Reading question for YR2...

(51 Posts)
educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 20:39:16

My dc has come to the end of the reading scheme and is now a 'free reader' which apparently means dc can choose from a selection of books to read (not from a reading scheme) is this normal at this stage?

I expected her to still be on a reading scheme with A specific format for a bit longer but still read books she has choose from the library etc.

BendyBusBuggy Fri 15-Mar-13 20:40:48

Normal, i think - it just means your dc is good at reading smile

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 20:45:59

This is where I'm a bit sceptical as I feel, at times that she struggles with reading!! Teacher assures me she is fine...but I'm not sure and I only have friends children to compare to (who are very bright and advanced readers) so I don't really know what the 'norm' is.

incywincyspideragain Fri 15-Mar-13 21:12:02

it means she's good at reading - not just reading the words but understanding the context and doing comprehension.
ds is yr 2 and still on staged books even though he is a 'free reader' at home because he needs to improve his comprehension and recall of the story at school - teacher called it 'barking at the text' if he can't do this on demand.
I think the aim is to get the majority of children free reading at school by the end of yr2 so she's slightly ahead I'd say smile

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 21:19:21

So is there any particular criteria a book should have to qualify as a 'free reader' book?
And in terms of levels why does the reading chest go up to white etc as I assume there are still reading scheme books for the final bands? I personal feel she prob still needs some books tailored for 'learning' to read as her reading is inconsistent.

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 21:19:56


simpson Fri 15-Mar-13 21:45:53

In my DC school they become "free readers" after finishing lime level of ORT.

This happens at the start of yr3 (they don't like having free readers in KS1 -whole different story).

Has your DD finished lime level?

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 21:51:28

The books she has read don't follow the same coloured levels as I've seen on the reading chest so I'm assuming what she has finished equates to what would be the last 'normal level' before becoming a free reader.
I did approach her teacher about possible options for a higher level reading scheme book but she said they wouldnt benefit her! Not convinced myself!!

simpson Fri 15-Mar-13 21:55:37

Is it your DD that has the dreaded jolly phonics books?

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 21:57:01

That's the books she has don't worry I'm not complaining they are done with but think she could of maybe moved onto sometimes else rather then free reading!?

simpson Fri 15-Mar-13 22:00:06

The last stage of JP books is the same as ORT stage 7 I I would not have thought she would be ready for free reading yet (my opinion) but then my idea of free reading would to be able to read Roald Dahl etc....

Although it does depend on what books they are now giving her. Do they not have any scheme books after blue JP?

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 22:07:54

Think the info I found online said jp blue equated to turquoise reading band, don't know what level that is.

She is reading early readers I have bought, and has choosen some none fiction books from the school and they have quizzes at the end which she has answers correctly even though there were some words she needed help with.

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 22:08:47


simpson Fri 15-Mar-13 22:10:04

I guess each schools idea of a free reader is different and as long as the books she is getting (from school) are not too hard then it should be fine.

simpson Fri 15-Mar-13 22:12:22

Yes turquoise is stage 7 IIRC....

DD has been put back onto JP (non fiction) and we had one about Henry Ford the other week (I wanted to slit my wrists listening to her read it grin).

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 22:13:23

Having said that I've just had a look on the reading chest at the lime non fiction example book/page and it is very similar to what she has been reading to me tonight (chosen from the school library) so maybe I need to have more faith blush

simpson Fri 15-Mar-13 22:16:11


gaelicsheep Fri 15-Mar-13 22:22:41

educator - from bitter personal experience I would say don't knock it! If you've managed to ditch the reading scheme then celebrate fgs!

educator123 Fri 15-Mar-13 22:25:24

smile thank you - I do see what you mean a lot of the schemes are awful.

But in my eyes she has struggled with reading (maybe it's me - nothing to compare to) so I don't want her to go ahead if she isn't ready.

PastSellByDate Sat 16-Mar-13 06:13:44

Hi educator123

agree with most of what has been posted above. I just thought I comment on your I don't want her to go ahead is she isn't ready comment.

Just because your child is labelled 'free reader' doesn't mean you have to stop reading with them and they have to stop reading to you.

You may not feel so duty bound to do it every evening or so - but you can still build in reading time into your week. DH has his favourites (the Hobbit being one) which is above DDs reading ability - so he reads to them once a week. Eldest is asked to read some & when there is an easy passage youngest asked to read as well. Both still like to read to me and I find it useful to read with them at least 1x or 2x a week just to check that they understand what they're reading.

