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Just started reception - how do they decide which level of book to send home?

(28 Posts)
loueytb3 Mon 19-Sep-11 21:41:31

This is a sort of AIBU but I'm too much of a chicken to post in there and I want to see if I'm overreacting....

DTS2 started in reception last week. We had a meeting with his teacher just before he started to let her know about likes/dislikes etc. DTS2 is a very competent reader and has been reading since he was 3. We took along one of his books which he can read to show his teacher the sort of level he is at. she seemed quite receptive and pleased that he was an able reader.

So today, he has come home with a level 1 ORT book which has no words in it. I am quite cross because what is the point of discussing what level he is at if they are going to ignore it.

In contrast, DTS1 also started in reception last week at a different school (he has ASD and is at a unit based in a mainstream school). He came home with an ORT level 3 book, which he can read, albeit slowly. DTS2 is a much more able reader than DTS1.

I don't want to go in all guns blazing. I would like to find out what other schools do to assess reading in reception. Is it usual to start children already reading on the first book. DH wanted to get DTS2 to read the instructions inside the book to make the point that this was far too easy for him.

cazzybabs Mon 19-Sep-11 21:47:06

I would write a comment in his reading book something along the lines of ds found this easy and read x as well!
TBH it takes me, as a teacher, a long time to work out ( a few weeks) where everyone is (and that is with only 18 and they have already been in the school). I am still moving childrnen up levels! I wouldn't panic .. if it is still happening at half-term then I might be cross but they have only just started school (you have years to stress about the right level of book). Read at home with him - there are lots of books much more exciting than reading books to be read!

MrsGravy Mon 19-Sep-11 21:48:48

I'm guessing that, despite your meeting where you informed them he could already read, they need to observe him reading themselves. Perhaps they haven't had a chance to do that yet as he only started last week? There will be plenty of kids who will be learning really basic stuff like sitting still for the register, raising a hand to speak, putting their own coats on and off etc for the first few weeks and this does take up a lot of time.

Perhaps your DTS1's class is smaller therefore observations have been done already?

Definitely not a good idea to go in all guns blazing, but our teachers are very approachable and encourage us to speak to them about any concerns. I'd just have a quiet word, ask why he has a book with no words.

MirandaWest Mon 19-Sep-11 21:51:26

I would have been a bit peeved tbh. I did let DD's reception teacher know that she could read before she started school and she was started on a book that was slightly higher than the lowest level. Was probably a little easier than some she could read but there was a variety incuding non fiction that she wasn't as used to and she moved through levels as appropriate.

I would put a comment as cazzybabs suggests and see what happens and then have a word if you get another level 1 type book. Yes, there are other books to read but some children (my own included) can feel that the book their teacher has given them is "right" and that anything else suggested by me is "wrong".

PatriciaHolm Mon 19-Sep-11 21:52:16

As MrsGravy says, I suspect it's because they need to see him demonstrate his reading and comprehension themselves; they will have has plenty of parents say, "oh yes, little Mercutio is on Harry Potter now of course" at 4, and need to make their own assessment. I would write in the reading book that he talked the story through with you and then read X of your own, and leave it to them for a week or so to let them work it out for themselves.

iggly2 Mon 19-Sep-11 22:13:31

I love your DH's approach ( I have trained my Ds to say "easy peasy"). When he started school the books were too easy but his teacher raced through the levels very quickly. Also at the start the teacher did say the books would be very easy so sometimes I think they like to let the child settle in.

snailoon Mon 19-Sep-11 22:26:59

Just let him read one of his own books, and don't talk much about the school books. I think reading levels are often stupid; they get it wrong, forget to move the kids up a level, etc. and parents shouldn't get so worked up about it. Kids need to figure out pretty quickly that school is often wrong and that that is not a big deal so long as people have their hearts in the right place.
The teachers are really just trying to settle kids at the beginning of reception; I would give them a few days more and then remind them of your conversation about reading.
Some teachers just can't be bothered to figure out what kids are capable of and are chronically mistrustful of parents, but most of them aren't so narrow minded.
Remember Mark Twain: "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."

