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AIBU to think there is no sound reason that justifies a primary school having an "every scheme book must be read within each stage/level" policy?

(50 Posts)
diamondage Thu 27-Mar-14 18:37:18

Reading schemes - yes, I know, it's not a sexy thread blush

DC has never been to a school with this policy, however it is a re-occurring issue that pops up on the primary forum and I've yet to read a thread where a parent posts, "yay, teacher says DC gets to read every single scheme book before they can move up a level" but I am interested in hearing if anyone has felt this way.

Of course I'm not saying there are no reasons for this policy, although so far I can only come up with the idea that it might make a teacher's life a bit easier by removing the need to assess children for reading books and consequently reduce the need to deal with mums asking for their DC to be reassessed due to believing their DC is on the wrong book band.

Just to be clear this isn't about teacher's professional views about which book band child X should be reading because in that scenario the teacher is assessing the child to reach their view.

It is about trying to understand how such a rigid policy, that doesn't allow for differentiation because every child must read the same amount of books, is best for the DCs attending.

If there are any primary teachers, TAs, Literacy Co-ordinators or even Heads (and parents) that are willing to tell me if and why IBU, and explain the benefits to DCs of this policy then thank you in advance. flowersgrin

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Thu 27-Mar-14 18:43:30

The rwi/rml that my daughter is doing allows for movement between groups, so you can get moved up groups each half term or sooner if warranted - however I've found that in the top group they are doing each main pack of books for each rml level. So having just done 10 weeks of green I think she will now have 10 weeks of purple... before 10 weeks of the next.

Its a bit frustrating BUT I think with their system they stay with the book for a week to do other exercises relating to writing and spelling which I suppose must be good?

Book band wise she skipped a book band, this is done separaetley to the rml/ri groups but now is at a higher book band than her phonetic knowledge so I'm torn whether to teach her new phonics (I'm just explaining them as we come across them) or not in order for her to read what she's been given!

Sulis Thu 27-Mar-14 18:45:12

Sounds more like a 'how to get kids bored of reading' scheme to me hmm

Waltonswatcher1 Thu 27-Mar-14 19:04:40

I reckon its a supply and demand issue ! Stocks of books can only be so great . This is why they stagger them starting onto books with words .
I may be wrong !
I think you shrug your shoulders and suck it up . Read additional at home (as I am sure you do btw) and problem solved . Libraries stock great reading books - usually in line with the schools .
I am dreading going through bloody Biff books again - for the third time ...

CountessOfRule Thu 27-Mar-14 19:10:26


My pfb just skipped a level (would be a stealth boast if I told you which level grin ) so it would have been utterly daft for him to have to read every single <colour> book as a box-ticking exercise when he was already deemed a good enough reader for <colour +1> books.

WooWooOwl Thu 27-Mar-14 19:24:46

The school I work in uses RWI, and it is done in the same way that Goodness describes.

The children do have to do every book, because each one uses a different and necessary skill, and there are corresponding writing tasks which take us a week to get through when combined with the other literacy tasks they do.

But we are very flexible with other reading books, which are a combination of various schemes. Children get to choose from all the books appropriate for their level, but they aren't required to read every one before they move up. I can't see any benefit to that tbh.

whatsonyourplate Thu 27-Mar-14 19:25:29

DS skipped several levels at time and was off the top of the reading scheme by the first term of Y1. If he'd had to read every book he would have been bored rigid.

Lesleythegiraffe Thu 27-Mar-14 19:29:47

It certainly hasn't been the case in any school I've ever worked in.

I can't imagine anything worse than a bright child knowing they have to trawl through every single book in a scheme = guaranteed to put them off.

I can see that some children who find reading difficult would need to read more books at a level than others but to make this a blanket policy isn't a good idea.

Waltonswatcher1 Thu 27-Mar-14 19:54:50

They may leap ahead with the reading , but the literacy and comprehension are key to this too surely? If you skip large chunks it may well show up later .
Who though is really bothered, the child or the mum ?

IneedAwittierNickname Thu 27-Mar-14 19:56:20

I.don't know which reading scheme dcs school use, but its crap whatever it is.

Ds2 (7.5 and in year 2) gets given 3 reading books on a Friday. He has those books all week, and is meant to read to me everyday. The books are far too easy for him, he understands the context, language etc, yet he's not allowed to have the next colour up as he hasn't finished this one.

Last week he had a Roger Red Hat book, one of his others was Ginn level 8 IIRC. He read both of these plus his (supposedly) harder book in 10 mins.
The book he is reading off the shelf at home is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and he often picks books from the 9years + section in the bookshop.

Scholes34 Thu 27-Mar-14 20:08:18

There's always the library or a book shop for alternatives. It is allowed.

Waltonswatcher1 Thu 27-Mar-14 20:11:16

Exactly that - does it matter because he is stretched at home . He gets all the boxes ticked with the school book , and also enjoys his own choice .

ReallyTired Thu 27-Mar-14 20:17:11

I doult there is a single state primary in the land that has the policy of making a child do every book in a reading band. The truth is that some mumsnetters have an over inflated idea of what their children are capable off. There is far more to reading than merely barking at print. (ie. comprehension, reading with expression, understanding punctuation and even enjoying the story.)

Contray to popular belief its not always good for children to be "challenged". Experiencing different genre is important as well.

