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Confused about different reading schemes and levels... Please can someone give me an idiots guide?

(25 Posts)
simpson Sun 17-Feb-13 11:07:12

A love of reading blush

simpson Sun 17-Feb-13 11:06:43

It is lovely when they "get it" smile well done to your DD.

I think there is nothing wrong with reading books that are too easy for them sometimes. DD is obsessed with Topsy and Tim and re-reads them over and over again but it helps with her expression etc and more importantly nurtures I love of reading.

designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 21:56:43

Don't get me wrong, learnandsay, I'm DELIGHTED with the school, and, frankly, amazed at the progress in such a short space of time. Her teacher and TA are both fab (although teacher a leetle bit intimidating to parents, the girls LOVE her...)

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but she astonished me today...

I just felt ill-informed about how it all worked.. a little bemused that we seem to be sticking with books which seem easy for her for what seems like quite a long period. But she seems to enjoy the exploits of Pat the Pig and his chums, and, as has been said, probably growing in confidence from finding it pretty plain sailing for a bit.

And she does struggle with confidence sometimes, they may have spotted that...

But it seems like a trip to the library is in order then...

She read her younger sister a story at bedtime tonight <melt>. DD2 thought this was AWESOME and far better than Mummy, apparently...

learnandsay Sat 16-Feb-13 21:43:56

If the school has taught her to read from scratch and put her on yellow books this early in Reception I personally wouldn't be worrying about scheme levels. If the school is teaching her to read and assessing her it'll probably be hard for you to determine what the right scheme level for her is. But if you take her to the library she'll probably pick out books on her own. If I was you I'd try to forget about the scheme itself and I'd spend more time trying independently to find suitable books for her. If the school wants to mess about with Pat the Pig books I'd let them get on with it. Even if Pat the Pig books don't do any good, they're unlikely to do any harm.

designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 21:15:36

Hi learnandsay, I'm not really worrying as such... I think seeing and hearing her read this afternoon surprised me rather... I had no idea that she would be able to read something like Dr Seuss so easily, and it made me reflect that we've been racing through these New Way books for weeks, and they seem pretty easy for her.

So that got me trying to figure out if these were the right 'stage' of books for her age, then I got super confused about the different schemes and levels and what was targeted at reception level etc.

I don't really have anyone to ask... I don't want to ask the other mums if girls in DDs class in case it's mistaken for me being competitive or intrusive or whatever. I'd be a bit shock if anyone asked me tbh.

You're probably right though, U should ask if there's a reason why they're sticking with these for a while, inflection and comprehension might be the thing, I've noticed recently that after reading a page, she'll read it again "once more with feeling" IYSWIM.

But I felt a bit like, bloody hell, she can read Dr Seuss!? Why the bloody hell are we fannying around with Pat the bloody Pig for weeks on end!??

But they hear her read every day, they know what they're doing. I'm a bit shy to question them, especially when I felt so ignorant...

I hope she continues to enjoy reading... I consume books like sweets, always have. I'd be delighted if she was the same... It didn't look that way til recently. I am reluctant to be pushy, having had a very pushy mum myself, but was concerned I'd swung too far the other way...

Jolly phonics? Haven't come across those yet, but it wouldn't surprise me. School seem to do things very much their own way... grin


simpson Sat 16-Feb-13 20:59:10

Look at the Oxford owl website (free school books to read online) or subscribe to the reading chest (someone linked it earlier).

I would not buy school books but let your child choose library books (my local one has loads of "reading corner" books which are phonetic.

simpson Sat 16-Feb-13 20:56:31

Educator - DD has just been put back on JP books after only going up to green level and then jumping to gold and now higher (ORT) but has now gone back to JP ones (blue - one about sharks) for non fiction. But DD hates themsad

learnandsay Sat 16-Feb-13 20:48:37

I'm not sure that I understand why you're worrying. She seems to be doing well and progressing rapidly. If you think the school progression has stopped you could mention it to her teacher. There may be a reason why the teacher has stopped progressing her and you won't know what that reason is unless you ask. I wouldn't buy school reading books. I'd just take her to the library and let her choose.

RefuseToWorry Sat 16-Feb-13 20:48:22

'she gets a bit more of a story and she finds them funny...'
'I sat and watched her read the entirety of the Cat in the Hat to a friend this afternoon...'

Your daughter is reading independently and enjoying it!!! This is all wonderful!!!

When you say 'they don't seem to challenge her' do you mean that your daughter isn't having to stop and decode new words? Even when a child isn't having to problem-solve new words, she is consolidating her knowledge and skills by seeing those words again, and she is also developing the ability to read with fluency and expression. I encourage the children I teach to re-read familiar books and I will deliberately select easier books from time to time to help improve the sound of a child's reading or their reading comprehension.

Please don't get concerned about book bands and levels. Too often I have seen this transferred to children and then reading becomes a race to the next band/level. What matters is that your child is enjoying reading and reading books that she finds engaging.

Keep introducing her to a wide range of books through your local library. Allow her to choose books which appeal to her interest, read them together if necessary. Keep feeding her love of reading! smile

educator123 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:44:47

We have jolly P books and it is confusing dd is just finishing the blue ones and I've read somewhere it equates to turquoise!?

I was oblivious to it all until recently ...

designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:23

Maybe then, rather than ask for some books in the next band, I could maybe ask for some books from a different scheme in this band?

