Book several bands below reading level for table work?

(99 Posts)
aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 10:49:22

Those of you who can't stand threads about reading levels, turn away. DS got 3 for reading in his end of ks1 report, and has just started in year 3.

I know the teacher is probably getting to know the children for herself, but I'm wondering why, if she has access to the levels, she has given his table a book that is several bands below what he can read for himself?

He was confidently reading books at about NC level 4 last term, and continued reading over the summer. The book the children have been given for their literacy work is about 5 bands below this. The top table has been given a book of the correct level for its ability (NC5) from what I can see.

I know some of you will say relax, it's early days, but what alarms me is the internal inconsistency - correct level for top table, not so obvious why below actual recent attainment for his table?

aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 11:08:52

Sorry, should add that part of my anxiety is that his reading level was wrongly assessed in year 1 until the literacy specialist got involved, but had a great year 2 when he really started to enjoy himself, thanks to a teacher who really understood his learning needs and pushed him just the right amount.

I'd hate it if he started this year with lower expectations.

mummytime Wed 08-Sep-10 11:23:08

Talk to the teacher, she may have a very good reason. Try to keep up with his reading via going to the library, getting books at home etc.
My DD is actually free reading, her first book was a fairy one, and now she's been encourage onto something the next step up (and ideal for her). But her school is much less tables, and book bands in year 3.

MrsDoofenshmirtz Wed 08-Sep-10 11:25:35

YOu say given the table is this a group reading book ? If it is guided reading they will be doing lower level books and discussing them.

AMumInScotland Wed 08-Sep-10 11:27:53

Is "literacy work" the same thing as reading, or does it mean something more about studying the text in different ways? eg looking for similes and metaphors, looking at how they have used adjectives and adverbs, that sort of stuff?

If I'm assuming right there, then its not surprising or worrying if they are working on a book which is some way below what they can read proficiently, because they are using it for something different from just reading.

But do go in and talk to the teacher to make sure you understand each other. That clears up most roblems!

MrsDoofenshmirtz Wed 08-Sep-10 11:31:21

Thats exactly what I meant but so much better put. (smile)

singersgirl Wed 08-Sep-10 11:33:22

Is this for guided reading or do they have a system where every child reads the same book as their personal reading book? Both my boys have always read books way below their reading level in their guided reading groups - but of course the same was true for all the rest of the children in those groups. They use guided reading to talk about different aspects of plot/characterisation/use of vocabulary/inference/punctuation etc, so it doesn't much matter if the book seems 'easy'. But then for their personal reading each child can choose whatever book they want, once they're off the reading scheme - so from Y1 for most of the top group children. I would be more concerned if it was the personal reading book, and find it odd that all the children were expected to read the same one.

singersgirl Wed 08-Sep-10 11:33:57

Crossed posts with the two above!

seeker Wed 08-Sep-10 11:34:23

The book chosen for guided reading is often chosen for all sorts of reasons not necessarily related to levels - the subject, relevance to the children, because it's really funny, because the group like dinosaurs. It's not about readin, really, it's about books and stories, and sharing, and reading aloud and characterization and oh, lots of things.

Frankly I would be more interested in wondering why he's not on the top table if he got a 3 in year 2. Is is a very high achieving class?

lovecheese Wed 08-Sep-10 11:43:05

My DD has just started in yr2, so younger than yours, but she told me all through year 1 that the books that her (top) group used for guided reading were several "Colours" below what she was bringing home for personal reading. It is as the others have said to use a book for much more than actually reading it.

I would concur with seeker though about asking why he isnt on the top table if he was a level 3 in SATs.

aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 11:46:08

Seeker, >Frankly I would be more interested in wondering why he's not on the top table if he got a 3 in year 2. Is is a very high achieving class?<

Yes, there is one exceptionally able reader and writer (read this summer holiday alone more than many children will have read by the time they leave primary school). Two or three ohers who are comfortable reading at NC level 5+, and quickly. So not quibbling about his ability relative to these.

aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 11:49:06

AmuminScotland, yes, you're right, the book is used in these ways, and I can see the sense of doing this.

But then, why does the top table have a book that happens to be just a smidegeon below its technical reading ability?

