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Another reception/reading thread - help with books please!

(30 Posts)
OhThisIsJustGrape Thu 14-Feb-13 12:55:35

DD started reception in September and is doing very well. My problem is that her reading book is not changed very often, she finds the books relatively easy although I would say they are appropriate for the stage she is at but as she can read it competently the first time and is then left with it for over a week (the book she currently has was changed Monday of last week), she is getting bored.

I have asked her teacher on occasion if she can possibly have her book changed but always get the same reply trotted out - the children have to read to the teacher before the book can be changed, they read with a volunteer on a Monday but she is not qualified to change the book. The teacher 'tries' to hear the children read once a week but this is not always possible. There are only 15 children in the class though so goodness knows how she would cope with 25 children!

Oddly enough, whenever I have asked for the book to be changed it does and DD will get up to 3 different books in a week then we slip back to one every 10days! I find her teacher quite unapproachable at times and she always seems to take whatever I say as a criticism.

So, I'd like to buy some books for DD to read at home. Not in any way to push her forward as such but more so she just has some different reading material. She likes to read every night but gets bored when its the same book after 10 days! We read lots of books to DD and she has a fantastic library but they are too advanced for her to read herself, she has a go and does quite well but I'd like her to be able to confidently read a book like she does with her reading book.

DD's school is using the Dandelion Readers books and is Unit 7 of the first set if that helps.

We have parent's evening in March and I am going to raise the issue with the teacher as I feel DD could be so much further ahead than she is if only the book was changed more often. If its a case of the teacher wanting DD to be learning the new letter sounds etc that come with each book in class first then I understand but I don't really think this is the case. DD seems to be more advanced than a lot of the children in the class - I see this for myself every morning when they are doing handwriting practice etc and also they have a list of goals on display and whereas the others have goals of recognising letters and sounds, DD's goal is about writing sentences with spaces in. I'm no expert but I do think she is a bright child (although obviously biased!).

DD is not my PFB btw, just incase it comes across a bit like that grin

learnandsay Sat 16-Feb-13 07:46:40

Home readers might be the best solution for homes which don't contain books or for families where reading isn't the norm. But for families in which reading is the norm and the parent supervises the child's reading of much more complicated books at home or in the library home readers bring a considerable gap into the child's reading experience. Some parents seem to experience varying levels of frustration when they attempt to straighten this gap out with school.

mrz Sat 16-Feb-13 07:21:27

Mrz seems to say often that she doesn't mind what the children read as long as they read and she seems to get good results. But, with any system I can see why the controller would want to call the shots and tell pupils what they must read and when they must read it. It's easier, possibly not better or more effective but certainly easier.

A class teacher can easily "control" what a child reads and when they read it in school. Home readers are sent home for practice (because unfortunately not all homes contain books) and are as much for the parents as for the child. As parents we want to feel involved in our child's education and home readers are a way most parents can be involved. There isn't anything more sinister behind them and one book a week or one book a day doesn't really make any difference all that matters is the child "reads".

PeppermintCreams Fri 15-Feb-13 19:09:17


This version of the Songbird books is good value for money (not as cheap as the Book People ones though) as it includes 6/12 stories in one text book. I brought the first 5 books (which covers the first 3 levels) along with the project X Book People ones. They will be passed down to my younger nephews, then sold.

Now he can decode really well we are able to use the books in our local library. They have a poor selection of the very early levelled books but a very good selection of the later levels.

learnandsay Fri 15-Feb-13 14:39:51

People might be forgiven for supposing that a teacher who only changes the reading book once a week or once every couple of weeks regards the purpose of the reading book as being a different one from the teacher who changes the book three times a week. It would be nice to know how enthusiastic teachers who only change the book weekly or fortnightly are about comments made about books read outside school.

Trixieblue Fri 15-Feb-13 11:08:07

When my boys book isn't changed I write him little rhyming story's to read. They don't have to be clever, but funny. Poo rhymes with a lot of other words, he can use his phonetics so well, trying the different sounds with the words I know that are "tricky" and apparently can't be sounded out, strange as we can sound them all out x biff and chip books are good basic books xxx

Hawise Fri 15-Feb-13 09:33:18

Reading chest is fantastic if you can afford it. We go to the library three days a week and dd chooses books. However, with Reading chest I feel like it is more structured, she reads through books at her level and the library books she chooses whatever takes her fancy. I don't stress about what books she gets from school now, esp. as books are only changed once a week and we have got repeats on numerous occasions.

simpson Fri 15-Feb-13 09:24:24

Another one who loves the reading chest.

Cat98 Fri 15-Feb-13 08:34:50

I second reading chest.
Ds only gets one book a week from school, I like to hear him read most nights so we use the library and also reading chest. It's great because you know the books you get will be on the appropriate level. Ds thinks its a treat as well when it arrives by post for him!

dixiechick1975 Fri 15-Feb-13 01:40:43

Reading chest may also work for you.

