Phonics versus Biff, Chip and Kipper

(406 Posts)
Lukethe3 Thu 31-Jan-13 14:09:57

I find it slightly irritating that at DS school he is taught phonics but then sent home to read the old ORT stuff which has tricky words at even the easiest level. Is this purely because the school has no money to buy new books or is there actually an advantage to be taught like this?
I have bought some Songbirds books for DS and these seem to make far more sense to me as they include the sounds that DS is learning.

bigbadbarry Thu 31-Jan-13 14:10:42

I think most schools these days do a mixture of phonics and "tricky words".

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 14:13:49

I think lots of schools get a mixture. I think the new Boff, Chop and Chipper books are decodable.

Lukethe3 Thu 31-Jan-13 15:22:38

Have just reread my OP. just want to clarify- only mildly annoyed by this, not actually losing sleep. Just curious to know if it is a good way of teaching or if it is because these are the books that the school has.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 15:48:52

I don't know why individual schools do it. I've heard of teachers throwing all their look and say books out or giving them away or hiding them. But I think that's a bit extreme. It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of teachers see reading books as reading books. I've made a point of asking for look and say books, not because my daughter reads that way (although she did to begin with) but because they've got a more realistic feel to them. The only phonics books I've ever liked were the Usborne Big Pig on a Dig series. I don't know if schools have them though. I've hated all the others.

Lukethe3 Thu 31-Jan-13 15:52:20

I am quite enjoying the later Songbirds ones. Paula the vet being a firm favourite!

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 15:54:46

If my daughter's school didn't have any look & say books at my daughter's level and only had phonics readers I'd be going bananas because the school insists that she reads the books in scheme order and the phonics ones at her level are too easy. The non phonics ones are about right.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 31-Jan-13 16:54:27

DS1 is in reception and is being taught phonics at school, and they use the ORT scheme.

I'm finding that the mixture is working well for him, and we have bought some of the Songbirds books for him to have a go at at home.

I think pure phonics would be hard at this stage because it would really restrict what he could read. As it is, he is delighted to discover that he can read some Thomas the Tank Engine stories to his little brother - and it just wouldn't have happened with a purely phonics method I don't think because he would have been stumped by the tricky words.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 17:07:10

I'd be going bananas because the school insists that she reads the books in scheme order and the phonics ones at her level are too easy.

If they are too easy for her then they aren't at her level ...

Lukethe3 the government made £3000 per school available in matched funding for schools to buy phonics training/books/resources/mixture or these.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 17:13:04

f they are too easy for her then they aren't at her level ...

Isn't this where some parents get bogged down in the whole reading scheme thing? She's reading yellow books at the moment. The decodable ones are too easy for her but the non decodable are about right. On average they contain a word, maybe two that she finds challenging. I don't know who's doing it, but someone in the school must have gone to a whole lot of trouble to find the non decodable books that I asked for because they're sending books so old that the sellotape being used to hold them together is brown and cracked. But I don't mind, just so long as the words inside them are right.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 17:17:22

Wouldn't it be simpler to assess if she could read the next book band

DD1's school seems to send random books home with no rhyme or reason. She struggles with the HFW and I'm not sure to what extent they're covering them. There's no guidance really on what we're supposed to be doing with these books and how much she is supposed to be able to know or how much I should be reading to her IYSWIM.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 17:20:10

The teacher insists on having them read in stage order. I think that's why someone must have been sent down into the basement to dig up stage 3 non decodable books from the Iron Age . Because yellow books have other stages in them but the teacher won't let me have any.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 31-Jan-13 17:20:37

mrz - generally the phonics ones seem easier - for DS anyway. He is just coming to the end of stage 1+ of the ORT Biff, Chip et al books, but can already read stage 2 Songbirds (so pure phonics) books - the level of challenge is the same for him, so they do appear to be slightly mismatched.

I'm wondering what you think about the fact that he is getting through one book every day at the moment? Would you think that it means the books he is getting are too easy or about right? I'm anxious both that he doesn't either get bored - which he does if he keeps the same book for 2 days - or fed up because the book is too hard and he feels it is hopeless.

We do obviously read other things at home, so I am not making him read the same few pages over and over.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 17:26:05

Alibabbandthe40nappies they are easier for children to read because they contain words the child can read independently using phonic knowledge not words they can't hope to read independently .

I think a book a day is fine and not an obvious indicator that books are too easy. They don't have many words to a page and not many pages to a book so don't take long to read. I suggest parents spend 10 to 15 mins a day on school reading scheme books.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 31-Jan-13 17:32:11

Ok that sounds about right then, thanks.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 18:12:42

DD always found the songbirds books much easier than old style Biff etc (read from Oxford owl).

My DC school recently seem to have spent quite a bit of money on new books (wonder if it is what mrz said) and have bought songbirds, the new Biff &Chip books (decodable), floppy's phonics and dandy lion books.

However any old style Biff (non decodable) there are half decent are being used.

But DD came home with an Australian book this week which is totally different to anything I have seen before (not colour coded to fit UK reading levels) and it looks brand new.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 18:13:27

that are blush

teacherwith2kids Thu 31-Jan-13 19:13:18


The 'scheme order' thing is barmy.

I was discussing this with a friend of my DD's the other day. Said friend attends another primary school, where they have to read every book in the reading scheme in order.

In Year 5, she has just completed it - as far as I understand it, their 'scheme' levels are old ORT levels so the levels go p to 15 or so. This is a child who read all the Harry Potter books a couple of years ago, so really DOESN't need scheme books. 'Banded' books, a wide variety of 'real' books selected to be appropriate to her age and stage, absolutely, but Treetops Level 14 just wouldn't add anything to her reading skills..

She was absolutely aghast when I breezily told her that my DS (an early and very able reader) read those same Level 14 books in Reception before going 'off scheme', and even DD, who didn't read until she started school, did a few books per level thus reaching the level 14 or so stage at the end of year 1/ early year 2 - which was right, because that refelcted what she could read and comprehend and therefore to constrain her to 'every book in the reading scheme' would have been just plain daft.

Equally, some children need to read all of the same level 2 or more times as they are consolidating certain kills - and may then zoom up a few levels once that is done.

[Mutters darkly into beard]

birdbrain17 Thu 31-Jan-13 19:26:06

just very briefly, I teach groups in reception and year 2. The phonics are taught in a specific order, which match the weekly spelling words for the older kids, so it is possible that "the books at her level are too easy", as phonics books are in order of sounds not difficulty. The plus of using non-phonic books is that it teaches the children to recognise sight words, and to read books without sounding everything out as they do with the phonics. Even though even with the easy biff, chip and kipper books there are difficult words these books do encourage fluency in reading....
We only started using both schemes alongside each other half way through last year when we used a grant to buy new phonics books, and I have really seen an improvement in the time frame that it takes children to learn to read

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 19:30:20

Why do they need to recognise sight words birdbrain? and why can't they read phonic books without sounding everything out?

birdbrain17 Thu 31-Jan-13 19:38:55

sight words and learning to read without always sounding out help build up fluency. I worked with a child last year who had learning difficulties and couldn't blend words together only sound them out, as she was in year 4 this was quite a problem as she was too slow to follow any work the class was doing. we started using both schemes alongside each other and within a few months she was able to recognise a lot of common words and was sounding out much less. She is still not confident enough to read out loud in the classroom but is able to do worksheets by herself (without someone reading them to her) and it takes her longer then her peers but at least she is now capable!

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 19:42:39

you haven't explained why she couldn't just read a phonics book without sounding everything out.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 19:43:51

The thing is we read real books at home which have no levels at all. They're meant for adults to read to children. So the gap between her and her school books is going to grow unless the school continues to provide her with non decodable books for each level (as it might well do.) Mind you, the basement might not hold that many tatty books or the student being sent down there to rummage around might leave.

cowmop Thu 31-Jan-13 19:44:13

teacherwith2kids, it's the same at my children's school. They have to read every book at every level and dd who is 9 has read some books in her band twice whilst she waits for the single copy of the one she hasn't read to be available before she can progress. Talk about nit picking!

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 19:54:45

Surely there comes a point where the school books are not phonetic?

I mean, I get that all books are decodable but that the harder the book (ie the higher the reading level) it is not obviously phonetic iyswim.

If they can read, they just read....

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 31-Jan-13 19:58:40

Phonics does not have to be the be all and end all. It is a useful tool alongside other methods as far as I can see.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 19:59:57

Yes that's what happens. But I'm not sure when it happens on the new ORT. I don't suppose it matters to me if we're reading non decodable books anyway. But if we get put back onto decodable ones somewhere along the line and they're too easy then it'll start to matter again.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:00:18

Surely there comes a point where the school books are not phonetic?

All books are phonetic simpson that's the point ...whether you are reading Top Cat or Sohrab and Rustum. So the argument that phonic scheme books made her sound out more is misguided.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:04:14

To be fair to simpson, I think all she's saying is that some books avoid tricky words and hide certain sounds from children who haven't yet seen them. And at some point along even an obviously decodable scheme this stops happening.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 20:04:23

Ok , I guess I am comparing the books that DD started reception on ie jolly phonics readers where the text has obviously been chosen to aid a child in learning to read compared to what she gets now which is just a book iyswim.

I get that all books are decodable/phonetic but the earlier ones more so as they are a learning aid....Surely the later ones are a comprehension aid??

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 20:05:26

Yes, LandS that is exactly what I mean (you worded it better than me grin)...

teacherwith2kids Thu 31-Jan-13 20:09:22


All books are phonetic. The only reason for phonic reading schemes is to (as part of the process of mastering all phonics) to limit the range and type of phonic sounds encountered at any point.

So first books = only the fist, single letter, sounds, no alternative spellings.

Next stage = more single letter sounds.

Next stage = diigraphs, most common spellings.

Next stage - digraphs and alternative spellings.

As the stages go up, then 'rarer' alternative spellings are introduced.

It's like learning an instrument - if a child has learned middle C, B and A, then the tunes provided for them to play are those, as single notes. As they add new notes, then more music can be played ... and then there is a further stage in which those notes are combined in more and more complex ways....

Look and say books are the equivalent of saying to a child 'look, here's Ode to Joy in a full score version. To make these sounds, put your fingers down in these ways.'

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:13:46

Music is always a good analogy thank you teacher

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:15:11

I think she already knows that. The problem is that some children have been taught all their sounds and even complex graphemes before they arrive in school. If they then face a rigid through-scheme plod life can get a bit tortuous for both the child and the parent.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 20:17:12

Teacherwithkids - yes I get all that now, thanks. But I guess as the book gets harder its not so obviously phonetic (as a teaching tool).

DD had one look at say book at the end of nursery. An ORT one called The Pancake IIRC. I can't remember all the words in it (not that there were many!) but she certainly couldn't read "pancake" as she didn't know the a/e sound. So she looked at the picture and guessed (basically not reading it) and the TA of her class wrote in her reading diary that she read it really well hmm

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:18:17

If you look at early look and say books simpson they simply repeat the same word on each page so even more simple.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:20:12

Early phonics books aren't exactly rocket science either.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 20:22:06

But also it must be a early level book (I think it was red level) that has tough words in that a child on red level is not expected to know.

I remember one (from reading with yr1s) which had the word "concrete" in it. Now I can decode the word concrete fine, but not sure a child who is finding red level a stretch could...

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:22:28

at least they start with sentences not the same single word on every page.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:27:08

I suppose they do. But some children can manage so much more than that it's untrue. I didn't realise the Elsie Marinarik's Little Bear and The Cat in the Hat are towards the end of some schemes. My daughter started with those. I'd always understood that they were for teaching children to learn to read. I guess it depends on what you think learning to read is. When I first say Sam's Pot I didn't know what it was. And when we got a book with no words in it we wrote the words and closed them inside the non-reading book.

teacherwith2kids Thu 31-Jan-13 20:27:29

"If they then face a rigid through-scheme plod life can get a bit tortuous for both the child and the parent. "

Yes, but that is NOT anything to do with phonics teaching, or phonics schemes. That is a DAFT policy by a particular school.

