DS now Level 3b in English, how bad is this?!

(32 Posts)
Chandon Mon 18-Mar-13 18:19:11

He is 10.

He has mild dyslexia, but now is really starting to lose confidence fast. Has IEP, 1-2-1 twice a week, but TBF it does not make much of a difference we think.

Have meeting with teacher, but not sure what we can do, really, he just struggles. He just cannot remember the words or the order of the letters.

It all just feels like such hard work and no result. It takes him so long to do his normal homework, it seems cruel to add too much extra writing practice...

So, level 3b. How bad is that for y5?

Chandon Mon 18-Mar-13 18:22:16

Oh bother, it WAS 3b in autumn, but he has gone back a level and is now 3c.

How much more disheartening can this be

BettyBlues Mon 18-Mar-13 19:21:59

You know how bad it is.

It's not about how far behind he is (3c is where he should be start or half way through Y3) - It's about how hard he finds it day to day.

The problem is his struggling, not his levels.

A Y5 child should be able to read and write easily and should be now working on writing better and reading harder stuff.

Sorry sad

School can't stop him struggling.

You need to decide what you want to do about his dyslexia.

School are doing everything they can. They can't do anything else.

But you can.

juniper9 Mon 18-Mar-13 20:11:38

It's not THAT far behind. The expected level for the end of year 4 is a 3b, and expected progress is one or two sub-levels per year. By the end of year 5, the 'average' child would be a 3a or 4c. Being a 3b now is not dramatically behind- only a sub-level (and he has another term to make that sub-level jump anyway).

Chandon Mon 18-Mar-13 20:28:59

Fair enough.

The struggling bit is the hard bit, you are right.

I try to find a balance between helping him, making him do more reading, and giving him some space after school to "just be" as he finds school a bit stressful some days and needs to chill. We have about 30mins-45mins homework anyway, so adding more is hard.

I asked how bad is this, as I have the impression eveyone I know, and everyone on MN is ahead rather than behind... It is a bit lonely

Niceweather Mon 18-Mar-13 20:30:12

How is his reading level? The English Level will be a combination of his reading level and his writing level. So, to get the full picture, you would need to see these other levels. My DS (moderate dyslexia) was a Level 3 writing and a Level 5 reading when he finished Yr6 - averaged out to give a Level 4, thus reaching expectations. He is now doing really well at secondary thanks to using a laptop and comprehension taking over from punctuation in the hierarchy of importance.

If your DS is struggling to remember words and the order of letters then perhaps his dyslexia is actually more than just mild?

I am hoping that learning to touch type could be the key to success.

Pozzled Mon 18-Mar-13 20:30:54

It's not too bad, but it is worrying that his writing is worse now than it was in the autumn. I would want to know why that is.

As far as levels go, I would try not to worry too much about them, but focus on both his skills and motivation. You really want to avoid making writing a chore if at all possible.

Does he enjoy reading? Encourage him to read as much as possible, a wide range of books/texts and discuss them with him. What was the author's purpose, was the text effective, how was it organised, what kind of style was it written in?

Encourage him to write for a real audience where possible- can he write letters or emails to a friend/relative? Or even to a favourite author/sports star? Get him involved in any writing you have to do, like sending out invitations or writing to complain etc.

Find ways to make learning fun, like making a collection of adventurous words and then seeing who can make the best sentence (or the silliest, while still being grammatically correct).

Pozzled Mon 18-Mar-13 20:39:27

Is he doing 30-45min of homework each night? If so, please don't make him do any more. If he's doing that much homework on top of what he does in class and still not making progress, I would seriously question whether or not it is helpful. What do you think about what he is currently doing? Does it seem relevant to his needs?

When you speak to the teacher, they should be able to give you some very specific short-term targets.

Chandon Mon 18-Mar-13 20:48:17

Thanks niceweather, I am looking into touchtyping courses ( thought of doing something practical, hands on, rather than hand wringing). Any recommendations?

Pozzle, good idea to evaluate the books after reading, had not thought of that.

