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Teacher deliberately holding him back

(99 Posts)
emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 12:35:46

My son is 5 and has just moved into year 1. He can read fluently and there was much discussion at the end of last year about what he should be given to read with both his class teachers who both left and the head teacher who also left! He was moved to free reader simply because the book bands for his ability were inappropriate, in terms of content, for a 5 year old. He was very proud of himself as this was his goal and he worked hard to get there. His new teacher is now giving him stage 11 books to read which he finds too easy. He thrives on a challenge and is very thirsty for knowledge. He is very dispondent so I asked the teacher if there was something more challenging he could read and she basically said they had all decided at the end of last year not to push him (the complete opposite to the outcomes of my meetings with said personnel) because otherwise in year2 he won't have anything to progress onto. Besides the fact they are letting my son feel like you can work hard and acheive your goals but we can just take them away from you there is a very real concern that they don't know what to do with him and are trying to get him to progress at the same level as the other children. He hates going to school and has been effectively self harming due to anxiety about school and to be honest I was very shocked! I have parents eve in a couple of weeks where I will endeavour to find out who coordinates gifted and talented and what is in place to extend him but has anyone else come across this?

sad9999 Thu 11-Oct-18 12:37:41

The issue is when he gets to a certain stage of book the content isn't appropriate for his age. He can read it but he understand it ?

sad9999 Thu 11-Oct-18 12:39:10

I would visit the library let him enjoy a range of books at home and see GP about self harming

Nottheduchessofcambridge Thu 11-Oct-18 12:42:21

Why does he have anxiety about school?

Shambalashawadeewadee Thu 11-Oct-18 12:42:47

Take him to the library to extend his reading. Staff have very little time to hear him read at school anyway - much too time consuming with 30 children. Agree that his comprehension is key. I could ‘read’ a scientific text, I wouldn’t have clue what I was reading though.

If he’s self harming at age 5yrs because his reading books are too easy you might want to also take him to the GP to see if he needs other support.

Shambalashawadeewadee Thu 11-Oct-18 12:43:47

@sad9999 snap!

BlowPoke Thu 11-Oct-18 12:45:35

Why has he been working so hard at reception age? Kids should progress naturally through reading levels as they gain skill and confidence. I would say give him a break from all of the hard work and let him be a kid. If he hates school I would look into strengthening social connections and making sure he’s not alone during break time, things like that. My DS is the same age and also a fluent reader but he’s not hung up on levels. He reads school books in school and whatever we want at home. Admittedly we ignore the reading diary sent home but the teachers understand.

teaandtoast Thu 11-Oct-18 12:46:38

I would email or arrange a meeting before Parents' Evening. It's too important to be left and if they get something in place, they can feed back to you at the meeting.

What I did was go through the motions with the books from school and then let them read whatever they liked from the library (within reason, oc).

I don't consider that mine were g&t, just very good at reading and comprehension and they deserved to progress as much as other children.

sad9999 Thu 11-Oct-18 12:46:58

I think you also need to separate out your frustrations and his. I have 2 teenagers. One read early one didn't can't remember when they free read. Both in top sets now...

GooseDownCreek Thu 11-Oct-18 12:47:21

He hates going to school and has been effectively self harming due to anxiety about school
This over a book? I'd be very alarmed at a five year old self harming.Is there some other problem at school? I hope you haven't let him know your reservations about the school.

I recognise the scenario well though.
This was DS all the way through primary and secondary school in Maths. He did eventually get A*s at GCSE and A level and a first at Oxford so I guess it didn't ruin his life. He would disagree with me though, he did feel frustrated at school and would have enjoyed being stretched more.

At five he was also a fully fluent reader and allowed free reading. They can be deceptive though. I soon learned that while he could read all the text in a book he didn't necessarily comprehend it properly.

My advice would be to ask if you can provide his school reading books. Then do some research and choose books with appropriate content that are at a suitable level for him.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 11-Oct-18 12:48:20

Have you had him tested for giftedness? I think a full report plus recommendations from a psychologist is the only way to get the school to listen.

Is he advanced in other areas? A grade skip might be necessary.

Scatteredthoughtss Thu 11-Oct-18 12:51:12

I read this and you say he is gifted and talented, but you don't say why you say that, whether he has been tested or what. It's not that unusual to read well at five. If he is just ahead in reading, then I agree with others, take a trip to the library, but I would also see the GP about self harm, as that seems incredibly disproportionate.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 11-Oct-18 12:55:05

And giftedness aside, I would have a problem with any school that would deliberately hold a child back because they might be bored in the future. That’s totally ridiculous. School is for learning. If they’re not allowing him to learn then they’re doing their job.

BertrandRussell Thu 11-Oct-18 12:55:06

Give hm a book from home to read at school.

And take him to the gp about the anxiety. Talk to the SENCO at school about it too.

Isadora2007 Thu 11-Oct-18 12:55:42

Is he advanced in other areas? A grade skip might be necessary

The evidence suggests this is rarely the right move for a child. It segregates them socially and he already sounds like he is not a robust young boy as it is. Being socially immature is not going to do him any favours if he was moved up a year.
Also reading is not a good indicator of intelligence- what is his comprehension like?

Nothisispatrick Thu 11-Oct-18 12:58:37

How much time in school is spent just reading books? Can not having a hard enough book really be the source of self harm in a 5 year old? Can you get him appropriate books that he will enjoy or is it all down to school?

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 13:10:15

Thank you everyone for your comments. The self harming has been addressed through the gp and the senco and school nurse are working with him. We have seen much improvement but he has anxiety about going to school and this stems from being bored and unchallenged so felt it was appropriate to mention. Schools don't tend to tell parents if a child is on a gifted and talented programme but his aunt is a primary school teacher and judging by his natural ability and his levels on his school report he "should" be identfied as such but I havent claimed he is neccessarily gandt. I have not pushed him, he pushes himself, he seeks out the challenge and naturally progressed through the book bands at a fast rate. He has many friends at school and is socially confident, I do not have concerns about that. Mostly I just want him to be happy but if he isn't challenged at school which is causing him anxiety he isnt happy. I do read with him at home and the library but when we are reading a chapter book and have to interrupt twice a week to read a book provided from the school (which she has told me he must read!) then it interrupts the flow. His comprehension is on par with his reading ability so I am not concerned he is not understanding the text. My concern is a teacher deliberately holding him back rather than allow him to progress at his own speed in order to allow him to progress later especially when she is aware of his anxiety issues.