DS read 1 level 4 book, about 3 in level 7, started on the scheme properly at about Level 10 and read all the ones considered appropriate for a 4-5 year old up to Level 14/15 by mid Reception, then started on (banded) real chapter books - Flat Stanley and the like.

Having to read every book has nothing whatever to do with phonics. It is just a bad idea.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:33:01

In my previous school we used Ginn 360 (look & say scheme) and the literacy coordination insisted every child read every book and we were only allowed to change books once a week - I lost the will to live never mind the kids) which is why when I rose to the dizzy heights of calling the shots I made it clear that staff should use their professional judgement as to where to start a child and when to move them on and if skip levels ...
Our Y2 inherited a child on red level who he has immediately boosted to gold

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:34:26

coordinator (I should check spell check)

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:36:42

I can't imagine how soul-destroying it must be to have a gold-level child reading red level books. I hope lots of teachers are reading this thread and thinking a little bit about their reading policies. But I sincerely doubt it.

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 20:38:11

I agree with it being ridiculous having to read every book at a level.

DD was on jolly phonics readers until Xmas (she is in reception) and got to green level (so only had one more - blue, to go) but after Xmas read 1 ORT stage 7 and was then bumped up to gold and now reads gold/white books.

The only look/say books that she has read are Peter and Jane..."Here is Peter. Here is Jane. Peter is here. Jane is here." etc etc (I found them in a charity shop).

DD started Flat Stanley last night and is loving it although we are only 2 chapters in...

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 20:39:26

Are Ginn 360 look / say??

DD had a non fiction one a few weeks ago about spiders (it was written in 1982).

teacherwith2kids Thu 31-Jan-13 20:44:05


In your shoes, I would stop arguing the toss with your school about phonics vs non-decodeable, and go for an attack on the real problem - the policy that a child needs to read all books at a level. Question it with the teacher, take it higher, point out the ridiculousness of it. Ask for your child's reading to be properly assessed to see if she has been put on an appropriate level. IUt may be that she is. It may not be. But the sheer ludicrousness of a 'read all books' policy is definitely a 'foe worthy of your steel'...and a much better thing to argue about than phonics vs not phonics.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:44:34

Yes simpson

book 1 Look
book 2 Here
book 3 help
book 4 home
book 5 Lad
book 6 Ben

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:45:18

I think that's great, simpson, if your school is willing to do that. But lots of teachers it seems want all the books read in order regardless of whether the child can read harder books or not. Teacherwith was saying that a policy such as that is mistaken. But mistaken or not, clearly, it's a popular policy.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:46:09

Actually the child on red level wasn't a bit bothered by the school reading books

teacherwith2kids Thu 31-Jan-13 20:48:44

I don't know how 'popular' a policy it is. I have not previously encountered it as a teacher or as a parent - this friend of my daughter's (who attends supposedly the 'best' school in town) was the first time I had come across it personally, though i know of it through scattered 'computer acquaintances'.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 20:50:10

If I get the impression from the other mums that the policy is holding the other children back I'll argue the case properly, teacher. To be honest I just struck it lucky with the non decodable books. Soon after some random member of staff asked for my daughter to be moved up I wrote in the diary asking for non decodable books. And since then that's all I've ever got. So an argument, as such, was never needed. A couple of parents have spoken to me about how my daughter learned to read. But none of them has "complained" about the books as yet. So I'm taking it as if it means that they're happy.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 20:52:41

I think it was more common 20 years ago but I don't personally know any schools that work that way now.

GinGirl Thu 31-Jan-13 20:58:45

simpson from my limited experience, I'd understood that decoding using pictures was not a problem, especially if the child can then read the word again without using the picture.

I started my DD reading the year before she started school (old for her year and needed to be challenged) and used 'look and say' as that is how I was taught. She now does phonics as school (she is in Reception) and seems to be using both systems to read Level 4 books (ORT and Ginn 360), she seems to use word recognition mostly which gives her reading fluency. If she gets stuck on a word and I know it can be decoded phonetically I suggest she sounds it out, if I know it is 'irregular' I'll tell her what it is, eg 'sometimes' - a word she now recognises without help.

On a practical level OP, DD's school doesn't really mind at this stage if they read their school reading book or a book from home, as long as they are reading/being read to. Maybe use your Songbird books and write those into your DS's reading record as well as/instead of the school ones? May provide your DS's teacher with a better idea of the grasp your DS has of his phonics.

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 21:00:01

decoding using pictures is a big problem I'm afraid

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 21:16:10

I agree with mrz - I would not want my child using a picture to work out a word. IMO that is guessing.

The pictures are there to help with the comprehension ie how is X character feeling ( child can look at X's face in the picture)...

birdbrain17 Thu 31-Jan-13 21:56:32

mrz she could just read phonics books with sounding everything out but then it takes longer for the child to learn to blend....sight words also help with spelling!

simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 22:20:42

How do sight words help with spelling?? <<baffled>>

IMO fluency comes from a child having gone through the stage of sounding words out so a child will have sounded the word c a t out quite a few times and then will recognise it on sight and not need to anymore iyswim.

PeppermintCreams Thu 31-Jan-13 22:53:08

At my son's school they start giving out reading books and HFW to learn as soon as they can sound out 19 sounds.

The majority of the books he's brought home have been Biff and Chip. (Although I do know that they have the Songbird books) After reading about the look and say method on here I was a bit horrified and brought some Project X and Songbird books. (Not to many) But after a year of being on the reading scheme he's now on ORT Level 8 and he can sound out pretty much any decodable word.

He's now learnt all 300 high frequency words. He started off memorising them (I know) but by the time he'd got to the end of the list he could decode them all.

So I don't know what happened there. I've not done much phonic work at home with him other than the initial sounds, and what ever has come up in conversation. Do they do so much phonic work at school that they don't need to send decodable ones home and send the old Biff and Chip ones just to get parents reading with their child? (Possible knowing some of the parents)

Any suggestions?

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 06:26:16

It would appear that sight reading helps my daughter to spell because she both knows some words and how to spell them automatically. But, to be honest I'm not sure if she's using only sight reading in some cases. (There's no way of telling, unless she has an MRI scan and somebody watches her brain patterns.) Words like Asia, off, knee, knight and so on she just recognises and can reproduce. She can spell duck properly but I suspect this word, unlike the others, comes from her phonic knowledge because I think she would be tempted to spell it as it sounds but for the fact that she is well aware of the ck word ending convention and uses it to spell that word. But she's also familiar with the word duck. So which method she's actually using is anybody's guess.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 07:03:15

birdbrain but surely if as you say the child is learning to read by sight she can learn the words in a phonics book the same way ... hmm why do you think she has to blend them in a phonics book and conversely why do you think that a child with good phonics knowledge can't blend words in a look & say book

If she knows cat by sight in a L&S book she knows cat by sight in a phonics book confused

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 07:32:04

To be fair, mrz, you yourself have said that you'd teach the words one and who as sight words and I think maverick added "of" and perhaps a couple of other words. I don't think anybody, not even the biggest opponent of sight words says there should be none. The debate is about how many there should be.

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 01-Feb-13 07:37:51

I've heard of this 'read all on one level' policy before via Mumsnet and it is only now that I've watched my Y1 dd learn to read that I can see how unhelpful and unnecessary it is.

teacher is right - this is your real enemy, lands.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 07:50:19

No learnandsay you seem to have misunderstood what I am asking. I am asking birdbrain why he/she believes that a child who as he/she says reads words by sight can't read those same words by sight in phonic reading scheme books (as birdbrain seems to believe). There isn't any reason why a child who can read a word in one type of book can't transfer that ability to every other book containing that word, unless of course they can't really read the word by sight and have just memorised the whole text as some poor readers seem to do. It's quite surprising if you turn two pages by accident and discover they are reciting the missed page.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 07:59:28

I don't think birdbrain explicitly said the child couldn't recognise sight words in phonics books. He/she didn't refer to them in the phonics books (I don't think.) I think what was talked about was sounding out all the words in the phonics books. It's possible that there were no sight words in them. In order to get sight words I think birdbrain said ages ago the the school bought look & say books on purpose and used those as a source of sight words. The implication being that there were not enough sight words in the phonics books.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 08:15:04

teacher and yellow, I think what I might do, rather than kicking up a fuss, is just ask the literacy coordinator what she thinks of the policy. If it turns out to be her idea and not the teacher's then we know where the problem lies.

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 01-Feb-13 11:24:10

It's less about the difference between 'sight words' and 'phonic books' than if children have been taught phonics and are given books they can read, all words gradually become 'sight words' in any context because the child has been taught how to decode them and can do this rapidly, iyswim.

birdbrain17 Fri 01-Feb-13 11:26:24

learnandsay is right. the point I was making was that in phonics books the books are designed with decodable words. If phonics books would have a better mix of decodable and sight words then I agree they would be fine by themselves...
simpson when a child is know sight words such as 'because' 'said' 'there' etc when they do a piece of writing they also know how to spell them, as there are some words that you can not work out the spellings by sounding out.

Pozzled Fri 01-Feb-13 11:44:58

Birdbrain, I don't understand why you think it's a problem that the phonics books don't have many 'sight' words? Surely these sight words are introduced gradually as the children learn more spelling patterns and are able to decode them? The few words which are genuinely tricky to decode (like 'one') can be introduced later as well, once the child is quite comfortable with the idea that sounds can be represented in a number of different ways.

The only reason I can see to introduce sight words before they have encountered the spelling patterns is to enable them to read non-phonic texts. Which seems to be a circular argument.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 12:38:36

Right. But if birdbrain wants her children to have access to the tricky words at a more rapid rate than the phonics books are allowing then what choices does she have? People do give children lists of tricky words to remember which I think is daft because I know of a way of showing them lists of tricky words in a way they won't forget them. It's been done for years. It's called a book.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 12:43:19

It's not a circular argument to people who say there's no such thing as a non-phonic text. To those people it's not an argument at all. But they do say that the order in which you teach the sounds matters. Teacher laid the order out above. The other thing they disagree about is the speed with which you introduce the sounds. Some people say it can be done relatively quickly and others seem to take several years to do it. I don't agree with taking several years to teach children to read basic books and I'd call Elsie Marinarik's Little Bear and The Cat in the Hat very basic books indeed.

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 01-Feb-13 13:36:20

Phonic books don't 'allow' or 'disallow' children access to tricky words.

The idea is that as a child confidently learns more and more sounds, different combinations of letters that make the same sound etc they can read harder words and more complex sentences. see above how all words eventually become 'sight words' if you want to use that phrase.

Do you mind me commenting lands that I was really surprised to read up thread that your dd is currently reading yellow books? Given that you speak about her being able to read and how long you have been teaching her yourself, I wonder if there has been something possibly a little inefficient about your methods? A reflection, not a criticism, you'll understand.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 13:59:56

I think that's been the subject of our discussions here, yellowsub. She could probably read something else. The teacher did say something to me about being able to "rush her through the scheme" but not wanting to. If you look at what I've said the child is reading non decodable books only and ancient ones at that. So I'm not sure that she's really following the scheme at all really. I get the impression that the teacher can just say that she is. I have no idea why a teacher would want to do that. But there we are, I suppose.

At home she reads the Ladybird books that are meant for adults to read to their children. But the teacher wants it done the way that she wants it done. And that's that as far as I can see.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:03:44

I'm not sure what that allow disallow argument means. If the tricky words aren't in the book then the child has no access to them. And the whole point of easily decodable books is to have words in them that the child can decode.

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 01-Feb-13 14:21:03

Children are surrounded by text in the shape of road signs, labels, leaflets, notices, letters as well as books and magazines, and they'll gradually learn to read more and more of the words, phrases and sentences.

That's reading, not reciting text that's been memorised.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:22:49

Who said anything about reciting?

yellowsubmarine53 Fri 01-Feb-13 14:25:15

Just noticed the OP grin.

My dd started off with some ORT books in reception which she found incredibly frustrating. She got some Songbird phonics ones and I got more of these and other 100% decodable ones from the library ('Traditional Tales' ones were good) until she was confidently reading.