Eveiebaby Mon 19-Sep-11 22:56:15

Hi Louey - DD brought home books at the beginning of reception with no words in and I think they just liked us to talk together about the pictures and what was happening, might happen next, describing the picture etc... I think it is to do with understanding as well as decoding the word. I'm sure your DT2 will quickly move up the reading levels, like others have said sometimes it's just a matter of the teacher needing to observe your DS reading for herself. And your DT2 is on level three smile - that is very very good - DD finished reception on that level which is very average for the end of reception.

firstgreatholswiththree Mon 19-Sep-11 23:14:47

This probably won't be the last gripe about reading books. YR1 we've had the same book all week and DS has read it 3 times in the summer as we've got it at home. I've put a little note is his book bag and will be make sure he reads something else or we will read to him which is far more relaxing at bedtime. Now onto my 2 child with reading scheme books be glad your child is doing well and enjoy something other than "floppy!"

Trippler Mon 19-Sep-11 23:21:41

They don't know the children yet. The wordless books are to assess how they explain things, global comprehension, recall, willingness to engage in a task, and they have little indicators that a child is already a reader (eg some of the shop signs and noticeboards).

Your child could be a reader and could totally refuse to do the book, which gives them information. Or could be a reader and be quite happy to go along with things. They need to know things like that.

Also (not meaning you) there are parents who will say that their child can read, but when you get them in a classroom it's obvious that they're being helped and prompted by the parents to a ridiculous degree, and aren't yet readers at all.

verybusyspider Tue 20-Sep-11 09:00:33

I agree with trippler there are some parents who will say how well their dc's are reading but they need to develop their comprehension, they start guided reading at school and talk in small groups about the story, what might be happening etc which is still a great skill - especially for children like my ds who have difficultly listening to others ideas and still struggle with it in yr1!

I would ignore the reading stages at school, take dts to the library and get some books he can read/is interested in, in reception we asked for a few books to be sent home - his class one and a few to read for fun but to be honest ORT book are boring so now he has one book from school (still ORT level 2 or 3) which he reads the first night, never looks at it again but reads it again at school for guided reading (you have to have a certain number of children on same book to do guided reading and its not holding them back remember its about more than just the reading) then we just pick a different book at home/from library for him to read every night to develop his actually reading.

now if I could just work out how to get him interested in writting that would be great...

loueytb3 Tue 20-Sep-11 11:00:24

Thanks for all the replies. I do realise that they need to test comprehension and I wondered if that was the reason for the book they sent. DTS2 was not at all impressed this morning when he realised there were no words in it. They also sent home a sheet with pictures of the main characters from ORT and their names and he read off the title "Oxford Reading Tree Characters" so you can see where I'm coming from hmm He has also read DTS1's level 3 book (hard to stop him) and I think very soon we are going to get questions about why his brother has books with more words in it than he is getting.

We do read with him every night, and sometimes he wants to read himself, other times he wants us to read. We are not pushing him to read out loud if he doesn't want to. He gets to choose which book (we have a lot!) and we do go to the library as well.

DTS1 is in a much smaller class size (6 max) and there are 3 staff for those 6 kids so he is getting much more attention (which he needs). Just shows the advantage of smaller class sizes. I was a bit shock when I went into DTS2's class on the first day and saw all the kids and very few staff. We have been spoilt because they were at a montessori nursery where the staff ratio was much higher.

DH is more worried than I about it but he had a very bad experience as a child in his local (small) village primary where he was the brightest child by some distance and they didn't know what to do with him. They taught to the lowest level of ability and he just got bored and lazy. He is desperate that that shouldn't happen again.

IndigoBell Tue 20-Sep-11 11:11:46

louey - just sign his reading diary saying :

'as discussed previously, DS can read fluently. Last night he read XYZ. I hope you get a chance to assess his reading soon and send home the right level books, in the mean time he has lots of books at home to read.'

and totally ignore the books school sends home until they send home something appropriate. Just sign his diary every night with what he did read.

treas Tue 20-Sep-11 11:24:27

Some schools send out books from week 1 with no words to in for all the reception class - quite often to keep the parents quiethmm

In my son's case when he started reception 8 years ago his school assessed the children's abilities for the first half term. Then they had a meeting at the start of the second half term for all reception parents to explain the reading books they had put in the children's books bags.

This way my son started on Purple level reading books (ORT 8)

RueDeWakening Tue 20-Sep-11 12:44:01

If it's any consolation, DD brought her first school book home last night. She is a fluent reader already (reads eg The Tiger Who Came To Tea with no help), but she brought home the Ladybird version of The Jungle Book. It has about 100 A4-sized pages and is far too hard for her.

