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a good reading scheme for fluent readers?

(14 Posts)
miggy Tue 22-Feb-05 22:44:03

Am starting to despair of our schools one but would like to give them some positive ideas rather than just negative feedback.
DS2 (7) is in yr3, he reads and comprehends fluently. Last year he finished the school reading scheme halfway through the year and was then allowed to choose from a selection of books like horrid henry,sheltie,michael morpugo, anne fine etc. All appropriate for his age, understanding and interests. They bring a book home every night and are expected to fill out a reading diary.That was great-worked really well.
This year, the school got new reading scheme books and last term ds had to choose those. Dreadful books, poor in vocab and dull as ditch water. The non fiction ones werent so bad and he has read all those. Now hes back to being allowed to choose but there seems to be no guidance.
This week he has come home with "Anne frank-the diary of a young girl" FGS is this in any way appropriate in content for a 7yr old boy!
Having moaned about the banalness of the reading scheme I feel a bit reluctant to leap in and moan about this but it seems a bit crazy really. There must be a middle way surely?

SamN Tue 22-Feb-05 23:20:42

Not sure if this will be much help, miggy, but it sounds very much like my experience when I was at school. I went through loads of reading scheme books before they finally allowed me to use the library at the Junior school. Can't remember if there was any guidance as to which books I chose, though.

Could you enlist the help of a librarian to suggest/lend books to the school which are more appropriate?

roisin Wed 23-Feb-05 14:18:30

Have you had a chat to the teacher Miggy? When ds1 was 'promoted' onto free readers his teacher was at pains to point out to us that the material was selected (for complexity and content) as generally suitable for children aged 9+ (he was 6). But that it was not possible for them to closely monitor his selections, and that it was important that he learn skills of how to choose appropriate books. So she was keen to impress upon us that we should monitor the books, and have no hesitation whatsoever in sending a book back in unread if we judged it to be unsuitable.

Our school has three sections of 'free readers'. The third section is not available to children until yr5 because some content is deemed to be inappropriate.

It is a tricky situation though.

miggy Wed 23-Feb-05 16:06:56

Thanks for replies. Problem seems to be that each teacher has their own stash of books that they use and this teacher seems to have a rather odd selection.
We have heaps of suitable books at home as his older brother is an avid reader and I tend to buy books rather than get them from librarys as I am hopeless at returning them! Its parents evening next week and I think I might suggest that I give him books from home for a while.
I dont think they are old enough to have free choice at this stage, particularly as he feels he has failed if he doesnt read it and takes it back, although I did persuade him to do so with the Anne Frank book.
He is a capable reader but not a keen one and I dont want him to switch off reading at this age, want to foster a love of reading with fab books that will interest him rather than it becoming a boring chore.

singersgirl Wed 23-Feb-05 16:54:56

Hi, I don't really have much helpful to add but have a similar situation with DS1 (in Y2, 6). Once they finish the reading scheme they go onto "early chapter books", then "middle chapter books", then "further chapter books". The mixture of books in each section seems odd and fairly random to me. DS is supposed to be on "middle chapter books", but I have given up with the school books and we are choosing our own. At the moment he is reading "The Worst Witch" series which is OK and still has a little vocab that is challenging for him (both decoding and comprehending). They don't listen to them read individually in school, only in groups once a week for guided reading, and the guided reading book is not the same as the children's individual reading book. So I don't feel the teacher has any real sense of what next step would be good for him, if you know what I mean. I know he's ready to move up a step - but there doesn't seem to be any guidance as to what that step should be. And I know I should speak to the teacher, but there never seems to be an informal enough opportunity when DS1 isn't straining to get home or DS2 falling off a wall or something. Would Roald Dahl be too big a next step? He has read some of the short ones and I thought he might be ready for "Charlie" etc. But like Miggy's son, he is not a particularly keen independent reader and I don't want to turn him off....Any ideas gratefully received.

roisin Wed 23-Feb-05 17:52:57

Singersgirl - IME the best way to get 'not particularly keen but able' readers of this age over the next hurdle, is to combine reading to them, them reading to you, and them reading to themselves.