I agree that it's irritating and unhelpful for lots of children.

I don't think there's any advantage in children being given books that they can't read independently, nor do I think it's a particular strategy. More like the school isn't following best practice in teaching children to read.

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 14:37:19

If my child was on yellow level and could read at a higher level then I would be pushing the school to provide harder books (as well as providing them at home).

How are they (the teacher) supposed to assess the reading at the correct level if they are not on it??

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:39:35

I'd imagine that if a child receives a book that she can't read then she can learn to read it. The disadvantage with phonics is that ideally a person is supposed to be knowledgeable about phonics in order to teach a child to read using phonics. So it puts some parents off teaching their children which I think is a terribly bad thing. Children don't need to read all books independently. In fact if they only read books they can read independently I'm sure they learn at a slower rate if they're not taught lots of phonics quickly. And if they only read books that they have to struggle with I'm sure they'll learn to hate reading. I'm sure it's a balance and some of the balance will involve reading books which are at least slightly challenging. If they're not challenged at all they won't progress. I think our school teaches phonics slowly. I think the teacher said something about the children learning more vowel digraphs in Y1. If they're still doing basic techniques in year one then the teacher wouldn't be expecting them to be reading non decodable books by then. I'm pretty sure they haven't covered any digraphs at all yet.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 14:42:06

I'd rather just have the non decodable books and have done with it, simpson. If they put her back on decodable books at this level or a level similar to it then I'll get them to change the strategy. But so long as they continue to find me the books I'm getting then I'm happy.

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 15:44:24

If a child receives a book that she can't read, then I would say it was too hard for that child.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:00:35

I don't know what's going on with schools teaching phonics and sending home look and say books. But I'm guessing the teachers have some expectation that the children can read them, surely. I mean if they didn't it would be a bit like teaching them English and then sending home books in Chinese.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:04:25

Wouldn't it be even more silly than that because the teachers actually read the books with the children. So it would be more like teaching them to read English and then sitting beside them staring at a Chinese book and wondering why they can't read it. What do such teachers write in the reading diary? Another book your child couldn't make head nor tail of.

Lukethe3 Fri 01-Feb-13 16:11:42

yellow OP here, thanks for answering my question grin The thread seems to have taken a different direction! All interesting though. I just love helping DS learn to read. It's teaching me something I've never had- patience.

Annanon Fri 01-Feb-13 16:12:44

For me, it feels like teaching them English, then sending home English books with a few random Chinese words to memorise as sight words.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:14:31

So, OP, what is it like to get a look and say book if your son doesn't have enough phonics knowledge to read it? Do you both manage in the end?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 16:37:48

It's possible that there were no sight words in them. there aren't any sight words in any books just words!

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:39:47

Why would you say a thing like that after explaining that you'd teach one and who as sight words?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 16:50:32

Because the whole concept that a book contains decodable or sight words is totally unnatural ...books contain words.

What I actually said learnandsay was

maverick I would argue that here and of don't need to be memorised

(one, two, who and eye would be my list)

mrz Thu 24-Jan-13 18:03:28


(I teach them as decodable)

as it is I did teach who as decodable (but tricky) last week so perhaps I need to reconsider my list

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 16:52:37

OK, you cut the words one, two, who and eye out of all your books then. And then your books won't contain any sight words.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 17:11:24

As I just said I taught who as decodable last week (we were looking at words containing alternative spellings for "oo" and who was suggested) so I need to revise my list and two come under early maths teaching and have probably been learnt before the child encounters them in a reading book so I need to think about eye as it isn't a word that crops up much in early books.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 17:19:43

OK, you can leave the word who in and just cut the others out then.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 17:43:51

Leave them in I don't teach them as sight words learnandsay

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 17:47:19

Just because a child may have seen the words one and two in nursery it doesn't mean she knows how to read it. The child has doubtless seen first aid kit and emergency exit too but won't be able to read those either.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 17:51:00

I'm not sure why you think I'm suggesting that would be the situation learnandsay

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 17:52:39

probably been learnt before the child encounters them in a reading book

Are you saying that children who don't know how to read can probably read the words one and two?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:02:29

No learnandsay I am saying they will probably know the words one and two before they encounter them in a reading book

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 18:04:37

What does "know" mean? Does it mean be able to read the words one and two?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:08:42

Yes learnandsay it means they can look at the words and know what they are.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 18:14:53

And how did they learn to read the word?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:22:58

Usually because they are prominently displayed in the classroom alongside the numeral.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 18:24:53

Are you saying that simply by looking at it along side a number they learn to recognise the word and know what it means?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:30:37

Hardly learnandsay. Children are taught to count and recognise numerals you know.

teacherwith2kids Fri 01-Feb-13 18:31:02

Very much as a non-reading child can look at a road sign and know that it means 'no U-turns' .. . or indeed look at the numerals themselves and know that they are written code for the concept of 2 things...

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 18:42:14

I'm not talking about numerals. I'm talking about the words one and two.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:44:48

The word and numeral are usually displayed together in classrooms learnandsay

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 01-Feb-13 18:49:05

learnandsay - do you really need to make such a meal of this reading thing? Your daughter is clearly reading well, school seem to be prepared to support your approach and she is making progress.
I could understand your obsession better if she was struggling smile

DS1 is being taught phonics in school and reading look and say books. He is managing fine, more than fine actually. He brings a new book home and can read it with only a little help sounding the odd word out, and me reading the occasional 'tricky' word out to him. He is already sounding and blending in his head rather than out loud for a lot of the time, and seems to be able to make a stab at things like 'ea' which I don't think they have been taught formally at school.
He does have a fantastic memory though and pretty much only needs to read a word once before he memorises it.

I don't particularly worry about how he is learning, that is school's job. We work on comprehension and expression at home. I go in and read with other children in his class in the morning twice a week - and in these areas he is streets ahead of all but one other child in his class.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 18:49:51

You're not answering the question. The two may be displayed. You've said that several times.

But how do the children learn to read the words one and two?

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 18:52:53

Aliba, these questions have nothing to do with my daughter.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:54:20

Have a look at an example number frieze and tell me how do you think they know the letters o n e is 1 and t w o is 2 learnandsay?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 01-Feb-13 18:57:18

learnandsay - they are just memorising it. confused

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 18:57:38

Please don't set me homework, mrz. Just answer my question. It's simple enough. How do the children learn to read the words one and two. If you won't tell me then I'd be happy to tell you and I don't have to send you off to a webpage either.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 18:59:32

I've answered your question learnandsay's simple enough!

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:00:08

No you haven't.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:01:52

Since you won't tell me I'll tell you. They're recognising the words as whole words. As aliba says, they're memorising them. That's sight reading.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:04:34

It isn't teaching sight words learnandsay!

They associate the written number with the numeral just as they associate a picture of a boy/girl with the correct toilet!

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:05:16

or a big golden m with McDonalds

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:06:53

I'm not talking about numerals I'm talking about whole words, specifically the words one and two.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:12:12

They associate the written number with the numeral

which bit don't you understand?

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:17:12

Numerals are irrelevant. It's about knowing that the letters in one relate to a single unit. A numeral is also an abstraction. A child who thought one meant only the numeral one would be confused a lot of the time.

The word one means a single unit.
The word two means a single unit and another unit together.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:18:40

are you really that obtuse or is it an act?

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:20:25

Do you think the word one means the numeral one?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:24:52

can you read learnandsay?

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:26:04

Do you think the word one means the numeral one?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:29:54

The word one has a number of definitions but your original question was how do children know one and two and as I've explained is is often by associating the written word with the numeral which they see every day in the classroom.

Do you want all the definitions of one?

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:33:16

That's not my question. My question is how do children learn to read the words one and two. And you are doing everything that you possibly can to avoid saying they learn them as whole words.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:35:28

[sigh] by association with the numeral on the classroom wall which they look at day after day and think to themselves those letters must be the word one or why would Mrs Mrz have it on the wall

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:38:42

What on earth are you whittering on about now ffs!

Why don't you just say they learn them as whole words. It's not going to kill you. You've said it before.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:39:33

now if i wanted to be really mean I could display the word one next to the numeral 5 and see what happens

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:40:23

learnandsay I take back my earlier question really are that obtuse!

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:41:37

mrz, all the insults in the world aren't going to make your argument better.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:46:15

The word one is related to the numeric one. But it does not mean "the numeric 1"

Reading is about knowing what words mean not what they're related to.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:50:36

Learnandsay I have already stated that I do NOT teach the words one and two as sight words ...I do NOT teach any words as sight words is that clear enough for you?

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 19:52:48

No it isn't because you haven't explained how you do teach children to read the words one and two. All you've done is evade and now you're starting to insult. But you haven't explained.

I'll do it for you. It's much easier.

The words one and two are taught as whole words.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 19:59:36

If I needed to teach the words one and two I would explain that in the word two the letters <tw> represent the sound "t" and that the letter <o> is a way to spell "oo" with one I would say that we expect the word to begin with <w> but it doesn't ...

and as I've now repeated a number of times I do not teach them as whole words.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 20:05:54

You'd teach it like that? OK. I'd rather my child was simply told two is how we spell the word two. No doubt your version of how we read one is equally as tortuous. I don't know how remarking that it doesn't start with w teaches us to read the word one. How do we actually read what it does say?

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 20:11:36

Are there any other words that would have the tw sound in it though?

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 20:12:20

Sorry not the tw sound but tw making t...

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:12:56

I think everyone is aware of how you want your child taught learnandsay you have continually told us!

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:16:13

It's a through back to Old English so the etymology would interest some children

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:21:11

throw back even

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 20:24:47

So how do we read the word one?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:27:32


learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 20:28:18

rhymes with bone?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:30:17

are you confusing spelling patterns with phonics again learnandsay

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 20:31:01

OK, no problem. How do we read it?

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 20:31:15

I am a massive phonics fan and always wanted my DD to learn to read phonetically (which I believe she does although she has not sounded out any words aloud for a long time and actually does not like sounding out words she struggles with because in her words "it takes too long" however, for a word that is the only word to follow a phonetic pattern surely it would be easier to learn it by sight??

DD learnt several words by sight (said, like, to, any) because she learnt to recognise them before she learnt out to decode them iyswim.

I remember DD saying "that's why like is like" (she had just taught herself the magic e after watching alphablocks).

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:39:13

simpson the idea is that children only sound out words when they need to (if they come across an unfamiliar written word - which most words are when you are just 4 and learning)

the words one and two are throw backs to Old English spellings

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 20:42:13

Throw backs or no throw backs that doesn't explain how we read them. You've explained how you'd teach the reading of two (for which I thank you.)

Now please could you explain how we should read the word one.

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 20:44:21

Mrz - I get that. But in DD's case if there is a word she struggles with then she will just mumble it very quickly (hoping I won't notice I guess!!) because she is desperate to keep reading the sentence to figure out what the word is, rather then sounding it out.

I was exactly the same (although I don't remember sounding words out, but I did rush through certain sentences to figure out words).

She does not do it very often, so it's not a huge problem (maybe one word every 3 pages of Flat Stanley) but I just remind her to sound it out.

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:47:15

It's much easier to fudge over an unknown word
(and don't we all do it on occasions when the word isn't vital for the meaning of the text)

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 20:49:17

simpson, mrz was just about to explain how the word one should be read. Can we have a group chat a little later?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:49:32

learnandsay I would say that although we hear the sound "w" at the beginning there isn't a letter <w> because a very long time ago spellings were different and so we spell the word this way ..

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 20:50:56

how rude learnandsay! you like to point out this is a free forum and anyone can contribute.

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 20:51:56

I can't understand what you're saying. How does the spelling one translate into the sound wun?

You did it with the word two. (Or if you're saying that's just the way we spell it. I can see how that works. It's a sight word.)

learnandsay Fri 01-Feb-13 20:53:25

Naughty and rude. How true. But you were having so much trouble getting the explanations out I just didn't want you to get distracted. But you've done it now. Well done.

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 20:53:50

Sorry, but I will type whatever I want tbh.

