G&T guided reading (y1)

(53 Posts)
bobthebear Fri 17-May-13 23:23:03

DD has been classed as 'exceptionally G&T' in reading. Her current reading book is a book the year sixes have as their guided reading book (I have a relative in y6 who is in the top group so know the books are the same). But she's being forced to read this book she read in nursery in guided reading!

Is this normal? Should I mention it or just hope her y2 teacher manages her guided reading better?

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 17-May-13 23:26:52

just write in the feedback book "Too easy, no challenge, please can we have a stage whatever book?"

No, it's not normal (we have that book as green level, iirc) and yes, it is worth mentioning. My best readers (Y1) have reading ages of >8 and are reading white level i.e. chapter books with lots of discussion and comprehension questions. We read a book today that seemed quite straightforward on my skim reading, but we soon came across a number of unknown words eg hutch, celeb, gruelling, rehearsal - they could work them out but didn't know what they meant.

bobthebear Fri 17-May-13 23:36:30

It's a guided reading book chocs so I can't really comment on it in her diary and ask for a different level although they weren't doing guided reading before so this is a slight improvement

postman that's what DD needs!

We read whatever the school sends commenting on what we did to spice up the too easy shit boring wank. Eg DS read book with expression and we discussed norse mythology and researched .....

I then add a comment on what he is reading at home which in year one was mostly Mildred Hubble, or something like Matilda. He was placed with the year above for all literacy and group reading and was then removed from the scheme as he was deemed a free reader and just allowed to pick from the library (with a guiding hand if necessary).

Unfortunately we then moved areas for year two and the new school wanted to start him off with his peers so we were back on biff and fucking kipper. they don't do off scheme readers so we just top up at home. So he gets sent year six non fiction books and he is currently 4 books into Narnia at home with the borrowers lines up in the wings.

We do struggle to stretch him keeping to his maturity level. He is a summer born and a bit of a delicate flower so we have gone for older classic literature as it has all the tricky words in but nothing too racy or scary.

bobthebear Fri 17-May-13 23:52:33

sneaky school don't send anything home. They rely on us choosing her school books, and strangely she's reading Narnia too!

It's hard because she'll read to herself all day every day but I need to check her comprehension, she is only 6 after all and doesn't know everything even if she thinks she does

Guided reading is about discussing the text, talking about what the writer does to make the book interesting etc. I've analysed Dr. Seuss with Year 9s. So I'd say as long as the level of discussion is high enough, she'll still be learning from that book. Great they're giving her appropriate reading books.

bobthebear Sat 18-May-13 00:01:46

The level of discussion was way below her level, hence her mentioning it to me. They talked about the pictures which DD did with ease, not unexpected considering she's been reading it independently for over 2 years!

learnandsay Sat 18-May-13 07:52:02

Wouldn't she have to do guided reading with a different group, maybe even a different year if you want her to use John Grisham books as texts?

seeker Sat 18-May-13 07:59:31

I find the concept of being G and T at reading rather difficult. Once you can read, you can read, surely? It's not like Maths, where you can keep on getting better and better and doing more and mor difficult stuff. My ds was reading whatever he wanted by year 1- but he wasn't g and t, he'd just mastered that particular skill earlier than the others. With guided reading it doesn't actually matter what book you use, it's the discussion that's the important bit.

bobthebear Sat 18-May-13 08:00:08

Why would I want her reading John Grisham? confused

bobthebear Sat 18-May-13 08:05:07

But the book they read this week was the eqivalent (sp?) of a y6 doing sums like 5+5!

