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Please explain to me why I have to write in my DC's reading diary

(20 Posts)
redskyatnight Thu 29-Sep-11 14:00:40

So. DS is in Y3. He has to read aloud to an adult at least 3 times a week. And said adult has to record this in his homework diary. If DS does not have 3 adult written records of reading each week he gets into trouble.

Now I am all for reading. I am all for reading to an adult. But why, oh why does this have to prescriptively be 3 times a week (with a week being Mon-Thurs as the teacher checks on Friday) and why does the adult have to record it, if the child is being encouraged to take responsibility for themselves?

Can you tell I am finding this a total PITA?

DS is at the stage where (other than odd tricky word) he has no problem with the mechanics of reading. He does need more practice on reading longer texts, comprehension, understanding use of language, character development etc. Getting him to literally read aloud 3 times a week is going to be of limited help to improve his reading. What would help would be for him to have to read longer texts (to himself) and for me to spend more time in discussion over what he's read, how the writer has used language etc. which I don't have time to be doing every day .

On Monday DS was very tired, I "made" him read a chapter (short) of his book before bed so I could mark it done in his diary. On Tuesday DH asked him to recap what had happened in this chapter. DS had no clue. So he read the chapter again. Absolutely no point him reading on Monday - he'd have been better getting to bed earlier.

So if anyone can explain why this is really truly beneficial I would be very grateful ...

DrSeuss Thu 29-Sep-11 14:23:50

If you really feel that this is a waste of time and do not wish to do it then tell your son's teacher this. However, I would say it is still beneficial for a child to read aloud to an adult as they can assist with things such as pronounciation, stress and meaning. How long is a chapter? Why not set a time limit for reading, eg five minutes, since that can't infringe on your day too much?

lollington Thu 29-Sep-11 14:24:57

Think yourself lucky - at my d3's school they have to do it 5 times a week!

lollington Thu 29-Sep-11 14:26:06

My older children are now at a different school where they record their own reading (much more civilised), but when they had to read aloud 5 x a week I used to let them read to themselves then just lied and said I had heard them smile

Ragwort Thu 29-Sep-11 14:30:11

Surely it is just a good habit to get into - it really doesn't take long at all and your DS can read to you whilst you are doing something else - and then you sign the book - don't really see what the problem is confused.

piprabbit Thu 29-Sep-11 14:32:09

My DD (also Y3) is reading quite long chapter books. She reads much faster in her head than she does out loud. She and I both found reading aloud whole chapters frustrating and unenjoyable. So I've made the decision that she only reads a page or so out loud to me as I don't believe it is practical to read huge chunks of a 100 page novel aloud.

However, DDs school is also keen for the children to be taking personal responsibility. So parents are no longer expected to write in the reading diary (unless they have something specific to say). Instead the children have to select one of 10 activities to write about the book they have completed before they are allowed to change it. Activities might be a book review, an imagined interview with the author or a character etc.

IloveJudgeJudy Thu 29-Sep-11 16:17:13

I think it's good to have to practise reading aloud. It helps with expression, making sure your audience understands what you are reading about and makes sure you are remembering what you are reading. I can't really understand the problem people have with it.

AICM Thu 29-Sep-11 18:36:02

Why oh why do parents insist on not supporting teachers?

redskyatnight Thu 29-Sep-11 18:51:38

When did I say I was not supporting teachers confused.

I am simply objecting to the prescribed nature of having to listen to my child read aloud 3 times a week between Monday and Thursday and then write this in his book. Because this becomes a jumping through hoops exercise and not an improving his reading exercise.

What I would like to do (and what I genuinely feel would benefit his reading more) is to just read to him (and him not read) on the nights when he is tired or not receptive (and discuss what we've read). Once or twice a week get him to read aloud to me briefly (but not necessarily on Mon, Tue, Wed or Thurs). Then probably once or twice a week actually get him to read aloud to me or do tandem reading and have a proper discussion about themes in the story, use of language etc. And if on other nights I need to focus more on my other child (who is still at the learning to read stage and arguably needs more adult input), get him to read to himself.

This is actually more than the school is asking for, and I think would be better for his reading, but I can't do it because I'm not doing it "correctly".

cat64 Thu 29-Sep-11 19:18:06

Message withdrawn

Ragwort Thu 29-Sep-11 19:33:39

redsky - well, why don't you go and discuss with his teacher about what you are proposing and see what she/he says ....... sounds perfectly reasonable.

