Reading levels, dd needs gagging!

(70 Posts)
BabiesAreLikeBuses Mon 01-Jul-13 19:58:43

I try so hard not to discuss any of this stuff in the playground and have fobbed other parents off who have asked me...
Today dd was moved up a level. Whoever did so made it clear that she was doing well and that the books with her special sticker on were high for her age and that she had to be taken to the year above to get them...l
After school at the park went up to the mum of one of her classmates and asked what level her daughter was on blush said mother clearly amused and irritated... Had to have a chat about modesty...

simpson Mon 01-Jul-13 20:06:35

Hee hee!!

DD can be like this...

She very loudly told me (infront of uber competitive mum) at pick up time that she was the only reception child to be picked to read in assembly because she is so good at it. blush

Jinsei Mon 01-Jul-13 20:08:00

I have always made it very clear to dd that we don't discuss "levels" with anyone outside the family. We have even "rehearsed" responses in case any of her friends should ask her. She's 8 now so nobody is interested in reading levels any more, but the same rule still applies to NC levels. Not for public consumption. smile

BabiesAreLikeBuses Mon 01-Jul-13 20:29:22

If it had been ds i wouldn't have been surprised but she's normally the shy twin! Of course she picked a mum i'm not friendly with - and told me later she knew the child was on pink! So it'll have to be like fight club.
The first rule of book band colours is that we don't talk about book band colours.

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 20:30:05

my daughter did something similar when she went up a box, she went running over to a friend who had been the same level as her and announced she had gone up a box. I saw the little girls face fall and we had strict words after that. she couldn't see what she had done wrong because she was just excited and had only just found out she had gone up a box plus to be fair I expect the other little girl would have done similar without thinking if roles had been reversed. just one of those things.

simpson Mon 01-Jul-13 21:26:40

I have had words with DD about not bragging discussing things she is good at as she might hurt other childrens feelings and I have emphasised that there are areas she is not good at and others are and it would be boring if everyone was the same.

Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to tackle the very loud voice even though she is only speaking to me, the whole world can hear! blush

Meglet Mon 01-Jul-13 21:32:56

"The first rule of book band colours is that we don't talk about book band colours."

oh I love this babies grin.

AFAIK DS hasn't said anything to his friends but a couple of the other boys have come up to me and asked me if he really is on such and such level, so I've had to fudge a diplomatic response. Not sure if they've just sussed it out in class or he's been talking about it.

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 21:47:06

they have probably sussed it out Meglet, some kids notice things going on in the classroom more than others (some are plain nosy and like to know what is going on!)

conorsrockers Mon 01-Jul-13 21:58:31

Now I'm confused - DS3 is Yr1 now so they don't do bands anymore, but when mine went through reception all the children knew what group each were in and what colour they were on. They got a sticker when they went up a colour/band so it was common knowledge (amongst children and parents) shock is that really bad!? I don't remember any 'competitiveness' though...

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 22:00:15

perhaps because it was all open there was no competitiveness?

BriansBrain Mon 01-Jul-13 22:05:09

I really don't understand all of this at all and I'm on my 3rd in reception.

People honestly tell their children not to be proud of their good news incase adults don't like it?


MilkRunningOutAgain Mon 01-Jul-13 22:09:00

It's open at the kids school, the books have coloured stickers on them indicating the level, so you can see exactly what colour everyones book is when they read them. And it's still extremely competitive. DD knows the level of nearly all the class and tells me when other kids move up.

simpson Mon 01-Jul-13 22:17:57

Brainsbrain - there are some horrible competitive mums in DD's reception class. I have a DS in yr3 and have never experienced anything like it.

One mother does a spreadsheet weekly of who gets the golden book award (to complain if her DC does not get it enough).

Ditto class bear.

One mother picked up DD for me when I had an emergency with DS and looked in her book bag and kicked off to the school about how she was getting spellings and her DC wasn't.

Another mother has slagged me off to other mothers for being a single parent and tried to befriend my friends to find out what book level my DD is on and to turn my friends against me.

Another mother has said her child is being discriminated against ( and complained to the school about it) because her DC was not doing extension work with my DD (how she found out I do not know).

