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Free reading...what does it MEAN?

(27 Posts)
wannabefree Mon 18-Jul-11 22:11:45

Could somebody please explain this free-reading malarky?

How do teachers determine when its time to go onto free-reading?

What does it mean for the child?

Why do some kids stay on ORT until stage 14/15/16, whilst others seem to abandon it at stage 10?

lovecheese Mon 18-Jul-11 22:15:43

From my time on MN it seems that it can be as early as stage 5 - green band - which beggars belief IMO and to as late as end of year 6, with a huge variation inbetween.

mrz said on a thread recently words which make perfect sense to me but would fire up any parents of year r or yr 1 children WRT "free reading".

worldgonemad72 Mon 18-Jul-11 22:16:00

I thought it was when children are able to ready anything, newspapers, menus, any book without difficulty.

lovecheese Mon 18-Jul-11 22:17:45

I agree with the terminology - but disagree that it should be SO early in some schools.

muffinflop Mon 18-Jul-11 22:18:02

It usually means a parent has written that their child is bored of the school books in their reading diary! DS was put on 'free reading' (not because of me!) but was reading rather than comprehending so I actually asked for him to be put back on the reading scheme - much to the shock of his teacher!

AtYourCervix Mon 18-Jul-11 22:20:24

it's this really amazing new concept where a child picks up a book of their own choice and reads the words in it. Amazing.

wannabefree Mon 18-Jul-11 22:30:59

I've just discovered this board and I'm trawling through posts, learning loads, but also going like this shock a lot of the time! Free reading in reception!

My DS seemed to take a long time to go onto free reading, but I must admit I got really slack with making him read the ORT books he brought home when he reached about stage 14. He was reading all sorts at home, so I must admit I wasn't concerned about his reading (and those books are so tedious by stage 14...the poor kid was not getting enjoyment out of reading any more.) DS complained that a few children at school were on free reading and had been for a long time even though they were in lower sets than him and got lower results in SATs etc.

Am I right in thinking that the fact that your child is a free reader just means that you have managed to get through the reading scheme books, not necessarily that they are an amazing reader?

wannabefree Mon 18-Jul-11 22:32:46

never would've guessed, AtYourCervix thank for enlightening me!

AtYourCervix Mon 18-Jul-11 22:33:16

you're welcome.

wannabefree Mon 18-Jul-11 22:33:48

any sensible replies?

rabbitstew Mon 18-Jul-11 22:34:08

Say a reception child is given chapter books to read (or can choose any chapter books from those available to KS1 children), instead of reading scheme books - is this free reading, or part of the teacher's reading scheme? Surely a comprehensible book for a young child doesn't have to be part of a formal reading scheme if they genuinely can read pretty much anything put in front of them? I don't see why you have to stick to official reading scheme books if you are only reading for comprehension and not for decoding any more, although you would still want the teacher ensuring chosen books are within the child's comprehension and generally have appropriate content, so I can see why many teachers would find it easier to stick with reading scheme books, because you don't have to worry so much, then, about their appropriateness or otherwise, since they all tend to be fairly innocuous. It's not genuine free reading, though, if your teacher vets the books you read, although I'm not sure how else you would be expected to describe it.

Tuppenyrice Mon 18-Jul-11 22:40:25

I thought it meant the schemed books were too easy so you moved onto chunkier books. At the beginning of yr2 in my DS's case, his teacher clocked that he'd been on the same band for a year (previous crap teacher plus slack mother with newborn) so she just let him start reading the R Dahl books & Harry Potter etc & I never saw another banded book again. I didn't know the term existed until a friend told me though. blush

redskyatnight Tue 19-Jul-11 09:58:21

At's DC's school a "free reader" means you have completed the "reading scheme". They focus on reading "real" books as much as possible so the last few levels of the scheme are mostly "real" books, with very few reading scheme books.

The last level of the reading scheme contained books such as Roald Dahl books, Paddington etc - so reasonable length chapter books. To become a free reader, the teacher has to assess that the child is reading books of this length with fluency, accuracy and expression and is able to understand the themes etc in the story. About quarter of DS's Y2 year group are free readers. At the end of year 1 there was a handful.

lovecheese Tue 19-Jul-11 10:04:51

redskyatnight frankly am a bit shock that your school would judge a child who could read a Roald Dahl book, or Paddington Bear!, no longer in need of any structured scheme.

To give you a comparison the last level at my DD's school contains books such as Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights and I am David. The number of children that achieve level 5 in reading is way above the national average.

Fennel Tue 19-Jul-11 10:14:57

Our school puts them onto free reading quite young, around 6-7 for most I think. yr1/yr2. Maybe when they've reached ORT 7 or 8.