Take this label 'free reader' as an opportunity for you and your DC to explore what books are out there and develop new interests/ new favourites.

My main role now is to identify words that they clearly don't understand and talk about their meaning. I've played dumb and looked up words, so that they feel free to do so as well. It's really important that they absorb it isn't just reading the words out loud (or to themselves); it's about understanding them.

Another trick is to google book title + worksheets (i.e. Lion, Witch & Wardrobe series by CS Lewis (admittedly when she's slightly older) - CS Lewis foundation has some brilliant study guides full of ideas ( No you don't have to do it all - but you can steal a few good ideas and really start that process of thinking about the story's deeper meaning going). Also good for Harry Potter: ( or just as two examples - we recently found the Harry Potter Character jumble a lot of fun to play with 8 - 10 year olds who I was hosting on a snow day).

some great reading ideas here: - they keep changing website - but basically look for Book Finder - books are organised by age groups and genres.

Guardian building children's library article:


exoticfruits Sat 16-Mar-13 06:26:25

The best thing is to join a library, if you haven't already, and go every week.

redskyatnight Sat 16-Mar-13 10:22:56

At DS's school the "free readers" (which is everyone over lime level) still pick their books out of a coloured box - they are all "real" books by this stage. I actually think this is useful as it ensures that DS continues to try books that are a little bit challenging - left to himself he tends to pick very easy readers. The school still requires regular reading. As you say there are still skills to be learnt at this stage and we've had interesting dicussion about some of t he themes in the books.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 12:57:18

What year group is your daughter educator?

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 13:04:10

Ignore my stupid question ...I didn't read the thread title.

Personally I think children still need structure and guidance to choose books that will develop as readers at this age and feel the whole "free reader" concept is a cop out.

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 13:13:13

If the school doesn't use reading scheme books doesn't that mean that its children were always free readers?

noramum Sat 16-Mar-13 13:19:21

learnandsay: no, I wouldn't think so. Our Infant school gives out everything from ORT to toddler books to factual ones to Usborne First/Young Reader series. They aim is to start reading together and let the child slowly take over. DD came home with some very strange books sometimes.

They now follow the usual book banding and everyone finishing with white goes to Free Reader.

DD is on turquoise and reads ORT level 7 and 8 very fluently. But she races through the text and often thinks ahead and reads what she thinks should be there instead of reading the actual word.

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 13:29:23

Maybe, but my problem is that if a book is not part of any scheme whatsoever then it's just a book. I could be missing something here, but either books are part of a scheme or they're not.

redskyatnight Sat 16-Mar-13 14:27:14

learnandsay DD's school use a mixture of reading scheme and "normal" books. Every book is levelled. Children read books at their particular level only. So they are not free readers which has the concept of being able to read entirely what they want.

(though as I said up thread even the "free readers" at DS's school are still constrained to read within a limited selection, so maybe the definition is confusing).

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 14:32:01

But the concept of levelling puts the books into a scheme, even if it's not a phonics based one. A good example of books which are not in a scheme is the books in my house.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 14:36:37

and the children's books in your house can be levelled learnandsay they system includes many well know books and authors.

EvilTwins Sat 16-Mar-13 14:38:57

I an increasingly finding the concept of "free reader" odd. Clearly in means different things in different schools. My DTDs are Yr2 and are on Lime level books. DTD1 is also reading (slowly but surely, checking unfamiliar words as she goes and reading bits to me every so often) the first Harry Potter book. If she went to the school two of her friends go to, she'd be labelled a "free reader".

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 14:42:28

Of course they could be levelled. That's the interesting point. By simply having books and reading them my daughter gets used to reading books (not used to reading books of similar difficulty.) In fact I did start off trying to collect books of similar difficulty but I found collecting books that way too difficult and gave up. So instead I decided to just let my daughter read whatever I could get. It took a bit of practice at first but it seems to have gone alright.

educator123 Sat 16-Mar-13 14:44:50

Learn and say - dds school do use a phonics reading scheme which dd has now finished then they fall into the category of 'free reading' which as I understand it means she can choose any book from the free reader section or from the library with guidance.

I've still continued to read to her daily and her read the 'free reader' book to me.
What concerns me is that the scheme she is on apparently finishes at the equivalent of a turquoise book therefore should she be also reading another 'phonic scheme' book of a higher level. But when suggesting this to her teacher I was told she would have nothing to gain as she is secure in all that they cover!

