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Still on Stage1 ORT

(64 Posts)
Fluffymonster Sat 20-Oct-12 22:11:04

Dd1 is 5yo and in Yr1. So far this term all the reading books she has brought home have been Stage 1 ORT or equivalent - simple sentences of 3-4 words, 1 sentence per page, entire book has 5 or so pages.

I think she's utterly bored and in danger of becoming disengaged. Even in Reception, dd was at least on Stage 1+, so she seems to be going backwards! At home she can read simple 'ladybird' fairytales.

I've been wondering whether to say anything for the last couple of weeks as it's still the first term, and the teacher is new, so I thought I'd see what happens. However, each week it's been one Stage 1 book after another, even after I mentioned in the comments book that it seemed a bit easy.

So in mulling it over today, I've looked at a couple of threads to try and figure out what is an 'average' ORT level for a 5yo - and to my dismay, discover it appears to be around the Stage 4 mark, give or take! Therefore I've just realised she appears to be languishing behind, and am annoyed with myself for only just picking up on it.

Her end of year school report last year, was very good, it said she's a quick learner, could recall all reception high frequency words, and already progressed to some Yr1 high frequency words, and had the potential to become an excellent reader. From what I gather she also goes into a juniors class for her phonics group. She loves stories and I think she is interested in learning to read and is a good learner - I have not been told of any problems with her reading up til now.

I was wondering if it's really unusual for a 5yo to be still on Stage 1 after a year of Reception, and how to address it with the teacher without coming over as too PFB.

numbum Sat 20-Oct-12 22:45:07

If she's going to juniors for phonics but bringing home stage 1 ORT then something is obviously wrong!

melody1771 Sat 20-Oct-12 22:55:20

I have been teachig y1 for 21 years and level 4 is not average for year 1. ORT seem to think it is but trust me it is not. I can't comment on your childs ability but i have many children still reading 1+ and I am quite happy with their progress'

If your child were in my class I would want you to come and speak to me about her reading. Notes in the record book can be overlooked and sometimes misinterpreted. a face to face conversation is much better. Please go and talk to the teacher and get it sorted now before it becomes a real issue.

You should of course continue reading books at home and enjoying them together. The book coming home in the folder is not the only one she can read.

Good luck

Fluffymonster Sun 21-Oct-12 00:00:49

Haha yes numbum - there is obviously something not quite right! I do feel a bit foolish as it's only this past week or so, that the realisation dawned. In Reception I was pretty laid back and accepted whatever came home, as, it being Reception, I didn't think Stage1/Stage1+, was unusual.

Then when she started Yr1 in September and brought another Stage1 book home I thought, "hmmm...bit of a backwards step" but figured the teacher is still getting to know them etc., and it must be like 'revision' or something. But it hasn't progressed - then dd happened to mention, as part of another conversation, where she goes for her phonics group, which I know is part of the Juniors. The inconsistency is perplexing.

Mel - thanks for the reassurance, but I do feel that it's pitched too easy for her, to the point of being no challenge whatsoever. Whilst Stage 4 may not be average as you say - I'm not sure Stage 1 is average either, and I know she's capable of more.

The school said last year that they will send home books that they know the child can read, so that they can show their parents, be encouraged etc. - but surely there needs to be some progress too?

You're right, I do need to speak to the teacher, and I will asap, as don't want it becoming an issue either. Already stewing over it more than I'd like!

mam29 Sun 21-Oct-12 09:14:51

In my case- dd passed phoics test-top group for phonics in her class yet is on lower levels reading than most.

Howeevr was lomg time a go she probably was on level 1 ort at start year 1.

she ended year 1 on level 3 which year 2teacher keeps telling me is very low.

My advice talk to teacher as something doesnt sound right.

we have had to go into see teacher twice this term and tell her teh current levels no challenge to her and she got reassed and moved up.

pointyfangs Sun 21-Oct-12 18:01:07

What books does she read out loud to you at home? If she's reading the Ladybird fairytales fluently, with expression and comprehension, then there is definitely something wrong. I'd make an appointment with the teacher and bring one with you, and ask for advice - pitch it diplomatically, don't make the teacher defensive.