I've only used it short term over the summer hols but DD loved getting books in the post and you can try a variety of different schemes.

learnandsay Fri 15-Feb-13 00:07:17

Maybe there is a reason why some schools or some teachers can't be more flexible??!

Mrz seems to say often that she doesn't mind what the children read as long as they read and she seems to get good results. But, with any system I can see why the controller would want to call the shots and tell pupils what they must read and when they must read it. It's easier, possibly not better or more effective but certainly easier.

simpson Thu 14-Feb-13 23:51:11

I have loads of non fiction books at home so I am going to encourage her to read them this half term.

They are a lot more fun than the school books. I have not had a problem with the fiction ones at all (she has a good one this week) just NF sad

learnandsay Thu 14-Feb-13 23:28:23

If I hadn't taught may daughter to read myself such a trap would have been possible for her too because if the school didn't progress her I would be left like a lot of mums saying "progress, progress, progress" and getting ignored. But as I've taught her, to progress her all I have to do is take her to the library.

We're not stuck in the system because we were never in the system in the first place.

I've heard some mums saying that their children can't read books with unfamiliar sounds in them. I don't know if the failure there is on mum's account or on the child's. I suspect that with mum's help a lot of children could read a lot more local library books.

simpson Thu 14-Feb-13 23:21:56

Well I do agree and had the same situation with DS (although no explanation) so he had shit easy books for ages....

learnandsay Thu 14-Feb-13 23:20:25

(Hi, s, I think your daughter is probably an exception.) For most mums, if there's a difference of opinion about whether the reading scheme is right or relevant then the teacher needs to explain. If they're paying attention and have a scheme where all books at all levels have to be read, and if they have a child who reads at a million miles an hour, it won't be long before they run out of relevant books for Little Charlotte to read. Some say why not let Charlotte choose her own books at that point?

If the teacher says no, I think she should explain in terms mum understands why she has said no. (Otherwise, if mum is a stubborn old cow, she'll just say flip the school reading scheme and invent her own reading scheme at home.)

simpson Thu 14-Feb-13 23:06:37

I am not sad that DD has been put back on them as they are lower just that she hates them iyswim.

The teacher told me that DD is very strong in fiction and has a muxh higher level book for that too but needs to practise non fiction more (which I agree with) but its hard finding a decent non fiction school book I guess.

Out of 5 we have had from the school so far, DD has refused to read 3 <<sigh>>

learnandsay Thu 14-Feb-13 23:01:05

I think it's the teacher's job to explain in terms that mum can understand if she wants a child to study the-little-blue-book when mum says no, the little-blue-book is just too easy. Because the simplest thing in the world to do is just chuck the school book in the corner and forget about it. If mum (maybe mistakenly) thinks that Little Charlotte is getting so much from reading War & Peace, and nothing from ORT Songbirds 12787, then Tolstoy it is.

simpson Thu 14-Feb-13 22:49:00

I have not found one set of school reading books that are great. They all have their downside (although dandelion books seem ok).

DD has just been put back onto the dreaded JP books sad

mrz Thu 14-Feb-13 20:38:40

OhThisIsJustGrape do you know which phonic programme is being used with the Dandelion books

simpson Thu 14-Feb-13 20:35:57

My local library had some phonics corner books which were fab.

I would keep trying to get hold of the songbird books as they are great too (try amazon).

ORT has it's place, but they are not hugely phonetic.

mrz Thu 14-Feb-13 17:05:19

If the school is using Dandelion readers I would stick with them or perhaps look at

christinarossetti Thu 14-Feb-13 17:00:45

The library is your friend, then!

OhThisIsJustGrape Thu 14-Feb-13 16:41:07

Teacher is just so snippy though and makes me feel like I'm the pushiest parent ever - which I'm not, and certainly don't think I'm being about this issue. She's a bit odd really and don't want to make an enemy of her, it's difficult as she's seems so defensive whenever I approach her.

christinarossetti Thu 14-Feb-13 16:36:12

In your situation, I wouldn't wait for parents' evening - ask for a brief before or after school meeting and explain the situation as you have here and ask for your dd's book to be changed more frequently.

OhThisIsJustGrape Thu 14-Feb-13 16:34:09

Tried to get the Songbirds ones but out of stock everywhere. Biff and Chip will be like a trip down memory lane for me as my eldest 2 had them when they were in reception 10+ years ago!

I just don't understand how hard can it be to ensure that 15 children are listened to reading once a week? Surely that's a smaller than average cohort?

MerryMingeWhingesAgain Thu 14-Feb-13 16:27:38

If you see the Songbirds ones on ebay or TheBookPeople I really like them - Biff and Kipper are not fun at all for me (though DD doesn't seem to hate mind them like I do)

Don't worry about trying to teach her to read, I wouldn't know how to either just let her practice - you will absorb some of the 'sounding out' stuff from her as you go along. The school books - if you have asked for the books to be changed and they are not working with you, speak to someone else - the HT or a deputy.

I had the same issue in reception, I raised it with the school and now books are changed daily if you want them and parents are invited in once/twice a week to change books in the class too, which is great.

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