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Frustrated about son's reading books! Is it me?

(76 Posts)
MariamaMay Mon 14-Nov-16 21:26:21

Son is reading about 6 levels above the books he brings home! I know I can carry on supplementing at home which I will do. But I do have some level of frustration. I mentioned his reading ability to his reception teacher, was given the standard response of reading is more than reading the words. So left it until Year 1. Mentioned it to Year 1 teacher - who said its about comprehension so I then spent more time on exploring whether my son understood what he was reading. At parents evening - the teacher themselves said that he can read, comprehend, predict aspects of story. I once again mentioned that he books he was bringing home were too easy - though not as bluntly as there, I asked whether there was anything I was missing/that I needed to help him with. Teacher said they would look at his reading. And guess what? He is still bringing home the same level reading book - which he has been reading for about 9 months. Is it me? Or am I reasonable to feel very frustrated. I will just carry on taking him to the library so he can read other books. But I know other children are reading higher levels so I just don't get it. I feel they have pigeon holed him and that's where he will stay. My concern is that this extends beyond reading - as in the teacher's perception of him. He is very lively!!!

aintnothinbutagstring Mon 14-Nov-16 21:44:37

Schools, or the new curriculum, are big on comprehension and consolidation of previously taught material. My dd is having the same problem, we try to mitigate it by providing her with much more interesting and difficult texts at home, she is enjoying Harry potter at the moment (which she fully comprehends as she bores me with the details of all the characters). I also questioned it and it seemed the teacher does want to limit the entire class to a certain extent but I won't limit her at home.

aintnothinbutagstring Mon 14-Nov-16 21:47:09

Sorry, should say my dd is in y4, but we've had the same issue since y1, even though the teachers admit she has a reading age much higher than actual age.

MariamaMay Mon 14-Nov-16 21:58:36

Thanks smile. Its so frustrating! Thankfully, since we started reading some of the ORT magic adventures, he has been happy to read books at home and enjoys the higher level books. He now reads the school book in the car on the way home just so we can tick it off (I do look at it before so I know whether he has understood or not). Just find it annoying that other children are reading higher levels. And it was the teacher herself who - at parents evening (and without me asking about reading) said his comprehension, prediction etc (all the other skills) were really good!!!

TulipsInAJug Mon 14-Nov-16 22:03:19

I have exactly the same situation with my DD, aged 6. She is reading several levels above the reading books sent home, and doesn't bother with them at all. No one reads with her at school, nor is she given books at her level to get on with reading herself, as far as I can make out.

She taught herself to read and is an avid reader at home, Roald Dahl etc.

We went to speak to the teacher about it and she also said it's about 'comprehension'. But DD's comprehension is good. She suggested we bring in books for DD to read at school. I don't think we should have to do this, but do you think I should?

Backingvocals Mon 14-Nov-16 22:10:29

This has been my experience of schools recently. Ds has been on the same level for about 9 months. His comprehension is fine - there's nothing to challenge his comprehension in the books he's on anyway. Certainly no new vocabulary or sentence structure. I've given up asking for the level to be reviewed. Oh actually until this week when this was sent home. He's in y3 for heaven's sake and although he's young in the year he is capable of reading a Roald Dahl or similar and they send this home confused. Have made an appointment to see the teacher on Friday ....

SparklyLeprechaun Mon 14-Nov-16 22:11:38

Yanbu, we are having the same issue with DD. Year 2, she loves reading and reads 4 levels above what the teacher assessed her as. I've given up asking the teacher to reassess her reading or at least tell me what's wrong with her reading so we can improve. It doesn't fill me with confidence in the school's ability to teach her. It looks like as long as the kids don't fall below average, they aren't concerned.

Luckily no one checks what books she brings home so now she just takes home whatever books she fancies.

MariamaMay Mon 14-Nov-16 22:15:14

Comprehension seems to be a common response to parents questions to reading. I am sure it is at times, but I am sure there are times when the child can comprehend! Teachers have a tough time with so many pupils in the class which I totally get but I wish they would take a moment to re-assess if a parent comes to them.

If your DD can read very well, I would probably go with taking some in for her. NO - you shouldn't have to! But at least she would have something more appropriate smile.

I am thinking of keeping a log of all the books my DS reads at home so I can produce this when it comes to the next parents evening! If he is still on the same book level then, I am not sure what I will do. Steam out of ears perhaps ;)

arethereanyleftatall Mon 14-Nov-16 22:17:04

At dds school they bring home their own choice of book either from year 2 or as soon as they become a free reader, whichever is sooner. I don't know if our school is different, but I don't think any of them are still on any 'levels' after year 2, so are just choosing their own books.