I always pick up DS first so the horrible competitive mums are gone, not that I care what they think or say tbh as long as it does not impact on DD.

But it takes the fun out of things, there is a celebration assembly next week and if DD does anything out of the ordinary in it then they kick off (they did at Xmas when DD read the closing prayer in the Nativity despite one of their kids having the much wanted Mary role).

Jinsei Mon 01-Jul-13 22:20:52

People honestly tell their children not to be proud of their good news incase adults don't like it?

Who said anything about telling them not to be proud? I want dd to be proud of her achievements, and I'm proud of them too. That doesn't mean she needs to broadcast them or discuss them with all and sundry.

fuzzpig Mon 01-Jul-13 22:26:21

Simpson there are some parents who hang around late once a week to find out which child is getting star of the week (by seeing whose parents hang around to go to the assembly) confused

fuzzpig Mon 01-Jul-13 22:27:24

I haven't noticed any competitiveness about reading levels though.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 01-Jul-13 22:31:29

simpson that is horrendous!

Reading levels are all open at DS1's school, he is in reception. Parent helpers read with their own child's class, so there are a whole load of us who know how all the children in the class are doing.
The children all know who is on which box, they discuss it at length and pat each other on the back when they go up a level which is very cute smile

BriansBrain Mon 01-Jul-13 22:41:40

Well my DD stands at the gate shouting "I have good reading stickers" "I've got a new colour book" "I'm star of the day"

Fair play to her and her good day, broadcast away...

Maybe we have nicer parents at our small school or maybe I don't notice because I couldn't care less what level anyone else is on and I'm just as happy when the next child comes out happy about their stickers and new levels.

headinhands Mon 01-Jul-13 22:43:01

^People honestly tell their children not to be proud of their good news incase adults don't like it?


It's not the same. It's akin to a friend who tells you about anything they've just got that's better than what you have just because they think it is better than what you have'. Yes it's a part of human nature, but it's a part we teach our children to curb because it's anti-social and makes you look like a feckin' tool.

BriansBrain Mon 01-Jul-13 22:46:39

They are 5!!

If you can't be proud and boastful about a sticker or new reading level when you are 5 what is left?

Should they not jump for joy when they learn to ride a bike incase it upsets a parent?

headinhands Mon 01-Jul-13 22:51:59

We're not talking about the parents feelings, we're talking about modelling the way our children talk about their achievements. If you bought a 10 bedroomed house and them saw the mum of your friend who only has 3 bedrooms would your first instinct be to go and ask the mum if your friend still only had 3 bedrooms just so you could have a chance to tell her about your new bedroomed festooned abode?

headinhands Mon 01-Jul-13 22:53:40

So what age do you start teaching your child about those sorts of norms if not by 5?

EverybodysStressyEyed Mon 01-Jul-13 22:56:23

DS' school is like Alibaba's - DS knows how all his friends are doing and he knows who he is on the same level as. They like to chat about the books they have read.

It's quite sweet because they do encourage each other but also have a bit of friendly competition.

JewelFairies Mon 01-Jul-13 22:57:42

Never mind the children. I find it really hard not to brag about how far my pfb has come in her reading from barely speaking aged 3 grin

BriansBrain Mon 01-Jul-13 23:03:06

Plenty of other times to help teach them about these things.

I Just don't feel that the end of a good school day is a good time to instill a lesson into a child, let them have their glory.

We are at the school gate for 5 seconds and then heaps of praise in the car.

We must be lucky -- or oblivious-- but this doesn't happen at our school, thankfully.

Startail Mon 01-Jul-13 23:16:16

I have the dubious pleasure of being the mother of the best and the worst reader in the class.

And now they are at senior school, you can guess which one's nose is never out of a book?

kelda Tue 02-Jul-13 07:16:48

Startail - both my girls were fairly slow with talking, slow with numbers, slow with reading. At age 2,3,4,5 they were overtaken by everyone. They both had (in dd2's case still has) significant hearing problems to overcome.

Now they are 9 and 7, they are doing very well, and dd1 is nearing the top of her class. They are both bi-lingual.

Now that is a boastgrin

kelda Tue 02-Jul-13 07:17:53

BabiesAreLikeBuses so well done to your dd!

