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Reading level and a couple of more questions, please help

(4 Posts)
rrbrigi Wed 17-Oct-12 11:13:35


My son is in Reception and a good reader. We read at home books from ORT Level3-4. He gets pink books from the school. I think he should be at least on the yellow level book band (ORT 3).
English is his second language. His understanding is a lot better than his speaking in English (speaking is weak). He has mistakes in his grammar and he does not use a lot of words. His grammar, speaking and understanding in his first language is above average. And also he can read in his mother language as well.
The teacher does not want to change the book levels, because he is not able to demonstrate his comprehension in English yet. I think it will change when he will be confident in English, but it takes time at least one more year. Even if I tell his teacher that he has a very good comprehension in his language she would not like to change his book's level. So will she keep him in pink level for the whole Reception and the beginning of Year 1 just because of his English is not good enough? I think he should move level up and the comprehension is coming when his English is better. He finds his pink level book very easy, sometimes just one or two words under the picture. Teacher knows about it.
Should I argue with the teacher or just leave it and continue the reading at home with the books I think better for him. My only concern about this that I would like the school to teach my son reading, especially phonics, because of my pronunciation is not native.

I have three more questions if you do not mind me to ask in the same thread.

1. How I can encourage him to be able to read books with more pages, more words and more sentences in it?

2. We will have parents evening in a week time and I do not know if I should mention to the teacher what I would like my son to achieve at the end of the primary school. I know he is in Reception yet, but if I don't mention to them now in Year4 or 5 they will tell me "it is too late why did not I told them before". We have a very good selective private secondary school here and he needs a very good academic level to get a place in that school.

3. I know my son is bright and I know school should different the work for able pupils. My only concern that is my son is not the type who will nag the teacher for plus work or for harder work, because he is bored even if he would be capable and would have time doing a lot harder work than he does now. Shall I discuss this with the teacher at parents evening?

Just to say my son's teacher is so lovely and she knows that my son is clever more or less, I only do not know if she knows it properly and I know it is not an easy situation for her due to my son's low English level. She needs to trust in me, that I tell the truth about my son

Any thought much appreciated.
Thanks for your thought and for reading my long story.

Rosebud05 Wed 17-Oct-12 12:41:25

It's a bit of a leap from saying your son's teacher doesn't want to change his level until he has demonstrated more comprehension to worrying that she will keep him on pink all year!

I can appreciate your concern, especially as your son is bilingual, but it sounds like you're doing a great job at home.

I do think it's probably a bit early to be speaking about secondary schools - your son may well be one of the ones who makes it to the selective secondary but lots of parents want their child to do that. The school's job is to facilitate each child reaching their potential, not to work towards a 7-year-down-the-line target. Most parents who have this personal target for their child supplement the school with private tutoring much nearer the time, it seems.

I think the most important things in the first parent's meeting is to develop a rapport of openness between you and your ds's teacher, find out he's been up to and how it's going for him and talk about any concerns. It would be fair enough to mention that the can read in another language etc at home then.

PastSellByDate Wed 17-Oct-12 13:34:14

Hi rrbrigi:

Link to ORT reading levels by age here:

Several things:

Class R is about settling children into the school environment and primarily this takes place through learning through play

In many schools Class R is quite relaxed about the academic (reading, writing, arithmetic) side of things, because they are working on the social skills (playing well with each other, following instructions, sharing, listening, etc...).

The first term is usually entirely about the children settling into this environment.

The second & third terms starts to focus on reading/ counting/ writing skills.

The pace is set by the teacher and depends on how she/ he wishes to handle the class. Some opt for as much whole class teaching as possible - others have a broad range of ability levels to deal with so divide the children into groups for reading, writing and maths.

Mumsnet info on Reception year here:

Children are continually assessed - but reading is also about speaking aloud, expression and pronounciation. So although your son may well be able to understand silently reading pink ORT band books - this may not be all the teacher is looking for.

In many ways Class R is a continuation of nursery Early Years Foundation Stage learning - and indeed your child will be assessed against this. Info here:

From Year 1, children will move onto the national curriculum and the school day will become more formal. Year 1 and 2 will have 2 recess breaks + a lunch recess each day but from Year 3 (from entering Juniors) children have just one recess break a day.

It is good you are eager for your DS to get off to a good start - but he also needs time to settle in. But the most important thing you can do right now is support reading at home, with daily reading for 10 - 15 minutes or so, practice counting to 10, to 20 and to 100 as much as possible and start encouraging attempts at writing as much as possible. At this stage letter sounds, rather than letter names are o.k. - so 'ah' instead of A.


crazygracieuk Wed 17-Oct-12 14:35:54

Reading progress isn't linear.
My son spent Reception on 1 reading band, y1 on 5 read bands and is on his second reading band in y2. In my experience many children aren't developmentally ready for reading until age 6 ish when they make loads of progress in a short amount of time and overtake the early readers by 8 ish.

In your shoes, I'd forget the book bands (reading and phonics is a small percentage of the day) and find out which topics they are covering so that you can support his school learning and improve his vocabulary too.
The Reception teacher won't care about your secondary school ambition but should be interested in helping your son improve his English and advising you on how to support him at home.

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