StarkDismay Thu 11-Oct-18 13:13:08

They are not actually 'holding him back' though, are they? My DS was actually held back and put in a class with kids 1-2 than them. Your's is doing Year 1 stuff in a Year 1 class. You can read whatever you like outside of school and even make notes about it in his school reading diary. If he is G&T much of what you do will be as important as what he does at school. The teacher will be teaching a whole class, not just your child, and how the whole class are doing will impact on him too. My DD's class had two thirds of the class go on to be streamed into G&T straight away at secondary. She did not get any special teaching at primary because the whole class were doing stuff more advanced than they should have been. If he is suffering anxiety because he has been given a different reading level from next year at 5 years old then something bigger is going on here or you are putting too much pressure on a very young child to have goals that are not supported by his school. I would focus more on reading for enjoyment and at home and let him enjoy being a little boy. Trust me in Year 2 the pressure begins on kids and then you'll wish he'd been allowed more time to play without targets the school needs him to achieve.

sad9999 Thu 11-Oct-18 13:19:13

Glad he is seeing GP etc. Comprehension is not just Bill went swimming they also need to understand and infer as well

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 13:24:45

They are not "holding him back" but they are not allowing a bright kid to progress at a rate he needs to to be challenged and not get bored because they are worried about what they will do with him next year. He is not simply having anxiety over his reading levels it is an anxiety about school which is partly to do with seperation anxiety and partly to do with being bored and unstimulated at school. Yes he is doing year 1 stuff but he is capable of much harder stuff and is bored. We do do a lot of fun stuff that stretches him at home but the school also have a responsibility to stretch a gifted child in a similar way they are responsible for supporting sen children. How am I putting too much pressure on him? I want him to be happy and if he was I'd let him bumble along but he isnt.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 13:26:06

sad999 thank you, yes I know that, his aunt will always check he is ready to move on in that respect everytime his teacher wanted to move him on.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 11-Oct-18 13:26:29

The evidence suggests this is rarely the right move for a child. It segregates them socially and he already sounds like he is not a robust young boy as it is. Being socially immature is not going to do him any favours if he was moved up a year.

Actually a lot of recent studies have found the opposite is true. Truly gifted children often prefer the company of older children and they need their minds engaged with harder work. Often what teachers assume to be immaturity in a child is actually the child acting out through boredom and social isolation from being surrounded by age-peers rather than mind-peers. The behaviour generally improves quickly once their needs are met. Gifted children often thrive with grade skips and longitudinal studies suggest they go on to be more successful adults than gifted kids who were held back.

I’m not saying that’s the case here of course. If the child is thriving socially with his current age group then a grade skip probably isn’t the best thing. I would ask for extension work at the very least but harder work all around would be more appropriate by the sounds of it.

StarkDismay Thu 11-Oct-18 13:27:34

Help him find challenges at home then and let him view school as a safe and easy place to have fun, make friends and play. Too often people get fixated on academic progress of their kids at too early an age, when the main focus should be on learning how to get along with your classmates, learning increasing freedom and independence and learning how to behave in the big wide world. By the sound of it, he is failing in some of these lessons in life by suffering anxiety over not being allowed to set himself targets beyond the scope of his class.

DD never read any of the books that they set and provided we sent in evidence that she was reading every day, we were listening to her, and she was understanding what she had read school were fine. DS is at a different school but things are much the same there, and have been with all the teachers they've had. You need to perhaps contain his aspirations a little and find him a way to set himself challenges without getting himself into such a state that he self harms. Let him take up a musical instrument and have one to one lessons - they proceed at the speed of the individual child and no one attempts to slow them down through the gradings. Let him elaborate on work done in class to a level he enjoys working at, even if that is working up a level - often schools will incorporate projects carried out at home if it is possible.

Your child is unlikely to be the only child who is bright in his class. He is unlikely to be held back. But where once is was considered the right thing to do to put a clever child up a year or give them work for older kids, the way they do it now is to continue to focus on work appropriate to the year they are in but to give the brighter kids work at an extra depth. It does make things difficult for the teachers when a child who is entering a year has done all the work already - they are difficult to fit into the lessons without letting them get bored. But any half decent teacher should be able to challenge a child sufficiently without teaching them next year's content.

StarkDismay Thu 11-Oct-18 13:38:18

Just to add that my DH in hindsight wishes he hadn't been moved up a year at school. It made things rather hard for him socially. DD has been identified by her current school as G&T. DS is currently a subject in a university study for something where intelligence is not the main focus of the research but related to and measured, and I have been told that he is 'almost off the scale' for maths ability. Both are happiest in a group of children the same age as them. It is a rare thing to find a child who excels at academic subjects AND arts and sport and is socially adept in all circumstances. If the school is doing it right there will be plenty for him to do.

GooseDownCreek Thu 11-Oct-18 14:38:11

Many years ago my DH was put up a year, as was the norm then for bright kids. Whatever the academic benefits were they had no noticeable long term impact but there were social disadvantages not least because meant he went to university just turned 17.

emzy1987 as others have said he won't be the only bright child in the class. Have a chat with the teacher and try and reach a compromise on books.

I do read with him at home and the library but when we are reading a chapter book and have to interrupt twice a week to read a book provided from the school (which she has told me he must read!) then it interrupts the flow.
I don't see the huge problem with slipping in a school reader twice a week. Also if you are still reading books with him chapter by chapter I'm not sure his reading is unusually advanced?

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 14:38:36

So has anybody else experienced a teacher stopping a child's natural progress because they wont know what to do with them next year? or if not do you think its right? how do I approach this?

BertrandRussell Thu 11-Oct-18 14:58:29

I think you should go back and talk to the teacher again. It is not at all unusual for a child to be reading fluently in year 1- and for a scho to say that they won't be able to teach him anything in year 2 is completely bonkers. But I would be wary of putting your child's unhappiness down to not being pushed enough-apart from anything else, reading to the teacher takes up very little time in most classes. Surely he can just read his own book-there will be a wide spread of ability in the class. Also, be wary of him saying he's bored. Many children say they are bored when they are actually feeling other things. He could be simply bored but is often more complicated than that.

DemocracyDiesInDarkness Thu 11-Oct-18 15:09:25

I don't really see how he is being held back.

If you're reading chapter books then have to stop to read a basic book once a week - so what? It's like homework. We may not always want to do it but it's part of the job of being a school pupil.

My daughter is reading years above her level but I'm not all that interested in levels. Sometimes the books from school are boring but she can get through them quickly. And there are very often words and grammatical points to learn, or be reminded of. Reading never goes to waste.

It's the same with her spelling; there are few words she can't sort of instinctively spell, but what would be the gain of not also doing the spelling that goes on in her class now? None.

Tawdrylocalbrouhaha Thu 11-Oct-18 15:20:45

From everything you have said, I am doubtful whether your DS's distress and anxiety are truly being caused by feeling bored or unchallenged. I would be looking much more closely at social skills issues, and worrying less about academic progress (which I must say you and your sister seem to be overly focused on).

GooseDownCreek Thu 11-Oct-18 15:27:26

So has anybody else experienced a teacher stopping a child's natural progress because they wont know what to do with them next year
Yes I have. I said so in my first post. In fact DS was at a small primary with mixed year groups which made it worse. But as I also said, it the long term great scheme of things it did not matter.
I focused on encouraging him to try harder in the things he found more difficult when social skills, arts, music

SlowDown76mph Thu 11-Oct-18 15:38:14

Yes. Frustrated bored child who started acting out (bad behaviour). School couldn't/wouldn't offer any help to meet her needs. Ended up home-schooling. Probably not the solution you were hoping for! But it was very successful, happy child who did well in all areas (yes, social life too!) and grew up to do her favourite academic thing at uni, great career, partner, children.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 16:05:30

Thank you slowdown76mph. Practically the only non-judgemental post on here. Not the solution I'm looking for but although I am not in a position to home school entirely I had thought of flexi schooling allowing him some time at home to do some more challenging things the school don't have time to do with him rather than trying to fit things in after school everyday.
I just want to clarify this whole post is about my sons well being and not his academic ability. His anxiety stems from a number of things related to school, some things he has help working in coping with IE separation anxiety but some small part of his anxiety is not being stretched at school. This is what I am trying to address not because it is holding him back academically but because it is making him unhappy. Telling me my child is not unusually advanced or that he is not the only bright child in the class is not helpful and of no consequence to the issue. I simply ask if anyone has had experience of this and what their opinion of not progressing a child because they are worried what to do with him next year was.