If you want a 121 chat then PM mrz (sorry mrz if you dont want a PM from LandS!!)

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 20:56:28

I know this is going off track slightly ( and this thread has gone off track anyway, sorry OP blush).

But DD has to learn to spell could, would, should and because (amongst others - but the other words I know how to help her with). How would you phonetically break them down to help her write them??

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 20:57:10

Above message was to mrz btw...(forgot to say that blush)

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 21:17:05

simpson I teach that the spelling <oul> is a way to write the sound "oo" as in foot.

because I would teach as two syllables be cause

<b> <e> (spelling for the sound "ee") <c> (sound "k") <au> (spelling for sound "or" <se> (spelling for sound "s")

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 21:22:25

Thanks, that is most helpful smile

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 21:24:19

Naughty and rude. How true. But you were having so much trouble getting the explanations out

and there I was thinking it was you having trouble reading what I had written hmm

teacherwith2kids Fri 01-Feb-13 21:31:40

It seems to me - though I am not an expert like mrz, as I haven't extensively taught the relevant age group - that the 'read words on sight' / 'sound them out' thing is a cart before horse / horse before cart discussion.

Fluent readers appear to read the vast majority of words on sight (I believe that there is some research that shows that they do actually scan and decode all through the word, but the process is so fast as to be at a practical level indistinguishable from reading on sight).

Children learning to read, and anyone attacking an unknown word, need a way to 'decode' a word. It cannot be read as a 'whole word on sight', because it is as yet unknown.

Phonics is an explicit way of teaching someone that process, and of giving someone the tools they need to attack any word.

So by teaching phonics systematically and well, reading can be taught with the greatest efficiency and effectiveness to the greatest proportion of all children - who will then pass on to the 'apparent reading on sight' stage for the vast majority of words but will still have their tool-box available for any new words.

If a child is taught ONLY by whole word 'look and say' methods, there is no 'tool' to attack a new word UNLESS the child makes the implicit connections between symbol (grapheme) and sound (phoneme) for themselves. That is a much more hit and miss method, as research demonstrates.

By advocating 'look and say' / whole word methods, I suspect that the intent was to put the cart before the horse - to replicate what fluent readers appeared to do, (unwittingly) without supplying any explicit teaching that would allow beginning readers to get there.

L&S, I will say again - if your child is indeed a good reader, then they are on the wrong book band., purely and simply, and the phonics readers vs non phonics readers is a red herring - she is simply being provided with a few words per book to get her teeth into to use her (implicitly worked out by herself, I would hope, as you will not always be there to read a new word for the first time) new decoding skills, where she could be given full books-worth of such vocabulary if she was on the correct book band.

If yellow books, whether decodeable or not, are in any way suitable for her, she is not a good reader. A genuinely very able reader of her age - which is what you want to imply she is - would be reading Roald Dahl-ish books independently. Without saying it too many times, DS went from unable to read, to self-taught mastery represented by long chapter books of the Roald Dahl type in 8-9 months - all I did was read to him when younger, and listen to him read as he progressed, no explicit teaching. Given the length of time that you have been explicitly teaching her to read, I would suggest that your methods may be less than efficient.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Feb-13 21:35:52

I miss Biff, chip and Kipper FWIW my 2 older dss 21 and 18 read these and dd hasn't.
Ds 21 struggled with reading and writing and so does dd.
I know this is hardly conclusive evidence of them being more successful but my dss enjoyed them.

teacherwith2kids Fri 01-Feb-13 21:38:40


I think a lot of children enjoy B,C & K not because they are successful at teaching children to read, but because they represented some kind of continuity of reading matter.

Certainly when I have read with some children they say that they prefer to read B,C & K books 'because they know the characters and what the story might be like' - a bit like Rainbow Fairies, I suppose, or Beast Quest, and all those other phenomenally successful endless series of books?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 21:41:47

I'm not an expert teacherwith2kids, and don't profess to be one, but I do have many years experience teaching young children to read and agree with you about good readers and that complete non readers to reading chapter books independently within 2 terms in reception.

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 21:44:34

DD was fairly obsessed with Biff et al for a while but luckily now seems to have transferred her obsession onto Topsy and Tim <<breathes a sigh of relief>>

teacherwith2kids Fri 01-Feb-13 21:45:39

Ah, but surely on MN, where teaching a sample size of 1 child makes one an expert, and a sample size of zero makes one a super-expert able to contradict all known theory, you are most definitely an Expert with a capital E thanks

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 21:48:07

DD ended nursery on red/yellow level (sounding everything out) and in 7 months has progressed to chapter books (although IMO not ready for Roald Dahl yet but is beyond the basic easy reader first chapter books).

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 21:48:41

I confess I've managed to teach more than 1 child to read wink
thanks thanks

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 22:26:09

Mrz - grin

At what stage do you say a child can read as apposed to learning to read?

mrz Fri 01-Feb-13 22:35:57

When they can pick up a book/text and read it independently, understanding what they are reading.

but I do think to be a reader is something slightly different to being able to read.

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 22:40:50

What is the difference then?

I mean there are kids in DD's class that could pick up their school book and read it to themselves but I would not say they can "read" iyswim (ORT stage 2)...

plusonemore Fri 01-Feb-13 22:41:49

for frigs sake, many methods of teaching children to read, the best is to find the ways that bed suit each child. Yes, phonics are crucial and central but there is a place for sight words- uou're crazy to think its helpful to sound out 'because'!!! Seems to me you're inventing your own graphemes too mrz.
And PLEASE don't tell children not to look at the pictures, its not guessing, its a part of making sense of what they are reading, and lets face it- that is the whole point of reading!!!!

Get off your soap boxes and high horses


plusonemore Fri 01-Feb-13 22:42:44

*best not bed
(blummin phone)

simpson Fri 01-Feb-13 22:45:06

So what about the case when my DD read the word "pancake" in her school book from guessing by looking at the picture but couldn't read it written on its own??

She guessed by looking at the picture because she had not been taught to sound out the a/e sound.

IMO the pictures are there to help with the comprehension rather than the reading.

plusonemore Fri 01-Feb-13 22:49:17

Exactly! Comprehension is essential to reading! When she next sees pancake in a meaningful sentence she may recognise it, or it may take a few more times. Don't force children to sound out when they don't need to. And it isn't just the picture helping, its the grammar of the sentence and phones combined. (ie she didn't read 'frying pan' or something)

plusonemore Fri 01-Feb-13 22:50:09

*phonics not phones
this phone is going in the bin

maizieD Fri 01-Feb-13 23:32:04

Exactly! Comprehension is essential to reading! When she next sees pancake in a meaningful sentence she may recognise it, or it may take a few more times.

You are confusing comprehension (understanding what the words mean and, by extension, the ideas the author is trying to convey) with word identification (working out what it 'says')

Your 'guessing from the picture' method may, or may not work. If you presented her with 'pancake' again and no picture she's just as likely to not have a clue what it says as she is to have remembered it (in fact, research* shows that she's more likely to not have a clue). Whereas if she is able to sound it out she'll have no problem at all with it whenever she encounters it again. If it hasn't yet gone into long term memory she'll just be able to sound it out and blend it again. Simple.

or it may take a few more times.

Unless it is in a Look & Say' type story where the word is repeated multiple times in the hope that the child will memorise it, 'pancake' is not a word likely to be encountered sufficient times and sufficiently close together for learning as a 'whole'.

I'm curious, plusonemore. Are you a teacher or an 'expert' as defined earlier?

(*research which I can quote you chunks of if you insist)

simpson Sat 02-Feb-13 00:03:43

Maizie - that was the case, I wrote out "pancake" on a bit of paper and of course she didn't have a clue (this was a while ago when DD was ending nursery).

Once she knew how to decode it, then she was fine.

mrz Sat 02-Feb-13 07:39:51

The problem is that the only strategy some children had for reading unknown words was looking at the illustrations and so when they got to secondary school and the pictures were no longer there hmm

plusonemore Sat 02-Feb-13 09:16:34

Teacher in early years and ks1 for 14 years

To be honest, you're really annoying me know. You are so inflexible. As I have said, phonics is crucial but every child is different- visual learners are more likely to 'see' a whole word and recognise it for its shape etc. By forcing children to sound out when they don't need to and to ignore the pictures is taking all the pleasure away. Shouldn't we be teaching a love of reading and make it fun?

No thank you, I don't need any research quoted. I stand by my opinion that using pictures along with phonic and grammar cues is important when you are learning to read. How kids could end up at secondary school only able to use pictures is beyond me. Age appropriate books would have very few pictures in!

plusonemore Sat 02-Feb-13 09:17:35


mrz Sat 02-Feb-13 09:44:08

The problem is these children can't read age appropriate books plusonemore ...
they are stuck on low level books they can read ...

teacherwith2kids Sat 02-Feb-13 10:05:25


The flaw in your argument, plusonemore, is that if you teach children to 'use the pictures' then they cannot progress to books without pictures - because their main strategy for working out an unknown word is not there.

Whereas if you teach the children to read the words - using phonics - then the pictures are there (as they are for an adult reading an illustrated book) to add extra information NOT as a strategy for 'reading' / guessing.

teacherwith2kids Sat 02-Feb-13 10:12:05

(Also realised that in my last post to L&S I should have used the example of my DD - non-reader on entry to Reception, taught using phonics, fluent reader of chapter books within a year or so - rather than my 'less conventional' DS. I didn't 'teach' either of them. DS taught himself, DD was taught in school.)

Plusone, it would be interesting to compare the percentage of children who leave your Reception / KS1 classes unable to read well having been taught using 'mixed' methods, vs the number who leave mrz's school's similar classes taught purely using phonics[obviously with a correction for extreme SEN]. The thing is, many children will learn to read either way - it is at the margin, that 10% who in research don't learn to read using mixed methods, who could succeed using phonics, that matter.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 10:38:48

Plusonemore -now you're annoying me smile

You are ignoring the fact that what you call 'bring flexible' doesn't reach 20% of readers - it confuses them. The research that you wish to ignore (to the detriment of those one in five chldren - one in five!!!) shows that these weaker readers over rely on guessing using pictures and/or context clues because some numpty told them that was reading.

The main problem is that you can't predict which of those children will be confused by mixed methods, and when it is spotted the child's reading esteem must also be picked up off the floor, and that takes even longer.

It's too big a risk.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 11:12:49

What is a mixed method anyway?

plusonemore Sat 02-Feb-13 11:13:31

yawn yawn

Have said all along:
phonics is crucial
every child an individual

I take time with every child to see which strategies they are using and what they need to move them forward.

Think it could be very harmful on a forum to tell someone not to let their child use pictures (as one of many strategies) when you know nothing about the child!

And the children in my school do very well in reading, thank you very much, no confusion here. What's more, they are happy, enjoy reading and parents are welcommed into school to discuss their child's reading!

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 02-Feb-13 11:17:16

No-one's saying 'don't use pictures'. Children can used pictures to glean additional information and flesh out the text, especially when they are reading books without lots of words in them, but not as a substitute for being able to decode words.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 11:18:30

Of course you use pictures with very young children. You have a picture book with a dog in it and the word dog written underneath it. It may not be your main strategy for teaching children to read but they learn that those funny squiggles have some kind of meaning. You actually teach her to read the word dog by sounding out d-o-g, if she's willing to do that. My child wasn't. She literally learned that dog spelled the word dog, cat and so on. It's only now that she's willing to sound out.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:18:41

What's 'very well in reading'? Because 'very well' doesn't sound anything like 'all children reading.

Teachers who aren't interested in knowing why some children find reading difficult, who dismiss research/other methods as 'boring' and aren't hungry to find out exactly how they could ensure every single child could read successfully totally baffle me. confused

'We're alright, Jack' is not an attitude which the teaching profession needs.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 11:21:40

How many of plusone's children can't read, feenie?

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 02-Feb-13 11:37:02

lands, you seem to be saying that it took you many, many months to get your dd to recognise words like 'dog' by associating those letters with a picture of a dog, although this strategy didn't really help her learn them securely, so she is now sounding out words in order to read them.

