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potential issue with yr1 teacher- can someone tell me what is normal

(33 Posts)
hettie Tue 13-Nov-12 21:42:12

So... dc appears to be doing ok in yr1. Had a 10 min parent teacher meeting before half term and Dc's teacher asked to practice writing, learn key words and try and read every day... all well and good. Since then several things make me worry that the teacher is not really very on the ball..
Since sep (ie start of year) his reading record only has 6 entries from school, 2 of these appear to be from a 'helper' or TA (different hand writing), is this a normal number of occasions for his teacher to have heard him read?
His reading books are changed weekly (ish), as far as I can work out he gets to choose when he can change them. BUT.... this is 'overseen' by another child in the class. I queried this with the teacher (as dc had told me he couldn't change his book as X child had been away) and the teacher suggested it was fine as (other) dc was only writing down the book, not selecting it. I have reservations about this system- why has this particular dc ended up with this 'task' what the hell is that doing for classroom dynamics etc..... What do others think?
Lastly, poor dc has been gamely learning the key words, but this has not been acknowledged in any way by the teacher- I suspect partly because he doesn't read the reading record (which I understand is where we are supposed to record it).
Dc has recently come home saying that it is not fair that he never get to read to the teacher when others do hmm. Of course I take this with a pinch of salt, it may be that he gets that opportunity lots.....
I'd really appreciate some feedback on how normal/useful this teachers approach is before I make an approach to them.

blanksquit Tue 13-Nov-12 22:03:40

As a parent who's dc has just moved into year 2, it's hard to say. What you might find is that they are doing more guided reading - which is where they read passages in a group and answer questions I think. As such, there are less individual reading to teacher and so less notes that it's happened in the book.

Our school had a reading buddy system - where two dc are paired together for reading. This might be what he's talking about although I would have thought that it's fine for him to choose his own book. I'm not sure what the thinking is behind this.

It does all seem to come together at the end of year 1 when they have various tests on reading, writing, maths, phonics.

The learning of the key words is really for your dc's benefit - I don't remember the teacher acknowledging particularly when they were learnt - just that the more they know, the better they read and write really and that's acknowledged when they are "tested" to see where they're at.

From what you've said it seems fairly similar to our experience of year 1. I'd say don't get too hung up on reading levels, getting through all the books in a level. It really doesn't matter. They'll move them on when they're ready regardless of how many of the books they've read. Just keep reading with him as much as possible - have a weekly trip to the library.

Oh and if your reading record has a list of the criteria for each level in the back of the book (ours does) make sure you are pointing out the things he should be learning - things like capital letters and full stops, speech marks, question marks - whatever it might be on the level, just keep an eye out and see what you can help him to understand.

learnandsay Tue 13-Nov-12 22:09:46

Talk to mrz. I don't see why children can't be taught to sound out all words. And borrow books from the library. My view on school systems is still very young, but I think they should be taken with a pinch of salt. Let your child read real books from the library and follow the school books as a school activity only.

hettie Tue 13-Nov-12 22:25:10

re the other dc overseeing the books- this is defo not a buddy system. This dc is responsible for writing down which books at which level every other dc in the class have taken out.....
I don't care which reading level he's on or what books he's reading.... I do care that someone (preferably his teacher) is checking how is reading is progressing. I am not a teacher so have no clue about phonics, what phonic sounds the class has learnt, what he should be able to read/sound out.....Most of all I what him to feel supported and efforts celebrated so that he remains enthusiastic about learning. I'm just not sure how this is normally handled in a yr 1 class?

redskyatnight Wed 14-Nov-12 08:37:52

Why not ask the teacher how often the children read in school? Norm for DD's Y1 class was that the children would do guided reading twice a week and occasional reading with a parent helper. The parent helper reading was recorded in the reading record, the guided reading was not (recorded in child's main record which is held at school). I'm not sure you can rely on your child - no disrespect to him but I think it's easy for a child to forget what they did first thing by the time it's home time.
I don't understand why you rchild is learning key words rather than using phonics, but presumably the point of learning them is to help with reading, not as something that gets acknowledged per se?

