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Reading a waste of time during lesson

(82 Posts)
chillx Fri 10-Feb-17 18:09:52

My son is 13yrs old and reads regularly at home. During their English lesson the pupils sit in silence for 40 minutes in silence for 'reading for pleasure'. I personally think this is a waste of the pupils and teachers time together. I'd rather my son worked on his spellings or actually learnt something from his teacher. Whilst I understand that not every child wants reads in their own time I know plenty that do. It could be set as homework. Am I being unreasonable to think their time together could/should be better spent?

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 10-Feb-17 18:12:09

Is their English lesson an hour or is it a double lesson?

If it's somewhat structured, ie not much chance for pupils to just use that time to mess about, then it's good. Reading is what English is all about.

Katy07 Fri 10-Feb-17 18:12:14

Maybe it's a way of making sure that everyone does actually do some reading? If it's set for homework then how is this going to be monitored? (I'm assuming they're not all reading the same book because that's not 'for pleasure') Some kids won't bother reading otherwise.

harderandharder2breathe Fri 10-Feb-17 18:13:52

How often is it? If it's once a month yabu

Tbh once a week is too much if it's unstructured (so no book reports or comprehension etc)

booellesmum Fri 10-Feb-17 18:19:02

DD's both at a grammar school. In year 7 and 8 they have an hour a week where they just read in English.
Reading is really important and never wasted time.
They both read outside school as well.

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 18:19:46

It's a waste of time. It doesn't guarantee that children read: they just sit and stare at a book.

Clawdy Fri 10-Feb-17 18:24:05

"Sit and stare at a book..."? Most kids would find that far more boring than reading!

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 18:24:59

But I'm afraid that they do, Clawdy. Had one try to 'read' a polish dictionary today!

Crumbs1 Fri 10-Feb-17 18:27:52

Reading is best way to improve spelling, surely?

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 18:28:23

If they do it.

Euphemia Fri 10-Feb-17 18:34:09

What do you suggest your DS does while the others are reading? If the teacher lets him do something else, that dilutes the "reading is a valuable way to spend your time" message that s/he is trying to convey.

Reading for homework is not reading for pleasure. Lots of children have no books at home, have nowhere peaceful to read at home, never read a book.

I think it's lovely that the school is giving them the opportunity.

Euphemia Fri 10-Feb-17 18:36:47

Tbh once a week is too much if it's unstructured (so no book reports or comprehension etc)

Are you saying that all reading has to have learning intentions and success criteria? Reading for its own sake, purely for the love of books, for the joy of a good story, for yourself with no one asking questions or expecting writing from you, is a waste of time?

Lazybeans50 Fri 10-Feb-17 18:39:14

At my DS's school they read their own book for a single lesson perhaps every other week. I'm ok with this and he thinks it's great!

MaisyPops Fri 10-Feb-17 18:43:03

We have timetabled semi structured reading lessons.
Not all children have access to books or a supprotive quiet home environment. Ive had children who have illiterate parents.
The biggest factor I find in students at GCSE is between those who read and those who dont. Students who read tend yo write better, have better vocabularies and approach the set texts better.
I'd much rather have a chunk of reading regulalry than other tasks that have less impact

lljkk Fri 10-Feb-17 18:49:45

some kids won't read without the structured time (mine). I lean towards yabu.

MazDazzle Fri 10-Feb-17 18:55:22

I've worked in schools where the English department was allocated an extra period each week specifically for reading. Maybe it's school policy?

SmileEachDay Fri 10-Feb-17 18:58:01

We do 20 mins a week, whole class silent reading. We'd do more if we had time.

It's essential in developing all sorts of literacy skills.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Fri 10-Feb-17 19:06:28

It sounds as if they are following the Drop Everything And Read initiative.

One of the biggest problems English teachers face nowadays is how quickly reading for pleasure is disappearing from teenagers lives. It has a huge impact on the quality of their writing and analytical skills. At GCSE, we can definitely tell the readers from the non-readers.

If they are doing it without having to do comprehension/book reports tacked on to "make it useful", so much the better.

DS is 13 and has library lessons at school. He is an avid reader, and I am delighted that he gets some quiet time to read at school too.

Why wouldn't you want your child to do this? confused

chillx Fri 10-Feb-17 19:08:21

It happens once a week. I wasn't aware of this until I was given a note from my sons teacher who was informing me that my usually polite, quiet son had spoken rudely to him. Apparently he had asked the teacher aloud (he had put his hand up to speak) if there was something else to do other than reading. My son loves reading but obviously wasn't in the mood today! I'm not happy that he was rude towards his teacher and I've dealt with that but it did make me think about the circumstances behind it. Apparently 5 minutes after the comment the teacher decided to change his mind and asked the class to do something else, he made it clear to them all that his change of plan was nothing to do with my sons comment.

booklooker Fri 10-Feb-17 19:13:39

Wow! Your son must be amazing!

He can change the teacher's lesson plan all by himsellf!!!

harderandharder2breathe Fri 10-Feb-17 19:14:00

Not at all euphemia, but in school, the point is to develop and improve, and in a crammed timetable, in a core subject, I think unstructured reading on a weekly basis isn't the best use of the time. The teacher has no way of checking understanding or picking up any difficulties.

BarbarianMum Fri 10-Feb-17 19:15:37

Generally children don't get to choose something else to do if they don't fancy the task they've been allocated, not sure why this would be any different. Are you sure your beef isn't that you think the teacher is slacking?

stillpinching Fri 10-Feb-17 19:16:24

Yes, well done. Your son's outspokenness caused the teacher to see the error of hiss ways and completely rethink the lesson. Praise be to your son. Hopefully he will continue to extend his influence across the school - I'm sure there are more teachers who could benefit from his lesson advice.

chillx Fri 10-Feb-17 19:19:19

I do understand the importance of reading which is why I volunteer several hours a week at my local primary school to listen to children read. I can't help but think that the teacher who is trained and qualified could be sharing his knowledge with the pupils rather than sat at a computer whilst the children sit in silence. Surely you can't force children to enjoy reading by forcing them to read in a regimented way. I must add that my son has ADHD so sitting still and in silence is almost impossible for him but he does his best to try and curb his behaviour. He has been under the weather recently so I expect this is why his behaviour slipped.

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 19:37:29

My problems with DEAR are many and varied.

1. There is always a kid without a book. That's optimistic. You usually get several without a book. Endless faffing and fussing, fussing and faffing. Yes, you can insist they choose one but then they sit, squirm and whine they are boooored. (And trust me I have tried with this. I have scoured charity shops, I have Jacqueline Wilson, hunger games, Harry Potter. I have books on shark attacks and football and gaming. Horrible histories, Guinness book of world records - which a fight inevitably breaks out over - but some just won't read.)

2. I love reading. I'd find it pretty hard, then, to stop reading and start doing something else.

3. The 'can I read a book? It's on my phone.'

4. All in all, it's teaching them reading is something to be endured not enjoyed.

The crux of it is, it's hard to believe just how resistant some kids are to reading. I don't think enforced silent reading within English does anything to change that.

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