HeadsDownThumbsUpEveryone Thu 11-Oct-18 16:25:22

Well if I'm being perfectly honest a child for who is suffering with his mental health due to anxiety around separation and what he perceives as not being challenged the approach of not pushing him sounds exactly the right course of action.

The teachers are not holding him back I am sure he is being challenged with greater depth questions during his lessons and stretched with his learning. The fact they are giving him levelled books means very little he can read them and then continue to be challenged with books of his choice. Surely letting him be happy at school is going to much more beneficial than adding to his anxiety levels by giving him lots more work to do?

MissMarplesKnitting Thu 11-Oct-18 16:40:04

Tbh you are drop feeding and changing message.
Firstly he self harms because he's anxious about being held back, now it's a bit about this and separation anxiety amongst other things.

If you have an anxious child then work on that. Nothing else will improve until this is. School will know this. It's possibly why they aren't pushing because they don't want to make it worse.

Let him read whatever he wants at home, evidence but in his reading diary and let the kid come to terms with school better. He's clearly not that happy if he's self harming.

You need to get to the bottom of this before trying to get the poor kid stretched academically, or the whole house of cards will tumble down in the teenage years.

BertrandRussell Thu 11-Oct-18 16:45:19

Blimey. OK- fair enough, OP.

<wanders off wondering whether there is any sort of correlation between bright children and rude parents....>

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 16:59:52

Miss Marple I clarified that this is just a part of his anxiety because people were jumping on saying there must be more to it. There is but it wasnt relevant. We are working on his anxiety issues at home as well as at school through the senco and the school nurse. I dont want him stretched academically just for the sake of it but if it will make him happier then I can't see the issue. There may well be working with him on greater depth in other areas I just thought it was odd to halt his progress. If they had said we sont want to push him because of his anxiety then that would be fine but to say they wont push him because they wont know what to do with him next year seems an odd way to do things.
Bertrand Russell, wonder away.... I came in here asking for some advice on how to deal with a situation that was making my son unhappy, I have been asked to clarify why I think my child is g&t even though i didnt claim he was, I have been told he is not unusually advanced even though i did not claim he was. I have been accused of putting too much pressure on him and focussing too much on his academical progress when I have clarified that my main concern is his happiness.

CherryPavlova Thu 11-Oct-18 17:09:05

I think boredom rarely causes anxiety and a lower than his ability reading book isn’t going to make him self harm. You need to back off around the reading book at school - give him books at home he can take in to read and just let him flick very quickly through school readers without fuss. Many children (and adults) read material that isn’t as academically challenging as their intellectual ability suggests from choice. It doesn’t hold them back or prevent learning. Imagine it’s like reading a comic - no harm ensues.
Sounds like they are reluctant to apply academic pressure to a little one who has developed problems adjusting to school because they’d undoubtedly be blamed for exacerbating his abnormal behaviour, if they did. Let him be a little child and learn from playing and socialising. Let him learn to cope with a school environment without doing battle over something so trivial.

MissMarplesKnitting Thu 11-Oct-18 17:09:32

Well if that's the case then stop bothering about it. Let him read to his hearts content at home, and focus on the anxiety stuff.

None of the rest will be built on solid foundations otherwise.

I was/am "gifted" academically. Apparently. Hate the label. Top 1/2% performance wise. My parents let me read and read at home but I never did anything else extra at school until juniors, when I did get extra work along with some other bright kids. I pushed myself along at my own pace, lapping up non fiction, anything horse related and fiction and did just fine. I'm glad it was that way. I wasn't aware I was 'better' as a reader than anyone else really. I just did my own thing.

Let him do the same and stop worrying about books, and focus on his school anxiety.

It could be that this situation is making him anxious if you're mentioning it at home. Let him be. You can push the issue forward once he's got more stable emotional foundations.

Knitwit101 Thu 11-Oct-18 17:13:34

I think it's not ok to deliberately give him work that is not challenging just because the teachers don't want to make teaching him harder in future years.

I wonder what you would ideally want the school to do? I think in your situation I would come up with a list of books I want him to read, probably you will have to provide them, and ask that he reads them in school instead of the school books. Do you think they would say yes to this?

I think more of my ds' time just now is spent on letters and spelling rather than actual reading. Just now he is learning blends like -ew and -ough and how they make the same sound then having to think up words with each blend in them. Even though he can read he often finds thinking up words and spellings for himself challenging so I don't feel this time is wasted. It's always good to learn the basic rules. Does your son find all that too easy as well? I can see why he would be bored.

MaruMaru Thu 11-Oct-18 17:22:39

Every book doesn't have to be challenging. Children can still gain plenty from reading books which aren't challenging. As an adult, I'm an avid reader, but I can't say I want to read challenging books all the time. Or much of the time actually. I want to ENJOY a book.
Find him some additional books from your public library. The librarian should be able to advise you on books for higher ability readers with younger chronological age.
However, I'd be much more concerned about your 5 year old's anxiety and self harming. I think this is where you need to focus.

MaruMaru Thu 11-Oct-18 17:25:04

PS To be honest, I was shocked that he had a goal to be a free reader, at the age of 4-5. How was he even aware of the reading scheme structure? and setting himself goals age 4? Sounds most unusual.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 17:28:36

Knitwit101 I was told by the teacher I was free to read whatever with him at home but in no uncertain terms he has to read what they provide twice a week. I had suggested if they didnt have something to provide him with wemay have it at home or library or ill buy it but would just like guidance as to what we should read but that was her answer above! He has been going into the year above since the first school term in reception for phonics as he was above his class, He does enjoy that as its more challenging for him. I need to find out if they are working on greater depth with him in other areas at school but like you say its not ok to not challenge him for that reason.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 17:34:57

MaruMaru, he has older cousins and is very competitive! I think because he was getting through them so quickly and was closer to the end than the beginning he got it into his head! If he was happy reading the books from school I'd have never had the conversation with the teacher. I was always an avid reader and agree sometimes I just want to pick up something easy (mum literature lol). I wouldnt object to it if there was a proper reason as they are the professionals but just to not encourage him so they have something to do withn him next year is not right? He has received lots of help with the anxiety and it has pretty much stopped thank goodness but i was just trying to address some of the factors that did contribute to it and this was one of them. x

reallyanotherone Thu 11-Oct-18 17:38:26

If he’s self harming at age 5yrs because his reading books are too easy you might want to also take him to the GP to see if he needs other support

If he’s self harming at 5 i think his academic progress should be the least of your worries. Why is he so anxious about stuff being too easy?

Current thinking for g&t students is “extension”. Faster progression or learning advanced stuff can be counter productive- lack of understanding, plus at some point he will have to repeat as he’ll have no where to go.

Extension meaning learning in greater depth, rather than learning more. So if they’re doing ww2, he could be given a side project to research air and sea transport, or land girls- something he can do in class and/or carry on at home.

I’d also be looking at extra curriculars to round him out. He could do music lessons at school. Sport, or social activities like scouts out of school.

FruitCider Thu 11-Oct-18 17:39:03

How is your child self harming exactly? I think the self harming is a far bigger problem than your son being "forced" to read level 11 books? Especially if he is self harming because he's not "being challenged".

