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Year 1 - query re ability/levels

(11 Posts)
wicks71 Thu 15-Nov-12 14:34:48

I know! Another thread about reading levels etc.

I've got a parent/teacher meeting next week and I am just thinking through what I want to talk about. DS is in Year 1 and is 6.

I just want to preface this by saying that my first questions to the teacher and my primary concerns are about his emotional and social happiness/development. But I know what I want to ask on that front so I'm not focusing on that here!

He seems to me to be a bright boy (I guess we all say that!) and in reception he was in a special group (certainly in the first term anyway, I never asked again) doing extra so they didn't get bored. I did think that that might be - for the most part - because he was one of the oldest in the year (October b'day) - it was mostly (but not totally) older kids. He got mostly 9s in his end of reception report (apart from a couple of 8s for maths and 2 x 7s for reading)

Anyway, I don't think his reading progressed massively in reception. We've been enjoying reading lots to him to him rather than having him read to us until recently (which is not a bad thing - he really loves it). We've really ramped up having him read to us in the last few months, and I can see that he's developing. He's on Yellow band reading at school (though he reads higher at home) - in fact he has only just moved up to that level 2 weeks ago - he was on Red until 1/2 term (and only moved up following "gentle" "nudging" of the teacher by me). From what I've read on here, that's quite low for Year 1. Is that right? I think that there are a least a few in his class still on pink/red but I know that one group, for example, have just moved up to purple. I KNOW that it's not a competition but I'm curious whether yellow band is below what is expected at this age.

I'm seeing the teacher next week, and will obviously ask her all these questions but I guess I'm looking for ideas on what else I should be asking - eg how do they assess? How often do they monitor and move up a level if applicable. Where is he in the class (level wise). As I say, I know it's not a competition and that kids develop at a different pace - and so it doesn't matter WHERE he is - except that I'm curious as we are considering putting him forward for selective independent schools at the end of Year 2 and I'm conscious of picking the right place for him ability wise as well as emotionally/socially. His current (state) infants school finishes at the end of Yr 2 so we have to think about what is right for him next.

The teacher rather randomly said to me the other day - apropos of nothing - "X is a bright button, I'm looking forward to talking to you next week". And she said similar to DP also unprompted. I guess she bases this on a lot more than just his reading level, but, as I say, I would have thought that yellow would be classed as below average at this stage.

I'm not really sure what I'm asking - just for any thoughts as to what I should be asking her next week. One thing that has just occured to me - is it worth asking for predicted levels for the end of the year (or even the end of KS1?)?

Fuzzymum1 Thu 15-Nov-12 14:58:41

I read with year 1 at the local school. I read with half of them anyway - they are split between a mixed reception and year 1 class and a mixed year 1 and 2 class. I read with the group mixed with reception - all of them are on yellow or lower and I know at least one in the other class is on red, going on to yellow.

My understanding is that the mythical average year one would be on blue during the autumn term. The range in year one at our school is from pink to lime so end to end of the reading scheme books. The teacher whose class I volunteer in said the typical child she teaches is on yellow or blue early in year one.

I would ask for the predicted levels, they may not have them to hand and some schools aren't keen to share them from what I've heard. I'm not sure if you have the right to have them though.

redskyatnight Thu 15-Nov-12 15:25:29

Yellow is perfectly fine for this point in Y1. I think Y1 is the year group where you see most variance though, so you may find children anywhere between pink and free reading. Reading doesnt' come in a nice linear way though, so it's very hard to predict how he will do in the rest of the year - he might suddenly click and come on in leaps and bounds (my DS did) or progress more slowly this year and suddenly make more progress in Y2 (DD's best friend). Or something else entirely. You can ask for predicted levels, but these will probably be mostly based on his Reception scores - as a child getting mostly 9s he will probably be targetted with getting Level 2a-3 at the end of KS1.

wicks71 Thu 15-Nov-12 15:56:41

That's interesting thanks. I will see what she says next week. I guess that any assessment of his "brightness" (or otherwise!) is based on more than just reading levels anyway. I also think he's a bit higher than yellow - we have some (equivalent to - I think) blue and green level books at home that he can read (Biff and Chip levels 4-6 bought from "The Book People"!). Most nights he reads one of them (level 5 at the mo) to me and then I read him a couple of chapters of a chapter book (Beast Quest - yawn! or Roald Dahl or similar).