Swallowing Tue 02-Jul-13 07:26:45

But why is she showing off about it? I don't get it, does the school place a huge importance on it? Do you? My children were too busy having fun to be bothered. It isn't a sign of intelligence or an indicator of success, it is what it is.

With the best will in the world sometimes they are going to forget and get all excited about it. I'd be happy to see any kid so pleased with themselves and excited. Doesn't matter what level it was its an achievement that means nothing to us (as we know they all get there) but to them
They have worked hard at and deserve that moment of glory. I don't fit there and think "well dd is on....." I think good for them!!! There's a difference between bragging and just being excited

cory Tue 02-Jul-13 07:56:58

It depends on how they do it, even at the age of 5.

Running up to your mum and jumping for joy because you got a teacher's star for your reading is fine and hurts noone.

Telling your little friend that "I can read level 5 and you're only on level 2, because you're not so clever" can, if you are unlucky, undermine little friend's confidence for good.

Telling your friend's mum how well you are doing in your friend's hearing can also be a bit undermining.

Ds had a friend like this (I can do x and you can't; I am on level y and you're only on level z because you're not very clever). It was a constant drip, drip, drip.

I don't actually believe this 5 yo boy was a deliberate bully; he was just innocently pleased that he was cleverer than his friend and nobody had told him the rules for these social engagements.

After a few months at school we noticed that ds was beginning to say things like "I am not very clever", "I can't read like the others". After a few more months the teacher was mentioning that ds didn't seem to engage very well in class. And the less confident he got, the less he tried and the more he dropped behind.

It has taken him until Yr 8 to regain his confidence and realise that maybe he can learn things too.

I think we would all say something to our kids of if resulted in the "I'm better than u" style stuff. That is absolutely not acceptable. But if they come running out smiling saying "mummy look" or "I've got a new book from the ----box" or miss x said ----" that's just them
Being excited and they should be allowed to be. Most people with half a brain would realise that yeah maybe little Megan is good at reading but Alfie over there is good at maths or my Leo is really good at drawing etc. no e of its s competition and in a couple of years time when they hate school or the works getting too hard , you will probably wish you had let them enjoy the excitement and be pleased that their achievement had been noticed.

cory Tue 02-Jul-13 08:17:54

Yes, but if you ask your friend's mum in your friend's hearing what level s/he is on, it may be a bit upsetting for the friend.

Ds' friend was always going "I got x result, what result did you get?"

And there literally wasn't anything during the school day that ds could do better than his friend: his friend was bigger and stronger, better at sports, better at writing, better at reading, better at maths, better at answering teacher's questions...

It is a myth that if you are bad at academic subjects, you have to be good at sports or music.

But isn't equally crushing to a child to be constantly saying "sssh don't tell anyone" "remember Alice we don't talk about school til we get home"

"I've told you to not mention that", "be quiet, tell me in the car"

They would have been bursting to tell you all day and the first thing we do is remind them to keep quiet? That has an impact too.

Children are often aware in class about what groups they are in, children are given certificates in assembly etc.

Teaching them not to brag or be cruel or mention other children is one thing and absolutely they should not be doing that. But they should be allowed to be excited !

Swallowing Tue 02-Jul-13 08:41:03

Excited about what? It is such an arbitrary indicator of 'success'. I am not in the UK though, I remember people getting equally as excited about potty-training there too...

Swallowing Tue 02-Jul-13 08:42:21

I mean, yes children should be excited about their successes, but why is she so bothered about reading levels? They mean shit. Someone has primed her for this. OP?

xylem8 Tue 02-Jul-13 08:46:10

It was rude of your DD to go up and brag to the other mum.But really! I am guessing you are all on your first children to think reading bands are such a big deal! By this time next year the best reader will probably be someone not even reading yet.

That's a good question swallowing I mean my dd would occasionally come out and tell me she was getting a certificate on Friday or be particularly excited about a book she had. But , she knew they had stickers on, would know if the colour was different on a book she got given but she wouldn't mention the sticker. She has no idea what the colours mean. It was such a rare occurrence she was even remotely interested in a book (she hated biff and chip) that I wouldn't stop her telling me in the playground that she had a book about a dog. She didn't ever mention stickers though as they mean nothing to her.