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 17:44:13

He is anxious about school, partly due to speration anxiety and in a lesser part to not being stretched at school getting bored. He has been putting his fingers down his throat and sucking his arms and legs excessively until he bruises himself. Not terribly extreme but still concerning and is being addressed. He does a few things outside school, swimming, play rangers and lunchtime football club but he is very competitive which is probably not a healthy thing. Saying he needs to stay on level 11 would be fine with me but their reason for it doesnt make any sense and is not for his benefit

hibeat Thu 11-Oct-18 17:48:51

There are so much things to learn apart from school that I would not see the teacher as holding him back but letting him free to get on with all kind of other things (tidying his room, taking care of his things, taking care of himself like a big boy). Because he's almost free of homework (how much time does it take, like really ?) He can learn about science at home, play an instrument, develop interest in sports and be an all rounded individual. There are also different level of comprehension when you read (Just take an Mba entry level test, it's not just for kids). Also keeping creativity intact would be the mission plan imho. Gifted children are work and sometimes school does not accompany you on the journey, though it's quite rare nowadays. Somebody in my family got up 3 classes in the 60's. She absolutely suffered. Starkdismay is spot on. If they are studying x, just go the deeper level. You are all about reading, what about his maths ? And science ? Your son is not exceptional, there were at least 5 kids that started year 1 as free readers. It was the same for my daughter. What you learn when you are a kid you never forget, and the world that we are living in is absolutely fantastic to discover. You can't deliver the baby while fighting with the midwife. You have to work with the teacher. Her win is your win. Her loss is his loss. You cannot win. It's a mantra. By the way your son is exceptional, you are on the tip of an iceberg, you have to find out all this 90% : beyond reading.

ThinkOfAWittyNameLater Thu 11-Oct-18 17:56:41

I'm not surprised you're struggling in these circumstances.

We had a similar situation with DC1 struggling because he wasn't being challenged enough (boredom is the enemy!). Luckily his teacher understood where we were coming from and there was an overnight improvement.

I agree with a pp - ask for a call or meeting with the teacher again. Discuss your concerns and ask what the plan is to support your son. Use parents evening for a check up. Don't leave this TIL parents evening.

hibeat Thu 11-Oct-18 18:02:30

I cross posted. level 11 is 2 levels from free reader. it's a 3 month gap at max. It's not a big deal. I think cuddle time is of order. And if learning, learning through play only. He is still so small.
Let him take a pile of book in the science and history section at the library, make experiment, walk in nature through the different seasons. Nature is an open book for science. He will never forget those memories and his thirst for learning will grow. Big hugs to you and your son.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 18:03:41

hibeat I agree about working with the teacher, his teacher last year was great and we had a fantastic relationship. His new teacher is saying that his old teacher and the head teacher (who have both left) agreed he shouldn't be pushed that is contrary to what the told me. I don't think he is exceptional but the school he is at has never had a kid in year 1 on stage 11 or above and they have admitted to me before that they have no idea what to give him to read.
Thinkofawittynamelater. I agree it is frustrating and his teacher last year was fab and I was shocked to hear her reasoning behind her idea of not encouraging him.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 18:05:04

Thanks hibeat for your kind words. We do try and do as much of that as we can whilst I answer the constant stream of life altering questions lol

Prettyvase Thu 11-Oct-18 18:12:22

Goodness me op, there is nothing to stop you letting him read to his heart's content whatever he wants at home with you.

At school it isn't just about academic competitiveness but learning social skills, teamwork, having fun and making friends.

I wouldn't worry about his academic side as it sounds as if emotionally and socially he isn't coping very well so focus on those aspects first.

Both my dh and I were fast forwarded years of schooling in the days when they didn't know better and believe me, you do not want to socially isolate your son by doing anything more that would upset his emotional side at his age.

Take him to museums, enrich him on trips, let him have friends around. Have fun.

DancingDot Thu 11-Oct-18 18:29:12

Hi OP. So I had a similar situation with my son. In his school the accelerated reading programme is called Renaissance and children choose which book they would like to read and then they are tested on comprehension and vocabularly on a computer programme. If they are consistently getting high scores they are moved up a level. My child went onto this programme at 4 and did his ordinary class reading books alongside it. Most school reading schemes are published alongside comprehension workbooks that the children complete in class. I'm certain the school were reluctant to differentiate too much in terms of reading books because then they would have had to create special language work for him to do in class. Ultimately I didn't mind this because he was doing renaissance too, and I liked that he was reading in a "group" of similarly minded peers. He read alone at the beginning of p1, and moved into the top reading group a bit later and he is still best friends with that small group of kids.

I can understand a school's reticence to move children on too far - there is a risk that their learning becomes shallow, and at what stage do they stop working ahead?? The approach our school has taken is to widen his learning instead of focusing on literacy and numeracy. In practical terms this means giving him different responsibilities - writing for school magazine, working on the school website, IT helper etc. Is there any way that your school could do something similar?

We have tried not to focus too much on my child's cleverness because I don't want him to feel any pressure at any stage. We want him to be engaged and motivated though, just like all parents, so I appreciate your concerns. I hope that his anxiety decreases and his love of learning returns.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 18:41:45

Hi Dancingdot. Renaissance sounds good. I would appreciate the idea of not moving him on too quickly if it was consistent. Last year they really encouraged him and he flew and now his new teacher is saying his old teacher had agreed not to push him? I do need to find out what they are doing in other areas but was very shocked at her reasoning as it wasn't really about him but that they might be at a loose end next year! Those ideas to widen learning sound great and maybe I need to think of some other activities he can do and work with his teacher on that. I try not to pressure him but he is so competitive (like his dad!), he gives up so easily if something is difficult and a lot of things he wont try in case he fails!

MissMarplesKnitting Thu 11-Oct-18 18:47:35

If he gives up on easy things that's a huge life skill to work on.

Resilience and not fearing failure. Kids who lack this are far more likely suffer with anxiety, eating disorders etc as they get older as their perfectionist nature drives the constant need to succeed and this bring their validation.

Please get him to try new stuff and fail at it and learn this is good, normal and how we all learn.

Get him to sports clubs or music or karate or something out of his comfort zone. You'll do his future mental health a huge favour if you can do this.

DancingDot Thu 11-Oct-18 18:57:33

he gives up so easily if something is difficult

This is actually a huge reason NOT to move him on to harder work. When things start to get too difficult he will stop trying, lose motivation etc. From your description of him it sounds like widening his experiences at school might be the answer. How are his IT skills? Could he attempt to cobble together a power point if shown the basics? When my child was in p2 (6) he would power through his class work and when he was finished he would be allowed to work on the computer - either making a presentation for the class, sumdog (another intuitive learning programme that gets harder the more the children are getting correct) or something similar.

Ultimately it sounds like he is going to do well academically anyway if he is bright. I'd focus for now (while he is still so young) on the other areas of learning that concern you - resilience and perseverance. Without these, it won't matter how academically gifted he is. What can the school do to help support these? Best of luck OP.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 19:35:16

The last half an hour watching him play a computer game and giving up and getting annoyed with himself for not being good enough has highlighted to me how much we need to work on these. I have resources to do this so will try to start with him on that!

MissMarplesKnitting Thu 11-Oct-18 19:40:59

Absolutely. That itself will hold him back: not necessarily academically but in lots of other aspects.

Failure and fear of it comes from valuing "success" over effort and hard work. He needs to value effort and hard work, even if the result isn't successful.