So you carefully select an exciting book, which is a little challenging for their current stage but not daunting. Then you take turns reading chapters (them reading aloud to you), and you judiciously judge a 'cliff-hanger' moment to stop ... at which they point they cry "NO! We can't possibly stop here". So you graciously allow them to carry out and read on to themselves in bed. So they read the next chapter to themselves; their confidence is boosted as is their enthusiasm for reading!

We are at exactly this point with ds2 atm!

(IMO Some parents - possibly influenced by the school's approach - put too firm a separation between a bedtime story and the child's own reading: "You have to read this, not me". To really grasp that passion for reading they do need exciting books, which are often quite demanding and long too. So a parent doing some of the reading makes a huge difference in their enthusiasm and perseverence to get through the book.)

Some suggestions for appropriate books might be found here These were suggested as 'parent read to child' selection, and are mainly on the more challenging side. Your ds may be ready for these now, may be more suited for a little later.

There's another thread with suggestions for just this sort of thing. I'll try and find it for you in a mo!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a fab place to start, as there are lots of cliffhangers!

Have fun!

roisin Wed 23-Feb-05 17:56:49

this is the other thread I mentioned ... it's a bit long, but it is worth wading through, as it has some great suggestions for this sort of age/stage.

roisin Wed 23-Feb-05 17:59:35

Finally! I found Aidan Chambers: Tell me: Children, Reading and Talk - How adults help children talk well about books inspirational in encouraging children to talk about their reading and to become passionate lovers of literature.

It's actually aimed at teachers and the class situation, but is of interest/applicable to parents and one-to-one situations too.

singersgirl Wed 23-Feb-05 20:55:45

Thanks, roisin, for the link and the suggestions. We have tried various things like the alternate chapter reading (did it with "Horrid Henry" and "Mr Majeika" a few months back.) At the moment after we read to each other at bedtime (currently different books, but sometimes the same) he's listening to Stephen Fry read "Harry Potter". We looked at Lemony Snicket but he was too upset by the first page - he is coping OK listening to HP and will dip into our copies of it and read a couple of pages.
I'll look at some of the adventurous suggestions on the list. He likes humour and boys' stuff (eg Tintin). We read "The BFG" a while ago before he was ready to read it and I was thinking of tackling that with him - he enjoys the giant's vocab. Thanks again for the helpful link!

singersgirl Wed 23-Feb-05 21:56:50

OK, so he's not coping OK with Harry Potter - he's listening to "Chamber of Secrets" and as I posted the last note came out crying to tell me he was "cowering" in his bed. Mmmm. One to listen to together in the daytime!

roisin Wed 23-Feb-05 22:17:20

Singersgirl - you must be a saint reading Horrid Henry! That is one thing my boys know they are allowed to read, but I will refuse to read to them or listen to them read it, as I dislike it so much

Hope you find something suitable for him.

My ds1 has read all sorts of 'scary' stuff now, but he won't touch Lemony Snicket because of the dire warnings on the back. He still likes a happy ending.

miggy Wed 23-Feb-05 22:18:06

Good idea Roisin re split reading but dont you find it annoying that you miss bits

roisin Thu 24-Feb-05 05:33:18

Yes! Very!

But if it's good (and I'm unfamiliar with it) I'll read the bits I've missed inbetween, or read the whole book later. If it's rubbish I don't bother!

Actually this is probably when I started reading children's books. I used to read with ds1 one night, then he would read to himself, then the next night it was dh's turn ... that way I only got to hear c.25% of the book, which was VERY frustrating!

singersgirl Thu 24-Feb-05 14:14:23

Yes, Roisin, reading "Horrid Henry" is one of my few saintly parental activities! I agree with you that they are pretty dire (at least from an adult perspective), but at the time I was so keen to see him reading something with pleasure that I was prepared to abase myself.....Actually I think the real problem with his reading is that I worry about it too much!

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