I'll not mention it to her teacher though. I just find it frustrating that her group arent been challenged

learnandsay Sat 18-May-13 08:16:52

I'm not that phased by the concept of G&T reading. To me it just means that you can read very well very early, surely an aspiration for all children. We didn't have concepts like this when I was an infant. But then you were expected to read. Reading wasn't divided up into steps of decoding. You just got given a book and you read it. I don't remember reading schemes as such either, just reading books. So, I think part of G&T reading is a product of the current rather tortuous scheme process and a recognition that for some pupils it isn't necessary.

learnandsay Sat 18-May-13 08:25:33

I suppose a side effect of G&T reading is that it makes something quite intrinsic to our social system, ie reading, seem extraordinary, which perhaps is a shame. But I guess all systems have their downsides and G&T reading isn't exactly a big downside.

simpson Sat 18-May-13 09:20:57

DD is in a G&T guided reading group in reception and reads stage 7 (which is far too easy for her) but (a) there is no one else at her level of reading (yet) so she has to read with someone (b) it is more than the actual reading. She is learning (again) about beginning, middle and endings of how stories are structured.

She sometimes has comprehension type questions to do at home (using the guided reading book), she has also had to re-write the story in her own words before.

This weeks guided reading task was to practise reading with expression (which DD does perfectly) and we went off on a bit of a tangent and I taught her what an apostrophe was (it was in the title of a book).

So basically, amid my ramblings blush what I am trying to say is that whilst DD's guided reading does nothing for her actual reading it helps in other areas ie writing.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 18-May-13 09:48:20

I think G&T at reading is bizarre too.

All of mine were reading very early.One taught himself before school and was free in rec,the other 2 were free in first term of year1.

Now in year 3 and 4,the vast majority are the free too.Reading is just a skill,how can you be gifted it it?

I never got snitchy re guided reading as there is a shed load of stuff covered you don't really do at home.I was a teacher.

The thing re reading is the more you read the better you are.If you fly off early but stop reading the skill gets rusty. If you start late but read avidly later you can race ahead.The more you read the better your comprehension,spelling etc.

My 3 are avid readers,hours a day.It is this that keeps them able readers not their guided reading sessions imvho.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 18-May-13 09:50:11

And op how do you know they weren't challenged,did you hear the whole content of the lesson?Kids can brag about things being easy a lot in year 1 as they are no longer the school babies.

AbbyR1973 Sat 18-May-13 10:28:29

I disagree re gifted and talented not being applicable to reading because it is a "skill" that you can learn. Maths, sports, music are all learnable skills that some children will find quicker and easier to learn than others in a way that is not different from reading and therefore you could make an argument that there should be no idea of picking out specific children with talents in anything (and I'm sure there are plenty of people who would in fact say just that.)

You could teach all children to play piano and the vast majority would be able to reach grade 8 at some point but not all would have the ability to be concert pianists and a few exceptional children might progress extremely quickly through the grades.

Reading isn't just about decoding a series of symbols or simply saying a string of words it's about understanding the meaning of individual words and also what they mean when they are put together in a particular way. There is also the need to be able to develop relatively abstract thoughts about what has been read. Some children will develop these skills earlier than others but not all children are at the same level by year 6 or even at GCSE level. You could give Great Expectations to a child of any age that had the ability to decode most words but generally speaking most young children would not get an awful lot out of it. Skills in reading clearly extend beyond infant or even junior level in the same way that maths skills do.

The book does matter to an extent- the level of questioning you can apply to a stage 2 book is very different from that you can apply to a stage 9 book because there is more content to consider.

I don't think there is anything wrong with identifying a child as having a talent in a particular area and allowing them to develop it to the best of their ability by giving them challenges appropriate to their level rathe than their age.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 18-May-13 11:01:35

I agree to a certain extent however year 2 for reading I think is a tad early as there is the summer birth issue and the home environment.

Surely a child living in a home with high literacy,surrounded by books and heard to read every day is hardly gifted if they're flying.In some schools in leafy areas the maj will be and it all does even out in year 3.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 18-May-13 11:18:35

Have to say you could get masses out of the book the op is talking about and link to other books he has written on a similar theme.

itsnothingoriginal Sat 18-May-13 11:29:32

I agree some children just master the skill of reading and decoding earlier than others but I don't see what the problem is with saying they have a talent for it! I see kids who get trundled off for g & t maths sessions after all - why can't reading be developed in the same way..

I want to think my dd is being encouraged and supported to her potential by the school as well as at home but feel, like others do that she's merely treading water until the others catch up.