She also had a strop when I refused to read all of it to her last night...

In fairness I think she might have picked it herself, they had their first class trip to the school library yesterday grin

TheMitfordsMaid Tue 20-Sep-11 13:12:18

My DS started reception this week and came home with the ORT level 1 book with no words. We have been instructed to learn the characters but we also get a book DS has chosen from the library.

My DS can read but chooses not to so I am very happy with this method. He'll sound out r a t s and say mice to tease me so this is a good approach for him.

loueytb3 Tue 20-Sep-11 16:31:08

My friend who is a primary deputy head (and whose DD has also just started reception) just emailed me to say she would be livid and to give them a week to change the book and if not then go in and tell them this is not appropriate.

treas - I wondered if that might be the schools policy. Our childminder's DS started there last year so I'm going to see what he got at the same stage.

indigo - I am tempted but I don't want to piss them off at week 2 in reception. I can see I will be labelled pushy mum. It does beg the question though, what is the point in talking to the parents about what your child can/can't do if you then ignore it totally?

IndigoBell Tue 20-Sep-11 16:34:22

You won't annoy them if you word it carefully.

You're not accusing them, you understand they haven't had time to hear him read, and this is what you'll do while you wait.......

You'll annoy them next week when they assess his reading and then send him home with level 5 or something equally ridiculous smile

hocuspontas Tue 20-Sep-11 16:42:45

How could someone be 'livid' about reading books in the 2nd week of reception? Or ever. Your teacher friend should be telling you to chill not have a coronary over nothing.

FunnysInTheGarden Tue 20-Sep-11 16:46:19

agree with hocus. Do people really get 'livid' about this sort of thing? It really is a non issue at this stage. Remember they are still only babies and have years and years of reading ahead of them.

limetrees Tue 20-Sep-11 16:55:24

At our school, every single reception child starts off with a book containing no words. Regardless of reading ability/lack thereof.

In time (weeks not days), the levels are adjusted.

Personally, I would not say anything yet. If you want to press on with the reading that he has been doing at home, I would do this independently for now and wait for little while before questioning the reading level with the teacher.

grubbalo Tue 20-Sep-11 16:57:27

As someone else said, there is more to the picture books than is first apparent. We had a meeting with DS's reception teacher last week, who said that they are really useful for understanding comprehension and that they are also in the process of assessing the children. If nothing changes in the next 2-3 weeks then I can understand your concern, but in the meantime I'd encourage him to go through the hoops - let's face it there will be lots in his life. We have been asked to write down the story the children tell - which at least makes it a bit more fun and might give him a reason to do it.

Also agree that it is hardly worth being "livid" over. What an odd attitude from someone who's actually a teacher!

loueytb3 Tue 20-Sep-11 17:12:27

I was quite surprised she said that TBH - I assumed she was going to say that they do the same thing at her school.

Anyway, we have a meeting on Thursday where they tell us what they are doing this term so it may be that something will become clear then. I can quite understand why they might send the same book home to everyone to assess comprehension but what I can't understand is why she didn't say that when we saw her, so at least we knew what the plan was.

HoHoLaughingMonster Tue 20-Sep-11 17:44:08

Well it's my DDs 2nd week in reception and she hasn't even been given a book to take home yet.

They are learning about the letter 's' at the moment (from what DD tells me).

I think they all start right at the beginning at first, regardless of individual ability.

Remember most children will still be adjusting to the new environment, it's often quite a big change for them, so they'll be learning the teacher's and other children's names, where everything is (loos, hall, coat peg etc), the school 'rules', and how things work ie. queuing up for lunch was something my DD didn't get at first as they didn't do this at nursery.

Give your DS time to settle in before you start worrying about reading books etc.

Tgger Tue 20-Sep-11 20:02:54

errrrrrrrr, I wouldn't bother about it.

My son has also just started Reception. We got to level 3 on songbirds over the summer as he was keen to start reading. He hasn't brought home any reading books from school yet and so we are just doing a bit of reading at home- the easier books actually as he's not quite as keen since his summer flourish and we just want to keep him going and keep it fun.

Why don't you use the non-verbal books to really develop his imagination rather than his reading. He could come up with a highly articulate story full of interesting words- or if he was my son he would probably "write" (tell me what to write) his story from the pictures, make it into his own book and take that and read it to the teacher.

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