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WHY do they make them read all of the books on a level?!

(23 Posts)
FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 21:18:39

It is infuriating and boring. Both for me and DC. At the start of term the teacher had not yet levelled them and they continued on their same colour as last year. Totally fair enough. The teacher then levelled them all and adjusted.

My DS has gone up a level and I am pleased by that. BUT as he is one of the more fluent readers in the class he gets listed to less often, although I am pleased that they are changing the books as soon as they are finished and if we get through the whole book (most days unless we have activities) then it will be changed.

I feel, really, that he should be challenged a little more. Every single book he reads straight through, with expression and comprehension. One day the TA gave him a book to read for her. He remembered that he had read the play script before and could recall all relevant events in the book. She recognised that there was no point in him reading it again (book version, not play script version) so changed it again. Every single comment is along the lines of 'great expression and word perfect. Good understanding and could predict the ending. Can relate story to events in real life' So he has 'got it' IYSWIM? What else are they looking for? He is bored by the books and prefers to read the stuff at home. I make him do the story, to support the school and tell him to just read his books at bedtime. HE is a real little book worm!!

Given that it is a new term, and she has just levelled him a couple of weeks ago, but not listened to him since (just the TA), would it be horribly pushy to ask that he go up a level?

What level do you think a DC would be at if at home they read, and understood, books like Roald Dahl (first the twits which was easy, then the two charlie books, James and the giant peach), Captain Underpants, Mr Majeka, The adventures of the wishing chair? Just wondering what level children reading these should be thought of as?

Sorry for the long post! blush

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 21:33:28

bump.

MyCatHasStaff Wed 28-Sep-11 21:38:35

How old is your DS?

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 21:40:12

5. In year 1.

MyCatHasStaff Wed 28-Sep-11 21:50:02

If he's reading those books at home, and understanding them, he sounds like he may be gifted & talented in literacy. Do you know if he is writing and spelling to a high level too? Don't underestimate the TA, they are often the first one to pick up children who are exceptional or struggling (I'm a TA wink) Have you thought about asking for a formal appointment with his teacher to talk about his ability generally, and his reading specifically? They may be just following routine, which is ok, but you can ask for him to be extended if he is put on their G&T register (or even if he's not). Sometimes, especially when you LO's are young, you have to push a little bit smile

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 22:02:05

Really? I never thought of him as G & T. He is just him, iyswim? Although I have noticed his sibling is not progressing at the same rate of knots but I thought I shouldnt compare him as all children developed differently and was trying to not be a compare-y mum blush

Not underestimating the TA at all, she is lovely smile

I did put a note in his book about what he has been reading at home but it wasnt commented upon. What level comparison are they?

Not sure about his spelling. He will write things like 'contsit' for concert, but he has parents with two different accents to what he hears at school so there are three pronunciations there to decipher!! He enjoys writing stories about random things and was doing this all last year. His teacher at the time said he enjoyed challenging himself but lokoing at the work he was just doing what he does at home, so it was just cruising really confused He can be a lazy so and so , so I dont think he was challenging himself, more messing about! I cant think of any more spelling examples off the top of my head, sorry! Um...

So should I ask for a formal appointment, or just wait until interviews next month?

He is good at maths as well, but certainly not something that interests him as such (except telling the time and doing his 5x from that) He hates it if we have to work on 2 x 2 is 4, 2 x 3 is 6 type stuff as it bores him rigid! But then again he is really into infinity and big numbers, so who knows!

Do you know, thinking about it, I have no idea if they even DO a G & T program/list at his school!! How would I find out?

Fairenuff Wed 28-Sep-11 22:02:10

What level is he bringing home from school?

pointythings Wed 28-Sep-11 22:08:59

Your DS does sound bright, especially if you add the maths thing in.

FWIW I have 2 DDs exactly like that, and the school most certainly didn't make them read every single book in the band, only the harder/more interesting ones. Then, instead of pushing them up to the next band, which might not have been right, they made a point of getting in extension material for them to read. It worked well, and much of the extension material was 'proper' books which slotted in with the book bands.