I have no advice sorry OP as am similarly hoping yr 2 will be different!

simpson Sat 18-May-13 11:36:14

I don't see why there are confused comments about being gifted in reading.

I agree with another poster that it is a skill to learn and some are better than others.

However if a child is simply good at decoding then they are not necessarily gifted in reading IMO.

DD just "gets it" and can answer inference questions that her yr3 brother struggles to answer (and he is pretty good at reading too).

But I do think if a child is very able at reading then the best thing to do is to encourage them in other literacy areas ie speaking and listening, writing etc...which is what guided reading helps with.

DS was very strong in reading by the end of reception and all the way through KS1 he was way ahead of everybody else and now in yr3 yes, other kids are catching him up (which is fine obviously) but DD is a whole different ball game (can't explain it really) and has made the equivalent of 2 school years progress in just 6 months.

She is totally focused on reading (and now writing) which DS never was and is making very rapid progress that I am not convinced the "it will all even out by yr3" will apply (but I won't be bothered if it does iyswim).

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sat 18-May-13 11:55:46

It is an interesting discussion.I find the whole G&T thing a croc to be honest,I thought they were getting rid of it.The courses are lovely though.

As an aside in the uni G&T course syllabus my primary dc go on there are no G&T reading courses across the whole age range.There are s&l and creative writing courses which I guess you'd need to be an able reader to get the most out of it as they'll look at texts but the focus and titles are definitely creative writing.

pointythings Sat 18-May-13 19:29:43

DD2 is in Yr5 and is in a G+T guided reading group - they call themselves the Bookworms Club and do their work entirely separately from the other groups. She's just read War Horse, which has been great - not enormously challenging from a text pov, but with plenty of material for them to think and discuss. That's how it should be done, guided reading is not about dumbing down - it should be a challenge for everyone in the group. The OP's school is letting her DD down.

threestars Sat 18-May-13 21:36:10

Guided reading is more about comprehension and discussing issues that the book covers than simple decoding.

It's important a child gets to read for pleasure too and to know that picture books are not 'below' them, whatever age they get to. Many picture books are illustrated by incredibly gifted artists and many writers choose the picture book format when writing for an older and more 'sophisticated' audience. When the challenge of decoding is removed, the message of the book can become the focus.

So, if OP's child is gaining pleasure from the book, then it is still worth reading since she is clearly also getting to read books at a much more challenging level from her own reading books. If all the books she reads are at a challenging level there is a risk that she could eventually be turned off reading as she will see it as a chore.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Sat 18-May-13 21:55:10

My son has been classed as g&t reading in reception - although compared to mn kids he'd be in the bottom third based on reading levels hmm. the school have identified that he has deeper comments and questions about a text than other kids. Decoding is a different skill. Tbh i don't care whether they've put him on a list, what i care about is that someone is having a challenging and interesting discussion with him about books, regardless of the colour of the sticker someone has used on it! We've begun the chronicles of Narnia at home and he is literally spellbound, for me the look on his face is what reading is all about.
They are currently not doing guided reading with him as nobody to group him with yet, I trust their judgment on this, am sure by next year he will have a kindred spirit!

BabiesAreLikeBuses Sat 18-May-13 21:56:46

Sorry - sent too early - I wouldn't worry about it, the depth of discussion about the book ought to meet your child's need even though decoding it is no challenge

freetrait Sat 18-May-13 22:46:08

I have no idea what DS reads in guided reading. I don't really mind either. He is paired with one other boy about his level, at least he was in the Autumn which is the last time I worried about it grin.

DeWe Sun 19-May-13 00:05:10

Guided reading is different, but I understand why you are concerned.

Dd1 read Harry Potter (down to whichever book had been published, which was about 5 or 6), Narnia, Joan Aiken and books like that in year 1 to herself. At that time the school only did guided reading in year 1 and she was reading with her group ORT level 4-6.

I wasn't terribly impressed.

However later I realised that it had actually helped her greatly. Because she learnt very thoroughly how to unpick the text, do comprehension, discussion round the book, character evaluations, book reviews. Because the book reading was so easy, she could concentrate on these other things and gained a lot by it.