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 14:49:00

Maybe you've misunderstood them, educator. mrz has said that her school still teaches some phonics in Y6. I have no idea what this involves but it does suggest that there are some things which are far more advanced than others. Perhaps your daughter's school means that they still teach phonics beyond turquoise level but they just don't do it via the reading scheme. Presumably they can do it just as well with normal books.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 14:53:58

learnandsay the Institute of Education (IOE) University of London produce books which band reading scheme books but also many of the books we have in our homes to read to and with our children

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 14:57:50

Very interesting, especially this:

The 'dip in literacy achievement' experienced by some children at age 7-8 may in part be due to a steep rise in text reading challenge that children encounter at this age.

I wonder what she meant.

educator123 Sat 16-Mar-13 14:58:12

I think phonics will come into lots of teaching throughout the day.

But dd is apparently secure in all the phonics areas covered in the schemes available and in a transition stage at the moment where she needs to get stuff to reading other books and may struggle with some 'topic' words (enjoying reading non fiction - nature) but these are the words that with time she will familiar with!

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 15:00:26

I'm not sure I'm following you, educator. Decoding and having a wide vocabulary aren't related.

educator123 Sat 16-Mar-13 15:01:13

I'm not a teacher but I feel dd is inconsistent therefore maybe not ready to take the next step although has managed the books quite easily that she has chosen so far.
Apparently dd is a perfectionist in class and rarely get anything wrong!! Not what I always see at home, but maybe that's down to tiredness or something.

mrz Sat 16-Mar-13 15:01:38

It means the books get longer learnandsay

DizzyHoneyBee Sat 16-Mar-13 15:02:00

Yes, that's normal for coming to the end of the reading scheme. It's unusual to be on free readers in year 2 if the school have the full set of reading scheme books.
Assuming her reading ability and comprehension ability are equal and she's fluent then I wouldn't worry, just be proud.

educator123 Sat 16-Mar-13 15:05:00

What I mean is because she is a free reader I never assumed phonics work will have stopped.

But phonics schemed books are tailor made and the child is less likely to encounter words that were not recognisable or unfamiliar. This is the step forward she is taking I assume.

MerryMingeWhingesAgain Sat 16-Mar-13 15:05:15

Decoding and having a wide vocabulary aren't related

hmm So when they decode a word they haven't seen before, and they sound it out and 'click' they recognise it as a word they have used/heard when speaking...I believe you are mistaken.

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 15:05:27

It looks to me as if you're seeing being on a reading scheme and being supported while reading as being the same thing. There's no reason why they should be. Some children don't seem to progress on schemes, some children seem to be rushed through schemes, some schools don't have schemes at all. To me it seems no so much about whether the school has a scheme or not but what it does with it, or without it.

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 15:07:53

So when they decode a word they haven't seen before, and they sound it out and 'click' they recognise it as a word they have used/heard when speaking...I believe you are mistaken.

Then the word was already part of their vocabulary.

Children can decode words that they've never heard of but they can't understand them.

educator123 Sat 16-Mar-13 15:08:13

Mrz - I agree re length of text increasing this time last year dd looking at a long piece of text would instantly be intimidated by it, the same 'difficulty' condensed into much less quantity and she wasn't phased

MerryMingeWhingesAgain Sat 16-Mar-13 15:11:51

If it's part of their vocabulary they will be able to understand the word when they decode it. Of course it matters FFS. I give up.

educator123 Sat 16-Mar-13 15:12:33

But learn and say isn't that the whole point - your phonics knowledge is good therefore you decode words you don't know, you then learn about the said word with guidance or other texts - encyclopedia/dictionary and in turn increase your vocabulary...I think this is the transition dds teacher is talking about once you are able to decode more you will also learn more/became familiar with more words. Read to learn!

educator123 Sat 16-Mar-13 15:13:56

But the between stage means you are sometimes reading words that you are unfamiliar with

learnandsay Sat 16-Mar-13 15:19:33

Personally I wouldn't relate learning from reading books, reference books and dictionaries to phonics, no. Anybody can watch documentaries, visit museums, read widely and use reference books, text books and dictionaries. I did when I was growing up and I couldn't decode.

educator123 Sat 16-Mar-13 15:23:40

Learn to read - read to learn! Learned to read using phonics.

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