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Primary school reading and writing (new joiner)

(8 Posts)
FrogOnABike Fri 19-Oct-12 11:35:40

I would be grateful for a little advice (I just joined so don't know the form ... so apologies for any mistakes).

My son (5) just moved class from reception to lower school (first year) in the same school.

He is and always has been good at reading. His writing ability and spelling ability is not as good. Last year (while at reception) we noticed his poor writing and helped him improve. It is now acceptable. His spelling is not very good. His teacher in the reception class was happy to let him read higher level books (in fact encouraged him to do so).

The teacher in the new class will only give his lower level books until he improves his spelling. It has effected his confidence. When we sat down to do a little writing a couple of weeks he said "I am bad at spellng, all the teachers know! He still enjoyed reading but does not like writing or spellling.

We are now helping with his spelling (He gets a test every Friday) and for the last couple of weeks he had been getting 9 out of 9 and his confidence is returning.

The problem is he does not like to given to him to read, he says they are borin, the teacher refuses to give him more interesting/challenging book (says he does not understand what he reads - which is just not true. She also says he needs to get better at spelling and writing (more spelling) before moving to books closer to his reading level.

We would like to move to higher level books to maintain his interest and give him something to write about ... so that we writes to improve his spelling....

Are we correct ... or is the teacher correct is keeping him reading the easy books until he gets his spelling better ?

drjohnsonscat Fri 19-Oct-12 11:46:13

It doesn't sound as though what they are doing is helpful if it's affecting his confidence. It's normal anyway for spelling to be behind reading level.

I'm no expert but I would have thought your instincts on this are right. If he enjoys reading, why inhibit him?

MrsMelons Fri 19-Oct-12 11:50:27

I would leave them to read whatever books they want to at school and let him choose the books he wants at home. At this age I think it needs to be child led at home anyway.

I would be suprised if there are many good readers at this age whose spelling is as good as their reading. I may be wrong though as only have limited experience with my own children.

redskyatnight Fri 19-Oct-12 13:38:39

IT seems very odd the teacher would insist that his spelling and writing improve before he can move onto harder reading books. Lots of children are much better readers than they are writers!! It's fair to keep him at the same level if he doesn't understand what he's reading. I know you say he does, but maybe he's not demonstrating this in school? What is his phonics ability like? I know my DS was a pretty good reader at the start of year 1, but he wasn't reading using phonics - as evidenced by his spelling being very bad. Teacher refused to move him up a reading level until he was reading phonetically.

Agree with PP though. Supplement with other books at home.

FrogOnABike Fri 19-Oct-12 14:33:20

drjohnsonscat said "If he enjoyed reading why inhibit him?" .... this is the very question we are grappling with. Night before last, he read the book they gave him very rapidly is 1 or 2 minutes flat (to get the reading out of the way) and finished with "boring, nothing happens!"

MrsMelons said "At this age I think it needs to be child led at home". One of the issues is that the teacher gives him fiction books mainly. My son likes factual books (I suspect for two reasons, the first is that it is more real and he can relate physical things better and secondly, he just seems to like science/maths, it's more his thing - I suspect like most boys at that age). We mentioned this to the teacher. However, the teacher says fiction allow a better exploration of ideas so she prefers fiction. So, reading homework is almost always fiction. The problem with this was that his natural interest in reading was waning ... until we pull out on a science book from our own books to let him read.

redskyatnight said "IT seems very odd the teacher would insist that his spelling and writing improve before he can move onto harder reading books"... I am afraid it is the case, she is very firm on this. At the moment he is reading books at a level he reading a year ago!

redskyatnight said "What is his phonics ability like?" .. He reads by phonics and memory. He reads first by phonics and then by memory (unless he has forgotten ... in which case it's memory again).

redskyatnight said "but he wasn't reading using phonics - as evidenced by his spelling"... eg .. he spelt "Love" as "Luv" until corrected. Also, I can see he is mouthing the phonics when he tries to spell.

redskyatnight said "I know you say he does, but maybe he's not demonstrating this in school?" .. yes, I think this is an issue. he isn't very out going in new a environment (and a new class would be one). Also, I think he knows the teacher suspects his ability (hence the comment "I am bad at spelling, all the teachers know!"), so he may have "shut down" a bit.

Also, he has not been wanting to go to school .... he use to run to school in the previous year.

We don't want to get into argument with the teacher so ... we are at a bit of a loss... we really don't want his to lose his interest in reading ...

FrogOnABike Fri 19-Oct-12 14:46:39

ooppphs meant to say ...

redskyatnight said "What is his phonics ability like?" .. He reads by phonics and memory. He reads first by phonics and then by memory (unless he has forgotten ... in which case it's phonics again).

... gosh ... looking at my spelling in my message, the teacher would probably stop me reading entirely!

MrsMelons Fri 19-Oct-12 14:47:49

We do the minimum we have to with the school books as they are really quite boring but I understand the children have to read a variety of texts to move up the levels but DS chooses what he reads at bedtime etc. He reads to himself mainly.

I think it is great that he is reading factual books!

Maybe you just need to do the school books as 'homework' and get it out of the way then let him read whatever he wants after that.

FrogOnABike Wed 24-Oct-12 12:29:50

We had a KS1 reading/writing talk yesterday evening at the school. They seem to be saying things a little differently now (or maybe it's my understanding).

We had a KS1 reading/writing talk yesterday evening at the school. They seem to be saying things a little differently now (or maybe it's my understanding).

My son's teacher was adamant we could not help with my son's spelling during comprehension ... but during the talk they said that word banks were ok .. so to help him gain confidence with the spelling in the evenings we will create a word bank / dictionary with him which he can use to write his comprehension ... hopefully this will get him back to reading (because he will know that when it comes to comprehension time, he will be able to write something sensible).... we can then over time teaching him the spelling of his word bank .... it's basically what we were doing before .... it seems the teachers are ok with using word banks now ... when we started this term at the beginning his teacher was very much against it.... anyway ... progress i think

thanks for your help.

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