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Ambitious class reading targets

(49 Posts)
Djwkin Fri 26-Oct-12 15:13:25

My dd is in reception, and the target for reception children is to be on green books by the end of the year. Does this seem unrealistic? When my ds was at infants in the 1990s, children often only attained blue by the end of year1, but still comfortably attained 2b/2a at the end of year 2 in the sats.
However, in my view sats tests for reading were misleading. You could get a 2a in the level 2 reading test if you had good comprehension but level 1b decoding skills. Working out answers using pictures and contexts could get you full marks even if you could only read half the words. Similarly, the level 3 test just indicated good comprehension ( that some children on P8 had) and 2b decoding skills. Do teachers agree this made sats worthless? It is great that more weight is given now to teacher assessment.

redskyatnight Fri 26-Oct-12 15:36:39

Is this the standard NC book band levels (lilac-pink-red-yellow-blue-green etc)? If so, then green is absurdly high - that's the expected level at the end of Y1 at DD's school, but it's realised that lots of children don't meet it - some of whom might just be slow starters.

Both my children were on blue at the end of Reception and DS comfortably got Level 3 at the end of Y2 and DD is on course to also do so. (So I'm kind of wondering if you're talking about a different reading scheme).

Not sure what point you are trying to make with reading SATs. DS progressed quite a long way with his reading by having good comprehension but poor decoding skills. However, I'm fairly sure he wouldn't have made it to a 2a without his decoding ability catching up.

learnandsay Fri 26-Oct-12 15:38:16

I'm not familiar yet with the stage four (green band) books so I looked one up and had a peek inside. They're using real sentences and words like "painting."
I'd say that's pretty ambitious if they're intending to take children from no letters and sounds at all to that inside one year. I'd imagine that you could take children who can already read CVC words to that stage and beyond in a year. But if they don't know their letter sounds yet I wouldn't count on reaching Stage 4. Maybe it's just an aspiration. There's a difference between aiming for something and achieving it.

www.amazon.co.uk/Oxford-Reading-Tree-Stage-Stories/dp/0198482108#reader_0198482108

Djwkin Fri 26-Oct-12 15:42:40

No, green is the 'aspirational' target for the end of reception.
I guess what I am saying with regard to reading sats is that a child reading green books comfortably (a good1b) would be able Ro have a decent stab at a level 2 reading test, even though they wouldn't have a cat in hell's chance of reading the text fluently. This is never mentioned when people discuss the fact that year 2 sats are now deemed less important than they were.

Djwkin Fri 26-Oct-12 15:44:39

I would agree learnandsay. If the children are already starting to blend, it is plausible. But four year olds who know less than 5 sounds. It seems a tad ambitious, no?

learnandsay Fri 26-Oct-12 15:53:03

I'm fairly sure it took my daughter two years to go from singing the abc song and learning the names of wooden letters to reading full sentences containing words like doing, painting, puppet, etc. Maybe it's possible to do it quicker, (I don't know.) But why would you want to?

Djwkin Fri 26-Oct-12 15:53:45

Green is stage 5 I think.

learnandsay Fri 26-Oct-12 15:55:58

They're here. It says stage four, band five. www.oup.com/oxed/pdf/ORT_bookbands.pdf

Elibean Fri 26-Oct-12 16:04:53

Personally, I think telling parents (and therefore children) that kids 'should' (I know they didn't say 'should', but bet it gets translated that way by many) be on Green level by end of YR is utterly wrong sad

It is achievable, dd2 finished on Green and didn't read at all at the start of YR, but kids vary SO hugely in the first few years of learning to read....and mostly end up in the same place, more or less....so why the emphasis on rushing the first year?!?

I read with one of dd's classmates the other day - who finished YR on red, had a sudden 'click' moment during the summer and is now, barely half a term into Y1, on Turquoise. There were others who were on Blue or Green at the end of YR, then seemed to go backwards over the summer - probably because they took developmental and interest leaps in other areas - and are now on red or blue.

I think aspiring to learn and move forward from wherever one starts is a far better goal than any particular reading level <gets off soap box>

mrz Fri 26-Oct-12 16:12:59

It's perfectly realist to expect most children to reach green band or higher by the end of reception. It isn't realistic to expect every child to be at the same level at the same stage.

Elibean Fri 26-Oct-12 16:15:40

I still think its wrong as a general expectation. Of course its possible, but not for all children all the time.

Djwkin Fri 26-Oct-12 18:55:37

I do wonder whether green at the end of reception (which I admit is achievable for many children) would then translate into most children getting level three in year 2 for reading, or whether progress through the higher levels would be slower than if children reached those higher levels in late Year 1 / Year 2 as used to be the norm?

midseasonsale Fri 26-Oct-12 19:25:13

I think it depends on the class mix. My Ds's class zoomed through all the levels and almost all of them were on stage 4 or higher by the end of R. Books were changed almost daily. Almost all the kids loved reading and many were bookworms. Out of interest in year 2 half of them got level 3 in SATS, and the rest got 2B and 2A.