This is down to you. Don't praise him for being "clever" or getting top marks or "god boy". Praise the effort going in. I can't see how hard you worked to do X. Well done for not giving up. That kind of thing.

He might enjoy the "you are awesome" book on growth mindset in children.

hibeat Thu 11-Oct-18 19:46:16

I second everything, and bought the book this week for mine.

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 20:06:03

I literally bought and started reading it myself this week. Will definitely be reading that with him n told him so after his dramas this evening!

thehorseandhisboy Thu 11-Oct-18 20:32:45

I don't want to get your back up, but I wonder if the comments about 'we won't push him because he'll have nothing to do in Y2' were because the school are concerned about his mental health and think that 'pushing' him hasn't been/isn't helpful.

Being very competitive and giving us easily through frustration are a really potentially damaging combination. Well, not just potentially as these personality traits have led to his anxiety and self-harming, which actually extremely concerning for a 5 year old.

You haven't actually mentioned if he enjoys reading (or maybe I missed it?) What books does he like? Any particular authors?

Maybe it's the school's way of saying 'actually, his reading level is the least of our worries and its emotional health that needs our imput'?

sad9999 Thu 11-Oct-18 20:44:07

Sorry if I was judgemental. He is very young and I totally get the competitiveness. My son is like that in sport and also school exams. He has learnt with time losing and failure is part of life. Being part of a sports team has really helped with that

emzy1987 Thu 11-Oct-18 21:12:28

thanks thehorseandhisboy I want to clarify their reasoning at parents evening and also to find out what they are doing in other areas but wanted opinions on here to see how others might have handled it if they had encountered the same. He does enjoy reading and enjoys fact books more i'd say.
sad9999 not at all I think learning to be part of a team and experiencing failure is definitely a good idea. He seems to be quite good at most things so struggles when he come sacross something that is more difficult. He is a very difficult boy to understand sometimes!

LetItGoToRuin Fri 12-Oct-18 13:25:29

He is obviously a very bright child, and it sounds as though, apart from the mixed messages regarding reading, the school are differentiating pretty well (eg sending him to the class above for some sessions etc). I also have an advanced reader, and while DD’s school have never held her back in terms of levels, they have paid very little attention to her reading in the three years she’s been at school (because she is not a ‘problem’). For all we know she is developing bad habits (obviously she reads out loud to us at home and we discuss the meaning of words, inference etc). However, I recognise that this is not high priority for the school, so I don’t bother them about it.

Regarding lack of perseverance, I think this is not uncommon with bright children / high early achievers. My DD’s excellent Reception teacher spotted within weeks of DD starting school that my DD, while clearly bright/ahead academically, was quick to back away if she didn’t immediately understand something. We and the school have watched out for this since, and are quick to praise effort and reassure her if she does make an occasional mistake. It’s an ongoing challenge!

I think the main problem is that your DS’s obsession with reading levels and the challenge that they pose is unhealthy. You seem to think that if the school relents on this it will make him happy. I think, instead, you have to explain to him, as many times as it takes for him to understand, that reading is not a competition, and that sometimes we just have to do what we’re told. If that means reading a couple of straightforward books per week to satisfy the teacher, so be it. I know you’re battling with his mental health and his obsessive competitiveness. He needs to learn that he can’t have everything his own way, and that this stuff doesn’t matter too much. This might be a significant challenge for him, but it’s so important, as he will encounter lots of ‘restrictions’ in life and he needs to be able to handle them. Good luck!

emzy1987 Fri 12-Oct-18 14:23:08

Thank you letitgotoruin, all good points. When your young child starts doing something so extreme your first thoughts are how you can fix it for them but that might not be the best thing for them in the long run. I have no objection to them moving him back but their reasoning I think is fairly absurd. Will clarify with her at parents eve.

hibeat Fri 12-Oct-18 14:29:27

Thinking out loud.
The french have made a wiki platform were there are a lot of information for parents and teachers dealing with gifted children, it is impossible that an English document by Ofsted does not exist somewhere.
It helps a lot especially when they are small. (His behaviour is absolutely normal. You will ask yourself if there was a webcam in your house). They then proceed to give exemples on how to work with them subject by subject ( science, math, language etc.).

It is quite useful : when I got through it, I started breathing (I've got more then one). The vocabulary and syntax is simple so google translate can do the trick. I tried before putting the link.
The main message for me is that they need strong explicit guidelines, working with processes is tricky, and they are hypersensitive to words. This is the starting point.
Anything that promotes good overall coordination is excellent for them : like swimming and piano.
And failure is your friend. Big time. They need grit. This is how it's done. Fail, fail, fail, then fail a little more, and yet again, then win.
Let's face it : it is work. You can do this. It does not have to take over your whole life.
Your child needs alone time, alone space, and you too.

fr.wikiversity.org/wiki/Mallette_pedagogique_Enfants_Intellectuellement_Precoces-Une_demarche_pedagogique_adaptee-L_importance_de_l_evaluation#firstHeading

user789653241 Fri 12-Oct-18 21:45:56

My ds was a early reader and was on lime(lv11, I believe) since reception, and stayed on the same level for whole ks1. They didn't let children go beyond lime. But it didn't really matter, it was only a part of his reading. He can read any books at home.

He read 100+ books on that level some more than 2/3 times.It was mostly online scheme they were subscribed to. He did enjoy it.

Our school allow children to read any book for reading aloud. So he mostly read books from home/library.
But reading assigned online books, which was below his actual level, didn't hinder him at all, imo. He is a voracious reader. He would read anything with letters on it, regardless of difficulty. He sometimes enjoy reading books he read as a toddler. Every book is great.

Soontobe60 Fri 12-Oct-18 22:08:54

I'm afraid you are coming across as 'that' parent. Your child is suffering from anxiety, why? It may be much more to do with the transition from Reception to KS1, which brings with it a totally different way of learning. He's got a pushy mum, who thinks he's a genius and is fixated on what was probably a bit of a throw away comment from a teacher who's probably sick of you going on about your genius child.
My DD was able to read when she started school in Reception. She had read all the scheme books by mid way through Y1 and was reading Harry Potter at home. I just used to write in her reading record that she'd read whether she had or not. It's a hoop to jump through. I do find it very very strange that a child as young as 5 would know that putting your fingers down your throats will make you vomit.
I would step away from berating school, let him just enjoy himself and he'll soon settle.

MyCatIsBonkers Fri 12-Oct-18 22:37:41

I've not been in the same situation but I have had experience of worrying about a child who is gifted and struggling. I found that it's not the academic side that stresses him, more the social side.

We're lucky though in that we have a school that are totally engaged in getting the best out of him. We're not in the UK and here kids start at 6. Five year old DS was moved from nursery to school a year early. He has his maths and English lessons with the 10 year olds. As other posters have said he reads fluently but he still has to work at a lower level so that he reads 'well'. He reads so fast that he hops over words so he needs to learn to slow down and read each word.

I was in 2 minds about him going up a year, especially because of his social issues, but it was the right decision. He is so much happier now. But his school do give him tons of support with the social side (he has autism).

hibeat Fri 12-Oct-18 22:37:57

I take back what I said about behaviour. (How did I forget about the vomiting and alii ? !) Please cool down : cool mum cool kid. Cool. By the time he'll finish uni you'll be … It's plenty of time. It's the week-end I hope that you are having absolute fun. And relaxing family time.

