To thunk these kind of targets/awards(46 Posts)
Are unfair to older or brighter kids.
So my dds go to a schools where they have a computer based reading scheme. The kids are targeted to read x number of books per half term. Both my dds are pretty much at the top of the scheme and really struggle to do this. As a result they miss out on house points.
They also do head teacher termly Awards for children who read the most. Again no chance for the older kids or those at the top of the scheme to win.
Now I know it is trivial in the scheme of things but Dd2 in particular is sensitive and is feeling bad about not being able to reach her target.
Ainu to think target should be weighted depending on length book.
It seems unfair but to be honest, your 'brighter' kids will have many advantages over other kids in just about everything else that happens at school. Imagine the less 'bright' but sensitive child, who struggles with everything and never gets and award. Perhaps your girls need a little change of perspective.
What do you mean by "at the top of the scheme and really sturggle"?
At my school there are 'competitive' prizes and we make no qualms about it. Fastest in a race, most pages read (there was one per class for that) during book week etc. However, there are far more such as a one-per-class 'Performance of the Week' certificate handed out at the headmaster's assembly which aren't purely on attainment. Of course, each child wins these.
I don't believe in 'also ran' prizes but it's a balance. Does the school also have awards which are 'fairer' or more based on a teacher's discretion?
I hope you aren't complaining about prizes based on achievements as they discriminate against those who don't win. I think that's fairly short-sighted.
I'm assuming you mean that the books your children read are longer/more difficult etc. and that's why it's more of a struggle for them?
But children who aren't as bright or haven't got comprehension skills as advanced as your child's WILL find their own books difficult. It's all relative. A child who has a very basic grasp on reading is going to find it just as difficult to read a basic reader as a child with an advanced grasp on reading who's reading a novel.
Yes it is the number of pages they struggle with. It can take weeks to read one book. Yet other kids manage to read 3 short books per week.
I guess it is true that those readiing he shorter books may struggle with quizzes at the end.
Most of the other Awards at school seem to go to the children who are sporty, musical or good at drama and dance. Sadly my girls are not all rounders.
They do occasionally get the merit Awards decided by teachers but not often as they are quiet and just get on with it and don't really stand out.
Most pages read is fine but per book. They could of course select books at the lower end of their range I suppose. But they seem to prefer the longer higher end books which of course I don't want to discourage.
Btw Dd1 is only near top of scheme as she is one of the eldest in the school. Dd2 the perfectionist/ sensitive one is reading at the same level as Dd1.
My daughter was in a similar position. Initially assessed as reading age of 17 (aged 8) and the awards went to kids who improved the most. Highest you could get was 18 Some kids were starting off at reading age 5 so were getting awards very term. thankfully she did it for the love of reading rather than awards, but as a child with v low self esteem some recognition on it would have been amazing.
Child A is beginning chapter books and finds them a challenge.
Child B is still on picture books and finds them a challenge.
So reading 5 picture books is as challenging for Child B as reading 5 early chapter books is for Child A.
I work in a Reception class and see both sides of this; my DCs (11 and 5) are both academically sound and work hard at school, keep their heads down and do what's required without playing up or attention seeking. Neither is regularly lauded for their behaviour or ability, neither is often singled out positively. They're all-round good kids and shine at school.
However, some of the children I work with and spend time with positively lack the family background mine have. They don't have anyone sat reading, doing homework, enriching their lives and vocabularies, taking them to clubs and on adventures. They have nobody boosting their self esteem, pushing them to work hard in school and attain their best. Those children are the ones who could easily become lost at the bottom of a very big pile, those children are the ones whose self-esteem and comprehension and understanding is limited by their social situation. Those children could be the ones in greatest need of praise, certificates and attention.
As a parent of course I love to see my own DCs achieve. As a teacher I concede that my DCs are not short of attention, encouragement or praise, and adjust my thinking accordingly.
As an aside, your DD2's teacher may not know yet that she can be sensitive and need a little more encouragement. Communicate this to them; they can only work with what they know and if they're aware of her sensitivity they can try and find ways to support her. A great deal of parents assume a teacher knows their DC intuitively; with 25 other children in a class it's impossible for a teacher to know them as well as a parent and to pick up on every characteristic. Speak to her teacher, not about the other children or the awards, but about how it affects DD and how you feel her target could be adjusted.