Ferguson Thu 29-Sep-11 19:35:59


Having been a Primary sch TA for ten years, and now a voluntary helper supporting reading, I think you last suggestions are admirable and teacher should be happy with that sort of scheme. But teachers vary greatly in their methods, knowledge and commitment. In my experience the LESS competent teacher can be the one who is fussy about details that do not really matter.

In addition to your outlined scheme, also let him read plenty on his own, then sometime you, or DH, read the passages yourself and ask a few questions to check his understanding of them. Some children can appear to be brilliant readers, but don't understand a thing they have read! Also, books often contain old-fashioned words, or concepts that a modern child can hardly be expected to understand. If possible try to explain some of those too.

I think the school may be prescriptive on its requirements to encourage the parents who hardly ever read to or with their children; and in some locations they can be in the majority (but they wouldn't be MN members!)

dannyblanchflower Thu 29-Sep-11 19:36:28

Surely it is Fri night to Thursday morning if the teacher checks diaries on a Friday. Why not get some of it all out of the way on Saturday or Sunday?

PrettyCandles Thu 29-Sep-11 19:50:14

What cat64 said.

This is a one size fits all policy, which of course means that it will be very ill-fitting for some. Until now I, too, did not bother with the reading record unless my dc wanted, and the teachers did not mind this. My dcs's reading and comprehension is excellent. We're one of the families were it's a struggle to stop them reading. But this term dcs' school have implemented a new policy: the children get housepoints if the reading record is signed off at least three times every week.

I can't help wondering how many parents just sign it without listening to any reading.

Haberdashery Thu 29-Sep-11 20:20:09

I was going to say what dannyblanchflower said. Surely you can get some of the reading done at the weekend when he's not so tired and you have a bit more time? It is only ten minutes three times a week, surely?

betterwhenthesunshines Fri 30-Sep-11 14:37:36

red sky - what you suggest sounds fine. As long as he is reading each night, just sign off the reading diary and make sure you do take the time pretty frequently ( but when it suits you) to hear him read aloud, read to him, take alternate pages, read the ame page together but silently and then talk about the story, ask questions.

Ghoulwithadragontattoo Fri 30-Sep-11 15:36:44

Agree with Danny. Monday to Thursday is a red herring. Your son can read at any time during the week as long as he's read 3 times since the previous Friday. 3 times doesn't seem that much to me and it sounds like he could genuinely do with some help with reading aloud with expression and comprehension which him reading to you (or other adult) and then discussing will help massively.

007alert Sat 01-Oct-11 22:20:27

I think you answer your own question

"He does need more practice on reading longer texts, comprehension, understanding use of language, character development etc. Getting him to literally read aloud 3 times a week is going to be of limited help to improve his reading. What would help would be for him to have to read longer texts (to himself) and for me to spend more time in discussion over what he's read, how the writer has used language etc. which I don't have time to be doing every day ."

Except I disagree that getting him to read aloud would be of limited use. After he reads to you, ask him to verbally precis what he has read, discuss characters with him. That way he will begin to be able to sustain recollection and understanding through longer texts.

It is very common when children get to read longer books that while (as you say) the mechanics are there, the concentration, reflection and understanding are not quite at the same level. These aspects of reading are helped enormously by reading aloud, with interaction from the audience (ie. you). Also, reading aloud forces the child to slow down their reading, taking care with observing punctuation and expression. A parallel skill to reading independently and just as valid.

The rules may seem overly strict to you, but they are there to ensure that children are given sufficient opportunity to develop the broader reading skills. I'm sure it wouldn't matter if sometimes he read to you only twice in a week, and 4 times a week on other weeks.

daisymaybe Sun 02-Oct-11 20:10:56

It doesn't seem like you're arguing with the benefits of reading with your child, just with the prescriptive nature of physically writing in their diary three times a week. As a Yr 1 teacher, to me the purpose of parents writing in the reading diary is that it is a really useful form of communication on how their child's doing with their reading. Are they enjoying it? Do they need a more/ less challenging book? Are there any interests or enthusiasms emerging? Since no teacher will have a chance to read individually with every child every week, the reading diary means that we can help your child more, ensuring that they're challenged and supported. It's also really good for things like topics or projects: one parent mentioned in their child's reading diary that they had loved a book about the moon, so I was able to help them pick out another one on the same subject.

blackeyedsusan Sun 02-Oct-11 23:17:52

why does he get into trouble for something you don't do? if you don't hear him read/sign the book it should be you who gets into trouble. school system is illogical.

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