Twinchaos1 Mon 14-Nov-16 22:21:10

My pair are in year 4 and are now bringing their own books in from home to read at school now or borrowing their friends books. They have a level but it seems quite notional.

Dragongirl10 Mon 14-Nov-16 22:23:37

Buy him a kindle, much cheaper than buying books endlessly, best £60 l ever spent for my book mad 8 yr good to hear he loves to read.....don't hold him back, in a private school they would up his level to keep him excited about reading....

MariamaMay Mon 14-Nov-16 22:23:39

SparklyLeprechaun - I think you have hit the nail on the head for me. Its your comment, "It doesn't fill me with confidence in the school's ability to teach her". Its the fact there is a gap of almost 6 levels between school and home - just one or two and I could understand that. It does make me wonder what they are missing IYSWIM. And especially as they also do not seem to have accurately assessed his Maths either.

MarklahMarklah Mon 14-Nov-16 22:33:36

Sorry no advice, it sounds appalling.
DD is in year 1, and would read the text Backingvocals has posted really easily. I'm grateful that her school do encourage free reading, and are happy to move children up book bands. Right now she's on the top 'level' for her age group (along with about three others in her class, and another eight from other Y1 classes), and is working on her understanding of structure.
The school teach literacy in a separate lesson from phonics, and generally make sure that children have an understanding of the 'units' of text - verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, etc.

I think you do need to raise it again. The school are not helping any of the children like this. I get that they need to ensure comprehension but there are only so many books at these reading levels that cover this. Continue to supplement with library books, and perhaps ask for a longer appointment/additional appointment at the next parents evening where you can have your DS read and explain the text to demonstrate that he does comprehend the text and can follow pointers, etc.

RainbowSparkles Mon 14-Nov-16 22:43:45

Does he read at school in the same way that he reads at home? We have parents commenting about their children being on books that are too easy for them all the time so we assess again and alot of the time they stay where they are as they struggle to read the books at school.
Teachers can only assess children's abilities on what they see/hear, ask to go in and see how the children read it will give you a better understanding of why they are on the levels they are. If your still not happy then ask the head to have a chat to your childs teacher or even assess them themselves.
It is frustrating as I have had this with my DD she flew through books at home but it turned out that her confidence was rock bottom at school meaning she just clammed up when asked to read at school.

HarryPottersMagicWand Mon 14-Nov-16 22:50:14


I've had this issue with eldest, from Year 1, was always told it was about comprehension and expression. He understood everything fine, I tested him on it. I had to push every time to get him moved up. I'd ask him after he finished what he thought and every time it was "too easy." The TA just didn't want to move him up much. Finally in year 3 he went on to free reader as I said he wasn't enjoying the school books, they were dire, and there were some fab looking books in the free reader section and getting him to read his level books had become a battle so they moved him onto free reader. He loves reading and reads Diary of A Wimpy kid a lot, read all the Harry Potters, read some Roald Dahl, he did read The Hobbit last year but I don't think he understood that. He said something about a ring grin.

Now its repeating with DD. I've had to push to get her moved up the last 2 levels, the last being last week. They haven't listened to her read in year 1 at all. When I said to the teacher that she was reading the adult bit of the Project X books, they realised they needed to move her up. They have and she still read the adult bit today. Her reading, comprehension and expression is really good, above what DS's was at the same same age and he was always a good reader.

We did a summer reading challenge in the holidays and she was easily reading 2 levels above her school books. It's ridiculous.

A friend of mine said they don't push their reading because when they do their year 2 SATS, if their levels haven't improved by at least 2 for the year 6 SATS then the school have failed them. No idea if that's accurate but she said she was told that.

MariamaMay Mon 14-Nov-16 22:54:57

RainbowSparkle - Every comment in his reading log has been --- "lovely reading", "confident reading", "excellent reading", earlier in year also "able to decode unfamiliar words" (less now as he doesn't need to decode). Current teacher who has only commented in log once and I believe (not that I totally believe my DS's reports!!!) read with him once or twice, was "very confident reading, some very tricky words in this book". I checked with one Mum who volunteers - said no problems, was one of the better ones she read with in terms of fluency etc. Another Mum mentioned she had read with him so I asked how he get on, she said very well. If he has 9 months worth of positive comments and the teacher herself is saying he has good comprehension, prediction skills - I am confused. I asked at parents evening if I was missing something. Was told no and that teacher would look into it. Same level books still coming home. So my frustration is that he has not been assessed. I totally understand that he is one of many children and do not expect the teacher to read with him that often - school have a lot of volunteers who help with this. But if she assessed and explained what he needs to work on I would have no issue at all! I am quite happy to be advised that he has to work on a particular area and then support at home with this. But I cant quite see how reading the same level books for such a long period of time is helpful. He was able to read level 7 and some 8s several months ago (ORT that is). He is bringing home Level 3 / Red books.