Fuzzymum1 Fri 26-Oct-12 20:06:08

There are 20 children in DS3's year and they're year 1. At least half of them are on yellow or lower half a term in to year one. I'm not sure about all of them but I read with 10 of them and none of them are higher than yellow, I know some are above green - I would say that 4 or maybe 5 would have been at green or higher at the end of reception. My DS3 is a very able reader at he was one stage above green (orange) at the end of reception so I would say that green is a very ambitious target for a whole reception class. The average progress expected is yellow at the end of reception - green would IMO be more the level of a typical child half way through year one.

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Fri 26-Oct-12 21:05:13

At the end of Y2, my DS2 was JUST on pink. As one of the oldest in the class. Fast forward a year later, at the end of Y3, he was a free reader. Reading just didn't 'click' with him until he was 8. Now he's the biggest bookworm of all of my DC's, and even walks into things outside because his nose is buried in a book!!

beezmum Fri 26-Oct-12 22:28:03

If the class teachers lacked ambition in their teaching perhaps a target of green is good as it could be achieved by most children in many schools and from what you read on MN there is an enormous range in the expectations of reception teachers. I don't think it actually helps kids to teach them less efficiently 'because they are only 4'. If you are going to teach them, give them lots of practice so they find the task increasingly easy.
Sounds a bit like the goal of C at GCSE for secondary teachers - leading to a lack of care to stretch those that could easily make more progress.
However, of course not all children can be expected to get to green and no point having that target if teachers already feel they were doing their best and aren't achieving the target. Surely it's better to try if new practices lead to improvements not just set a target - if that's what happened?

beezmum Fri 26-Oct-12 22:29:49

I think there is confusion about whether this is book band green or ORT green we are talking about?

simpson Fri 26-Oct-12 22:33:26

I think this is totally unrealistic tbh and if parents are being told this then surely they are going to feel that their child is "behind" in reading if they do not achieve it iyswim....

I go in and read with the yr1 kids at my children's school and a good few of them are still on red level the highest I have read with so far (not read with the whole class yet) is stage 5....

simpson Fri 26-Oct-12 22:34:18

What is the difference between book band green and ORT green???

Tgger Fri 26-Oct-12 22:47:13

Well, they are all different, bit of a meaningless target really. Isn't it more honest to say "We start teaching reading in YR, with letter sounds and phonics. When children are ready they will be given scheme reading books. Somewhere between YR and Y2 you should find that your DC will take off with reading, progressing through the reading scheme and book bands so that by Y3 we aim for most children to be reading fluently. Progress will be at different rates according to your individual child's development. An early reader does not necessarily mean a better reader, so please support your child at each stage of their reading journey."
Or you could say "we aim for green band at the end of YR" grin.

beezmum Fri 26-Oct-12 23:06:36

I fear I sound controversial on MN saying it but plenty of children should NOT still be on red well into yr. 1, even in difficult schools. That is just poor teaching and it makes me cross that the parent is told YOUR child will learn when ready when in fact there is absolutely no need for such painfully slow progress for most children. Would you want to struggle to learn something over two or three years that could easily have been taught to you in less than one?
I can't comment on individual cases, obviously, but most children, well taught, should be well beyond red by now in yr. 1 and it is pretty normal that most are in many schools.

Tgger Fri 26-Oct-12 23:15:26

Or you could just teach them all later like they do abroad, don't need parental support so much (so evens out between those who have parents reading and helping every night and those who don't). Then they could all learn to read in 3-6 months instead of years. Can of worms this reading lark grin.

simpson Fri 26-Oct-12 23:18:49

Beezmum - I totally agree with you....

The kids in yr1 on red level ( and a good few of them could not even manage the words in these books) are the ones who get very little support from home...

One boy after 5 mins with me managed to read the word dog for the first time (not saying I am a miracle worker - just that I sat down with him and went through blending etc) but I know sadly that he won't read at home and the yr1 teacher has 29 other kids in the class so by the time he reads again he will have forgotten it....

The reception teacher in reception last yr (she has now been moved to nursery) is shocking IMO (DS had her in reception and she made me cry at my first parents eve blush) and luckily as DD is now in reception she has the old nursery teacher who is fab!!!

Tgger Fri 26-Oct-12 23:22:29

I know it is not our culture, but there is a culture that believes (even) 6 year olds should not be reading, they should be busy doing other things. So 4-6 year olds shouldn't be worried about reading, they are young kids, busy being young kids. Although this is not our culture I think the early years and KS1 to some degree have this view at the back of their minds often. It is true young kids are not really designed for formal learning and there is a certain amount of maturity needed in learning to and wanting to read. Ho hum..............signs off and goes to bed....

beezmum Fri 26-Oct-12 23:22:54

Not convinced that using the methods that mean many in class are still on red well into yr 1 would work especially better with older children.
My friend in Melbourne says there was the same disparity of progress between schools there even though many parents don't start their children till nearly 7.
It's far more about how you teach them than their age or innate capability.

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