(If she was able to read particularly words even reasonably securely, she wouldn't even think about sounding out.)

Do correct me if I'm wrong.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:37:21

We'll never know - but I can infer from 'very well' that it's not 'all'. (And from nonsense like word shape and picture cues. You won't find research om any schools which teach reading successfully talking about those. At all.)

Seen in many times here - either they backtrack from clues like that and bluster that they meant 100% (too late) or they shrug and say some children will always struggle.

plusonemore Sat 02-Feb-13 11:40:14

yellowsub: yes they are saying 'don't use pictures'

mrz Thu 31-Jan-13 21:00:01
decoding using pictures is a big problem I'm afraid
Add message | Report | Message poster simpson Thu 31-Jan-13 21:16:10
I agree with mrz - I would not want my child using a picture to work out a word. IMO that is guessing.

I am talking about using illustrations as ONE of many strategies. I am certainly not talking about teaching whole word reading as the only method. We teach 20-30 mins of phonics every day in ability groups, but when I am reading with a child or group of children, I want to see them using a range of strategies, drawing on the meaning and the grammar. Nothing worse than a child who has to sound out every word and then doesn't have a clue what the book is about!

I'm getting annoyed because of the inflexibility shown here- "phonics is the ONLY way amen!" 'We're alright Jack' is certainly not my or my schools opinion, I can't imagine why you would think that from what I have put.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 11:41:01

No yellow, that's not what I said. The words she's sounding out today are words like telephone and tomorrow. She learned to read as a whole word reader. She just point blank refused to sound words out.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 11:42:17

Inflexibility isn't what you'll find on mumsnet. It's plain dogma.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:44:38

I'm getting annoyed because of the inflexibility shown here- "phonics is the ONLY way amen!" 'We're alright Jack' is certainly not my or my schools opinion, I can't imagine why you would think that from what I have put.

I got that becuase you aren't interested in finding out from research why weaker readers fail, and are posting those exact strategies as successful ones.

No reading teaching ignores comprehension, plusone.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 11:47:42

Yellow, if you want to know how well my daughter can read why don't you just ask me instead of misquoting me constantly in a half baked attempt to imply that I'm saying she can't read very well.

plusonemore Sat 02-Feb-13 11:49:59

I'm not interested in finding out about research ON HERE- that is what I do when I am at work! Having taught for 14 years I have read plenty of information on teaching children to read and seen some inspirational trainers. I have also seen the teaching of phonics become much more focussed and effective (anyone remember Boris and Sid??) I have also seen amazing success for 'weaker' readers with interventions such as Reading recovery- which focuses on reading as a whole and using a range of strategies. Again, I am not advocating using any one method or strategy on its own, but together. Using pictures alongside phonics and grammar cues is an effective way of developing fluency.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:55:57

Oh dear sad

That would be the Reading Recovery brought in from the US and Australia that has been declared a huge waste of money as it still fails the bottom 20% then.

Using pictures alongside phonics and grammar cues is an effective way of developing fluency.

No, it isn't, for quite a lot of children. Weaker readers have been found to over rely on pictures and/or grammar/context cues.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:58:21

And neither is reading - both are just guessing.

Mashabell Sat 02-Feb-13 11:59:11

Using pictures alongside phonics and grammar cues is an effective way of developing fluency.
It is indeed.

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 12:00:38

Based on your experience of many children is it again, Masha? wink

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 12:11:06

Reading Recovery

Says it all really [rolling eyes smilie]

I spent a lot of time investigating Reading Recovery a few years ago. The 'exemplar videos on the Dfes website and Teachers TV were harrowing. I could have wept for those poor children being 'taught' a mishmash of guessing strategies when all that was needed was for them to sound out and blend the bl**dy word...

And it is really interesting that the RR organisation won't 'allow' any research which directly compares RR with an SP intervention (I know of at least 2 researchers who have tried).

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 12:13:32

Using pictures alongside phonics and grammar cues is an effective way of developing fluency.
It is indeed.

So we don't really need to reform spelling then, marsha? Just give 'em all picture books...

plusonemore Sat 02-Feb-13 12:14:26

Perhaps it depends on who is leading it?

And from ACTUAL experience of RR I saw children make huge progress and become confident readers.

(I wasn't the RR teacher btw grin )

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 12:29:16

I have seen RR children make huge progress - largely because of the one to one tuition - and then stall again a year or so later, because the strategies RR equipped them with often fail them at a certain point, usually around Y3.

Why not the one to one tuition alongside a fail safe method that will equip them beyond that? It's baffling, it really is. They don't need to guess.

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 12:29:41

Perhaps it depends on who is leading it?

These were exemplar videos. Presumably RR would only have sanctioned showing what they considered to be good RR practice.

I've also read Marie Clay's 'Literacy Lessons, part 2' from cover to cover (my own copy). This was recommended as the most up to date RR manual. I'm afraid that, to someone used to the ease and simplicity of synthetic phonics St Marie's methods look like a complete dog's dinner. She even appears a bit mystified herself about the process from time to time!

teacherwith2kids Sat 02-Feb-13 13:15:11

Why would anyone need Reading Recovery IF initial tecahing of reading was successful for virtually all children?

We only NEED Reading Recpbvery because the initial teaching of reading - using mixed methods - has failed so many children.

In schools where excellent phonics teaching, by teachers who believe in it so don't do it in a half-baked way and confuse the issue by saying 'oh no, you have to use other clues when you read a real book, that phonics teaching is just something that we have to do', is the norm, there simply aren't the children who need Reading Recovery...

Of course, once children can decode the words well, then they are ready (very quickly) to move on to comprehension and inference and expression and all the rest. And with good phonics teaching, that initial 'learning to decode' period is very short so the maximum amount of time can be spent on the next phase of reading skills - equally if children are given books where they can decode all the words (by using phonics skills on phonic books, using the phonic sounds that they know) they can learn those 'additional' skills immediately without having to learn unhelpful non-reading strategies alongside them...

teacherwith2kids Sat 02-Feb-13 13:15:33

(Beeping keyboard, sorry)

Feenie Sat 02-Feb-13 13:27:49

Good points, teacherwith2kids.

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 15:33:39

We only NEED Reading Recpbvery because the initial teaching of reading - using mixed methods - has failed so many children.

I do know what you mean, but I would say that in that situation RR is the very last thing a child would need as it is only more of the same stuff that has already failed them.grin

You will, I'm sure, be interested to know that RR, in a very clever move to make sure that their highly indoctrinated trained teachers are never short of a job, always work with the 6 'weakest' readers in the year group.

Think about it, you could have a Y1 cohort where every child is reading, say, 6 months or more ahead of their chronological age. There will, inevitably, be 6 children who have the lowest reading ages, so they will get RR. And, because they were reading absolutely fine before they had RR they will appear to have improved at the end of RR and they will go down as a 'success' for RR. if they've been taught initially with good phonics instruction RR will love that even more, because then they can be classed as 'struggling despite having had good phonics instruction' (which, of course, makes SP look bad). RR is such a devious operation..

On the other hand, if a proper cutoff point was fixed, say reading at 6 months below CA, RR would have no 'customers' in that particular school! One expensive teacher out of a job...

mrz Sat 02-Feb-13 15:41:03

Here is the conclusion from a report into the effectiveness of RR carried out by Macquarie University Sydney

Research by independent researchers who have employed control group designs and who have used standardized assessment instruments have typically found that RR students make statistically significant gains but that these gains are more modest, are typically made by students with less severe reading difficulties, and that this occurs at considerable financial cost. *The most methodologically sophisticated study completed in Australia found that RR was probably effective for only one in three children who entered the
program*, since one child in three did not benefit appreciably while another child would have been recovered without the intervention.

Reading Recovery appears to be mildly effective but possibly not as effective as it should be given its high cost and limited utility.

Alternative option

Interventions for at-risk Year 1 readers have been suggested and trialed using more explicit teaching of phonemic awareness and phonic decoding and in small groups of about three children instead of one-to-one instruction.

maizieD Sat 02-Feb-13 16:16:53

Research.....found that RR students make statistically significant gains but that these gains are more modest, are typically made by students with less severe reading difficulties, and that this occurs at considerable financial cost.

If you look at RR data from across the world you find that they consistently 'refer on' some 23% of their pupils. 'Referring on' means that the pupil has made little or no progress and is 'referred on' for further intervention. In other words, despite their claim to be able to teach the 'hardest to teach' pupils, they actually don't succeed with them at all!

See from the research mrz quotes: these gains are more modest, are typically made by students with less severe reading difficulties...

mrz Sat 02-Feb-13 16:26:21

and only 1 in 3 benefitted from the programme hmm

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 02-Feb-13 20:13:21

lands, you've already explained how well your dd can read - you told us that she's reading yellow books after the best part of two years of being 'taught' to read.

From what you've said, she'll probably progress much faster now that she is being taught strategies to work out unfamiliar words ie phonics.

It doesn't make sense to say that she 'learnt as a whole word reader' when she's now using phonics to read fairly simple words like 'telephone' and 'tomorrow'. She's now learning to read.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 21:16:40

What on earth are you talking about? The child is four. When she started learning to read she was two. If you think she should now be doing a degree in physics I'd suggest you're a little over ambitious.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 21:49:11

Before your next misquote I should point out to you that the speed at which my daughter progresses through her scheme reading books is determined by the teacher and not by me. And she has decreed that the books are to be read in stage order. Therefore it will depend on how many books the school has at each stage and how regularly they are changed.

How my daughter progresses through the scheme bears no relevance to how well or how badly she can read. It's determined by policy.

Now, if you'd like to discuss the relative ease of reading words like telephone, tomorrow, dandelion, grapefruit, shotput, (shopping centre) and emergency exit, I'd be happy to.

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 02-Feb-13 21:52:40

No, I don't think that your dd should be doing a degree in physics.

My point is that two years of teaching to now read yellow level books is a lot of input for not a lot of progress. To contrast, my dd was reading yellow/blue books before Christmas in reception having only been able to read a few words before she started school in September. So she got there in 2 months rather than 2 years.

I'm not being at all critical of your dd's reading abilities by the way. Yellow for this point in reception is very sound, but it doesn't mean that she's 'learnt to read'.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 22:03:51

You're arguing about two separate things. One is controlled by the teacher: the reading scheme.

The other is supplied by me: learning to read.

Your argument makes about as much sense as saying French pork is healthy because Wales is too small for American farming methods.

The two are not related.

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 02-Feb-13 22:10:34

It was you that said that yellow 'non decodable books' were about right for your dd, lands.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 22:15:36

It was, yes. They're shorter and simpler than the Ladybird books that she reads with me. But I'm happy with them as school books. I haven't seen any others. She can read Tree Tops All Stars too. I bought some second hand.

learnandsay Sat 02-Feb-13 22:33:03

I don't know if you missed the angst that I had in getting anything like reasonable reading books from school. (It wasn't that the school and I argued. We didn't.) But they just sent home poor books. Now they're sending home reasonable books. If I could choose the books they'd be different. But I cant.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 07:34:53

If your daughter is able to read All Stars independently (and by that I mean without any input from adults) then yellow most certainly isn't the correct level for her. But obviously the correct level depends on how much input you need to provide for her to read other books.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 08:31:41

The trouble with the word correct is that it involves the judgement of the teacher. If for whatever reason the teacher believes that all children should read books in scheme order then the correct level will never be the same as a teacher who believes that children should read books that are at the level of their independent reading ability.

So it all depends on what one thinks the word "correct" means.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 03-Feb-13 08:33:30

mrz is right (and more knowledgeable than me).

My dd had some All Stars when she was reading lime level. She didn't love the stories (the ones she got from school had animals as characters which isn't her thing) but they were good first chapter books.

I don't know what level they start at, but it's considerably higher than yellow I would think.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 03-Feb-13 08:37:38

'Correct' in this context means a level that a child can read independently on first sight with no help from an adult ie pick up an unfamiliar text and read it.