I had something very similar with DD2 in reception, she ended the first term on ORT1, by half term she'd been moved up to ORT5 but was still not challenged. She was given a book for her birthday which I thought was miles ahead of what she could read independently - I was about to read it to her out loud when she grabbed it and started reading it to me. Suddenly she could read words like 'friendly, 'dangerous' and so on. That evening was parents' evening so I took the book with me. The teacher had more books from the same series, reassessed DD2 the next day and she ended YrR on ORT9.

The school have since been brilliant in differentiating, most schools worth their salt will be able to handle all children of all abilities.

Fluffymonster Sun 21-Oct-12 20:43:22

Thanks for your replies.

pointyfangs she reads Usborne First Reading type books - for example we have The Three Little Pigs at home which she can read without much difficulty, and that says Level 3.

I've also just found this Burt Reading Test (revised) online - got her to do it with me and she scored 27, apparently with a reading age of 6yrs 4mths.

The words she didn't know/got wrong were:

scramble (we stopped at this point as she said the rest she didn't know)

mrz Sun 21-Oct-12 20:47:55

The Burt test has an error margin of 6 months

Goldenjubilee10 Sun 21-Oct-12 21:00:26

And, I believe, not suitable for children under 6.

mrz Sun 21-Oct-12 21:02:57

It shouldn't be used with children younger than 6years 4 months

pointyfangs Sun 21-Oct-12 21:15:58

I've never placed much faith in reading tests, OP - I'd go by what she is reading at home. It may just be that the teacher hasn't had a chance to assess her yet. Children don't progress in a linear manner with reading, and if there are things which have recently 'clicked', she might have made a leap but with 30 in a class has not yet had a chance to show it.

expansivegirth Sun 21-Oct-12 21:35:54

just ask. politely, assuming there is a rationale that the teacher can explain, and making it clear you are worried your child is about to be demoralised. exactly the same thing happened to me with my daughter baffling stuck on ORT 2/3. i raised it with the TA (who said she too had noticed that something was amiss) and then mentioned it to the teacher. my daughter jumped four levels in one day and then continued to speed upwards. the teacher hadn't assessed her for three weeks and thanked me for bringing it to her attention. (lovely teacher).

Haberdashery Sun 21-Oct-12 21:48:32

I would just book an appointment with the teacher and ask about her reading ability and tell/show them what she is able to read at home - you will probably be very reassured by getting a bit more detail. It does seem odd that she's doing phonics with the Juniors and yet is on Stage 1 ORT. DD is just 6, in year 1 and on ORT stage 6. She seems to be doing phonics with her own class (and is not in the highest reading group). I am happy with this as I think she can benefit from some work on comprehension etc, even though she reads considerably more sophisticated things at home. I can see that she is finding it v hard to think about what might happen next in a story, though she devours easy chapter books in no time (and does know what's happened once she has read them). It may be that although your daughter can decode harder stuff, she needs the practice in doing it without thinking too much or that there is something else that she's working on at school?

If she can't read 'nurse' or 'now' or 'girl', it seems very odd that she needs to be with the juniors for phonics.

Fluffymonster Mon 22-Oct-12 09:44:17

I understand the reading test said it wasn't suitable for 5yos - just thought it wouldn't do that much harm to try and have a go, in the absence of anything else more 'concrete' - it was a bit of a spontaneous thing. Presented it as a game - to see how far down the list she could keep going - didn't tell her about scoring, right/wrong etc.

Worst case was, she wouldn't get a score/reading age - but I'd have just told her well done for getting as far as she did.

I suppose I am looking for 'evidence' but am not a teaching professional so grabbing at straws a bit - agree that it's best not to put too much faith in it as it's not that accurate (and anyway - nothing in there about comprehension etc). It does give me more confidence though, to say I'm convinced she is above Stage1 in ability.

expansivegirth thanks for advice - plan to do exactly that.

Haberdashery - some of the words she got wrong she has read correctly in the past. Perhaps she isn't getting the practice at school to 'keep up' - and because I haven't picked up there might be a problem sooner, we haven't been getting her to read to us at home as much as we could be doing.