MaruMaru Sat 13-Oct-18 04:16:09

It is concerning that OP is less bothered about
her son being anxious, self-harming, inappropriately competitive, perfectionist, goal-setting, and lacking resilience at the age of 4/5...
and doggedly persists in seeking someone/ anyone to condemn the teacher's (probably throwaway) comment about reading levels.
To me it seems like a dangerous case of not being able to see the wood for the trees..

6SpringCats Sat 13-Oct-18 04:36:29

On the specific point about holding him on the level becsuse otherwise he will have nothing to read next year - my dcs school tried this. It was so stupid - I refused to read books sent home because we read our own and when they ran out carried on reading our own.
This is why reading schemes and levels are daft.
My ds was reading but they insisted he must complete all the books with no words before moving on to the basic books with words
You probably can't stop them doing this in class but you can refuse to do it at home. Try to teach him strategies to employ when he gets bored - and he will, often, if g&t and in infant school.

Mamaryllis Sat 13-Oct-18 04:52:10

I have an early reader. She taught herself to read before she went to school (she could read before she could talk - I know that sounds a bit odd but she was speech delayed due to oromotor issues so she was reading chapter books by 3 but couldn’t talk. Anyhoo. She was assessed by the Ed psych in yr r as reading and comprehension age between 12 and 15 (ed psych was for something else, being gifted was just an interesting aside). She just free read mostly, but in the end we asked if she could drop into the level 10 and just work through from there (which she did in a few months, and went back to free reading). We just felt that although we knew she could read (literally anything, including Virginia Woolf over my shoulder) as she’d taught herself we didn’t really know whether there were gaps. She was fine. She didn’t care what she was reading for the school books because in school you just get the next book, and at home she loved Michael morpurgo. I honestly wouldn’t sweat the reading scheme stuff. It feels like it’s a big deal but in all honestly it’s completely meaningless.
Some high achieving children do struggle with either anxiety or perfectionism or both.
Dd2 has OCD. It’s not connected to her academics at all. It’s a generalized thing but in reality being more relaxed about attainment helps to ward off anxiety at a basic level grin
In your scenario, I would be actively supporting the school to remove pressure and encourage ds to find a less attainment based flow - as others have said, the Carol Dweck stuff is interesting (but beware super-bright kids who are smart enough to manipulate such concepts as ‘persistence’ in order to argue for whatever it is they want - yes ds I’m looking at you.
And it’s always worth knowing that you never really know how it will all pan out. My least ‘gifted’ kid has tenacity and a fantastic work ethic and is streets ahead of her brother’s grades. Gifted kids have all sorts of complexities and often they are happier backing off. The perfectionist drive and necessity for attainment can be quite damaging. They need to know they are valued for things other than their ability.

user789653241 Sat 13-Oct-18 07:44:21

I think the thing about reading is, that you may think your child is so far ahead in ks1. But many will be reading quit well by yr3. A lot of them click and start reading easily. What makes big difference then is the deeper understanding of the text, not that you can read difficult words.

If he can read well, it's a good thing. Let him read whatever he likes outside of school.
I know book level is a big thing in ks1. But they are rarely mentioned in KS2.

Janleverton Sat 13-Oct-18 08:01:03

My ds was very similar to mamaryliis - naturally very fluent reader, self taught etc. Reading fluency of 12-15 in reception.

I don’t actually recall him being on the reading scheme. The school were very flexible about it - he took his own books in to read. Then when they started shared reading groups later on he read with my older child’s year (different class) so in year a would potter off to year 4 for shared group reading. Year 2 would go to year 5. By year 3 there were some other really good readers in his class and the lines between his natural early talent and their ability were blurred so he was accommodated more easily (without holding back) within his year group.

I remember having a wobble about all the time they spend on phonics in early years and ks1. But actually it was a helpful addition to his own way of reading and he didn’t seem bored. He had an awesome reception teacher who had lots of daily help from her mother as a volunteer and so he’d spend a fair amount of time with her. For interest, they got him to sit some made up ks1 reading and writing tests in reception and he got full marks in reception. By year 6 he got top score in all SATS (120). I was very proud of the maths - because that wasn’t his natural forte, and was very impressed with the teaching that got him there.

I did pay for a private Ed psych in year 1 - had a tricky year there because he just wasn’t happy and didn’t gel with the teachers. Nor they with him. Best money spent - gave everyone an idea of strengths and weaknesses and the SENco who was also the deputy head made sure that there were areas for confidence boosting and stretching in reading by organising the group reading set up.

I would be concentrating on the happiness of the dc particularly as it seems here that his progress is related in part to his own competitiveness and pushing himself.

extrastrongmints Sat 13-Oct-18 08:11:05

regarding the reading, my experience with 2 children, both reading fluently at age 5 / Y1, is that both their (different) schools held them back, giving them books 2-4 years below their ability. It's not just about the reading books - the wider issue that the child's ability and needs have been misunderstood and all activities in school will then be pitched too low leading to frustration and boredom.
Ensuring that instruction including reading material is at a developmentally appropriate level is not pushing, it is matching - ensuring a good fit between the child's prior attainment and the provision made for them.
When there is high ability and inappropriate provision causes frustration, kids can respond in different ways. Some tolerate it fairly stoically, others become despondent, some lash out, some bottle it up in school then explode at home. It depends on the degree of mismatch and the personality and environment of the child.
Self-harm in a five year old is fairly rare. In your shoes I would be trying to see a child clinical psychologist as they can assess and advise on both the ability, the anxiety/self harm, and the possible interaction between them.

user789653241 Sat 13-Oct-18 08:31:11

Janleverton, I think it really depend on the child how the school manage their reading. My ds was able to read text good enough for KS2 children easily in reception. And like your dc, he had reading age of mid teens at the start of reception.
But his verbal ability was no way near that of yr4/5 children to have meaningful discussion with them.

If OP's dc have the ability to work with children way above his own age group, then school is definitely holding him back. And I do believe those children do exist. So, if that's the case, then OP should have right to be concerned about school's approach about how they accommodate children with outlier abilities.

Janleverton Sat 13-Oct-18 08:38:34

That’s true - by then he was ok verbally, not great, but good enough. They did talk about moving him up a year as he’s old for the year group but socially, he was not advanced at all and it was decided between us that it would have been the worst possible thing. Much better to try and adapt within the class and also to work on areas where he wasn’t advanced but was in the correct year group for his age (social skills, maths).

BrieAndChilli Sat 13-Oct-18 09:05:02

My son started reception with a reading (and comprehension) age of 14+ - Ed Pysch assessed him.
He still had to go through the motions of the reading levels although extremely quickly, as they needed to check that he had learnt all the correct rules etc.

To be honest he has a lot of ASD traits and he hating infants. Hated going to school as he hated the unstructured play style of it (we are in wales and it’s all learning through play, which is great for most kids but not DS1!)
School were great with him and he went into year 2 for some lessons (they wouldn’t put him any higher as socially it would not have been right for him)
He settled into juniors a bit better but he has now started secondary school and he’s like a different boy, he’s really enjoying it.

With regards to his reading we ignored the reading log (on agreement with the school) as he would have a different book in his hand every time I saw him and he mainly enjoyed factual books and absorbed knowledge like a sponge. He has other areas that needed work eg handwriting and social skills so we worked on those instead as that was a better use of our time.