If you're describing a situation where your dd can pick up an All Stars for the first time and read it independently, then I'm surprised that you think that yellow non decodable books are about the right level for her, as there's a world of difference.

In this circumstance, I would ask for my child's reading to be properly assessed.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 08:38:40

All Stars are right at the end of the scheme and are for advanced readers. But that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that different teachers obviously have different opinions on what a reading scheme is for. My daughter's teacher said last term that she could "rush my daughter through the scheme."

She also said that she did not want to and that (a) she did not want to do that (b) her school books had to be read in order.

So, clearly her view or" correct" is not the same as the one being put forward here.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 08:45:57

As you were the one using the word "correct" learnandsay it depends on what you mean when you say you think it is the "correct level" we can only offer opinions based on the information you provide.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 03-Feb-13 08:46:48

If there's a large disparity between what your dd is able to read independently at home and her school books, then you're probably best off using your energies in getting her reading level assessed rather than debating the semantics of the word 'correct'.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 08:50:26

Obviously I don't know how your child's school use All Stars but they are intended for "high flyers" (according to OUP) not as part or end of the scheme

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 08:55:29

It sounds as if your daughter's teachers view of correct is based on what your daughter needs in order to learn effectively which I share. I don't however agree that a child needs to read every single book in order and feel teachers should use their professional judgement to decide what a child needs and not be influenced by silly policies or dare I say it parents!

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 09:02:05

All Stars start at gold book band

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 09:02:45

As far as I can tell, other than giving me non decodable books, the teacher hasn't been influenced by parents.

I don't think anyone is saying that the teacher's view isn't based on what she thinks is necessary. It's just different people's views of necessary will not be the same. Some teachers do "rush through the scheme" and others don't.

In some senses it could be said that it depends whether or not the teacher believes the scheme is necessary to be gone through methodically or not. I'm not sure that her view is specifically related to my child. It doesn't seem so. But I can't know that for sure.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 09:08:14

I agree that peoples views on what is necessary learnandsay but hopefully your daughter's teacher's view is based on assessment of what your child needs to learn and any gaps in her current knowledge.

It isn't a case of "rushing" through the scheme (we have 7 or 8 schemes not one) but choosing the correct book for the child.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 09:16:36

Rushing through the scheme is what the teacher herself said.

But, to be honest, I'd rather remain with the books that we've got than go onto decodable blue or green books. I don't know what decodable orange books are like.

I'm not using school books to advance my daughter's reading anyway. We only read them because we have to. If I didn't have to read them with her I wouldn't.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 09:19:39

I'm sure she did ...I would say something similar if a parent wanted a child to have books beyond their capability that in my professional judgement would not meet the child's learning needs ...

Why do you have to read the school books ...lots of families don't

Surely no teacher in their right minds would have a child who's at treetops stage 9/10 level reading stage three? That's beyond holding back it's down and out stifling!! If your teacher really does want every book and every stage read in correct order you will be waiting until yr 2/3 before she receives the books she's capable of now in reception. You are being far more accepting than many would be!!!

I mean I've dealt with it to some extent my dd was a level or two above what they allowed her but she wasn't 7+ stages ahead. I think most would have plenty to say about that!

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 09:28:24

I didn't ask for any books.

We sat down at parents evening and she told me that my daughter basically gets reading. Then she said "I could rush her through the scheme but I don't want to."

I went home and thought about it for a bit and wrote asking for the books we were getting at the time which were 1+ or 2 and stage 5 both at the same time. Because the 1+/2 books were useless and some stage 4 books I'd seen at an open day looked too easy. The teacher said "the books have to be read in order."

And then she said I'll send her a mixture of books and then put her up and put her up again. And since then we've been getting this random assortment of ancient non decodable books. I'm not sure there's any real sense of order in what's going on but I'm a lot happier with these books than I was with the other ones.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 09:31:19

I agree Wheremycaffeinedrip no teacher would have a child who could independently read All Stars (these are intended for young reception children so can't really be compared to treetops) reading yellow band ORT

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 09:42:18

We haven't had an ORT book for a while. We're getting all kinds of weird books. Some appear to have been colour banded several times over the generations.

I agree that sometimes children do get overlooked. One kid doing well in a class of thirty could go un noticed for a while til it's his/her groups turn to be assessed and moved on appropriately.

But id have thought that a ten minute reading assessment with your daughter would be far easier than dredging out the worlds oldest copies of ORT. If she's prepared to go off the book order for those then y not a stage four?

Perhaps it would be worth talking to the teacher again as she does t sound very communicative and I think it would be far more helpful for her to explain to u where the gaps r so that you can help her get her comprehension , knowledge of punctuation etc inline with her word recognition.

I'd go mad if my dds teacher would rather send home moth eaten copies of old books than assess her.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 09:50:01

I would be extremely worried if a child in a class of 30 got overlooked as assessment should be ongoing

Unfortunately it does happen in some schools. Fortunately not my dds but the point I was trying to make was that the teacher is going to an awful lot of trouble to keep her from progressing so either she's an awful teacher in which case I don't know how anyone could sit back and accept such a massive difference, or- there r gaps in the child's abilities which L&S has not been made aware of yet , that is the reason she's remaining on stage 3

(and mrz u sound like a good teacher ! There are a couple of schools near me where it has been mentioned in
Ofsted reports about the lack of differentiation) that's why I said that sometimes kids can get over looked. Not in all schools though

lougle Sun 03-Feb-13 10:02:27

Going back to 'one', why is that so hard to understand? Phonics uses lots of graphemes to denote phonemes. They don't always sounds as you'd expect.

so <o> can also represent the sound 'wu' (or is it 'wo', I expect it changes according to your accent?)

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 10:06:57

I would hope it is the second of your reasons Wheresmycaffinedrip

In my area the letter <o> in one would be the spelling for "wo" which is how I would teach it if the need ever arose lougle.

I would hope so to mrz or L&S is going to
Have an awful long wait to get books that she seems suitable as some schools continue reading schemes up til stage 14/15 yr five level.

lougle Sun 03-Feb-13 10:12:07

If a child consistently read 'many' successfully, but struggled to read 'any' would that just be a case of an insecure grasp of the rule?

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 10:12:53

I obviously don't know L&S daughter or her reading ability but based on L&S posts hmm

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 10:20:34

The teacher wrote in the reading diary that she would give my daughter a mixture of reading books and then move her up and then move her up again.

We're getting the mixture of reading books now. So I suppose at some point she'll move her up and move her up again. I don't want to interfere unnecessarily with what the teacher is doing. She seems to have a method of sorts and I'm not unhappy with it. OK, I don't understand her method. But I'm not unhappy with it.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 10:36:58

If I had to guess what she's doing I'd guess that she's giving my daughter's reading a thorough MOT before putting her up the levels she talked about. The reason being that if she had taught my daughter to read herself she would have a thorough knowledge of what the child knows and what she doesn't. But since I taught her she doesn't know. And consequently giving her a weird mixture of all the non decodable books she can find is revealing my daughter's knowledge. It's possible the teacher is planning something similar at the other levels too.

teacherwith2kids Sun 03-Feb-13 10:37:49

Tbh, L&S, in your position I would be unhappy with it.

It either says that the teacher doesn't know your daughters true ability (which would be VERY bad indeed) OR that despite what you think your daughter can do based on her reading at home, there are significant gaps in that which her teacher feels that she needs to fill (which obviously you need to understand, as otherwise your work at home vs what she needs to learn will diverge more and more widely and will not enable your daughter to progress).

btw, the books she reads at home such as the All stars- approximately how many word per book do you need to tell her? There is obviously a difference between reading such a book with a parent who tells a child 4-5 words per page, and a child reading the book and stopping to work out for themselves, with a little support, 3 or 4 words per book.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 11:22:43

As a teacher you can quickly work out a child's level of knowledge and ability - children move schools all the time and spending half a year to work out what they have previously been taught would't be acceptable

teacherwith2kids Sun 03-Feb-13 11:25:22

I have a new pupils arriving tomorrow morning. By Wednesday, she should be in the correct Maths group, appropriately grouped for Literacy, and have a reading book reflective of her true ability. By the end of the week, I would also expect to have a decent idea of which spellings she needs to learn, and which times tables form her next step, as well as knowing where she needs to go next to improve her writing. It's what teachers do.

teacherwith2kids Sun 03-Feb-13 11:26:27

(Oh, and she'll be the 32nd pupil in a class that I only moved to 4 weeks ago)

Just out of curiosity though , when a teacher or TA uses the line "we want them to read all the books in a level" what does that mean? There seem to be loads of people on MN (myself included) who have been told this at some point. Is it a sign of bad teaching, a teacher being polite or just a case of assessment has t happened yet?

I'm honestly just curious as a scary amount of people have been given this line and from what all you teachers are saying , it's not something that should be happening ? smile

teacherwith2kids Sun 03-Feb-13 12:16:03

I would say that there might be two reasons for saying it:

1. Bad policy on behalf of the school (see the example of the school I gave above)

2. It's a kinder / easier message to parents than 'actually, no, I'm not going to move your child up, because they're not ready for the next level yet, despite what you think....'

Neither reason is good, as in the latter case it is MUCH better to give the parent an honest assessment of their child's strengths and weaknesses (cf the discussion as to whether L&S's daughter really needs to be on yellow books)

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 12:26:41

It either means the school hasn't enough books has a policy or it means I'm listening but you but I think your child isn't ready for the next level just yet...

I did wonder .... But then there did seem to be a ton of stage four books and I asked for stage gives along side. Received one as it was end of term and new teacher bumped her up to stage six after the Hols so I assumed it was just a case of "it's end of term we won't start it yet"

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 13:15:57

if it is a case of "it's end of term" I would be unhappy

There did appear to be a Lot of winding down the last few weeks of reception and there was slot of other stuff on. Fortunately in yr one progress has been well noted and appropriate levels assigned.

As much as my dd loves her school I do think that being one of the older ones she was hoping for a bit less play and more learning strange child smile year one much more productive

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 14:36:46

Interesting mrz some good points there smile

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 15:20:43

I think it's relevent to the "rushing" through the scheme discussion

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 16:55:55

I agree with the not rushing through the reading scheme, but what about kids who are capable of more and are being held back??

If I was LandS I would be pushing for my DD to have her reading assessed properly and to be put at the correct level. You say you are happy with stage 3 non decodable books, but surely you would be even happier with the correct level book??

You can look through the Oxford owl website and try and level her yourself. If it turns out that she could cope with 2/3 levels harder then I would not sweat it tbh but any more than that I would want them on the correct level.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 17:13:16

simpson I think the issue is more about whether those children have mastered all the earlier skills before they are moved on which could leave gaps in knowledge and cause the child problems later.

Unfortunately with my dd it can be a vicious circle. If she's not interested challenged and engaged then u won't get what you are after from her in order to move her on. But as a result you would probably struggle to assess if she is capable and there for perhaps be reluctant to move her on. Which of course leaves her bored ..... hmm

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 17:47:53

When I first started teaching I had a child in my reception class whose mum was a qualified teacher (although she had never been employed as such). She insisted that he should move up the reading scheme at high speed and questioned my every decision. It turned out she had all the scheme books at home and was teaching him to recite the next book in the scheme so that he would be the "best reader". It came to a head when the next book wasn't available and he didn't know where to begin reading the alternative he had been given. hmm

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 17:54:37

Mrz - I absolutely agree. If you have a child who is reading pretty fluently when they start reception though, the best way is to do a reading assessment and find out where those gaps are (this is what they did with my DD). If I had been told that she had phonetic gaps in her knowledge as she was self taught ( and a few sounds pointed out by me) then I would be happy for her to be on the appropriate reading level.

But it sounds like LandS's daughter has not had that assessment..