She's 12yo, reads adult books and still loves reading.

seeker Sun 19-May-13 07:08:58

I think that's another thing that concerns me. I don't think that year 1s should be reading all the Harry Potters, or year 5s Warhorse, or 12 year old adult books (unless they are carefully chosen).

There seems to be a consensus that good readers should automatically be reading "challenging" books, which means books intended for older people. I just don't think that's true.

Blueskiesandbuttercups Sun 19-May-13 08:02:17

I agree Seeker.

It depends what the objectives of the lessons were which we don't know.

If it was decoding then obviously it wasn't a challenging read but if there were other objectives you could get a lot out of that book.

We don't know the ins and outs of the G&T evaluation either- strengths or weaknesses.Is it re de coding or in other areas? G&T in decoding I don't get but in understanding,comprehension more so.If said child is extremely able in comprehension etc I could understand the op's annoyance to a degree(but not seeing the objectives it would still be hard to judge).

I held back on a lot of books with my early readers.Yes they could have read Harry Potter et al in rec but it would have been a waste. Soooo glad I waited as they're obsessed now.grin

bobthebear Sun 19-May-13 08:28:49

Thanks for the replies. I have decided to leave it for now.

No she isnt classed as G&T for decoding, i agree that would be ridiculous! It's because of her comprehension (expression/intonation/inference skills are all fantastic). My concern was more the fact that, in my mind, the book she read was something she'd read and understood over 2 years ago and she said they'd read the book then talked about the pictures. Obviously I dont know exactly what they talked about though and how/if it benefited her.

Completely outing myself but, the deputy head said she wants DD in her G&T group where they're looking at an abridged version of Shakespeare. I think the guided reading book confused me after speaking to the deputy head!

As for sucking the joy out of reading, DD chooses her own books at home. She chose to read Narnia. However, if she wants to read a picture book then I let her.

Periwinkle007 Sun 19-May-13 09:49:20

it is interesting, I think if my daughter's school did G&T for reading then they would class her as such because her whole understanding of books is way above what they would expect of a 5 year old and she is reading well but I don't think she is particularly exceptional myself. Not putting her down, I just think she happens to be good at it and because we have always read to her since she was a baby and she is lucky enough to have access to a huge variety of books then she has learned to ask the right sort of questions, to think about the story, the setting, who the author is, who the illustrator is, does she recognise the style of illustration from another book which may have the same illustrator and so on. The SENCO told me she was exceptional for a reception child which surprised me because in our family we have all been early readers who have just loved books so she just doesn't seem unusual to me.

she loves books, likes hearing them as well as reading them but would probably prefer to be doing a puppet show of her own story than reading someone elses. I like to think that she is inspired to come up with her own stories because she has been fortunate enough to be exposed to an enormous number of different stories and so has lots of ideas.

tiredbutnotweary Sun 19-May-13 10:02:09

From what I've read on-line (regarding guidance about guided reading), 'normal' is either the same book band, or one above or below a child's own band. This is the best guided reading guidance I've found so far:


IMO there are a couple of problems with a guided reading session being so far below OP's DD's reading & comprehension ability (if her DD reads and comprehends Narnia books then I'd sugget she's significantly beyond white band too).

Most obviously, it is unlikely you can deal with all of the suggested activities in the document at white level & beyond with a green banded book. Of course books can have many "levels" - inferences to be drawn above & beyond the literal level of the text etc, (poetry is very good for this & can have a low amount of text and low word complexity but much inference ect. to be drawn) but generally the amount and complexity of the text of a green banded book can't be that high or it wouldn't be a green level book.

Another implicit problem is that the reason for choosing a green level book could be that this is the appropriate level for the other pupils in the OP's DDs's group. I'd hope that part of the benefit of a guided reading group is that the children can learn from each other. If green level is chosen it is presumably because children in the group need to learn those skills and most of them will be reading around green level books - so the teacher can only ask questions at, or a little beyond, their level. So OP's DD isn't going to gain much from listening to the other pupil's answers, other than learning to be patient & how to stifle a yawn (where's the 'mildly provocative' icon)? And yes, I know, all valuable skills - to a point.