I would say however that I never questioned schools methods in front of him, they need to learn that someone you have to do stuff that is boring, or beneath your level, or not what your really want to be doing. In the world of work that will happen and you need to have the skills to deal with it in a professional manner. Sometimes you have to work to the level of the rest of your team and sometimes you can shine and work above. It’s all about learning thoses sorts of skills too.

user789653241 Sat 13-Oct-18 09:13:52

To me, being an early reader is a bonus. They can use their ability to access what ever they are interested.
If the literacy is the one for your child, then it makes sense to fight with school to get him more stretched in that department.
But otherwise, there are many more options you can take. Instead of investing too much time on reading levels/books which will take only a short time and you can spend as much as you like on books dc wants to read, you can concentrate on what the dc are actually interested.

emzy1987 Sat 13-Oct-18 09:29:10

hibeat thanks for that document will definitely take a read of it. We are all play n no work at weekends, last night was play rangers (totally awesme outdoor play scheme organised by the council for free) followed by a movie.
Soontobe60 you make a lot of assumptions. His anxiety started a few weeks before going back to school, the main rerason being seperation anxiety, I am not pushy in any way and I don't believe him to be a genius, all i have stated is he is a fluent reader at the age of 5 which people have been keen to point out is not unusually advanced. This is actually my first dealing with the teacher and I dont disagree with holding him back but her reasoning that they wouldnt know what to do with him next year! He also does not make himself vomit, he makes himself gag to feel the sensation but does not make himself vomit. Like you say it may have been a throwaway comment by the teacher so I will ask her to explain again at parents eve as she may have been put on the spot. This is her first class.
MaruMaru I am not less concernede about his anxiety but he is being worked with by professionals and as I have said it has basically stopped, they will continue to provide him with strategies to cope with his anxiety but that side of things is beyond the scope of a forum so ill allow the professionals to deal with it. I am not asking anyone to condemn the teachers comment i was asking if people had had experience of it as the reasoning sounded bizarre.
Thank you 6springcats I think if we can't reach a resolution we will just have to read what we like at home, if he wants to read the school books then fine but they dont allow them to choose their books at this age! Strategies to deal with boredom would be good to start with as I think its likely to pose a problem.
Mamaryllis and janleverton I agree we have lots to work on in terms of perfectionism and attainment!
Thank you extrastrongmints there is definately frustration. Waiting to see a psychologist is a year in my area. We are very lucky that the school nurse and senco have both been working with him with great success. I considered paying to see one but at this stage that is working well.

Ceilingrose Sat 13-Oct-18 10:19:32

OP I do not want to criticise your parenting. However I wonder if it would pay to look further into why he gives up easily in case he fails. That is the start of an unhealthy learning habit which can have long term consequences. Fear of failure is common amongst us, but really something quite important to focus on.

emzy1987 Sat 13-Oct-18 11:03:59

Ceilingrose no criticism that has very much come out of this discussion that that is something we need to address. He seems good at everything, swimming, football, maths reading etc so has got used to being better than most so I think when he does try n finds something difficult he just gives up. Something to work on definitely!

TheSteakBakeOfAwesome Sat 13-Oct-18 11:19:02

Only popping in because it came up on active. We had this a little bit with DD1 in Reception where her school had the mindset that you only were allowed to plod through every single one of the "Reception books" and that was it. Ended up with a school move for various reasons - and she flew up about 4/5 or so book bands to find a more natural level for her in the space of about a fortnight as the teacher tried out different ones to see what was the best fit for her.

We're now nearing the end of the banded books our school has available (infant school so have a small selection in the post-lime bands but not masses)... but non fiction challenges her much more in terms of vocabulary and understanding than chapter books - I think there's a tendency to just chase after longer and longer chapter books and forget about other things to read as they go through the levels. She could read and read with good understanding almost any children's chapter book - and then you're hitting the level where maturity of content becomes an issue.

So I don't worry about it too much - make sure we've got some cool non fiction books at home which engage her endlessly (the Atlas someone bought for Christmas last year is falling apart from use) and I also don't sweat it when she chooses to read the most mindless fluff going that's completely not challenging her (cough Rainbow fucking Fairies cough) as at least she's reading and enjoying it and I KNOW she can read what's put in front of her and understand it if required but not everything in life has to be "worthy" or generating progress on her and hell, I'm partial to the odd bit of fluffy chick lit absolute literary shite as well.

emzy1987 Sat 13-Oct-18 12:08:57

Thesteakbakeofawesome thanks for the chuckle lol that's what his teacher was like last year, always assessing his reading n comprehension n moving him on and he thrived. Now this teacher is saying she spoke with that teacher and they agreed not to push and he has bow been moved back. Seems most bizarre X

corythatwas Sat 13-Oct-18 19:38:14

Can I just say that I agree with the posters who have suggested a wealth of activities at home to encourage him to try difficult things and get used to not always getting it right. If you encourage him to think of school as the only place where he can grow and develop intellectually, you risk narrowing his horizons and quite possibly contributing to his anxiety.

I was that child who read fluently at 5. My parents, who were teachers themselves, provided what I can now see was a very intellectually exciting environment but it was never about levels or making sure I was on the right grade: it was simply that they themselves thought the world was such an exciting place that they had to share it with me. They enjoyed good children's literature (or at least my mother did) so we had the best. If you go for classics, as they did, then maturity of content is going to be far less of a worry: reading something you don't quite understand won't do you any harm as long as it is not directly inappropriate.

They enjoyed reading about history and art and nature, so we had that too. They never related it consciously to what I was doing at school, but they made learning exciting and worth while.

And it wasn't just about book learning: they let me learn an instrument, and taught me basic DIY (for which I had NO talent), and let me help with painting and decorating the house, and took me into the woods.

And they let me see that learning never stops, that grown-ups can find it exciting too.

FredFlinstoneMadeOfBones Sun 14-Oct-18 09:00:39

He definitely needs to be less focused on goals and outcomes. He should be reading because he enjoys reading and loves the material not because he wants to progress to a certain level.

I have experience with top undergrads and a-level students and many of them have their identity so wrapped up in academic success they completely fall apart when they're no longer the best (and this will happen to him).

I would be much more concerned with his mental health than his reading level. He can go to the library and pick whatever book interests him anyway, it's a total non issue. His mental health sounds much more pressing.

Ceilingrose Sun 14-Oct-18 12:06:27

Kids need to be able to not succeed at everything all the time and , crucially, for it not to matter.

Kids also need downtime. Mine read all kinds of crap and one hated reading. They've all done well in their chosen ways so far.

brilliotic Sun 14-Oct-18 12:08:25

OP, DS was anxious in Y1, and we were told almost the exact same thing ('keep him on this book level as otherwise we won't have anything for him to move on to next year'). Also suddenly a new rule that all children must read every book in every level, so unless he did actually read those books (it was purple level this time of Y1 for us) he would never move up the levels. So I can relate.

You don't say much about his ability in other areas so I will respond to the reading only. What I would say is that you need to be careful to distinguish between 'progressing in the book levels' and 'progressing with reading'. Holding a child back in the book levels is not equivalent with holding their reading back.
Conversely, putting a child on a higher level is not the same as stretching/challenging them!

Chances are that they are challenging/stretching his reading ability at school, they want him to make progress. It's just that you don't see it and it's not easily measurable / comparable like the book bands.

Also, there comes the point where your child 'can read'. What further stretching/challenging should there be then? In my opinion the main aim then is to develop the child's breadth of reading material and give him/her insights into different genres and the kind of storylines and formats that are familiar and common, without moving on to 'literary analysis/criticism' or some such. So it is no longer about 'stretching' or 'challenging', but about reading for pleasure and discovery.