My next door neighbours have a DD in my DD's class and they were talking to be about their DD's reading book from school and saying that they like her to read it at least 5 times so she has "learnt it". hmm

I do get on well with them so I pointed out that it might be better to have her read it twice and get some books from the library at the same level.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 17:56:01

Oops me not be!!!

shock that's awful poor child sad

I'd have loved nothing more than for my dd to have loved reading the books and progressing at a steady rate with the earlier books. Sadly the opposit happened and they bored her to tears and she got extremely upset and frustrated having to read them. It's only now in yr one that things have improved and she is starting to reAlise that if she can suck
It up if only for the moment she reads to teacher or TA then she will be given more interesting books and a chance to
Enjoy it.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 18:16:12

I would be very surprised if the teacher hasn't assessed all the class simpson. Assessment in reception is continual.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 18:43:13

Well then I don't understand the books she has been put on. If there are gaps in her phonic knowledge then surely phonic books would help, rather than non decodable ones confused

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 18:52:30

I think learnandsay has said she prefers the non decodable books...

But a words a word?? A non decodable book wouldn't be good for a child learning phonics but a sight reader could read any book surely?

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 19:13:07

A sight reader is just someone who has worked out basic phonics for themself.

So no such thing as a non decodable book then? smile I dont remember stage three being anything more than a max of two lines on a page. The variety came from about stage four onwards. Wondering what on earth these books could be.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 19:34:35

If they are ORT they will probably throw in words that the average child won't be able to decode yet ...things like concrete in the very earliest books hmmremember they were written for multi cueing methods ...look at the picture and "infer" ...look at the initial letter and see if that helps ...miss out the word and keep reading ...

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 19:36:05

All books are decodable once a readers has the knowledge and skills needed ...we are back to the learning to drive or music analogies.

See my dd just used the pictures to wind me up grin she looked at the word then used the picture to make sure she described everything it could be rather than say the one word that it was. Eg dad looked through the yellow "big round thing you walk through that's yellow" funnily enough when I covered pictures she had no choice but to read the actual
Words. Needless to say tunnel was the word and with no picture to describe every possible alternative she got it straight away.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 20:06:45

Yep, DD had the book with "concrete" in it and "pancake" (at pink level)....

The Snowman was another book I remember, it had words like "blue" "nose" "gloves" etc in it which are all perfectly decodable but I wouldn't expect a child at red level to necessarily be able to read them (without cheating and using the pictures).

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 20:19:55

unfortunately Wheresmycaffeinedrip some children don't have any alternative strategies to read words. They too can talk for ever about the illustrations but unlike your child can't read the words.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 20:20:16

I gave her a test with a second hand More Robins ORT stage 7 tonight.

There are about 30 wpp. This is the first time I've never said anything to her while reading. I just let her get on with it. She needed three goes at cardboard. She got card straight away but had to think about the word to make it. Everything else she got right first time. On the other page that she read she got nothing wrong reading "driving", "narrow", "country," "lanes", "raining", "traffic", and "remember." The other words were all easier. It's the first time I've just let her read a more difficult book without any help at all in order to see whether or not she could read it. I won't be doing it much more. My aim isn't to make the child read Dickens unaided at five. It's just to be able to read.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 20:24:37

A further problem involves the accuracy of contextual guesses. In a study by Gough, Alford and Holley-Wilcox (1981), well educated, skilled readers, when given adequate time, could guess correctly only one word in four through contextual cues. Gough (1993) pointed out that even this low figure was reached only when the prose was loaded with fairly predictable words. Interestingly, although good readers are more sensitive to context cues to elicit the meaning of unfamiliar words, they do not need to use context to decode unknown words (Tunmer & Hoover, 1993)".

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 20:25:56

sorry wrong place! blush

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 20:35:24

But most people's aim is not to make their child read Dickens at whatever age (I would hope!!) but to see what they can cope with (when learning to read) and to encourage a love of reading.

So now you know she can cope with stage 7 would you not want the school to provide harder books?

BTW I do get what you are saying. If my DD had to go through all the stages one after the other then I would rather her read non decodable yellow books too (than decodable ones at yellow level).

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 20:46:42

I'm not sure what the school is doing, to be honest. I'm fairly sure that it isn't extending or perfecting her reading ability. I think it's just treading water with her. It's the same thing that I hear people say about their children who can multiply two digit numbers in Reception. Sometimes they've forgotten how to do it by the time they leave.

The teacher says she going to move her up twice and I believe her. She also told us there would be no reading assessment until after Christmas. So it's possible a few children are reading the "wrong" books.

Do I want her to give my daughter the "right" books? No, not really. It's far easier for me to source the correct books for my daughter and for me to advance her reading at home than it is for me to change the teacher's behaviour. She's obviously got some kind of a plan. I'm inclined to let her get on with it. On the whole I see the school's involvement in teaching my daughter to read as a bystanding one. And as the teacher herself said "she basically gets reading" I don't see much proactive help coming anyway.

I'm inclined to let sleeping dogs lie.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 20:49:38

>> It's the same thing that I hear people say about their children who can multiply two digit numbers in Reception. Sometimes they've forgotten how to do it by the time they leave.

Erm, this is nuts. If they actually understand how that multiplication works, it would be impossible to forget it. If they don't understand it, they were just performing a kind of parlour trick.

You know some strange people.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 20:52:52

People forget techniques all the time. It's known colloquially as "getting rusty".

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 21:03:11

Getting rusty isn't the same as forgetting.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 21:06:10

Too true. But I don't think we send our children to school to get rusty. I think we send them to learn.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:11:22

People do forget techniques. But they don't tend to forget concepts.

mrz Sun 03-Feb-13 21:11:36

You said "forget" earlier learnandsay which is it?
If a child understands multiplication when they begin school they will still know multiplication at the end of reception ...teachers don't remove knowledge from children's brains.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:14:41

Being able to perform a series of actions which result in multiplication isn't the same as understanding what those actions do. Much like being able to recognise some words isn't the same as being able to read.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 21:15:16

The term "getting rusty" isn't precisely the same as forget because if you forget you have no memory at all, whereas if you get rusty you have a partial memory. So getting rusty is one element of the set of methods of forgetting.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:17:16

If you understand the concept of multiplication it is simply not possible to forget it, barring dementia or similar which I imagine is a rare problem in Reception class children.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:18:35

Multiplication isn't something you have to remember or even CAN partially remember! Once you have understood what it is, it is with you as long as your brain works properly.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 21:20:52

This is an interesting argument. Because what it's based on is the concept that if you have been shown something once and have understood it you will always be able to reproduce it. Is that correct?

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 21:21:41

I think if a child has taught them self to do something whether it is multiplication (there is a boy who can multiply 2 digit numbers in DD's class too) or read or whatever, then they are unlikely to forget how to do it because they are obviously driven to want to know how to do it.

If they have been taught how to do it by their parents and have zero concept of what they are doing (which would be the case if I showed DD how to do multiplication) that's when they forget how to do it.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 21:23:36

I told DD once the ow/ou sound (amongst others) and I have never had to tell her again. But numeracy is her weaker "thing" and she would not pick things up so quickly because it " doesn't float her boat" iyswim.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 21:23:57

I didn't say the child had taught himself. This is more a case of the parent teaching the child all kinds of things and then not using them.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:28:26

>> if you have been shown something once and have understood it you will always be able to reproduce it. Is that correct?

No, that's not correct. If you have understood a mathematical concept properly, eg addition or multiplication, it is not then possible to forget how to understand it barring some kind of brain injury. If you have simply learnt how to perform multiplication using a series of steps that someone else has told you about, it is perfectly possible to forget how to do it. But as you didn't understand what you were doing in the first place it doesn't really matter that much. If you have discovered multiplication for yourself and understood it properly, you cannot forget it any more than you can forget the idea of nothing or the idea of kindness or the idea of blue.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 21:30:17

To be fair, I don't know if the boy in DD's class taught himself either grin

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:31:58

DD is in Y1 and understands multiplication. She came up with the idea herself when she was about three and was delighted to have worked out that if you had three groups of three things you'd have nine things. She knows what it means. At six, she knows no times tables and I am not in a hurry to teach her because the more times she works it out from first principles herself, the better she will understand it.

She can multiply two digit numbers together, btw. She uses a completely non-standard method, a pen and paper and a lot of dots. I'm just letting her get on with it. She finds it endlessly fascinating and I find arithmetic dull but hey, whatever floats her boat.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:32:16

lands, if this is the first time ever that you have listened to your dd read without saying anything, that may well explain why there is such a gap between what you perceive her reading ability to be and her teacher has assessed it as being.

Independent reading means reading without any help. Which is different from what you've been doing.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 21:33:43

OK, ok. But I'm not saying any of these children have taught themselves anything. They have been taught sets of steps and can reproduce them.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:14

Surely it's not a "party trick" if a Reception child can multiply any two digit numbers that it's given that's not a party trick.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:37:10

>> They have been taught sets of steps and can reproduce them.

That's pointless. As you see, it is very easy to forget sets of steps. It is not easy to forget genuine understanding. There is no real point in teaching children to perform sets of steps. It would be of more use to give the child a box of raisins (having counted them and made sure they weren't a prime number) and ask him or her to sort it into as many equal groups as possible.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:37:44

Of course it's a party trick if the child doesn't actually understand how it works.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 21:39:10

Yellow, as far as I know the teacher's assessment hasn't finished yet. She said that my daughter would be moved up and she hasn't been yet. She said that we would get a mixture of books and we're still getting a mixture. I think it's too early to talk about gaps. Maybe when the teacher tells me that she has moved my daughter up enough and gives her books that are still too easy, then we can talk about gaps. But that hasn't happened yet. And it may not happen ever.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 21:42:36

DD is just about coping with one more/less than tbh.

Actually she can do it quite easily but insists on counting from 1 to do less than 29 for example.

It is totally age appropriate and I am in no hurry for her to learn more if that makes sense. She counts on her abacus (to herself) and that's fine by me. If I taught her to do multiplication she maybe able to go through the steps as her memory is good and yes it would be a party trick because she would not have a clue what she is doing.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 21:44:34

Well, haberd, I think you and I have a different understanding of multiplication then and are not ever going to be reconciled. Because my understanding involves places of value and carrying units. It's all too easy in my understanding to forget the procedure involved in carrying out the sum whilst still remembering what the desired outcome might possibly have looked like and not have any method of checking it.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:51:34

As mrz points out, assessment is ongoing - of course the teacher hasn't 'finished' - assessment is never 'finished'.

In terms of it being too early to talk about gaps, I'm now a bit bemused as to why you've written so many posts talking about the difference between what your dd reads at home and the school reading books.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:54:33

>> my understanding involves places of value and carrying units

That's just a series of actions. You do know what multiplication is, yes? Could you forget that? If you could, then you don't understand what it is.

There is no reconciliation to take place. If someone understands the concept of multiplication it is simply not possibly to forget it. If you understand what multiplication is, you can just work out whatever the sum is from first principles. It may well take you a bit longer but in the long run it will be hugely more valuable to you than learning how to carry one or whatever.

>> DD is just about coping with one more/less than tbh.

That sounds very normal for her age. Two more than or less than is probably the next thing. And it is good to do it with actual physical objects IMO because it makes it real and the concept of number a proper real physical thing.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 21:55:53

A child who understands multiplication would definitely have a method of checking, btw. It would be called adding up. It might take a while but it would work.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 22:02:53

I haven't, everybody else has. I was the one who said they were about right.

I think there was a forum assumption that yellow level meant ORT yellow level. But I did say several pages ago that some poor student had been sent down into the basement to dig up all of the yellow books in creation, even the ones so old that the sellotape holding them together was brown and cracked.

The thrust of the argument is either she's on the right books or she isn't. But it's possible that she's on the right books in order to assess which other books she should be moved on to. That's what the teacher wrote in the diary.

It would seem as if some people are unhappy with the speed at which the teacher is carrying out her assessment. I'm not unhappy. I don't think the current books are all that ridiculous and they're not the books I'm using to teach.

So I'm happy.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 22:06:22

That's funny. I'm not sure that I could add up 67 x 88

I wouldn't expect my four year old to do it.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 22:16:10

My just six year old regularly does similar things for fun. She's finding out about the patterns of numbers and how they work.