He's very happy at school - that's the main thing for me obviously. He also seems to behave a lot better at school than he does at home - ha! I wish he didn't have to move at the end of Yr 2 but as he does, we are just starting to think about where we'd want him to go next. That's a whole other debate though.....

prettydaisies Thu 15-Nov-12 17:57:39

I teach Y4 currently and children I consider 'bright' are those who get things quickly, make connections with other things, have good ideas, ask interesting questions or make interesting comments, play around with language etc. They may or may not (even in Y4) have quite got reading and/or writing yet, but it doesn't, to my way of thinking, mean they're not bright.

littlemiss06 Thu 15-Nov-12 18:37:59

My year two daughter is only on red stage 2, yellow at this stage in year one is great

wicks71 Thu 15-Nov-12 20:42:28

Thanks everyone - useful comments/insights. prettydaisies - that really resonates - he's very sharp in that way. Might not be best at reading or writing at the moment but seems generally to be quite bright.

anothercuppaplease Thu 15-Nov-12 22:09:45

I think it's important to understand what he needs to do to move on to the next level of reading. It's not always what we think. It has a lot to do with understanding of text, so it's really important to get your child to tell you about what they have just read. For example, can he talk about the events that happen in the story? Can he make 'prediction' as to what will happen next in the book? Can he describe the characters, without the book in front of him? Ask questions about the story as he reads, to make sure that he understands the structure, beginning, middle and end. Also, encourage to read non fiction books and ask questions about the facts in the book. Books about animals or space, or any factual information are very good for trying to understand what they read.

wicks71 Thu 15-Nov-12 22:48:24

Thanks. Good tips - I will bear that in mind. One thing about the Biff and Chip books I've been reading with him at home is the "comprehension" questions at the end. Whilst he always moans about reading out the questions ("I've done my reading, now it's your turn") - he totally is able to answer them. As we are reading the books he also always comments on what he things is going to happen next but I will encourage all of that type of stuff further.

To be honest, I only posted about this all as a "prep" for what questions I should ask next week at the parent/teacher meeting. I've got other worries about him at the moment - he's a really happy settled little boy - but he's very sensitive and shy in a situation until he feels comfortable. But once he's comfortable he's an incredibly boisterous "alpa" child. He's also having problems at the moment with being scared of monsters in the house - he won't go to bed or even to a different floor in the house on his own (he uses his toddler sister as a bodyguard!). I think I'll canvass for opinions/tips on the relevant section ("Behaviour"?) in the coming days. For ages he wouldn't tell me why he wouldn't e.g. go upstairs to the loo on his own. He now says that it's because he dreams of monsters coming out of the furniture. We've bought him a dream catcher and he seems very excited about that, so we'll see. Well, I've gone off at a complete tangent now, haven't I!

Awakeagain Fri 16-Nov-12 00:11:08

Anothercuppsplease makes a great suggestion of finding out what he needs to do. When I've had yr 3 and 4 I've given some patents typical questions that I might ask their child in relation to books so they can practice at home as well. It's great that you are encouraging him to read other things at home.
I'm on mat leave ATM but am sure I have my reading folder somewhere at home so will check on book colour bands (assuming they are the same, but sound it) with 8 & 9 on foundation if definitely say 2a (would be pushed to get a 3!) by the end of ks1
I'm sure he is going to be doing ok as if there were major concerns its always good to try and bring them up earlier than parents eve where you have very little time and don't want to spend the whole time discussing 1 thing

wicks71 Fri 16-Nov-12 07:46:33

Thanks Awakeagain. His was marked a 7 for reading at the end of reception. 8 or 9 for everything else. They didn't actually give out the marks but it was easy to work out

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