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Reading in English lessons

(51 Posts)
chaosmonkey Wed 17-Dec-14 08:36:29

DS1 (year 9, so 13-14) has one hour a week lessons in which they do free reading - so no guidance on what to read, no discussion on what they read...

AIBU to think this is a bit shoddy? I really can't work out if I am or not! I am aware that not all families read as much as we do (DS1 reads every night anyway) so I can sort of see how it's useful - but it also doesn't feel like a great use of his school time

angstridden2 Wed 17-Dec-14 08:41:00

A bit on the fence here; former teacher now working in support role in high school. Quiet reading in English lessons has been stopped this year; all Eng. lessons must be 'formal' with learning intentions etc. Can see it's not particularly valuable to students who are readers, but for those who would never pick up a book voluntarily it does at least mean they are getting exposure to a fiction text and hopefully access to new vocab and ideas etc. Think what they actually are reading does need monitoring though; 'Wimpey Kid' at 14 really isn't worth it for most students.

CakeAndWineAreAFoodGroup Wed 17-Dec-14 08:45:29

I would hazard a guess that most of the class are playing on their phones instead of reading.

angstridden2 Wed 17-Dec-14 08:47:52

Not unless they want an afterschool detention and their phone confiscated, which is exactly what would happen if caught (and they would be!)

echt Wed 17-Dec-14 08:50:39

Probably better if the first fifteen minutes of every day was spent reading, no matter what the lesson, and the teacher reading too.

chaosmonkey Wed 17-Dec-14 08:51:17

Thanks angstridden (ooh, only got your name when I was typing it, how shoddy am I!)

chaosmonkey Wed 17-Dec-14 08:52:02

oh yeah - they do the first 15 minute thing too. - so over 2 hours of school time is taken up with free reading

GlaceCherries Wed 17-Dec-14 08:53:57

We have this as well. 1 out of 6 English lessons is a reading session. But there is a rota for the class for 1 person to give a verbal book review / presentation kind of thing every session. I'm not that fussed, kids read a lot at home anyway but it's probably nice and easy for them for that 1 hour every fortnight to only have to relax and read.

CakeAndWineAreAFoodGroup Wed 17-Dec-14 08:57:59

angstridden (cool ID! like it)

Yeah, teenagers always forget that teachers and parents were teenage themselves once so will remember the tricks smile

To hear my FIL quote the Daily Mail about discipline in schools...

chaosmonkey Wed 17-Dec-14 09:18:54

Glace - I think if there was some element of work/discussion on it, I'd be less bothered...

JingleBellSniffer Wed 17-Dec-14 09:21:40

2 hours of school time is taken up reading? Every day?
We only had 2 english lessons a week. other reading was done from textbooks in RE, Spanish, History etc. 2 hours of English every day doesn't sound very productive.
The only reason I can think of is they're trying to get the children to read anyway - at year 9 you must start taking control of your own learning, your own reading etc. There's no reading books so a lot of it is just expanding vocabulary which would be put into their essays for english, maybe? Not sure, but 2 hours of it would bore me to tears.

derektheladyhamster Wed 17-Dec-14 09:24:14

I am very pleased they do this, my ds2 (11) rarely reads and always struggles to get into books. But at their school it's often in form time (drop everything and read) and the teacher also reads.

DS1 is a reader but also enjoys being 'told' to read.

chaosmonkey Wed 17-Dec-14 09:26:55

Sorry JingleBell - 2 hours a week - I'd be a bit more sure about where I stood if it was 2 hours a day!

chaosmonkey Wed 17-Dec-14 09:32:56

Thanks Derek - it's good to hear that it is useful for some kids - maybe I'll get off my high horse about it...

I guess it's one of those things - if I was happy about the standard of teaching generally I would think it's fine. As I'm really not happy about lots of other things at the school, then it's easy to feel like it's another thing that they're doing wrong.

But I'm getting the feeling that on this particular case I am being slightly U, so will refrain from bringing that particular issue up with the school...

JingleBellSniffer Wed 17-Dec-14 09:34:59

I hate reading as I find it very difficult to focus on one thing at one time, although I can read non-fiction books and thoroughly enjoy them. As a young child I read anything and everything, i enjoyed the books we did in school, but thats because I had to read them. How I passed English I don't know. I fell asleep every lesson!
2 hours a week is fine, but as i only had 2 hours a week English lessons on top of options, 2 hours of PE, etc, it seems a bit much when it can be used for formal teaching, but I don't remember year 9 as well as 10 & 11.

Goldmandra Wed 17-Dec-14 09:36:09

I wouldn't be too impressed if they were just left to it with no interaction with the teacher at all.

I've spent a lot of time as a volunteer in schools trying to engage older children with reading and it isn't always as easy as just telling them to read. Finding texts that engage them was sometimes quite a challenge and there's no point telling them to read if they are not engaged.

Regular free reading slots could be a great opportunity to help pupils develop their reading skills. The staff could encourage more able/willing readers to read texts they may not naturally choose or that support their progress in particular subjects.

They could work with more reluctant readers to find texts that do engage them. I've read football match reports and comic strips with teens to support their engagement at times.

If they genuinely are just leaving them to it, they are wasting a golden opportunity to help all their pupils get something extra from the texts available to them.

PureMorning Wed 17-Dec-14 09:45:02

First lesson on a Monday and last lesson on a Friday is Reading for the whole school at ds1s secondary.

A teacher does float around and asks about the books and every so often they read aloud to the teacher.
He has to fill in book report for each book read too.

Ds couldn't read properly until he was 10, it was incredibly difficult to what h him struggle to read books for a year 2 Walsall his friends were reading big thick teen novels. But he stuck with it and now at 12 is an avid and confident reader.
I'm glad the lessons are done, reading doesn't come naturally to some and anything that gets them reading can't be bad

PureMorning Wed 17-Dec-14 09:45:29


Sunnymeg Wed 17-Dec-14 10:25:46

At DS's school they are meant to have a book in their bag at all times. They do spot checks and any child without one gets a lunchtime detention. They are expected to read in class if they have finished that lesson's work. They also have reading in form time once a week.

WooWooOwl Wed 17-Dec-14 10:44:48

If they get no guidance, I don't think that's right. Just free reading is something that parents should get their children to do, it shouldn't take up large amounts of school time.

Saying that though, my ds has a library lesson every week, and most of that time is spent free reading. But it also helps keep him organised enough to get new books and take back ones he's read regularly, they use a computer programme that keeps track and makes sure they understand what they're reading and the librarian is there to give them suggestions of what to try next. I think that's time well spent, but the vast majority of the actual reading should be done at home.

Bonsoir Wed 17-Dec-14 10:47:57

I think this is a very poor use of school time and I was very cross indeed when it happened in DD's class.

JingleBellSniffer Wed 17-Dec-14 10:59:40

bonsoir exactly! it should be used for formal teaching.

Bonsoir Wed 17-Dec-14 11:02:41

DD's current English teacher sets copious amounts of reading homework and a tiny amount of spelling and vocabulary homework because those two activities don't require her input or presence. All other work is done at school.

chaosmonkey Wed 17-Dec-14 11:33:12

I like the idea of the library lesson more woowoo, they sound really positive..

Bonsoir - did you complain, or did your dd just change year and teacher and things got better?

Bonsoir Wed 17-Dec-14 11:40:50

I complained indirectly about that particular teacher/class and when DD moved up a year the sets were rejigged in a big way and DD ended up in the top, tiny set with the pupils most able to read independently.

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