If you understood multiplication, you could probably add it up fairly quickly. DD's method involves coloured dots for tens and hundreds and a simple addition for the unit column, which then spills over into tens. It's basically normal numerical notation only with dots and colours and then she counts them at the end. It does mean she will never forget what multiplication means, even if she gets taught a quick way of completing the same steps. A child who had just been taught the steps would find it very easy to forget, I should think.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 22:22:20

OK, haberd, maybe you can give me a fuller explanation another time. If it's really useful then that's fantastic. Well done, haberd and little haberd.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 22:24:19

Haberdashery - she counts on the abacus and counts Lego in doing number bonds etc so I guess she is getting there smile

LandS - a few months ago DD was on yellow jolly phonics books which I was happy with (she read other stuff at home like your DD does) and I had no way of comparing jolly phonics books to the more usual ORT as the JF books seemed harder and so I was happy with them ( as was DD). Not that I was happy with them because they were harder but because she was happy to read them and I don't think she would have wanted to read ORT yellow books ("they are boring mummy") iyswim.

And tbh I would be pissed off if my DD's assessment was still not done. They should know by now (nearly half way through the year) what any child can do in their class IMO.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 22:25:27

I don't think explaining works. You have to discover it for yourself. I'd just go with the boxes of raisins if I were you. Children don't need as much instruction as you might think.

Haberdashery Sun 03-Feb-13 22:34:53

I am sure she is doing just fine, Simpson. Abacuses are lovely for counting. And I also really like Cuisenaire rods for early number work because they make everything so explicit.

Also, I meant to say, counting up from 1 to 29 or whatever isn't useless. Your DD is fixing the meaning of 29 or any other number in her head. She is understanding the concept of 29. Letting her do this for as long as she wants to won't hold her back. Give her twenty or thirty raisins and get her to sort them into equal groups if you want to give her something to think about. Then she can eat some and try the same exercise. If you eat only one at a time, it's really v interesting. You can turn this into odd and even numbers if she seems ready to understand that. You could talk about prime numbers too if that seems appropriate.

I see a lot of posts on here worrying about reading but as a nation I don't think we worry about early maths instruction enough.

learnandsay Sun 03-Feb-13 22:36:03

I don't know, simpson. I really don't know. Because we have learning as play. If there was a rule that the three rs were the most important things then we'd probably have a different perspective.

The school did make it plain that there would be no reading assessments (of any kind) done before Christmas. So any parents wanting their children to be put on green or lime immediately would have been disappointed.

Is the teacher doing some "weirdo home made" assessment? I don't know, maybe. Has she said she would move my daughter up and lied because she found phonic holes in her knowledge? Maybe, yes. Maybe.

But, do you know what I really think? I think that the school just doesn't think that there is all that much hurry. They get round to things in the time that it takes them to get round to things. And they still get the best results in the area according to the league tables.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 22:55:40

I am not worried about DD numeracy wise (although she does not find it as easy as reading or writing) she will get there (and I will support her if she needs it).

She loves the game "shut the box" which DS plays with her.

Her teacher knows she does not find numeracy as easy as literacy as has given me ideas of things to do with her (if she wants to) but its all pretty low key at this stage.

I would be concerned with a school that does not assess kids till Xmas (and that was a while ago). All kids were assessed in everything on entry to reception (in DD's yr group and that is 90 kids-I would have thought that normal tbh) and DD was assessed again the first week after the Xmas holidays and i am sur she was not the only one. But I guess all you can do is support your child at home and raise any concerns with the teacher as they arise.

simpson Sun 03-Feb-13 22:57:02

Haberdashery - good idea grin and she would love to eat them after wards grin

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 06:58:35

Because what it's based on is the concept that if you have been shown something once and have understood it you will always be able to reproduce it. Is that correct?

certainly not! It's based on the concept that you have secure understanding and can apply that understanding whenever it is appropriate.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 07:00:25

I think perhaps you have a different concept of what "continual assessment" means to teachers learnandsay.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:02:22

Yes. I'd say it was somewhere between extremely unlikely to completely impossible that the teacher didn't have any idea of where children were in literacy in a whole term.

She'd had gleaned some of that information in the first morning that she spent with the class.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 10:09:39

I'm not sure which teacher you're referring to, yellow. But my daughter's first book home had no words at all in it and her second was Sam's Pot. My daughter could already read Dr Seuss books before she arrived in school and I told them that on the "write all about me" sheet that they ask parents and children to fill in. I guess thy use those for loo paper or something.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 10:31:40

I also wrote all the Dr Seuss books, all the Elsie Marinarik books, Mick Inkpen, Michael Rosen and Beth Parker books that she can read in the table marked books I have read (with an explanation) at the front of the reading diary.

So every time the teachers opened the reading diary they had a list of what her reading ability was like

and they still spend a term sending me home ORT 1+ ORT 2 level books
which I could do nothing with.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 04-Feb-13 12:07:57

Any teacher, lands.

Sorry, but I can't quite get my head around that you could 'do nothing' with ORT 2 books but ORT 3 ones make you happy. There's not a huge difference.

It's unlikely that the school use the 'write about me' sheets for loo paper. It's more likely that the teacher noticed very quickly that there was a huge disparity between what you reported that your dd could read and what the teacher worked out that she could do independently, and she didn't want to hurt your feelings.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:10:52

The books we've got now are not ORT that's been my whole point. I can see why you've not understood anything I've said now.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:13:10

And the book with no words in?

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 04-Feb-13 12:25:48

Sorry, you're now happy with the yellow non-decodable ORT3 equivalent books? Is that right?

How is the books not being ORT been your whole point? ORT aren't 100% decodable, though I thought that you wanted this.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:26:58

They're not ORT equivalent. What made you say that?

simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 12:30:28

I thought that if a book was "yellow band" then it's stage 3 regardless of Biff et al, jolly phonics, or Ginn 360 (ie non decodable) as that is the point of coloured book bands.

Although I agree some books within this band can seem harder than others (JP IMO).

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 04-Feb-13 12:37:38

Because you said that your dd's teacher was insistent that books were read in order and level 3 comes after level 2, lands...

Quite, simpson. And it's unlikely that the books are Jolly Phonics as they're very old, battered and stored in a basement according to lands, and JP is a relatively modern scheme.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:38:45

There are other stages within yellow. But that's still talking about ORT.

But these books aren't ORT and don't have stages. Some are more than twenty years old. They're a real hodge podge. Some have more than one colour band on them. But I've already said all this...

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 12:42:33

Or it could be mistaken labelling which places stage four books in yellow band. (We've had some labelled that way in the past.)

simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 12:56:01

I know they are not JP ones but I just used them as an example as my DD had them a few months ago and they are much harder than yellow ORT books and within yellow level have 6 levels of difficulty iyswim.

LandS - I get what you are saying in that you would rather your DD have some books with some "bite" to them (for want of a better word) but by now I would have thought the teacher should have your child on the correct level of reading books rather than using old ones. What will happen when she has read them all?

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 13:07:17

What the teacher wrote was:

"The books need to be read in order. I'll give her a mixture of reading books and then move her up and then I'll move her up again."

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 13:10:58

If we get decodable ORT blue/green and they're too easy I'll ask for the non decodable blue/green ones. But by that time it'll be getting a bit silly. I'll try and have a word with the teacher and see if we can't think of a better system. I can live with the one we're using at the moment. But it is a bit bonkers.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 04-Feb-13 14:56:17

It's because you're making it bonkers, lands.

You say that you trust your dd's teacher and it's a good school. It may all be a bit less bonkers if you just let them get on with it.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 15:38:52

They're not doing much. As I said, the children who started off unable to read haven't done digraphs yet. At the rate they're going it'll be the end of Y1 before those children are reading half way decent books. By the way, I've just seen another reading list which puts Dr Seuss books at the beginning and puts Lion Witch & Wardrobe at intermediate. On that kind of list there's no place for Sam's Pot and books with no words in them.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 15:41:45

Tonight's reading book was published in 1970. When I opened it for a minute I mistook it for one I had in school.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 16:47:30

There are other stages within yellow. But that's still talking about ORT.

Yellow book band is a universal system that applies across different publishers and authors learnandsay so no it isn't about ORT.

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 16:49:59

I'd be surprised if the band you're talking about applies to books published in 1970.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 17:01:25

Then be surprised learnandsay because the "inventors" of the book banding system looked at books right back to the early reading schemes and graded them according to level of difficulty and each level was given a coloured banding.
Teachers can buy a handbook that allows them to band most childrens books not just reading schemes including Dr Seuss and Mick Inkpen etc

simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 17:14:38

DD's book is Australian and has no coloured band on it so the teachers have levelled it themselves.

There are other books that have been levelled according to the publisher which the school have changed. I remember DD having one book called " The Lion and the Mouse" which was a pink book according to the publisher as the adult was supposed to read the main body of the text and the child just to read the speech bubble (which said something like "I can, I can!" iirc) but the school re-levelled it to blue because they wanted the child to read the whole book.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 17:14:39

A quick scan suggests the oldest books in the BB system are from the 1950s

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 17:15:58

simpson the will probably have used

learnandsay Mon 04-Feb-13 17:58:01

Sure, if you own enough coloured labels you can stick them on anything you want including the furniture. I was following a discussion on TES about sticking colour bands on retro books and they couldn't understand how to do it.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 18:07:03

They buy the Institute of Educations Book Banding For Guided Reading handbook (4th ed) and it lists all the books by reading scheme and by title for each book band it's a boring but simple job.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 18:08:00

It also includes lots of titles by well known children's authors organised by book band.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 18:10:17

the KS2 version is called Bridging Bands for KS2

bruffin Mon 04-Feb-13 18:14:23

Its hardly new either. Ds is 17 and they used the colour book bands when he was in reception. They even had the Roger Red Hat books that I read in the 60s colour coded.

bruffin Mon 04-Feb-13 18:59:34

I meant dcs school still had the Roger Red Hat books colour coded with stickers

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 19:09:30

Yes 1,2,3 and Away and Gayway readers are in the handbook

morethanpotatoprints Mon 04-Feb-13 19:13:45


Ah, Roger Red Hat were the first books my ds1 (now aged 21) brought home from school. I had forgotten then found this, thanks for the blast from the past.

As you were!

bruffin Mon 04-Feb-13 19:17:55

I'm 50 and read them at school so was a bit shocked to find my Ds bringing home what looked like original copies.

simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 19:19:23

DD got a book on Friday which was an American/Canadian book from 1963 (not a school type book but a little chapter book) and they had levelled that one. Although I cannot imagine that it would be listed I guess that there is certain criteria used.

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 04-Feb-13 19:19:26

A quick question, retro school bookers...

My dd has just come home with a Cassell Red Lion Book called 'The Dogs of the Marsh' published in 1981. She chose it herself and it looks to be on par with the Secret Seven or so.

Is anyone familiar with these books?

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 19:52:07

I'm intrigued simpson ...any hints to the name of the book?

Cassell were independent publishers, situated in Red Lion Square for over 100 years. They were taken over by Orion in 1998.

simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 20:02:22

Mrz - Amelia Bodelia. DD really loved it but it's very old fashioned with lovely little drawings in.

simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 20:04:29

Oops, it's Bedelia.

I have just found it on amazon.

It is the one with the red cover.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 20:15:20
simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 20:19:56

It's not that one, if you put Amelia Bedelia in amazon it's the 5th one down (red cover).

Sorry, I can't do links blush

simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 20:20:48

And DD has been given the old style cover, not the newer updated one.

mrz Mon 04-Feb-13 20:27:38

The new one has a different author and was published 2010? just thought it was interesting they are still being published (1963 version)

simpson Mon 04-Feb-13 20:50:13

That's the one grin

I did have a look at the newer ones and they look easier than the one she read.

She absolutely loved it though. It was the HT's copy so will not get trashed by loads of kids reading it.

learnandsay Tue 05-Feb-13 06:59:59

Yellow, according to your theory that the teacher is always right, it would seem that mums who complain that their children learn phonics but get non decodable books send home are wrong to complain, right?

Because the teacher has done an accurate assessment of all her children's literacy skills on the first morning and the non decodable books are right for them. It's the mums who are wrong.