reception reading question

(41 Posts)
sleeplessinderbyshire Sun 15-Jun-14 21:59:20

Help! Teacher etiquette advice needed. Is dd's teacher going to hate me for writing in her reading diary that she's finding term three of ort red level very dull and as she's been reading yellow band songbirds books at home for three months please could we discuss her moving up a level? She apparently does purple level read-write-inc at school which Google tells me is equivalent to blue level ort so no idea what is going on... (or am I turning into ghastly tiger mother? )

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Jun-14 22:02:37

Just ask the teacher what she needs to do to move up to the next level. It's a perfectly valid question.

sleeplessinderbyshire Sun 15-Jun-14 22:55:37

sorry I meant to say she's on PINK RWI at school

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 16-Jun-14 06:36:33

so what if the teacher does, it is nearly the end of the year and 3 terms on red level without clear evidence the child isn't progressing is odd IMO.

I agree to word it just 'what does she need to do to progress?' and see what the answer is but there is nothing wrong with recording it was read easily.

MrsKCastle Mon 16-Jun-14 07:30:03

Definitely ask what she needs to work on to move up. You could also say that you are concerned by the apparent lack of progress.

And in the meantime, continue reading the songbirds and any other books that are suitable from home or the library.

SaveTheMockingBird Mon 16-Jun-14 10:07:23

I did the same last week. DS as been bringing home yellow bands books home for the past 2.5 months or so and whizzing through them. I spoke to his teacher last week and said he finds them too easy and she admitted that I was right and she had been meaning to assess his level again, and she has now put him on blue band books to bring home and to read green band at school (they read a level higher at school). So definitely worth asking the teacher.

mydaftlass Mon 16-Jun-14 21:27:21

I just write something like "Do you think she's ready to move up a level?" in DDs. They usually assess her again and move her up.

sleeplessinderbyshire Mon 16-Jun-14 23:04:50

I'm going to have a word with the teacher tomorrow I think. I write in her reading diary and she tells me the TA (who she reads with twice a week) said they can't move to yellow band until year one. This seems bonkers. Clearly DD may have got the message in a muddle, she is only 4 after all but I'm going to go and try and work out why she's not moved up at all since before Christmas when clearly she is now "reading" rather than sounding out painfully one sound at a time.

on the upside she read 2 library books tonight and at the beach yesterday was very excited by learning about two spellings for the same dounds in "boy" and "buoy" and sounding out and checking the word "lifeguard"

MrsKCastle Tue 17-Jun-14 07:46:37

I really hope that your DD has misunderstood. I know some schools do have ridiculous rules about reading all the books in a band, or not allowing YR children to he on band x. But I don't think any school could keep yellow books for Y1- that would be setting very low standards.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 17-Jun-14 09:18:56

unfortunately some schools DO have such a silly rule though so fingers crossed this isn't the case.

sleeplessinderbyshire Tue 17-Jun-14 09:33:25

I went in and spoke to the teacher and TA this morning. They say Red is a huge band with levels within it and she's at the top of that band. They say they ensure that children are working in school at several levels above the books they bring home as home reading is for enjoyment, consolidation practice and showing how well they can read not for parents to be pushing, prompting and trying to teach them phonics they don't yet know. They said the majority of kids go up to year 1 on red and a few on yellow. They said they wanted to be certain the children knew their phonics confidently and weren't worrying about sounding out sounds when trying to read at home. The teacher also said she knows at other schools kids are pushed a lot and encouraged to guess and memorise words by sight and she wants to be 100% sure that the reading is being driven by phonic understanding.