If a kid is excited about an actual level then that's cos they have been told (that's not their fault) but I assumed she ops kid just was excited cos it was from a different box somewhere else. She was excited because it was new and maybe cos the teacher told her what it meant. Still, she wouldn't have known that the parents know all the colours or even care what colour someone was on. It didn't sound like bragging just excitement about the day and something new.

fuzzpig Tue 02-Jul-13 11:09:01

Haven't had to deal with bragging, whether intentional or not, as DD is quite shy. She will not usually say anything about school until we get home.

DS (starting yrR in sept) I have no idea as he can't really speak properly yet.

freetrait Tue 02-Jul-13 11:24:01

Let the kids be kids, adults be adults. They brag over all sorts of stuff, so why shouldn't reading be part of that if they want to smile.

I did this, I did that, I've got this, I've got that, I do this, I do that..... of course we must offer our wisely counsel re hurting other children's feeling if it is done in a loud and brash way and we are party to it, I would do this for any bragging whatever it was if I was party to it, and if I wasn't then I wouldn't worry grin.

Periwinkle007 Tue 02-Jul-13 11:44:31

why is it so wrong though if they do know about levels? I don't understand that.
My daughter knows that as your reading gets better you move up the levels/colours and when you go up you get a new lot of stories to choose from. Why is it wrong for her to know that you move up the levels?

sittinginthesun Tue 02-Jul-13 12:58:18

Ah, you all want to meet my youngest son. He and his best friend both moved from the reading scheme onto library books this week. His best friend ran out of class to tell his mum, and we all gave him a hug and told him how proud we were etc.

DS2 wandered out, complaining he had a cut on his hand (invisible!), and that he was hot, and that he'd been to the toilet THREE TIMES that afternoon.

Best friend says "Yes, but you also moved onto library books!".

DS2 shrugs, and says he's still amazed that he went to the toilet three times in one afternoon...

BabiesAreLikeBuses Tue 02-Jul-13 13:43:04

to be honest that was my only concern- the person she had read with in school had clearly made a big deal of the bands (not her teacher). For her i was pleased especially as she missed out on her gymnastics grading on sat (which ds sailed through).

And of course i told her well done and gave her a hug in the playground. This was at the park next door. I felt it appropriate to talk to her about it because i don't want her bragging to random parents - wouldn't have been so weird if it was one of the mums i talk to!

simpson your school sounds even more competitive, i didn't think that was possible! A mum of ds's class approached me in the playground saying 'my dd says your ds is on a higher band than the rest of the class is it true?' i told her i had no idea but that they'd all be reading by ks2...

sittinginthesun my ds also regularly comes out with a record of how many wees being his big news and is still amazed that he can wipe his own backside!!

Tiggles Tue 02-Jul-13 15:11:28

Wow! I know I am oblivious to reading levels now, as I am on DS2 and 3, but I don't remember any of that sort of competitiveness with PFB.
DS2 has only once come out excited about changing book band, and that was when he got moved to lime level and he had been trying really hard to get there for a few weeks. I only realised the other day he is now a free reader, that change hadn't bothered him at all.

freetrait Tue 02-Jul-13 21:15:35

Yeah, somehow DS was pretty oblivious to the "levels". Fingers crossed DD will be too!

simpson Tue 02-Jul-13 22:31:33

Babies - it seems to be DD's year that is bad (3 ring leader mums) as DS in yr3 has always been fine and I have met some lovely friends through the school (his year group).

headinhands Wed 03-Jul-13 13:08:04

But isn't equally crushing to a child to be constantly saying "sssh don't tell anyone" "remember Alice we don't talk about school til we get home"

I don't think anyone is suggesting that's what should happen. Ideally a child will learn how and when to talk about things they are pleased about from those around. If my child came out and was gushing about something they were please with to me then of course that would be a non-issue, but if she was seeking out other children, or even their parents to ask about their reading level or whatever they were pleased about I would have a general chat later about when/how we talk about what we are good at.