Right now, DD2 (yr4) is taking her Angie Sage (Septimus Heap series) books into school to read and has been picking out non-fiction/poetry texts alongside to broaden the scope of her reading, and that system also works well. Diana Wynne Jones will be next.

I'd have a word with the teacher in a supportive 'what can we do at home to help you' kind of way - I'm sure it will be appreciated. Do however respect what the teacher says, there's a lot to reading that people don't know.

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 22:16:40

Fairenuff - turquoise. 32 pages. Does it in a few minutes. Spends longer looking at the pictures than reading!! He also recognises things that randomly link to other stories in the series. When he read the broken roof he recognised straight away that they were in the magic key house. He can remember lines of text that may be repeated in a book and say things like 'oh! they said that in XXX book as well' (in reference to they are funny clothes/they are funny names where kipper et al are talking to people from long ago in the going back in time books)

I like the 'what can we do to help at home' line. Of course I would respect what the teacher says. They would definitely know a lot more about it than me and if they say he is not ready for the next level, then not a problem smile

MyCatHasStaff Wed 28-Sep-11 22:35:13

If he was in my class I would be highlighting him as possible global G&T (with the maths as well). Good comprehension of the books you mention would be Y4/Y5 in my experience. I would consider 'contsit' a really good try in Y1 - phonically it's not far off, cont-sit. Don't worry about accents, in time he'll iron them out.
Being 'lazy' is also often a trait of g&t - teachers won't necessarily tell you that, but my DS was g&t/lazy in equal measures! It's because things come relatively easily to them (especially in primary, not so much at secondary) so they are able to coast and still achieve.
I would make a separate appointment because you need some time to discuss things, parent evenings (is that what you mean by interviews?) are usually about 10 minutes, and you need at least 20mins/half an hour. Just ask at the appointment how they provide for g&t. At my DS's first primary school his teacher told me very excitedly that he had been identified global g&t, and when I asked what that would mean in reality, she said 'nothing really, we're not funded'. Great. His second primary was funded (different LA), and he was extended in the class work, and attended some special events. At secondary, he has done trips, lateral thinking workshops, and later allocated a mentor from our local university, so it is definitely worth it. But the main thing in primary was that he wasn't just left to get bored.
Just be honest with the teacher, tell her what you've said here, and see what she says. Have a look at his class work and maybe ask for advice about testing his comprehension of what he's reading. There is more to it than just understanding the plot of the book (I can see you realise that) but guidance on what questions to ask, or how to phrase them, will help you to help him. A good teacher/school will be willing to listen to you and work with you to get the best for your DS.
Sorry for the long post!

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 22:53:06

Thank you for your long post - no need to apologise, there is some great info in there and lots to think about.

Going in as getting guidance angle sounds good. I dont want to be those of those people that the teachers just smile at and think, well ALL parents think their child is G & T!!

Yes, interviews is what they call the parent teacher evenings.

He is such an amazing thinker and regularly stumps us with the questions he asks, but we just thought he was nosey and or had heard something on the radio or whatever! He explained to me a simple electric light/switch set up and how the light switch closes the wires so they touch and then the electricity can get through the other day. He did add that the electricity fell off through the hole when it was open though! grin I actually asked the teacher if they had covered that in science as I was so surprised that he knew about the wires connecting them all up and how a switch worked. They hadnt. I have looked through all of our books and there isnt anything he has been reading recently that covers it so I guess he could have figured it out confused but I still suspect he sneakily read it somewhere!!

I dont think he would be global G & T, unless an obsession with infinity counts as a maths genius! He does do mental maths, but not sure that counts?