Anyway - my plans to talk to the teacher today, have been scuppered! Sore throats all round and am home with sick dd2. Frustrating!

kw13 Mon 22-Oct-12 11:08:28

I'd just have a quick word with the teacher. I've done this a couple of times when I thought DS was ready to move to a new stage in ORT. Each time I just said could he try a book on the next stage up, what did they think, and if he struggled then I would let them know. Never been a problem. Each time they have agreed and it's been fine.

Fluffymonster Wed 24-Oct-12 18:59:45


Child sickness over, and back to normal routine, so managed to get appt. to see the teacher.

Well chuffed that the teacher made time to see me, at the end of the same day I made the request, so am quite grateful for that.

She told me that dd is 'doing really well', and showed me some of her work - (exercise book with sentences, questions she'd made up to ask about a project, drawings) A few of the comments said dd is pretty good at working 'independently' and gets on with things by herself. (Perhaps a bit too independently, that she's been in danger of getting quietly overlooked??)

When I asked why is she still on Stage1, the teacher admitted that has not personally done any reading herself, with dd so far, so she has no direct knowledge of her reading skills.

I took in a couple of books that she reads at home, and showed her, but also said that when we read, I do help her a little if she struggles with the odd word (not many, but if she's really stuck on the odd one).

She said that she was 'last benchmarked, she was in the Red band' (which still seem a bit basic to me), and the school send home books that are a level below - hence Stage1. I didn't think of asking when this last benchmarking was done at the time (wish I had).

As it is, I said that she is probably somewhere between Stage1, and the books I'm choosing for her at home. So the teacher has agreed to send her home with Stage2 books from now on - which are the ones she is doing at school at the moment. I said that we will read more with her at home (and I guess aiming for Stage3?).

So it's not quite as much progress as I would have liked, but a reasonable step forward for now.

Tgger Wed 24-Oct-12 21:34:26

Hi there!
Well, at least she has been moved up a bit. Have you tried her on the Oxford Owl books. Try these

I found these very useful last year for getting an idea of DS's level- there are quite a few ORT ones so you can compare like to like. I found he could read Pirate Adventure very easily and loved it, so we moved up to this stage at home and got school to follow suit not long after. Good luck!

Haberdashery Wed 24-Oct-12 23:30:48

But why on earth is she having phonics with the Juniors if she's on that level? Did you ask about that? It seems really odd. Either she really shouldn't be with the Juniors or she shouldn't be on red band.

Fluffymonster Thu 25-Oct-12 00:35:30

tgger Thanks so much for that link - it looks really useful and saves me forking out on a bunch of ORT books without trying out first.

Haberdashery Yes it does seem odd, but I don't know what else to do now, other than try and get dd through the stages one at a time. At least she didn't dismiss me outright and seemed to listen. I got the feeling Teacher was in a hurry to get home, as she was speaking to me standing up and I was the one who asked could we sit down. I put it down to possible nerves and maybe wanting to get the conversation over with, as she's new and maybe not had much experience. I tried not to come over as 'all guns blazing' - don't think I did - just that I was concerned about the reading, but it wasn't major (tho actually I am quite worried). Thing is she seems nice, and not intentionally unhelpful - so I want to cut her some slack too.

So...had a feeling that she maybe didn't know dd all that well, as apart from showing me dd's exercise book and some of her work in the class, she had never read with her. She then mentioned another colleague several times, who had gone home, who might have a better idea. Maybe I should speak to the colleague - but then I probably will start to look like a pushy parent on the warpath!

She didn't bring up that dd was having phonics with the Juniors - I just got a general 'she's doing really well' and is 'really bright' encouraging spiel. So I said that dd had mentioned going to (where the Juniors are) for her phonics, and could she clarify - she said dd 'could well be', but seemed a bit vague as she didn't have the information to hand. This was when she said that dd is 'very bright' and is 'in one of the top sets' and how well she is doing, especially for her age being one of the younger ones as well (dd is summer born).