I mean really, it's not rocket science is it? If your neighbour popped round just to point out how much nicer his car was than yours would that not suggest he lacked social skills?

But they are learning. That's the point. Even as adults we slip up and make mistakes with things we have known or have done for years. There are going to be times they forget. If she had gone up in a "neh neh" style then yes that's something to be dealt with. But I get kids all the time coming up to me telling me that mummy bought them this or they went there or the teacher said ----. They aren't bragging they are just happy and I'm the mum of one of their friends and they feel they can talk to me that's all. And I give them a hug and say well done or just act interested. I don't see why achievements should be dirty little secrets all the time. What happened to just being happy for people. As much as kids have to try and learn these social skills, they also need to learn to cope with the fact that someone is going to be better than them at something or have something they don't.

Today it was a book tomorrow it will be their aunts kitten or that they saw a snail. Or as someone posted above the number if times they went to the loo.

headinhands Wed 03-Jul-13 14:09:06

Feel like my message isn't getting through. There's a massive difference between telling a child not to be proud of their achievements and teaching a child not to brag. The op said her dc went up to a parent of another child to quiz her on her dc's book band. I would discourage that sort of bragging but not if she'd just told someone she was on a new level. That's the difference. It's the comparison element that isn't pleasant not the fact that she was pleased of course not. If you heard your dc saying something like 'my bike is better than yours' to another dc you wouldn't think you might need to have a little chat with them? No one has said they need to think their achievements are dirty little secrets. There is an obvious gulf between what I am saying and what you think I am saying.

But she didn't know that none of the other kids didn't get the same. She probably asked in the hope that her and a friend might have the same book. That's different to intentionally making someone else feel bad. What I mean is , it's the intent that makes it an issue or not. To her it would have been a book. The level would mean nothing to her unless it was particularly hyped up by the teacher or ta. Whatever answer she got would also have meant nothing to her.

What I'm trying to say is that if she deliberately set out to upset someone then yes of course that's wrong.

If she was just excited and repeating what she was told and asking because she thought her friend might have the same or share the excitement with her then that's completely different.

I've seen kids comparing books, they are comparing colours and what the picture is on the front. They otherwise have no idea what the colours mean and only would if they had been told by the parents. It was no big deal unless the parents chose to make it one in worrying about what the other kids were trying to do when it was in fact innocent.

Elibean Wed 03-Jul-13 14:38:28

I wish some of you would have a word with dd2's BF. Sometimes her only topic of conversation is 'who is best at writing/reading/sport', and although dd2 is doing really well with everything - no one ever does better than BF, which is not good for morale!

Elibean Wed 03-Jul-13 14:40:08

Should say, she's not trying to be mean. She just comes from a family where how well people do is hugely important, and competition anxiety is high.

But she has a huge need to be best. Which is clearly hard work for friends.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 03-Jul-13 14:41:52

If you were just proud of what you'd achieved, you wouldn't need to confirm it was better than what your friend had done! So bringing them up not to boast, or stealth boast, is not the same as bringing them up to be ashamed of what they achieve!

You have to model it, for a start...

Abra1d Wed 03-Jul-13 14:43:27

I am thinking of implementing the same thing come GCSE results, but it would be impossible, I imagine.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 03-Jul-13 14:46:59

I don't think many sixteen year olds would approach their friends' mothers and ask how well they'd done! Which probably goes to show that most people are quite successful in gently suggesting early on that this isn't really quite the ticket!

Abra1d Wed 03-Jul-13 15:33:52

Actually they might not approach their friends' mothers but they would approach sisters and brothers if they wanted to know. And mothers, even those you don't know well, are quite capable of asking other mothers what their sons got. Some of the highly competitive families round here think it's open day to find out these details.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 03-Jul-13 16:15:11

True... it will be our first results day in this family in August, so we shall see!

BabiesAreLikeBuses Wed 03-Jul-13 23:19:35

headinhands i totally agree, it was a great time to up social skills wink

caffeine although she didn't intend anything by it (she's not generally mean to other kids, quite the opposite if anything) she did tell me later that she thought the other girl was on pink (which she remembered having in sept).