Thank you whoo. Really helpful post. I have spoken to dds teacher last year but no opportunity yet this year. Dd walks to school being year 6 so don't really get the same level of contact.
From a parental point things like this irk me as DD rarely gets Housepoints as she always behaves well and gets upset when "Johnny got one just for sitting on the carpet", she's meant to read 3 books a week yet she's on Chapter books and many of her peers are still on phonic shorter ones. But I know that DDs ability to read and behave well and follow instructions will get her much further than those that need rewarding for it.
However from a professional point of view I know that they work really well for those who don't come from a Household where reading is valued or the norm. For children who are dyslexic and avoid reading at all costs. I often give credits to the teens I support for behaviour that quite frankly is expected but very challenging for them to meet.
Generally brighter children (don't assume all the older ones are on longer books) come from homes where reading for pleasure is encouraged and a part of life, these rewards like Attendance ones are not aimed at your child. They are aimed at the children whose parents don't value reading/school as important as other areas. For the child who reading a 20 page book takes as long as your child reads a small chapter book.
Who wants them to win your children or you? If they want to win then they simply need to read more. They presumably have the option of choosing shorter stories at their reading ability Roald Dahl books are fairly short, David Walliams one might take 3 nights if they are pretty competent. Perhaps they need to work on their reading speed so this could encourage them to do so. if they want to read, make sure they take a book wherever they go, car, bus, train. Don't watch TV and read a book instead.
Or, they could just read for pleasure and fit it in around other activities that make for a well rounded individual and not worry about Housepoints.
Ah ok, DS1 is Y6 too and walks so on parents evening I had no idea which teacher was his til she approached us! Still, I would try and speak to them, ask for a phone call when they have five minutes (usually after school rather than before) so you can just let them know. If they're aware they can support her so much more, even if it's just more acknowledgement and verbal praise when she reads with teacher/TA.
This type of scheme is hugely motivating for DS8yo, who more or less refuses to read otherwise, so I am not sure I can make myself care about fairness or not, I just need some way to get DS to read.
I imagine everyone is supposed to choose a book that is appropriate to their age & level; but some kids always cheat. It happened to me in 1978 when I was age 10. I saw the perfectly able 11yo who won the challenge that year, writing down little kid books in her records. I complained about her doing that, but no joy. I was bullied so didn't really want any public recognition at an all-school assembly, anyway (which was the reward for winning). No real loss. (and I won the damn contest the next year anyway ).
Dd2 has never been an avid reader despite being able.. However she seems to have found some books on this scheme that she liked which is great but they are so long. We are talking 400 pages.
She could select shorter books but to me that is counterproductive.
They have a range so there is some flexibility.
those children who are struggling to read basic books are going to have a far harder life than your DD is. So they may get some house points now, but when it comes to the real world at a later date?
get some perspective.
We do this scheme at my school, but the points are different. So a child on a magic key book may get 0.5 points for completing, but a child that read gangsta granny will get 5 points. Each child has a point target for the term.
I do think that the ones who struggle need more praise and reward-incentive encouragement than high achievers. And I say that as a parent of one high achieving child, and one middle-of-the-road child. The one who never quite excels in any department really relies on rewards and praise from his teachers because he lacks the confidence that comes naturally for his brother, who is aware, award and recognition or not, that he is above average academically.
I think individual targets would be better. But equally I can understand it is difficult based on number of children in school.
I remember seeing my eldest head of year last parents evening and she basically had very lityle she could say about my Dd and admitted quiet well behaved and studious kids generally get overlooked. I think that is a shame.
Anyway I have a Parents evening this Tuesday so I will speak to Dd2s teacher about her sensitive nature. Dd1 fortunately isn't bothered.
Our system does it on the number of words they read. The computer programme knows how many words there are in each book in the scheme and tots the total up for them as they log each book. The kids love it.
I get that it is good to encourage those who don't excel in subjects .
The thing is though Dd2 may achieve in academic subjects but is rubbish at Pe, Art and drama etc. All subjects where kids are frequently rewarded with articles in newsletter etc head teachers Awards etc. No effort is really made to reward those struggling in these subjects.
Again, please think about the children who struggle in everything. I hate this ridiculous myth that a child who is weaker academically is likely to be amazing at sport or drama. This is hardly ever the case! There are many children in every class and school who will never get picked out for anything. So a bit of extra recognition for doing well (for them) in something they find difficult surely can't be begrudged by the parent of a child who finds these things easy...?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.