I like the teacher a lot and I think I'm ok with this although I now feel like tiger mother extrordinaire. They did say that me getting her reading library books, home books, recipes etc was a good idea so I think we'll just whizz through the school books and keep on at home much as before. She is the youngest girl in the class and I suppose if she's been born 1-2 weeks late instead of a week early she'd not even have started reading yet

LittleMissGreen Tue 17-Jun-14 09:48:07

They say they ensure that children are working in school at several levels above the books they bring home as home reading is for enjoyment, consolidation practice and showing how well they can read not for parents to be pushing, prompting and trying to teach them phonics they don't yet know
Which is quite a good theory, especially as I would imagine most parents don't have a good grasp of how to teach phonics. I think I know quite a lot about phonics, but wouldn't like to actually have to teach it ;)

So it boils down to - is she enjoying it. My boys despite being able to read well have all been quite happy reading school reading books alongside other books of choice. DS1 (11) and DS2 (7) still regularly read DS3's reception reading books for fun.

Quangle Tue 17-Jun-14 09:51:44

Could have written this post myself. DS has been on the same number band (we don't have ORT type banding - it's a different system for some reason) since November. I kept saying "do you think he's ready to move up?" and then "I think he might be ready to move up" and then "for God's sake can we look at the banding!!!" and they kept pushing back. Eventually, after the best part of a year on the same sub-band I went in and had the talk. They reassessed him and agreed that he should be moved up and that the band had been too low. Annoyingly, the teacher said "he's clearly reading at level 6 or 7 so I'm going to give him some level 5 books to take home" hmm. They are still far too easy and yes, his comprehension is fine. He's easily managing the blue or green songbirds at home and at least they are interesting.

It is really frustrating but sometimes you have to be the tiger mother. Especially if you have a younger child (DS is late August) who might be prone to being overlooked. What frustrates me is if he was ten days younger he'd be getting all sorts of attention for going into Reception reading pretty fluently and being "the bright one" (have experience of this as DD was that child) and it all becomes a virtuous circle. As it is he is the overlooked one.

Quangle Tue 17-Jun-14 09:56:22

Sorry meant to say, what was annoying was that if the teacher had noticed my child spending the best part of a year on the same sub-band, that would have been a real issue in itself. Fortunately I wasn't concerned about that because I knew he had made loads of progress. But they were doing this weird insisting over his levels and eventually dug themselves into a hole where either a) he's on the wrong band or b) he's made no progress over an entire year. Either of which is a problem for them. So eventually they concluded it was a).

Sorry if this sounds like a battle but it was. A nicely spoken battle, but a battle nevertheless.

BeatriceBean Tue 17-Jun-14 09:56:57

Our school seems to be the other way around. We do RWI too, and the books she brings home from from that she is finding really really easy. They are set within the year but its a low achieving year I guess. So my daughter is being semt home a v.high book band, but not having had all the phonic knowledge at school as the RWI is behind what she has at home. I'm having to do some sounds with her as she comes across them but to be honest I'd rather it was the other way around as from what I've read on mn the pure phonics approach is best. The book bands/ ORT aren't nec phonic based systems. (Songbirds is, I like that one.) We get magic key books home about Biff and co and she hasn't covered all the phonics, so I think is pickign up sight words.

diamondage Tue 17-Jun-14 10:36:16

So just to get this straight:

The school don't want parents to teach their children any new sound/spelling correspondences BUT they are happy for the children to read library books, home books and recipes. Presumably they're happy to agree to this because children certainly wouldn't meet any new correspondences within a library or home book .... oh wait hmm

If you don't teach your DD new phonic correspondences as and when she meets them then she will either work out the code herself, or she'll start memorising words by sight. Given you mentioned her excitement at the boy/buoy discovery then I'm thinking she's working it out with your support - long may that continue.

In my view a school that sends virtually all children from reception into year 1 on red and yellow bands is engaging in some sort of manipulation, because that just doesn't represent the usual spread of bands, which is normally very wide.

Here is a link to the RWI / ORT correlation chart. Pink equates to green ORT, however you have to remember that ALL old style look and say ORT books, including the very first pink ones, will have correspondences that your DD may not have learnt yet.