So I am inclined to believe that dd shouldn't be on the Red band, but is, because the Teacher has not done a proper assessment herself yet.

I think I'm fluctuating between thinking "Oh well, at least it's going in the right direction" to feeling anxious and a bit stressed. Having looked up the expected NC levels for end of Yr1, and the expected attainment level being 1b, and then finding that the equivalent of 1b on ORT is actually Stage 6/Orange band, I'm thinking dd now has to get through 4 Stages in less than 9mths, after not being given the chance to get through 1 in a year.

Why aren't these reading assessments more transparent? No one ever explained this - If I had been remotely aware, we would have got her to read to us lots more at home.

I also saw a comment on a different thread, that some schools try and keep initial scores low in order to gain a bigger margin of improvement at a later date, to keep their Outstanding status. I really hope it's not something like that, but my mind is boggling in some ways about what is going on. I felt more positive coming out from the meeting but since seeing the NC levels stuff, it's quite disheartening.

Oh it's late, been a looooong day - I'm probably sounding bonkers and need to get some sleep - maybe I'll feel better, or get more of a grip tomorrow.

learnandsay Thu 25-Oct-12 07:37:12

It must be difficult to match ORT phonics readers with children because the phonics readers aren't proper books so they're not going to reflect a child's reading ability if the child is used to reading real books with real sentences in them. You can buy sets of ORT books for not much money from thebookpeople, but even stage 3 books are still very basic. They're more basic than ladybird three little pigs. For my own part I'm willing to believe that the ORT reading is its own little segment of school behaviour and am affording it the minimum time allowed. We read real books and I consider that reading. I don't really now what the ORT behaviour is, (maybe pseudo-reading.)

Tgger Thu 25-Oct-12 11:58:44

learnandsay a lot of the ORT aren't phonics readers. And a book is a book isn't it? Some good, some not so. ORT and other reading schemes are just a part of the reading experience I agree, but it is useful for parents during the first stages to know roughly how the reading scheme books fit. It does sound like the OP's daughter should be reading more like Stage 4 or 5 than Stage 1. We were lucky not to be given any of the ORT stuff until DS was reading about Stage 5, which I found he could do and then I requested shock, as he loved the Magic Key stories. He found it reassuring to have those stories, which carry on to Stage 9 (groan for parents, but not children generally!) by which time you can really branch out, hooray!

Tgger Thu 25-Oct-12 12:03:51

By the way OP when children are ready they can quite easily get through 4 stages in less than 9 months. Some do it in YR, some Y1, some Y2- that's why teachers don't stress I think. There is that moment when you realise "my child can read!" Some are more gradual, some fly once it clicks- they know the phonics sounds etc etc. DS was a bit unusual perhaps but he went from Stage 5 in March to Stage 10 + in July- this was lots of reading at home too.

Tgger Thu 25-Oct-12 12:09:15

By the way DS is October and Y1, so just 6 now. He first got a book in January YR age 5 and 3 months (couldn't read as well as your DD reads now from the books you have said then). Hope this is reassuring, what I did is read every day with DS, finding the right level for him. We did phonics books, then moved over once his phonics was good.

learnandsay Thu 25-Oct-12 12:16:46

I don't know, Tgger. I was looking at a stage2 level 4 ORT phonics reader last night at a literacy event and it said Ziggy zig-zags on the zig-zag, or something similar and I remember thinking this isn't reflective of our language, (Dr Seuss isn't either but at least it's amusing.) Little Bear is more normal. If phonics readers are to practice sounds then I guess to some extent it doesn't matter which readers you use they're all artificial, as long as the child is reading proper books at the same time. It's a bit like those exercises martial artists do. If all you can do is the exercise you're going to get spanked in a fight. But if you can fight really well the exercise just keeps you supple and the real fighting is what you'd use. I think the phonics readers are the same, for reading the child reads using real books and real sentences and the phonics readers are just exercises.

learnandsay Thu 25-Oct-12 12:39:01

People don't have to wait until the next phonics reader comes along you can just write words in marker pen and the child can read those. I found marker pens useful, in not too keen on phonics readers.

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