His reading is not as bad as his writing, but his main problem is comprehension and spelling. He is not able to to verbalise his thoughts and ideas very well, and when he writes them down they are badly written.

I am not English myself, though we speak English at home.

We saw some good progress this year, but it has all gone by the wayside and I am not sure why, hence the worry.

bruffin England Mon 18-Mar-13 20:57:49

What's his comprehension like?
My Ds was like Niceweather's Ds, probably a similar level in yr5. He scraped a 4c for writing and a 5b for reading, one point less than a 5 overall.
He has also done really well in secondary especially in science maths and humanities with As at GCSe and just got As in some of his first A2 results.
Ds does get extra time in exams as he needs it to organize himself, although he didn't get that until half way through his gcses.

Chandon Mon 18-Mar-13 21:05:43

Yes, a problem is organising himself. He beats himself up over that, which makes it worse. He can never find his pencil or his book, that sort of thing, and then he sits down and has forgotten what the task was!

And with comprehension tasks he sort of shuts his brain down, he does nt understand what they want from him with those questions, iyswim, and if he tries, he treats them as trick questions, and overthinks them.

Chandon Mon 18-Mar-13 21:06:43

Bruffin, that is encouraging, btw! Good results.

mrsbaffled Mon 18-Mar-13 21:17:46

My DS did Nessy Fingers to learn to touch type.

Stickhasgrownup Mon 18-Mar-13 21:19:53

chandon- My DS is very similar to yours. He is 10 next month and is a level 3b currently. However I don't think its too bad! Its only just below average and to leave with the average level 4 at the end of year 6 is still possible.
My DS seems to have really come on of late (I dread to think of what level he was on in Sept - although I have a feeling it was 2a at the end of yr4.) I've had to really harrass his school to get him the help he needs - although I do think that they could do more.
We pay for a tutor once a week and he did a touch typing course over the summer. I also do the toe by toe reading scheme with him which is fab.
Anyway, you are not alone - although I admit why is it that all my friends children seem to be high fliers and above average... it feels unfair...

Niceweather Mon 18-Mar-13 21:21:09

There a several touch typing programmes out there. BBC Dancemat Typing is free online. We have recently bought Englishtype which I also hope will help with spelling. There is also one called Nessyfingers.

EverythingsNotRosie Mon 18-Mar-13 21:22:52

I teach Y9 students in mainstream school who are still 3b so please don't get too upset about levels! I don't think it is so bad. The best things for you to work on are working memory and talking, talking, talking. He needs to be able to verbalise what is in his head. When he can do that, then worry about writing. Play memory games, do sorting and organising activities. And please don't do too much more homework, he needs to rest. Also, just a thought, has he been tested for Irlen's syndrome? The use of coloured paper and overlays can make a big big difference. PM me if you need to x

bruffin England Mon 18-Mar-13 21:28:28

I would also suggest if he doesn't read books get him story cd's. Our library has a good selection and we can download some to play on iposs etc
That way he is still accessing literacy. It was the Alex Rider books that got Ds reading. I bought him a fill set of cd's from the book people, then a new book came out that wasn't on cd and he couldn't wait to read it.

RaisinBoys Mon 18-Mar-13 21:41:43

BettyBlues you win the award for most unhelpful post of the evening!

Also incorrect as 3b is the expected level at the end of y4 not y3.

OP, as others have said your DS is not far behind. Others have talked about possible strategies so I won't repeat, but do work on the comprehension side of things. This will increasingly be the focus going forward, School can definitely help more there.

30-45 mins is too much homework every night in my opinion. Perhaps he is a bit overloaded? Maybe set the timer for 20 mins every other day & see if less is more.

derektheladyhamster Mon 18-Mar-13 21:47:22

Just to let you know my son was a 2a at the end of yr 4. He's now in yr 5 and is being assessed as a 3a proud mum

We are working through apples and pears to help his spelling, and he has a tutor once a week, this has made the most difference I think, as he can now put his thoughts in order before he writes.

simpson England Mon 18-Mar-13 22:17:07

I also thought a 3a was the expected level for the end of year 4.