With a competitive child, I think it is important to make the distinction between 'reading ability' and 'book level' clear to them too. And to stress that neither is a race, and that the aim of increasing your 'reading ability' is not to get good grades and praise, but to be able to access fun and interesting books.

Unfortunately at our school the children were making a lot of competitive comparisons regarding their book levels amongst themselves. Possibly this is happening at your school too. In which case I can understand that a child who is moved back levels would feel upset!
So I would mention to the teacher that perhaps a talk is needed for her to remind the children (not just yours!) that neither going up the levels, nor learning to read, are competitions.

Perhaps a way to bring across that the book levels are not a competition is to ask your child: So what is the reward for moving up a level/moving to 'free reader'? You get to choose your own books. Well, you get to choose your own books already. The level of your school reading books does not stop you from choosing to read whatever you like!

Fortunately, reading is one of the easiest areas for you to fill the gaps when the school doesn't. As people say, just use the library ;) However I want to say, I do get your point about the school books then becoming a distraction and nuisance. There is a certain point where the school books have a length that means you can't just whizz through in 3 minutes, but are still rather simple and boring/off-putting. They feel very much like a waste of time, time that could be spent reading more interesting/fun things. And it makes reading feel like a chore, rather than a pleasure.

Firstly, I would like to reassure you that this phase passes. Your child will learn to recognise a simple text and read it very fast. (You are lucky in a sense to have only 2 school books, we had 5 a week, it was a drag!) Or you ask school specifically how much time they expect your child to be reading school books per day (there may be a homework policy on this point too), and then do exactly that. If it is 10 minutes a day, but the books require 30 minutes to finish, just don't finish them - use your time for other, own books.
The point of the reading scheme books for your child then becomes the lesson that school requires you to jump through certain hoops, which you do (in most cases) - building up some 'homework discipline'. After doing the required, you do what you enjoy!

We are now 3 years down the line. In Y3, they finally let DS move onto 'KS2 books' and in fact straight onto the highest level of these, so books aimed at Y6. Some of these are great, they are books just like any other he would read for pleasure/out of interest. Some are highly inappropriate. In some ways I wish they were still 'holding him back'! But at this stage school is more relaxed about the school reading books. I only actually ask DS to read his school book when he happens to be in a reading slump between books/series that he chose for himself.

takemeback Sun 14-Oct-18 17:43:08

If he's a confident reader then he doesn't need school banded books! Buy him some national geographic kids magazines and take him to the library. Reading should be for pleasure not to prove a point!

takemeback Sun 14-Oct-18 17:44:04

Tell me about his maths....
What's his letter formation and writing like?

Naty1 Sun 14-Oct-18 22:54:04

It could be as simple as they want it to look like he has made progress each year. If he goes up too fast he will stop making progress yearly.
I agree with pp that understanding will make much more difference in the l-t.
It took our school a whole year to get dd to the level she was capable of. (She could read brown/grey etc endof year r and it took till yr 2 to get to about that level). It is a complete waste of mine and dd's time. Though 1 or 2 bookshave been interesting.
And i do get what op is saying about the i interrupting of home books withthe school book. Especially if you are reading chapter books you lose the feel of it. We seemed to keep starting new ones.
Even the free readers are really easy ones.

Hope he gets past the anxiety etc.

school is quite stressful for lots of kids for various reasons. And i think the big changes of the new school year can be quite triggering. It's hardly surprising that they dont want to go back after the holidays.

folduptheocean Mon 15-Oct-18 17:21:59

How is he socially?

roundturnandtwohalfhitches Mon 15-Oct-18 18:05:16

Could be that is new teacher is a bit shit and a bit lazy. Not all teachers are amazing or good at their jobs or like kids. The reason she has given is a bit weak. If she is resistant then I suspect you'll just have to suck it up and do it yourself or
Our school is terrible at encouraging the brighter kids. The emphasis is on getting the most number of kids to an average level, which gien their resources or lack thereof doesn't seem a bad target . What it is excellent at it is teaching them self confidence and resilience. They are taught every mistake is an opportunity to learn. Hard work and effort is praised. That stuff is incredibly important and has set him up to thrive academically when he reaches secondary. DS is a bright anxious child but they have grown his confidence immensely. He helps other kids in his class with reading and comprehension and he loves it. He reads more advanced stuff at home. He is P6 now and I realise the angsting about easy reading books in P1and 2 was a waste of my time really. The other stuff was more important.

Thatcrazymummy Sun 21-Oct-18 00:03:50

My little one was at foundation a little while before the school suggested my child become a free reader and scrap even starting the ORT all together . I said I’d read at home with them a series of there choice .. but for reading at school I’d like them to still take part in the ORT scheme so they didn’t miss out on all the extra stories of there comprehension age

It’s a beautiful thing when your child can really read . There access to information becomes gigantic ....

Most importent is the happiness of the child but I personally belive if children want to do more and can then why shouldn’t they

I realise how little children. however far ahead are not supported ( or the parents ) as often you are the minority

I face the same issues in terms of supporting them at school - but I have a generally holistic approach to my kids but support there subject matter they do at school at home . ( and any work they wish to do I let them )

I wish you and you and your child luck x

GreenTulips Sun 21-Oct-18 00:20:22

I think you are over thinking the reading. They really don't read much in school at all - guided reading once a week, maybe share a book with a friend or quite reading.

Otherwise they learn about science art, music, team work PE, RE computers, plays, singing, forest school, friendships, etc

DD could read at a higher level at a young age, she also joined a class higher up the school, but guess what? At nearly 14 she reads exactly the same as all her friends.

Made no real difference to her ability (she's still top 1%)

Let him be a kid and stop banging on about it

Lollipop30 Sun 21-Oct-18 00:44:40

I don’t think you’re wrong for worrying about it.
My DDs in Yr1 and in kind of a similar situation except she’s not gifted or talented, she’s quite bright and she works hard so I’m happy.
Last year they stopped reading with her altogether ‘to give the others in her class chance to catch up!’ A notion I’m sure you’re all too familiar with. I will admit I was seriously miffed but I just sourced the correct level books and went to the library lots. Luckily this year her teacher is more open to each child working at their own level so she was instantly skipped onto an appropriate level book where I agree they stretch her just the right amount.
I’d try again perhaps at school and if you get another nonresponse just get books that are slightly more difficult for him to read at home, not forgetting to keep questioning etc to make sure he actually understands the content. We still do our own extra ones alongside schools and just document it in the log in the same way.

OlennasWimple Sun 21-Oct-18 00:59:00

Use the school books as the starting point for more interesting stuff. So get him to read it through once to find out what thrilling excitement Chip and Kipper and Biff have been up to in this installment, then play around with the story by asking him probing questions and getting him to think more deeply.

"Why did Kipper react like that?"

"How would the story have been different if X had happened instead?"

"What other words could the author have used instead of X?"

"How do we know how Chip feels? How would you feel in that scenario?"

That type of stuff

AornisHades Sun 21-Oct-18 01:26:11

Dd was reading Roald Dahl in reception and was finally moved to free reading in Y1. School struggled to deal with her so while we were getting books home she would sing them to me or substitute words to make it less boring. Floppy pursued the stick rather than chased.
She's autistic so her struggles are anxiety and social.

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