How do I request and appointment with the teacher? Through the teacher direct or through the office? I am terribly shy and dont want to come off as a pushy parent! blush

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 23:34:39

While I think of it, can anyone remember if the Famous Five books are ok for younger readers? I remember I loved them but cant remember if there were any unsuitable themes in them or what age I read them at. I thought he might enjoy the adventure aspect of them? Thought I would get him a few books for half term.

MyCatHasStaff Wed 28-Sep-11 23:38:35

Circuits (which is what he has described perfectly!) are done in year 5/6. I would guess he is reading everything that passes in front of him and understanding a fair amount of it. There will be science books in the school library that covers all this, so he may have read them. Just catch the teacher at the end of school and ask to arrange a time to have a chat, she'll tell you if you need to go through the office, but be prepared for her to say yes, come in now. She must be aware of all this - the adults will chat to the children quite alot at school, and just the way he answers questions should have alerted her. His spoken vocabulary is obviously very good, and she must have noticed that. It may be that she is planning to talk to you about all this at the interview anyway. There are lots of options for him, depending on how the school operate - I know of schools that send children into older classes for certain lessons for example. I'm sure you won't come across as pushy - most schools want and encourage parents to work with them to bring out the best in their children.

FlyingPirates Wed 28-Sep-11 23:44:34

Thank you so much. You have been ever so helpful! I will see if I can catch the teacher sometime this week.

newtermnewname Thu 29-Sep-11 09:44:41

FlyingPirates word of caution, do go in and take the "What can we do at home to help?" angle; do NOT go in and say you think your child is G&T and what are the school going to do to support him? You'll look like a right twonk. Wait for them to tell you that bit.

FlyingPirates Thu 29-Sep-11 09:46:52

newterm - was going to do that line. Would never say I think he is G & T - I never thought he was! As I said earlier, he is just him. smile

newtermnewname Thu 29-Sep-11 09:50:18

He sounds lovely. Get him the next level books from your library, or Reading Chest, as well as the stuff he reads at home for pleasure.

newtermnewname Thu 29-Sep-11 09:57:58

Does he do guided reading at school? Are those books at a higher or level than the books he brings home?

sarahfreck Thu 29-Sep-11 10:15:55

"While I think of it, can anyone remember if the Famous Five books are ok for younger readers? I remember I loved them but cant remember if there were any unsuitable themes in them or what age I read them at. I thought he might enjoy the adventure aspect of them? Thought I would get him a few books for half term."

I loved the famous five books at age 5/6. No really inappropriate themes AFAIK but some old-fashioned class distinctions and racial stereotyping that you might want to discuss. I also loved Secret Seven and these, I think are aimed at slightly younger children, so he might enjoy these too.

munstersmum Thu 29-Sep-11 12:53:38

Lots of good advice given.

Famous five ok and so are Swallows and amazons.

DS covered circuits with a light bulb in science in yr1 and yr2 (state primaries) so he may have chatted to a little friend?

onesandwichshort Thu 29-Sep-11 13:34:15

DD is reading almost exactly those books and she is being given Level 14 books from school, But in a way that has given almost the opposite problem - she can read the words but just isn't old enough to deal with the themes (and that's when all the scary ones have been taken out). So just going up the levels may not be the answer.

Mrz pointed me at what looks like a good set of books (ORT All Stars) which are designed for confident readers of that kind of age (and thus are not scary/expect too much general knowledge). I haven't got hold of them yet, but am thinking of offering to get some for her to read in school. They might also be good for your DS.

And Flat Stanley has also been a huge hit with us, those might be fun for half term. There have been a couple of good threads on here with book recommendations for good readers of this age which I have found really handy as well.

onesandwichshort Thu 29-Sep-11 13:35:39

And I do know adjectives other than good, but I have a cold...

Fairenuff Thu 29-Sep-11 19:22:54

Have you considered starting him on early reader books in other languages. If he has a gift for speaking and/or reading he may pick up another language reallly easily at this age. (Sort of Peter & Jane books but in french/german/spanish). No idea where you would get them from but he could start with a simple picture dictionary.

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