PastSellByDate Wed 14-Nov-12 09:23:02

Hi Hettie:

All quite normal from our experience.

Reading diary: Really just a means of the school understanding the DC is doing something at home. You can make this more interesting by having DC draw favourite character or maybe help him write a bit about what he liked or didn't like about the book.

Reading books: Some schools are brilliant about sending home lots of books (library book, class library book and guided reading book) and others ... well least said the best. We had hardly any books sent home and 3 weeks of Big Panda/ Little Panda for nightly reading nearly killed us - in despair I joined Mumsnet and asked advice. It was brilliant - Why not just start reading your own thing. Join a local library, pick up second hand books from charity shops or swap books with friends. Some good resources here:

Oxford Owl:

Mumsnet Learning: also allphablocks worksheets:

BBC Alphablocks:

The guardian also did a lovely piece on how to build a library of childrens' classic books here:

Feedback: Depressingly responses to efforts from my DDs have been largely in the form of 'well done' stickers or stamps, and in KS2 the dreaded 'tick'. The arguement is that if a teacher commented on all 30 diaries in detail it would take too much time. We have been reminded that during the school days the teachers are endlessly providing support and feedback on children's work. Unfortuantely because most schools rarely send home class work - parents rather have to take this kind of thing on faith.

My advice is simple - do what you can at home to support learning
- try and keep abreast of what is going on in your DC's class
- help where you can, when there's an obvious problem
(fortunately in the era of the internet - help is easily
at hand in most areas of the curriculum).


iseenodust Wed 14-Nov-12 09:35:18

I think you are overthinking all this.

Your DS may not read to the teacher so often but he will be reading to someone; TA or parent or DS's class used to have a governor go in once a week.

Likes others no recognition for learning the frequent words - it's just useful.

Who really cares why one DC is recorder of outgoing books? Another will be taker of the register to the office. Another distributor of crayons at right time. A decent teacher will mix up these roles.

Agree you can always use library to vary reading.

More concerned you feel you don't know approach to phonics. DS has attended 2 primaries and both have run here's how we teach phonics and new-fangled maths evenings for parents.

rrbrigi Wed 14-Nov-12 10:50:44


Sorry to tell it but is not it silly? I am the same as you. We are nervous to ask anything from the teachers because we do not want to get cross with them or other reasons. I think you should ask the teacher how they do reading in the school. It is part of their job to answer your question, no matter how silly is the question or not? And I think how they teach reading in the school is different in every school. Also you have the right to know if the teacher reads the same time with your child than with others.

noramum Wed 14-Nov-12 12:15:24

Reading diary: the teacher only initials it when DD does her guided reading which is once a week, so we had 6 entries from her so far.

Choosing a book: DD changes her book daily, she knows on which colour band she is and chooses a book from the appropriate box herself. I doubt anybody records who has which book. DD sometimes brings home the same book over and over again because she likes it so much.

hettie Wed 14-Nov-12 12:39:49

Thanks very much for all the reassurances....It's a very different system to reception in which lots was communicated via the reading record (ds read this to me, find this tricky practice this etc). Whereas I have no idea what happens at the moment (for instance I had no idea about guided reading..... I guess I will have to take it on trust that someone is hearing him read other than me.
School do do a how to teach your kids phonics thing, but it's on a day I work (and also, I don't want to teach him phonics, I'm not a huge fan of early structured literacy.... but that is what I've signed up for by living in this country ......)

