26:15

It does sound like he should have been moved up by now. At our school they tend to move them up the bands really quickly in reception, but then it slows down as they get older.

TallyGrenshall Tue 14-Jan-14 11:17:48

Thanks, I'll try to grab her this afternoon and see what she says.

The reading books are changed twice a week and he is allowed free reign in the school library once a week instead of being limited to the early reader section butthe book band has stayed the same and DS still has the same basic phonics lessons (he says he knows the sounds but enjoys the songs)

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-Jan-14 11:13:14

You won't be 'that parent' if you just say to the teacher that she is finding it too easy and please can she be moved on a bit.

Or you could write a line in her reading diary?

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 11:08:20

Sometimes you have to be a "that parent" to get an issue unstuck which it transpires wasn't nearly as stuck as you had been told it was.

SlightlyTerrified Tue 14-Jan-14 11:07:04

I definitely think they should be differenciating in YR. Some children will be on much higher levels than red, some even when starting school. DS1 was doing stage 5 phonics when starting reception and DS2 was learning the very basic 1 letter sounds. That was the correct level for my DCs and I would have been unhappy for anything different than that.

Even if a child was having to sit through the basic phonic classes this shouldn't affect them moving up reading levels - crazy!

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 11:06:28

If you don't ask you'll not find out if the issue is to do with a school process (or the teacher has just forgotten.)

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