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Need a note for teacher because the computer says he doesn't read enough!

(11 Posts)
bigmouthstrikesagain Thu 03-Mar-16 11:18:25

I have two children with ASD in middle school - they both have to use the 'accelerated reader' www.renlearn.co.uk/accelerated-reader/ scheme.

I have struggled with this ever since ds started this school because it has been a difficult to get ds and dd to understand that it is a tool to encourage reading, it is not meant to be a source of stress. They are both prone to rigidity and take things very literally, to get rewarded by the scheme they have to be reading 20 minutes a day and he only way they can prove that is by doing quizzes on the books they are reading (but not all books are on the scheme). They are both excellent readers, have good vocabulary, spelling and grammar and are both in top sets for English. I have absolutely no concerns about their comprehension or attainment in this subject, unlike other aspects of their schooling.

So when dd1 English teacher expressed her concern that dd is not reading enough I had to correct her as she reads daily, a variety of books and the fact that I don't insist she reads the books for accelerated reader is because I want her to enjoy reading for pleasure and I wanted to add that I think that accelerated reader is a tool not a way of life, so if dd1 wants to read the bloody Beano annual 1979 instead of Michael Morpurgo then I don't mind. So in dds mid year report she got a low effort grade for the AR and a high grade for English/ reading [Gallic shrug].

Now ds also struggled with AR in yr 5 but now he is in yr7 and he has read all the books in the school library (that he wants to read) and has received 3 millionwordaire certificates so I think he is doing ok. Still now he has run out of books to do quizzes on (he is rereading old books) the English teacher has told him that I will need to write a note to her so that he doesn't have to go into the after school reading club for kids who don't read 20 mins a day. As ds probably reads two hours a day that is bloody stupid and I want to tell the computer NOOOO ffs

There are so many other issues my dc have - reading - is NOT a problem. AGGH

starry0ne Thu 03-Mar-16 11:26:32

No advise just sounds a nightmare...WE had message from school the other day..Homework will not be signed off unless 3 entries in reading record...Teacher is aware DS reads every day and I have bigger issues that adding the stress of has he bought reading record home...( there are reasons he finds organising anything like this difficult) His teacher will sometimes make sure my child specifically brings reading record home...However my issue is I also sign his homework book to say he has done it surely he should be signed off for doing it not whether a parent has filled in documentation correctly....

My point been it is bureaucracy gone mad and actually lets assess the kids not a tick list

Monstertrucker Thu 03-Mar-16 11:56:46

I can't tell you how much I hate AR too! Both my kids despised it - the older one (a good but reluctant reader) was constantly told that the books she wanted to read were too hard or easy. They let her read the first Harry Potter but not the second ffs. Reading definitely became a chore for her and what little enthusiasm she had they managed to kill off. MT the younger loves reading even though she finds it difficult. She struggled with the online quizzes but could happily retell the story she had just read. Unfortunately the school wouldn't ask her about the book just insinuate that she hasn't read the book at all when she got a poor score on a quiz.

We've now moved and their new school doesn't do AR! Both kids are much happier and are reading more than ever. If we move again (a definite possibility) I'll be quizzing any prospective school on whether they use AT.

MrsUniverse Thu 03-Mar-16 11:58:12

AR is a useful tool, particularly with children who teachers struggle to get reading. But it should never be implemented this rigidly imo. However as schools have paid a lot for it and it gives some nice looking figures for ofsted, it has become a mandated part of many English interventions. I'm not sure that you can successfully opt out of it tbh.

bigmouthstrikesagain Mon 07-Mar-16 10:33:44

Thank you for replies.

I can fully appreciate that AR has its uses - but if it becomes a stick rather than a carrot for kids who are reading enough generally and are not struggling with their reading/ comprehension - then the school should have the discretion to back off.

I have mentioned it to the Head of English but I could see she was offended - and wanted to defend the scheme - I just want it to be used where it is needed and not applied universally - maybe that is unreasonable. But it is so annoying to have a bookworm being hassled for not reading enough - a week after giving him a third certificate for reading a million words.

ElviraCondomine Mon 07-Mar-16 11:15:56

Agree with you OP.

I have 2 able readers but neither has ever read what was considered appropriate / on the school scheme. DD1 was a precocious reader and tackling all the classics from age 10, whereas DD2 rejects most fiction: you won't find script books from sit coms, or social histories of the NHS, on a school scheme and they are her current reading of choice.

Luckily their primary teachers recognised that it simply wasn't an issue. I think I'd have been very frustrated in your situation.

Sadly schools have to evidence absolutely everything and so they push it.

bigmouthstrikesagain Mon 07-Mar-16 11:40:17

I get the evidence thing I really do - but the evidence of good English skills is in their work surely. My DH is a good example of someone who doesn't read for pleasure - yet works as a professional communicator and is a trained journalist - he manages perfectly well though I think he is missing out by only reading work related texts.

Reading should be pleasurable not enforced, AR should be optional unless the child has a significant issue with their vocabulary/ written work in English.

MrsUniverse Mon 07-Mar-16 12:56:06

As above is not enough to evidence progress from their written work anymore. Ofsted will be aware that the school use AR and if they call upon your child's records (which they can and do at random) they will ask what interventions are in place as your child is clearly not up to standard. However untrue this is, they do not care as there is no evidence for it. It is ridiculous and kills interest in reading for some children.

RubbleBubble00 Mon 07-Mar-16 13:02:14

Could you do a daily log book of what children are reading and roughly how long they spent reading. It's a pain but good evidence they are doing well with the or reading

bigmouthstrikesagain Mon 07-Mar-16 13:30:56

A daily record grin - not going to happen - I am a total fail at that sort of minutiae - the children are getting interventions as they are both on the SEN register but they are not getting anything for English lesson support - because they don't need it. I have emailed the Eng teacher to get ds out of reading detention but honestly I have had enough of AR to last a lifetime and I still have a dd to start at the school in a couple of years so it is going to continue to be an irritant just like plenty of other school stuff - so I will have to suck it up. Thank you for allowing my rantrum - I needed to get it off my chest

ohthejoys Mon 07-Mar-16 13:41:03

I had similar issues with my dd (year 6) and the daily reading journal she was required to keep! Being forced to read set texts and being asked to time how long they read for takes the enjoyment out of what should be the start of a lifelong love of books!
I wrote in her school journal that it would not be completed by me or by my dd and explained by reasons why! Teacher called me in to discuss but wouldn't listen to reason!
We have carried on not filing it in and haven't had any further problems!
Surely if the school have record of your objection and your guarantee that the work is being done this should cover them in the event of an inspection?!

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