If the OP's DD was going up to another years guided reading group I think it's reasonable to think she'd be gaining as much (or at least more than now) from listening to the other pupils views and answers (who would at least be closer to her level).

As much as it would make a schools life easier, children do not have homogenised development and saying that G&T is "a croc" doesn't change the fact that in my own DDs class you have children still not secure counting 1 - 10 to the lad going to year two for maths extension. You have children still learning phase 2 phonics on pink books, to the 2 on Gold band (whose guided reading is currently orange, so the same, if far less extreme, problem as OP).

Whatever you want to call children whose current level of ability differs, I think it makes little sense to teach children at such different levels of ability the same things in the subjects or skills where there is such divergence. Yet isn't this exactly what is happening for OP's DD? Surely for guided reading with (normally?) a group of 6, spending 5/6s of the time listening to questions and answers so massively below your own level of ability makes less sense than going to a different class to have that session with pupils of closer matching level? Obviously you also have to balance a child's intellectual ability with a books emotional / topic content as well as a child's ability to speak up in front of older pupils ect. but some schools do manage it.

learnandsay Sun 19-May-13 10:10:23

It also makes a lot of sense for parents not to get their knickers in too much of a twist about guided reading. It's not a parental concern. Banded reading books are only a parental concern because they're sent home. If they weren't then those wouldn't be a parental concern either. Ultimately this is all about learning to read and if the child can already read well then it doesn't matter anyway.

tiredbutnotweary Sun 19-May-13 10:35:01

Do you really believe that the only school learning a parent should be concerned about is contained in book bags and homework books.

I'm sure schools would love that! smile

learnandsay Sun 19-May-13 14:45:32

Well, I suppose we could nip down to the school and instruct the teachers on how we think PE should be supervised.

mrz Sun 19-May-13 14:50:07

"From what I've read on-line (regarding guidance about guided reading), 'normal' is either the same book band, or one above or below a child's own band. This is the best guided reading guidance I've found so far:"

but of course not all schools use guided reading in the same way (or at all) and not all schools use book bands.

pointythings Sun 19-May-13 16:09:18

seeker, honest question - why shouldn't a Yr5 read War Horse if he/she has the decoding, comprehension, inference and emotional maturity skills to get the most out of that book? What is age appropriate for one child may not be for another, not everyone matures at the same rate...

It takes close collaboration between school and parents - I've read War Horse and was happy for DDs to read it, I would not necessarily be happy for her to read the Hunger Games yet. I read a lot of teen/YA stuff so I can be up to speed with what my DDs are reading and can get involved (gently) if I think they are being set something they are not ready for.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Sun 19-May-13 19:42:35

Tonight... Proof that a g&t kid can gain from a tedious low level banded book.
Text: p1 midge's mum wanted some eggs.
Ds: ah look, she needs 2 in the recipe book as well as milk, butter and flour. Maybe she's making pancakes.
Text: midge went to the egg shop. The man gave him some eggs.
Ds: has he gone to the shop on his own? Without an adult? How old do you think he is then? Look at that mum, on the sign it says have a cracking good meal, that's a terrible joke!!

And so on...

<round of applause> babiesarelikebuses!

learnandsay Sun 19-May-13 20:36:44

I'm not sure low banded books are good regardless. They might be pretty useless. We've just had one of the ORT traditional tales, Three Rocks

It has some questions in the back cover which I found silly. I think I did try asking my daughter them, but she didn't seem much like answering them so I gave up. The Stage Four ORT book has been pared right down (from an Aesop's fable) to about twelve words per page or less. So it has no real context or characterisation. Whereas Aesop's original tale is about destitution, kindness, guile and guilt ie it's a proper story! I've also seen a Chinese rendition of the tale where the villagers all end up being kind to each other in a sort of endless love-in after the anonymous traveller has given them all a portion of stone soup and some words of wisdom. Both of the other versions have all sorts of story elements in them which make the story poignant. They're actually trying to tell the reader something about human nature. The ORT stage Four version is just silly as far as I can tell. I can have real conversations with my daughter about Disney's Pied Piper, and Hans Andersen stories. About ORT stage Fours I can't. They're just not well enough developed to mean anything, as far as I can tell.