MariamaMay Mon 14-Nov-16 23:00:26

RainbowSparkle - just to add. I think you are so right about children reading differently at school. But level 3 compared to level 7/8 is a big gap. If there was just one or two levels difference I could see that could easily be a difference in his performance at school/home and also a difference in perception. But such a big gap? And the fact he has been plodding his way through the same level for so many months. Bless him that he does it without complaining!!! He always manages to find some humour in them :D

catkind Mon 14-Nov-16 23:03:55

That was us in year 1. It is really frustrating. In our case I think there really was a degree of just excuses. (I've told the story before on MN but basically have good reason to believe they didn't have enough books at the next several levels.)

I think given they said they were going to look at it at parents' evening and still haven't changed the level it would not be unexpected to go back and say ok, you don't think he's ready to move up so what should we be working on?

Same school also had lists of quite specific "comprehension" targets at each level, though as MN teachers will tell you that is not really in line with NC requirements for books to be matched to their decoding ability. It could be that there's something specific like that holding him back. But you can't work on it if you don't know what it is!

MariamaMay Mon 14-Nov-16 23:08:20

catkind - I like your suggestion of saying something along the lines of "OK, you don't think he's ready to move up so what should we be working on?". I was thinking I couldn't ask - yet again - but asking in this way is brilliant smile. And as you say, how can I support him if I don't know where the issue is - if there is one!!!

Backingvocals Mon 14-Nov-16 23:10:31

I hear you OP. DS's reading record is the same. "Excellent comprehension" or "Super recount" or "Read with great expression" - every single week for 9 months. And every week I've written "Could the levels be reviewed? I think DS could manage more" and on and on and on. I don't think they actually pay one bit of attention to what's been written in the books and they'll just review when they review and until that time it's pointless even to raise it.

This is my experience having had two children over the course of 7 years in the same Ofsted Outstanding school. To be fair, I think they don't bother much about the reading levels because they know the parents are supplementing at home (it's that sort of area grin). And it's true, I do. I basically ignore the books they send home - until I get fed up as I have done this week and then I intervene again and then they move up one level and we start all over again hmmm

MariamaMay Mon 14-Nov-16 23:16:24

This is also an outstanding school!!! If they do change his level, I will probably faint right there outside the school ;) ;) ;)!!! Either that or I will notice pigs flying ...!!!

Living in hope - naïve hope (!!!) - that I will be able to post that I have seen pig fly :D :D :D

Obsidian77 Mon 14-Nov-16 23:26:38

My DCs seem to read to several different people, usually TAs or mums who volunteer, rarely the teacher herself. I can see why this would be the case but I do think it means the teacher doesn't necessarily get an accurate view of their reading levels, particularly as DD is very shy.
I think it's a good idea to ask what you should be working on as they'll have to check his reading to answer this properly. It's a waste of everybody's time for your DC to read books that are too easy and can be very demotivating.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 14-Nov-16 23:43:40

I eventually took the attitude of giving the book to dd to read and follow that adult instructions, signed it a nd carried on teaching her to read from level appropriate library/home books.

at one stage we opted out of the reading books and ignored them completely.

I also had the problem in reverse with ds who was not ready to read.

ArmySal Mon 14-Nov-16 23:50:49

I had the same with my daughter all through primary school. I gave up asking the teachers.

user1475501383 Tue 15-Nov-16 00:55:22

This is really frustrating.
I was in your DS's position as a kid. As a result, I learned to daydream all day at school, coasting through exams with minimal effort, and have had a lot of learning to catch up on as an adult when it comes to learning to work for results, academic or otherwise.
Too many teachers ignore the needs of gifted kids. Gifted kids (like your DS very obviously is) are sadly often thought to manage on their own because they're so capable in some academic ways. However, this teaches the wrong lessons for life.
It's fantastic that you support your DS outside school. But I would keep persevering - talk to the head teacher, etc. There is simply no point in not giving your child appropriate challenge. this really frustrates me so my DS goes to a private school

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