If she reads those as easily, then I could ask for some blue band books (or buy some myself) but if she finds them more challenging then I'll know it's just these New Way ones she finds pretty easy (and Cat in the Hat, evidently...) not that she ought to go up a band.

I don't want to be pushy, and I'm concerned that I don't put her off reading by giving her things which are too hard...

Maybe they're just allowing her o consolidate/take a breather? Since we seemed to have cracked through a fairly steep amount of stuff in a fairly short time, from not really reading at all in September to where we are now

But I know nothing about what she could/should be doing... What's 'normal' (hate that term, but YKWIM)...

Would it be counter productive to get some other random books to read alongside what they're giving her? (More Dr Seuss??!!)

Or just back off and allow her to find it easy/gain confidence or whatever?

Thanks for all responses, I do appreciate the help... Feel like I ought to know more about it!


learnandsay Sat 16-Feb-13 20:20:18

It's maybe better not to delve too rapidly into the specifics of decodable versus non decodable per-se. Because it's unlikely that the non decodable books are being used for their original purpose today. They're probably not being used any longer to actually "teach" children to read, but are simply being used as reading books.

(The look & say method of teaching reading involves a lot more than just repeating words.)

simpson Sat 16-Feb-13 20:13:50

Which a child blush

simpson Sat 16-Feb-13 20:13:08

Non decodable at this stage would mean repeating a word again and again on a page so the child learns it off by heart.

Or some of the older ORT which have the word "pancake" in a pink level (stage 1) book which I child will guess at using the picture (or remember the whole word).

I hope you don't get any jolly phonics readers as then the colour code system gets even more confusing!!! (my DD is in reception too).

learnandsay Sat 16-Feb-13 20:11:39

On the whole it doesn't mean much because all words are decodable to a greater or lesser extent. But some books try to avoid tricky words as much as possible. Some books don't.

designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 19:45:35

Thanks learnandsay... You're a teacher, right? Clearly know your stuff... grin

Sorry for all the stupid questions...

What does non-decodeable mean in practice? Just wondering, because I've noticed that DD seems to remember more than she decodes, if that makes sense. She seems to just recognise and say, only decoding when she absolutely HAS to...

I don't know if this s good/bad/normal...

learnandsay Sat 16-Feb-13 19:24:16

The blurb for the New Way books claims to be decodable.

ORT have both decodable and non decodable books in their range. So it'll depend on the book.

designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 19:19:47

So are ORT 'decodable' and New Way not? And what does that mean?

Gees, I went to both the parents phonics workshops, but you'd never know, would you... blush

learnandsay Sat 16-Feb-13 19:10:21

I think within the colour bands decodable versus non decodable there's quite a bit of variation. And then old pre-scheme books have been given stickers using rules of thumb to judge where they fit in. So they could be easier than others or harder depending on how the person adding the stickers was feeling on that particular day.

But stickers or no stickers, your daughter is doing well.

designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 19:06:34

Ah, that's helpful wiggly... First mention of New Way I've seen!

Now I'm just perplexed about levels, because that document suggests that yellow band is a yr1 level? Like I said, she's bright enough, but no-one has made any comments about particular ability, but this looks like she's doing rather well...

I'm sorry to be so ignorant, I'm the first of my friends to have a child in school, so I have no comparables, or anyone to ask... My close friend also has a child in reception (at a different school) but she's a super competitive tiger-mum, who tutors her daughter endlessly, so I'm afraid to ask...

Would I be wrong to ask for something a bit more challenging, or would that be pushy/hothousey?


designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 18:57:04

Ilovepower... Thank you, yes it does a bit... I'm thinking that since they're using different schemes, they're colour coding them into book band levels...

I do wonder if they're using their own levels though, I don't remember seeing any pink stickers and the reception year set seems to end in yellow and we're only just half way through...

They don't mention the New Way books at all though.

She's a bright enough child, but wasn't reading at all at the start of reception... Maybe I underestimate her though. The Cat in the Hat episode today was a bit of, a surprise tbh...


wigglywoowoo Sat 16-Feb-13 18:55:02

Take a look at page 10 of this document

It says that these are yellow band books.

ilovepowerhoop Sat 16-Feb-13 18:43:48

does this help?

designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 18:43:38

Sorry, just noticed that despite having a yellow sticker on it, her latest book is described on the back as 'Red Level'... ???

designerbaby Sat 16-Feb-13 18:40:13

I'm not concerned, particularly, I just hate not understanding how the different schemes work, and what the levels/colours mean.

Last term DD was bringing home a new ORT book every night or every other night. Since maybe the third week of this term she's had some (quite aged grin) New Way books. She seems to enjoy reading these more as she gets a bit more of a story and she finds them funny... However, they don't seem to challenge her, she reads the through pretty much straight off first time. Although the ORT had fewer words, they seemed trickier.

Or possibly she's undergone a bit of a leap, I sat and watched her read the entirety of the Cat in the Hat the a friend this afternoon... I had no idea she would be able to do that blush

But as this my PFB and we're only a term and a half into reception, I am stumped by the different schemes/levels/colours and also why they're using more than one.

Her latest homework book is New Way Easy Start Set B, on Thursday she had a New Way Platform book, all read through with barely a pause. Both had a yellow sticker on the spine.

I'm considering asking her teacher if we could have something a bit more difficult, but as I'm not sure what level she's reading at, I don't know what to ask for, or even if that's a reasonable request.

If anyone could bear to give me a quick run down, I'd be hugely grateful...

Thanks in hope!

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