I like it that way as we have lots of books and it's more fun for all of us, dc included, to read at whim.

NerfHerder Tue 19-Jul-11 10:21:52

I was a free reader in reception (well, I was reception age, but they put me up a year, due to precociousness.)

DH couldn't read (free or otherwise) until he was 8 or 9... but you know we can read just as well as each other now at thirty<<cough>>.

lovecheese- I find it a little ridiculous that a reading scheme would go up to Frankenstein or Wuthering Heights! ("liver-coloured bitch pointer" foxed DH for days- he had to ask me what the hell it meant... and he was 35 at the time!)

lovecheese Tue 19-Jul-11 10:26:52

NerfHerder grin I'm not saying my DC's school's method is the right one, just to give a comparison with other's where FR seems to happen TOO early.

lovecheese Tue 19-Jul-11 10:28:51

Great name, by the way. What is a Nerf, and how does one herd them?

WowOoo Tue 19-Jul-11 10:29:49

I cannot understand free reading in R. Ds is in R and is good, but I want books to be chosen for him by an adult for a while. He can choose his own library books or birthday books.

So Nerf - did you choose your own books? I'm sure you were capapble of that. I understand that some children can try, but still think guidance is needed at that age.

I worry about when ds will become a free reader.

He'll be able to read all the notes with swear or rude words that I leave for dh, depressing articles in the newspapers that lie around and that he will discover that a lot of the non fiction books we have lying around are far more interesting than what I suggest he tries now.

JemimaMuddledUp Tue 19-Jul-11 10:30:54

I'm not sure TBH. In my DC's school I have no idea at what point they become "free readers". My DS has just finished Yr 2 and is on ORT Level 12. He can read well, at home he reads Harry Potter, Horrible Histories, Roald Dahl, Mr Gum etc and reads First News from cover to cover every Friday. But there is no sign of an end to the levels, even the non scheme books are colour banded. I suppose reading at home for pleasure and reading in school are different skills. School are making sure that a child understands what they are reading properly and can read more complicated words, which is achieved by reading out loud and talking about what they have read, whereas at home they just whip though a book in their heads.

NerfHerder Tue 19-Jul-11 10:39:35

It's from Star Wars- Leia insults Solo, calling him a 'stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder'. I fit the former part if Leia's description...
Nerfs are little and grumpy, antlered herbivores, resembling yaks, raised on many planets, including Alderaan, Gestron and Corellia, for their fur and meat. The average nerf is roughly two meters long and well over a meter tall. They have long, dull horns protruding from the head. Apparently hmm


I just read other books from the reading corner, or library. Paddington, Mary Plain, Milly Molly Mandy, My Naughty Little Sister, Mrs Pepperpot, Moomins, Pippi Longstocking ... I didn't really take books home to read to my parents after Y1 or so though- we had plenty of books, and my parents took us to the library each saturday.

munstersmum Tue 19-Jul-11 10:39:45

DS's school they go through the scheme all the way to level 16. They are given 2 scheme books and take a free choice from the library that isn't colour banded per week.

DiscoDaisy Tue 19-Jul-11 10:44:26

My yr1 DS is a free reader. All it means at his school is that he chooses the book he reads out of the box rather than reading them in the order that the TA says.

redskyatnight Tue 19-Jul-11 10:50:52

lovecheese DC's school is only an infants so I'd be surprised if they were encouraging them to read Wuthering Heights etc

I accept that there are age appropriate books of a "harder" level that could be on a reading scheme. I guess the point is that the school considers the children to have mastered the mechanics of reading, and although it does encourage children to choose a range of books (including non-fiction) they are not tied to books getting progressively "harder".

They do have guided reading at school which deals with the improving comprehension etc side of reading. If you are giving children books to read at home that are specifically improve their comprehension isn't that putting a big onus on parents? (I read with my child and we discuss what we've read, but I wouldn't necessarily want to get into the why the author has chosen particular language and how characters have developed type discussion).

The other point for me, is that DS doesn't read for pleasure - he reads because he "has to". At least if he's reading books that he enjoys rather than ones that will be "improving" books, there is half a chance that he might actually start "loving reading".

Madsometimes Tue 19-Jul-11 11:26:43

Free reading means different things in different schools.

In our school, children are free readers very early. The reading scheme only goes up to ORT 8. After that, children can select a book from their class library. The class library may contain books from reading schemes or other types of children's books. The Y2 library will be different from the Y6 library. If a child chooses a book which is too easy or hard for them, then the teacher will suggest that they try another book.

I suppose in our school free reading means that children are allowed to select books that interest them, once they have grasped the basics of reading. I know other schools are very different.

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