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To ask the school to send home no more blooming Biff and Chip books

(178 Posts)
gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 21:11:38

DS is now on Stage 9 of these bloody things and has gone on reading strike. I've asked to school to read them with him at school if they really must be read, as the darned things continue to be so tedious they are putting DS off reading. We will be reading other things at home with him from now on. He is perfectly capable of reading far more interesting and varied books than this drivel.

If you are a teacher, would you think IBU?

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Thu 14-Mar-13 18:22:19

Glad it's going better for u smile been there , it sucks! Well done ur ds!!!

itworksonmymachine Thu 14-Mar-13 18:09:57

Not quite gone forever, but I reckon if he does well with a few Stage 10s they might cave <fingers crossed>. He has already read the whole Stage 10 book and was very excited about it. We kind of have to read the other one to, to keep our side of the bargain (so it feels) but we're getting there!

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Thu 14-Mar-13 17:17:56

Woohoo . You can join the biff and chip are go e forever club lol it's a lovely place to be . Welcome

itworksonmymachine Thu 14-Mar-13 16:00:06

SUCCESS!! - (sorry, have name changed, can't be bothered to change back for this post)

So, today I asked one more time for something different since DS has really worked hard to plough through the set books. I also suggested he could do something a little more challenging as he never needs any help. So, we have a Stage 10 Treetops book alongside the Biff & Chip. A small but highly significant victory!

Also they have tested his reading age today and he has come out with a reading age of 8! I am so proud of him because he started school a year later than all his peers and has come from behind. Well done to my little boy! smile

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 18:34:20

pozzler -I'm told they do read other books at school. I should blooming well hope so.

We had a marginally better book last night which had a more imaginative story. DS read it all when he came home, boy he's motivated to get past them. That earned him a gold star from the teacher. Break their spirit early to make them compliant and easier to teach. That seems to be the goal. sad

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 13-Mar-13 13:34:12

Peter Jane and pat the dog when I was a kid. If take them over the magic key grin

5Foot5 Wed 13-Mar-13 13:26:01

I am surprised how many people dislike the Biff, Chip and Kipper books. When DD was that young I seem to remember thinking they were quite amusing. Mind you I have no idea now how far through the stages they went before moving on to other things. Stage 9 sounds like a long way, so maybe her school abandoned them earlier than that. Obviously hse always had access to plent of other books as well sho her reading wasn't restricted to the ORT.

In reception I recall they had some other reading books too, Crown readers I think they were called. They had a King, a Queen, a big guard, a little guard and a baby. OMG they were truly boring and repetitive!

Is anyone else here old enough to have learnt to read with Dick and Dora and Nip the dog and Fluff the cat?

Pozzled Wed 13-Mar-13 13:17:08

OP, I keep thinking about this and I am fuming on your son's behalf- and all other children in schools like this. Apart from anything else, how can the children possibly make progress in reading if they only ever read one particular type of fiction? They NEED to experience a wide range of texts so they can make comparisons, learn about different genres, know how to use a contents page or glossary... There is so much that they can never get from
Biff and bloody Chip!

I can see why schools want children to read only books at a certain level (although I firmly believe that they should sometimes have easier/harder ones). But this is utterly ridiculous.

bryte Wed 13-Mar-13 10:18:07

I hope that is true, for all schools. I think we'll have a party.

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 09:49:43

I know, DS has come on well with this teacher so I don't want to rock the boat too much either. DS seems to think he'll see the last of Biff and Chip after Stage 9. Anyone know if that is true? <desperate but not hopeful emoticon>

bryte Wed 13-Mar-13 09:44:11


We're in the same boat. DD2 is 7 and on ORT stage 9. She has been reading well for at least a year. We mentioend at PE how boring she and we found these books and the teacher sympathised but still they are the only books being sent home. I can only assume it is school policy to have to read every book up to a certain stage before they are allowed free-reader books. My DD1 was had a choice of colour-coded books and then was declared a free-reader long before this age when she was in Y2 even though she was my slow-to-read child! But she was at a different school. ORT books are tedious. They take so long to read by this stage because they add more and more pages.