If the school don't want parents teaching unknown phonics at home and/or children memorising words then they shouldn't send home look and say style books until the children have completed their RWI programme. For most phonics programmes this is around orange ORT, however RWI goes beyond this point.

If you are interested in your DD reading other ORT books, over the summer holidays for example, then Oxford Owls has a large banded selection of free e-books (including ones that follow a phonics method).

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 17-Jun-14 10:51:12

great they want to make sure the children are confident in phonics BUT if they are teaching phonics at a normal rate then by this stage in the year they should be more than capable of reading books harder than red level unless all the books they have are wholely inappropriate for supporting phonics readers.

I would want to know how they are differentiating for the children who ARE reading to do harder phonics....

SaveTheMockingBird Tue 17-Jun-14 11:01:03

Do they not have ability groups? Ours have 6 ability groups...so the top ability group at the moment are learning phase 5 phonics and on blue/green bands...that's how they differentiate the learning. Surely it can't be so that all children end up red/yellow band at the end of the year?

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 17-Jun-14 13:05:49

my thoughts exactly SaveTheMockingBird.

BeatriceBean Tue 17-Jun-14 14:09:21

Ours is by ability group but the top group are on pink rwi (not sure what phase they are doing but I think she has done nearly all the phonics on the chart). But she has been on book band 6 for months whereas others in her set are book band 3ish I think.

They're all set so in our year there will be those at one end presumably doing v.early books and those the other end higher> Not at all sure how a school could keep everyone the same but if they're doing RWI they wont be - in that in class they will lbe in their rwi groups.

sleeplessinderbyshire Tue 17-Jun-14 14:26:11

I know there are "work groups" and she tells me she's in "butterflies" the other kids in this group are all Sept/Oct birthdays with v middle class parents so I suspect she's working at a higher level than some of her peers. I know she says she goes to a different class with her group sometimes... It's so hard as a first timer at this school thing, trying to be supportive and care but not pis the teachers off or put pressure on DD

sleeplessinderbyshire Tue 17-Jun-14 23:30:44

just looked at that chart and am confused. the ort red books say "stage 3 letters and sounds" some of the early books (pre christmas) said 1+ does this mean we're making progress? she's mostly on ort traditional tales but today has "the zip" too

simpson Tue 17-Jun-14 23:40:19

Tbh I think this would annoy me as it basically means that she cannot progress until taught the next level sounds at school irrespective of whether she is ready to learn them now/a while ago.

DD was in reception last year and the top group were on stage 10/11 & I am in a reception class (not at my DC school) & the best reader has just been put into stage 10.

I just think that parents are more than capable of helping a child to learn new sounds, they don't need to wait until they are taught in school.

In your case I would check out the Oxford owl website (free ebooks online) & keep doing your own thing ie the reading challenge that the library do in the summer.

diamondage Wed 18-Jun-14 10:04:29

sleepless Stage 3 letters and sounds means that book is an ORT phonic book (e.g. Floppies phonics), a 1+ book may be an old style look and say book.

All national bookband red books are roughly equivalent to each other. There are 4 red band traditional tales, The Zip is a red band Floppies Phonics.

ORT books did not fit well into the national book band colours because ORT used to have a very steep learning curve for some of it's range. This means that consecutive stories can fall into different book bands. Here is the chart that shows you how ORT fits with the national colour bands.

As I said before, your DDs school is managing progress very tightly. They are not letting the children progress at their natural rate if no children can progress into year 1 above yellow band. I personally would not be happy about this - however if they allow children to progress more naturally in year 1 then it's not the end of the world. I would be inclined to check however. Most year 1 classes will have at least a few readers who are beyond lime (often called free readers) or at least on white and lime level.

mrz Wed 18-Jun-14 17:38:58

Sorry diamondage old ORT books do fit very well into the book banding system because it was designed for Look & Say books ... nothing to do with a very steep learning curve simply the ORT colours pre date the book banding system by decades.

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