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 13:08:02

"and also, I don't want to teach him phonics, I'm not a huge fan of early structured literacy"

whether you are a fan or not have you considered that improving your own knowledge might benefit your son

learnandsay Wed 14-Nov-12 13:49:17

I'd be surprised if the school wanted you to teach him phonics I'd think it more likely they just want you to support him and understand what his mistakes are (and how to help him to correct them.) The chances are, if they're teaching phonics to parents, then they've already taught it to the children by Y1. Whether or not you need to lean how phonics works is entirely up to you. As long as you keep reading with him, encouraging him and keep him interested in reading and writing that's the main thing.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 16:33:30

learnandsay phonics teaching doesn't end in reception ... Next week we are holding a meeting for KS1 parents to explain how we teach phonics in KS1 and beyond.
Unfortunately some children will struggle with reading and writing no matter how many hours you spend sharing books if no one teaches them how to read ... children don't generally learn by osmosis

Ineedalife Wed 14-Nov-12 16:49:26

Oooo mrz, come and say that to Dd3's yr 5 teachergrin

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 16:50:56

with pleasure grin ...

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 14-Nov-12 17:49:49

Phonics is then used in spelling. DD's year 3 group has just been streamed by phonics ability for spelling for one class a week. DD will be in a group that is going to review phonics to help improve there spelling.
She is an excellent reader with a high reading age, but her spelling is not so good.

hettie Wed 14-Nov-12 19:45:57

Mmmme, true if I had more knowledge I potentialy could be of more help...... But "benefit" him? Benefit him to do what, learn phonics faster, have greater phonics knowledge by the time he's 7? I honestly don't get it. I thought infant school was about learning social skills, inspiring a love of learning and (at some point) learning to read and write. If i did more phonics work, I would be doing that on top of all the literacy, numeracy etc that he does for all those hours in school. I think that would be quite a lot of formal learning for a 5 yr old. Should I be making up for/doing additional to school? He reads and writes something most days. I just wanted some reassurance that the school was following his progress. Mainly because I'd like them to encourage and celebrate his efforts

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 19:48:54

No one is suggesting you do more phonics work or literacy work or numeracy work ... just that it is useful to know more than your 5 year old.

hettie Wed 14-Nov-12 20:02:00

May have to hand that bit over to dh, at the moment I have learnt the phonic sounds as they have been sent home from school. but tbh despite learning to read early and easily, I simply don't 'see' many of the phonics in words ifykwim... Perhaps related to my very odd IQ profile/dyslexia....

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 20:09:37

Can IQ be odd confused however dyslexia and phonics work well so I doubt that has anything to do with it.

learnandsay Wed 14-Nov-12 20:13:22

mrz, please do stop badgering the poor woman. If she doesn't want to learn phonics she doesn't want to learn phonics. It's only the children who have the phonics test. The parents don't get one.

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 20:16:23

learnandsay learn to read ...

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 20:18:21

You probably missed this in your desire to post something helpful learnandsay

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 19:48:54

No one is suggesting you do more phonics work or literacy work or numeracy work ... just that it is useful to know more than your 5 year old.

hettie Wed 14-Nov-12 20:37:32

Well IQ profile can be odd (‘odd’ in the sense of deviating from the usual), mine is not usual- in that it spikes, most things in the top 0.3 centile, certain things (pertaining to particular aspects of working memory) in the lower 30th centile. My working memory problems are mostly related to phonological working memory, so hearing sounds (phonic ones or otherwise) and relating them to images on a page (or vice versa) is particularly problematic for me. So I can see/read ‘ae’ , but I struggle to remember the sound that goes with it. In the same way that I can’t tell you what 9x8 is (and this is despite being able to do multivariate statistical analysis) the bit of my brain that needs to remember the numbers 9 and 8 whilst I carry out the ‘calculation’ (ie remember what it is you asked me to do with the numbers) is sadly AWOL. I am fairly sure I mostly learnt to read by recognising whole words- not memorising them, but their visual shape, I have a ridiculous capacity to be able to store visual traces of information that I can index/relate to other information. ....
Anyway this is way off topic and not at all related to ds

mrz Wed 14-Nov-12 20:58:13

Sorry but as a SENCO I find it very interesting OP and now you explain your uneven profile ...I agree very odd!

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