I really like DD2s teacher though so I'm reluctant to make a big deal out of this.

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 09:42:44

I think DS would probably be held back from progressing up the stages if we did that. He's desperate to get to stage 12 bless him.

shewhowines Wed 13-Mar-13 09:32:48

I just used to write "not read, DC found it boring/too easy/too hard" etc, then I would write the title of the book we did read and make a comment about that, in their reading record book.

No teacher ever moaned at that, as they were clearly reading at home.

Home work isn't compulsory and they can't make you read specific books or indeed any books at all.

gaelicsheep Wed 13-Mar-13 08:59:09

No, no non fiction. We have occasionally had a short run of Fireflies which are much better in every respect, more interesting (usually) and more challenging at the same notional level. One of my big gripes with the others is the limited vocabulary. And they are so formulaic and predictable.

I don't know what to do. Since he was "spoken" to by the teacher DS has been keen to read. It seems he has his enthusiasm back for racing through to get to the end of the scheme, having been assured there is light at the end of the tunnel. I really feel that misses the point quite badly. However I don't want to be confrontational or make problems for DS, and we all know teachers can be so petty.

Pozzled Wed 13-Mar-13 07:48:36

Another question- does this scheme include any non-fiction, or is it all just the stories?

Pozzled Wed 13-Mar-13 07:46:58

Gaelicsheep please don't give up. If you don't get anywhere with the teacher, take it to the Head. Honestly, this is such a ridiculously outdated and damaging policy. It won't just be your son that is affected, I bet a lot of the children at the school are switching off. Have you spoken to any other parents to see how they feel?

LynetteScavo Tue 12-Mar-13 18:25:33

More info here;


Kipper Robinson
Biff Robinson
Chip Robinson
Floppy the dog
Wilf and Wilma Page
Anneena Patel
Nadim Shah

LynetteScavo Tue 12-Mar-13 18:19:19

Biff is short for Barbara, apparently!

DD's reception teacher told me- she had a book which explained the background to the family, and what the children's real names were, etc. She never shared, though.

It took me 3DC before I could actually remember which one was which. I'm either thick or really disinterested.

nokidshere Tue 12-Mar-13 10:26:41

Whne my boys were in primary and they were bored of the books, the teacher simply said that it didn't matter what they were reading as long as they were reading. She did also say however that they would continue with the books in school as they used them as a benchmark for the guided reading sessions.

And of course reading isn't just about being able to read the words, its about understanding the text.

missorinoco Tue 12-Mar-13 10:12:57

Biff is the girl?! What does Biff stand for then? confused

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 23:36:44

I'm afraid I have keeled over and we'll just have to engage in damage limitation at home. That's what parenting a child through school is all about, right? DS's teacher is very hard to speak to. Nice but very firmly dismissive of alternative viewpoints. I don't see me getting anywhere, but it will be continued at parents evening, oh yes.

Smudging Mon 11-Mar-13 22:39:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

helsbels03 Mon 11-Mar-13 22:33:20

It is very unusual for children to follow one reading scheme in order and only have these books to choose from. Does your school not have book vending where the children can choose from within a graded coloured band? My dd2 doesn't like the school reading books and we just read whatever she wants and put that in the reading record- teachers are usually looking for regular reading , discussing the story and using strategies like blending and sounding out, rather than reading specific books. I would speak to the teacher if I were you and take it from there. I teach reluctant readers and also promote reading ANYTHING rather than nothing

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Mar-13 22:13:46

LiegeAndLief has it right though with the reading tolerance thing. DS finds reading aloud tiring, and he never wants to read anything afterwards. I too try to read lots of good stuff to him, but it does worry me a lot that for him reading aloud = Biff and Chip = boring. I am horrified that DS's teacher cares more about saving face than about DS's enthusiasm for reading.

BombayBadonkadonks Mon 11-Mar-13 22:08:56

I spoke to DS1's teacher about some of the books he was not getting on with and we swapped them out.

I like the Rigby star ones!

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