Why doesn't the same logic apply to all the tables? Is it because (correctly) the teacher is making allowances for the maturity of the readers (DS technically able but still reluctant and much slower when compared to these more accomplished readers?)

aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 11:52:31

seeker, thanks also. yes, your post is right on the money. The text chosen for the table work is used in much more complex ways than just reading, and the children interact with it in depth.

But I know for a fact that he could easily do this kind of work with an interesting chapter book just off National Curriculum level 4, rather than some babyish and narratively naive story that he finds unremarkable.

seeker Wed 08-Sep-10 12:50:48

Have you really got 4 children in a year 3 class who are reading at level5+? How do you know?

singersgirl Wed 08-Sep-10 12:55:30

I agree with seeker that it seems odd in Y3. DS2's class (now Y5) had lots of able readers who were reading books that might be classified as L5 in Y3, but I doubt if many were reading them at a L5 level, if you know what I mean. Also, how do you know that the book they're reading is at L5? I'd be really surprised if a primary school was teaching a whole group at that level in Y3.

About 35% of the year group were L3 readers in KS1, though, so at least the top 2 groups had all got L3s.

aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 14:02:20

Seeker, yes, they are reading books at this level. He's told me directly what colour they are reading, and I've observed it directly myself at their houses or ours when they get stuff out of their book bags. He is one of the closest friends of the outstanding reader in the year, so see a lot of what and how that child reads.

seeker Wed 08-Sep-10 14:04:19

So your school has a colour band for Level 5 books? Or do they have it written on them or something?

I'm not being thick, honestly, but I've never heard of this before. Are you absolutely sure you've got it right?

aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 14:14:45

Seeker, yes. They have a colour band for level 5 and level 6 books. The colour bands are even displayed in the classroom by year 3 and each book has a sticker on the front cover.

A full colour is a full NC level, and half colours are used to denote intermediate levels. The first 8 bands are reading recovery levels, then the system continues from NC level 2.

It goes:

Band 1: Reading recovery (RR) level 1-2, 1/2 pink
Band 2: RR level 3-5, half red
Band 3: RR 6-8, half yellow
Band 4: RR 9-11, half blue
Band 5: RR 12-14, half green
Band 6 RR 15-16, half orange
Band 7, RR 17-18, full red
Band 8, RR 10-22, 1/2 red, 1/2 yellow

NC level 2 full yellow
NC level 2-3 yellow/blue
NC level 3 blue
NC level 3-4 blue/pink
NC level 4 pink
Nc level 4-5 pink-orange
NC level 5 Oragne
NC level 5-6 Orange/Gree
NC level 6 Green.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 08-Sep-10 14:15:32

Are there really colour banded, reading books at Level 5? I'd have thought Level 5 books would be something like Animal Farm. Or a bit of Stephen Hawking for those that prefer non-fiction. OK, perhaps not Stephen Hawking...

lovecheese Wed 08-Sep-10 14:34:11

Is this system peculiar to your school aegeansky?

seeker Wed 08-Sep-10 14:37:48

What's a level 5 or 6 book?

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Wed 08-Sep-10 14:42:01

Are we conflating being able to read the words that one might expect a L5 acheiver to recognise, with actually working at L5 when it comes to English?

singersgirl is on to something I think when she suggests that the higher acheiving group are "reading books that might be classified as L5 in Y3, but I doubt if many were reading them at a L5 level"

Found this example of a Level 5 piece of English work.

seeker Wed 08-Sep-10 14:44:05

Are you absolutely sure ageansky? I am a bit surprised at the idea of a level 6 (whatever one of those is) book being in a year 3 classroom - pretty sure the content would be inappropriate even if a 7 year old could read it.

What is the book that the top table in your ds's class is reading?

aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 14:54:33

Seeker, yes, sure about the chart being in the class, as I've seen it.

Not sure if there are any level 6 books in the class (but will ask DS) nor about the name of the book that the top table is reading, but will probably know by end of the week.

aegeansky Wed 08-Sep-10 14:59:05


No, I'm talking about being able to read the book fluently and in some cases at unbelievable speed, not just decode words.

In the case of the top table, my point was precisely that the teacher has given a book that is close to the limit of some of the children's reading ability whereas in the uppder middles (only relatively - remember these were also level 3 attainers by end of KS1) she has gone below the level of actual attainment at the end of the KS1 assessment, so it's an internally inconsistent approach.

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