Next time i'll check who is in the park first!

cory Thu 04-Jul-13 09:34:19

I am sure she didn't mean to brag. Neither did ds' friend. But because it wasn't stopped but went on and on, it gave ds' confidence a knock that he took years to recover from.

As headinhands said, it's the comparison element.

Ds was a generous and lovely boy who would have been delighted that his friend was happy about something. It was the constant "I am on a higher level than you, you are not as clever, you can't do the things I can, what level are you on?" that got to him.

xylem8 Thu 04-Jul-13 09:55:53

GCSEs and A levels are public exams where the results are publicly available, so I can't see the comparison?

Abra1d Thu 04-Jul-13 11:45:56

You can't normally look up a student's GCSE results and see all their grades in every subject, not unless you are an educational establishment or an employer. School websites list subject results but don't attach names to them.

xylem8 Thu 04-Jul-13 13:39:00

They are published in the local and regional papers here,by student! d

Abra1d Thu 04-Jul-13 20:39:52

Whereabouts are you? I haven't seen this in the south of England, where we are (thank God). The local papers will say that x and y did very well and got eleven A*s, but no lists of subjects, and only the top-flight performers from schools, not the whole cohort.

xylem8 Thu 04-Jul-13 22:13:03

Local A level results here GCSEs ae also published but usually as a total with the number A*-c in brackets , or some schools put the number of As or even the number of A*s in brackets

Abra1d Fri 05-Jul-13 08:49:09

Wow! Nowhere to hide up in Yorkshire.

afussyphase Fri 05-Jul-13 16:27:55

My DD did something even worse: saw what book her friend X was reading and shouted "X, that's book's EASY". I pointed out that this was rude. And that X speaks another language at home! At least one bonus is that now DD is interested in learning another language...

LadyLech Sat 06-Jul-13 10:22:53

I totally agree with head in hands.

If my DD comes out of school pleased that she has moved up a book band, I am pleased for her, give her a hug and my congratulations. I do the same if on of her friends came out of school pleased they had achieved something, and would expect my DC to congratulate them too.

However, I would not tolerate the comparison, or asking another child what book band they are on because my DC was higher. This would lead to words.

But I think there is nothing wrong with celebrating your own achievement or success. To draw a parallel, a few years back, I was buying a house at the same time as a friend was, except her house was four times more expensive than mine. If she had said "my house is much bigger than yours", then that would have been wrong. But I wouldn't have expected her to keep her house a secret or not to talk about it because she had a much better house than me - that would have been patronising. No, we celebrated her new house, and we celebrated mine. Not everything in life is a comparison - just celebrate the achievement whatever it is, be don't compare! That's my motto grin

Taffeta Sat 06-Jul-13 12:18:38

I have a real problem with public announcements outside the classroom, I won't let my children do it.

The other week I collected DD (6) and she was bawling her eyes out, v unusual for her. The teacher explained that someone was bragging about getting star of the week, DD asked to see it and another child said "I don't know why you're bothering to look at it, you'll never get it" . We also have parents ripping open book bags to look at spelling test results and blocking the door so you can't get to collect your child but the piece de resistance will be next week when the class lists are released ( school classes streamed on ability from Y1 ) and the rush to escape before someone else blurts out to me or my child what classes they are in next year.

We read everything at home, golden rule. It's nobody else's business.

Periwinkle007 Sat 06-Jul-13 12:32:13

what a horrible thing for that child to say Taffeta. I have to confess I check what is in my daughter's bag outside the classroom but I stand out of the way and have a quick check we have everything and the reading book looks about right (ie not completely wrong level for what used to but also not scary) but I don't take them out of the bag, just peer in and may ask her a question or she may tell me something. If other people see that as inappropriate I hadn't really thought about it but I don't see why it should bother them. She often happily says she has had a sticker that day or did something good but equally often comes out saying her friends got rewarded for x or y or that so and so did such and such which was really good.

That is hard if they just put up the lists and they are streamed by ability. You would expect them to send home a note first saying which class your child would be in and then put the list up a few days later. our classes aren't streamed and the kids went into their new ones the other day but noone can remember who they are with, no lists of any sort seem to go up so some of it will remain a mystery until september I think although we have tried to work it out amongst us all.

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