learnandsay Sun 19-May-13 20:42:50

I'll get my daughter to read the original Aesop's tale and then ask her the same questions and see what happens.

tiredbutnotweary Sun 19-May-13 21:03:27

Learnandsay, as you're aware there's a difference between being concerned and taking an interest in your child's school experience and learning progress and going in to instruct teachers on how to do things. I think it's a shame that some (many?) parents feel inhibited to ask questions about teaching methods (and whether or not the chosen methods are working for their DC), rather like many people used to feel with their doctors and the diagnostic process not so long ago.

Mrz, agreed, but I suspect that a large proportion do use guided reading (as many still use reading recovery - yes?). And of course the OP's DD's school clearly does use guided reading. My comment regarding the link being the best one I've found is exactly that - it's the clearest, most comprehensive guidance I've found on guided reading - but it's only my opinion!

Babiesarelikebuses - I was thinking about this exact thing writing my 1st post (but you know, as I go on so much I thought I should draw the line). blush
Reading a lower level text doesn't inhibit higher level thinking skills, but I still think that listening to probably 5 children take their turn to deal with relatively lower level skills is time that would be better spent being stretched in a guided reading group working with text geared to challenge those higher level skills and listening to other children working at a similar level. Of course it's just a point of view. smile

learnandsay Sun 19-May-13 21:12:47

The concern being expressed here is that the guided reading is being done incorrectly. But as several people have pointed out, without knowing what the aims of the session were, the parent can't know whether the session was run correctly or not. Parents can ask for teacher's planning notes and learning objectives for individual children broken down by session but they can't expect to get given them. And without them you won't know if the teacher's aims were met. So, sometimes concern is pointless.

tiredbutnotweary Sun 19-May-13 21:27:49

Very true, then again if no one ever challenges the status quo ...

mrz Sun 19-May-13 21:32:56

"as many still use reading recovery - yes?" unfortunately RR seems to persist in some schools. My school doesn't use guided reading and we are moving away from book bands.

tiredbutnotweary Sun 19-May-13 22:24:04

What will you use instead of book bands (& where is the curious emoticon)?

learnandsay Sun 19-May-13 23:15:49

Babiesarelike has alluded to a thoughtful method which could easily be applied to inadequate school reading books, which is to ask: are you satisfied with this story?


Why not....

which is a very clever, and a possibly fruitful approach to lots of inadequate books. I'll see what happens with it.

mrz Mon 20-May-13 06:53:07

In reception and KS1 we are using phonic progression then moving to age appropriate NC levelled chapter books

Periwinkle007 Mon 20-May-13 09:32:20

is there a list of NC levelled chapter books Mrz?

learnandsay Mon 20-May-13 16:11:06

As I suspected, I've just had my daughter read the original Aesop's fable. She is not familiar with the concept of begging but surmised that in the story it's a form of asking for something. She didn't know the expression "heart of stone," but she explained that she didn't like the chef (called cook in the story) because she didn't give the poor man any food.

Who did you like in the story?
The maid and the poor man.
Why only the maid and the poor man?
Because the maid was kind. I did like the chef in the end.
Why did the chef give the cook a bone! We don't eat bones!
(I had to explain about bone marrow and how it's used in cooking.)

And so on...

From this I think next time we get a traditional tale from school we will read it in the original. The original was excellent both as a story and conversation piece. The ORT stage four book was neither.

blueberryupsidedown Mon 20-May-13 17:18:39

In year 1, at our school, the children choose their books. They can either borrow books at their own level (colour coded) or books 'below' their colours. DS2 sometimes comes back home with very easy books but he wants to read them, and that's fine with me. He is not G&T but he is doing well with his reading, level 2a.

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