My only concern would be that he has not made progress and has actually had his level lowered iyswim. What does the teacher say about this?

simpson England Mon 18-Mar-13 22:17:45

Oops, I meant 3b blush

wheresthebeach Mon 18-Mar-13 23:47:02

We've used Apples and Pears for DD and its made a big difference. That and a good tutor once a week to concentrate on writing skills in a calm, supportive and private environment. She's made great progress which I think is down to the tutor being able to concentrate on what she needs.

wheresthebeach Mon 18-Mar-13 23:48:08

And agree with those who say he's not that far behind !

toughdecisions Tue 19-Mar-13 10:39:20

If he struggles to get his thoughts in order could you show him how to mindmap as a way to get started on paper before having to turn them into structured sentences/paragraphs?

lisson Tue 19-Mar-13 10:53:56

DS (also year 6) needs to learn to touch type so I bought him Nessy Fingers from Amazon last week for £20 delivered. It got a lot of good reviews on amazon which is why i went for it. He's already using it and seems to be enjoying it because he goes on the PC to use it for fun.

Chandon Tue 19-Mar-13 11:45:33

thanks for the advice, I have taken it all on board. I am thinking touch typing this summer would be useful, as he types soooo slowly it is barely worth it. Could it really work with an on-line programme? I was thinking finding a course.

mind mapping is a new word to me, but I think I know what you mean.

I am meeting up with his teacher this week, just to ask what more I can do to help him.

This morning he spent extra time learning his spellings, he says he does not like being bottom of the class. I feel sad for him feeling sad, but happy that his response is ...to try harder!

It is just all these ups and downs, swings and roundabouts are a bit tiring. I am normally calm about it, and think he will get there in his own time, but when the "cold hard" results of tests are presented it can be a bit of a blow, somehow.

bruffin England Tue 19-Mar-13 12:07:10

They teach mindmapping at secondary school.
Also there is research done at my Ds secondary before he got there that shows that boys learn spelling better through typing. Will link later.

lisson Tue 19-Mar-13 12:08:34

DS has related problems, though not dyslexia. He goes to a private tutor who showed him mind maps last week and they seemed to help. On Nessy fingers, he went from 5wpm to 10 in an afternoon and then 12wpm a day later. So, its already faster than his writing speed.
I'd recommend you try something like this at home first. Mainly because it is so expensive to hire tutors to each anything but also because its more fun this way and less stressful than having to go out to see a stranger who would sit and watch while he types.

toughdecisions Tue 19-Mar-13 12:43:53

Mind maps can be very helpful to primary age kids and the concept is not difficult:

mind maps for kids

bruffin England Tue 19-Mar-13 13:12:09
boysrock Tue 19-Mar-13 13:44:04

DS (9) has dyslexia. I understand the struggle. They work so hard and if they didn't have dyslexia they would be flying given the work they have to put in just to stand still at times.

Ds has 1 2 1 three times a week from the school. We investigated irlen syndrome and he has it. Unfortunately its not on the NHS and it is expensive for the glasses but the difference in his reading is unbelievable. He's now at 3 c which I wouldn't have imagined this time last year he was struggling so much.

The British dyslexia association have a list of tutors, some of whom teach touch typing and spelling. The touch typing ds does uses different colours over the keys so he knows which fingers to use on each colour Again this seems to be helping although he has only just started so we'll see how he goes.

Additionally he was referred for a salt assessment and they have put him in a language group to develop working memory and verbal skills. It is hard work for ds but he is responding to it and seems to like it. I think because he is starting to see the results himself.

It is really hard to know where to start to help them, half of the stuff ds is doing is because I have colleagues whose dc have dyslexia and have lots of tips. The BDA is a good website to refer too as other posters have said.

Chandon Tue 19-Mar-13 13:45:04

This has turned out to be a very useful thread, thanks for the links.

The mindmapping book looks good.

Agree with the article and how boys learn. It is all a bit of a learning process for me too, he is my pfb so it is all trial and error I guess wink

Thanks for the help! I love getting practical advice, now have to decide on nessy fingers or dancemat typing...

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