Lesleythegiraffe Thu 27-Mar-14 20:21:05

IneedAwittierNickname I can't believe a school is still doing Roger Red Hat and Co!

They were around when my mother taught and she's been retired for 25 years.

Every school I know consigned those books to the dump years ago.

BornFreeButinChains Thu 27-Mar-14 20:27:38

merely barking at print

Oh no! This is becoming one of those sayings like:

my dog is friendly
too posh to push

and so on.

Good thread diamondage I am glad you have thrown this issue open into wider readership here. Maybe someone can really shed light on it all for us grin

IneedAwittierNickname Thu 27-Mar-14 20:30:19

Lesley Me and my Mum were shock when he came home with it, tbf its the 1st time in 6 years of having DC in school that I've seen one, which makes me wonder if its just one that has missed the dump?!

I've given up trying to understand why he can't have harder books, at the last parents evening I questioned his teacher, including mentioning that his expression/comprehension etc is all there. She agreed, and just said 'Yes I know but he can't move up yet' confused

I guess it's lucky for him that I have a large supply of books at home/am willing to provide more. I know more than one parent who wouldn't.

ICanSeeTheSun Thu 27-Mar-14 20:35:18

I asked DD teacher that why is it she was getting all her word right at home, but still not moving on to the next step.

She said it was to build confidence and to be able to memorise the word.

I suspect most of the members here read fluently with out having to sound each word out.

BornFreeButinChains Thu 27-Mar-14 20:44:18

Yes I know but he can't move up yet

But why can't they give us more detail behind the reasoning?

Why is it this big secret we cant be privy too?

Waltonswatcher1 Thu 27-Mar-14 20:51:09

Why is it so important to us mums ?!
If we are really honest me thinks its pride .

TimeForAnotherNameChange Thu 27-Mar-14 21:12:24

I stopped giving a stuff what books ds1 was on at school when he started reading books of 4+ years above his age band at the library. He gets through about 4 new books a week if given free reign. His comprehension etc is secure and his teacher has said in private that he should be a free reader (our school still uses this term) but that because he hates reading the school's books, she can't move him up. It's ridiculous.

ReallyTired Thu 27-Mar-14 21:19:53

A child is ready to move up a band when they can read a book, with good expression, no mistakes that they have never seen before in their life.

Rather than critising the teacher ask her what her criteria is for moving a child up a band. I listen to year 4 read and every time I have to tick a list of criteria. I also write in the child's reading diary. Often the parents's comments like "Read easily" is completely different to what I find the child is capable of. I really don't understand why parents lie in the child's reading diary.

SolidGoldBrass Thu 27-Mar-14 21:50:04

We started doing free reading in year 2 as the school simply didn't have enough books at the relevant level for DS. I complained after having the same fecking book home half a dozen times and the school just said OK, read what you have at home and just make notes in the reading diary of what it is.

THough I, too, remember the absolute hell of Biff Baff and Fucko and their poxy Magic Key. I have no idea how that awful drivel, which has no internal logic and no sense of story or pace, is supposed to make children enjoy reading.

Waltonswatcher1 Thu 27-Mar-14 22:00:02

That's why I'm dreading it . Kipper n pals are dull dull dull .
That's more the worry of reading schemes surely ; dull bloody boring stories .
I still maintain a lot of the moaning though is playground pride .

diamondage Thu 27-Mar-14 22:32:14

Thank you all for posting smile

Regarding RWI I have less concern if every book in that scheme is read, if I remember correctly their are 10 or 12 per colour band, although I know that Ruth Miskin doesn't require that every book is read because I once rang and spoke to someone at her office about it when discussing a related matter.

Also just to reiterate I haven't experienced this policy myself with DD. I also don't think it's the norm. My reason for posting is part curiosity and part wanting to be able to respond to posters that raise this issue with something reasoned because right now I just so don't get it.

So reallytired to paraphrase my understanding of your own views, you think that parents raising this concern are liars, with over inflated opinions
of their print-barking DCs?

Of course if no primary school has this policy than I have no reason to be concerned and those mums out there reporting this problem had just better stop lying. As this issue doesn't really exist the problem is actually that parents don't trust teacher's views on their DC's capabilities and that's because these parents fail to ask any comprehension questions of their children who are actually no more than performing seals......

I realise now that as well as putting the word "teachers" into my title I should have first asked if any primary schools actually have this policy .... I'm off back to primary to see if any of these parents are prepared to admit to being bald faced liars grin

Thewildsofnarnia Thu 27-Mar-14 22:37:49

We skip through levels at our school and many children come up to me in the upper juniors as free readers. In hate it. it means many children who were l3 readers at y2 read nothing but j Wilson and A Horowitz for 2 years then fail to get their l5 in the readin comp and parents wonder why!

The children who have plodded through the scheme and are still reading a whole range of genre, nightly, to their parents (as well as reading books of their choice-for fun) make outstanding progress. Level 1s and 2cs at y2 reaching the top level 5s.

My child is in y1 and if any teacher thinks about skipping him through quickly I will be pleading with them not to. I want her reading a variety of genre, nightly regardless of whether or not they match her decoding skill. She can be challenged at decoding by the bookcase full of books that we have at home.

As I said, our school do skip through levels and we do get outstanding results in reading comprehension (usually sig plus for level 4 and 5) but the few surprises we have are always around the children that were l3 and then made free readers too quickly IMO.

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