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Should I speak to the teacher?

(27 Posts)
dontwanttoseempushy Wed 08-May-13 19:39:46

Dd is in reception. She gets 3 reading books a week, on a Wednesday. Tonight she read all three, with almost 100% accuracy and imho pretty good expression. She also had good comprehension and talked about what was happening while reading and could answer questions about the stories afterwards. She now won't get new books until next Wednesday and while I may be able to get he to read them one more time, that'll be it as she generally says she doesn't want to read them again if she's already read them. I do encourage her to read other books we have at home but it can be hard as generally the stories she wants to read are too hard and she gets frustrated and gives up. I'd like to talk to her teacher about changing her books more regularly, or whether she's ready for the challenge of a new level, but I don't want to come across as pushy, or doubting teachers abilities, or even expecting more from the teacher than she has time for (in terms of having to change books 2 or 3 times a week instead of once). However, dd has suddenly clicked with her reading and is really keen and enthusiastic about it and I want to take advantage of this and support her. Wwyd?

AlienAttack Wed 08-May-13 19:45:30

Take her to the library. My DD was encouraged to change her book daily in reception but I always had books from the library as well for the days she forgot or when the reading book she brought home from school was far too easy. I simply wrote in her reading record which book she'd read ( and put " library" so it was clear it wasn't one from school) and everyone -DD, Teacher, me- were happy.

simpson Wed 08-May-13 19:47:48

What level is she on? (Only so I can think about which books DS read at that stage from the library iyswim).

I would check out the Oxford owl website as there are loads of free ebooks to read.

Is the teacher approachable? If so I would have a word, yes.

DD is in reception and never reads her school book more than once as they are too easy

dontwanttoseempushy Wed 08-May-13 19:57:57

Thanks both. She's only on level 3, so I find it hard to judge what books are at an appropriate level to stretch her but not be so challenging that she gets frustrated. Teacher is v approachable and I have a good relationship with her as I volunteer in the class once a week, which is partly why I don't want to upset the apple-cart and imply that she's missed something or not doing enough (I don't think that at all obviously, I've seen what she has to deal with!). It's a school with a very challenging intake, lots of esl or non-English speakers, low parental input etc. Dd is towards the top in terms of ability (whereas I think she would be distinctly average in most schools). Teacher seems to be spending a lot of time still trying to teach the basic letter sounds to the class, quite a few of them don't know many at all.

Pozzled Wed 08-May-13 20:07:01

Yes, speak to the teacher, or put a note ion the reading diary if you have one. Also, try sharing the reading of harder books that you have at home. Even complex books have lots of hf/decodable words like 'and' 'it' etc. Encourage her to do those words while you do all the harder ones.

Periwinkle007 Wed 08-May-13 20:08:57

Does she have a reading record/diary for you to write in?

I think it would be perfectly reasonable to put a note in it saying what you have said here, that she read them accurately, fluently, good expression, comprehension or whatever. Then perhaps say you have been very impressed with how she has suddenly clicked with reading and you wonder how you could challenge her a bit more the rest of the week as she is keen to read more but you aren't sure what books would be at that level or the one above for her to try. The teacher should respond to it whether to say 'yes she is doing extremely well, we will try her with the next level' or 'maybe we could give her an extra book change on a friday' or 'we don't want to move her up yet because....' or 'these are some other titles you could try'.

I have a list somewhere of some non reading scheme levelled books. will try and find it and post for you. Things like each peach pear plum etc. my younger daughter is about book band 2/3 but she is currently obsessed with Peter and Jane books so chooses to read them at home or we read a book together that she knows and she does the words that it is possible to spell out or she knows already and I fill in the others.

to me 'pushy' would be if you were in there every day saying 'my child is this that and the other' when they AREN'T. I don't personally think it is pushy in this situation, when a child IS able to do what you are saying they can and you want to help. If you word it carefully it won't sound pushy or difficult it will sound more like you are asking for advice so that you can encourage your very keen child. My elder daughter's reception teacher has always been very good at listening to what my queries/concerns/advice requests are and responding appropriately. I think she will probably welcome your support. It may be that they want her to read a few more at this level to work on expression or something or just for general experience before moving up but she might be able to suggest some games you could do with her at home. word bingo can be fun. my younger daughter likes that.

simpson Wed 08-May-13 20:12:49

Our local library had loads of phonetic books (reading corner ones) which would be great for this stage...

Also look at Oxford owl.

But I would definately have a word with the teacher...

Smartieaddict Wed 08-May-13 20:14:19

I am watching this with interest, as I have the exact same problem. The only difference is DS has his books changed on a Tuesday! He has made loads of progress over the last few months, but has been on the same level throughout.

I really don't know what the teacher is looking for before he moves up a level. So far I have held off from saying anything as he is so happy at school, and clearly progressing, it just seems odd that the books coming home are still no harder!

Periwinkle007 Wed 08-May-13 20:24:29

ok at book band 3 (yellow?)

Big Sister, Little Sister - Gillian Shields
Oh Dear!
One Mole Digging a Hole - Nick Sharratt I think
Where's Spot? - Eric Hill

book band 4 (blue)
I wish I were a Dog - Lydia Monks
Spot Can Count - Eric Hill
Hippo has a hat - Julia Donaldson

not many - there are more but these were the only ones I have heard of! Not OFFICIALLY levelled books as such and I didn't find this list until my elder daughter was further through the levels but certainly their higher banded suggestions seem really very accurate and these ones I know of do sound about right to me. Certainly some suggestions for the next library trip.

Periwinkle007 Wed 08-May-13 20:29:37

I think they sometimes don't actually realise, if a child suddenly 'gets' reading then it can take a little while to become apparent. they may not be as confident in reading at school so the staff may not see what we do at home, also if they are reading to TAs or parent helpers then it may be the teacher is the only one who can move them up.

we get up to 3 book changes a week, tue/thur/fri or mon/wed/fri depending on groups. my daughter has nearly always read the school book that night and then the next night she has read her own stuff and I have written it in her reading diary so they know what else she is doing and that she is reading the school book in one go. Some children will read 2 or 3 books a week as well BUT they may take 2-3 days per book so it is worth noting if they have a stab at something else. It is also good for them to realise they can read non reading scheme books. that is the way to keep their interest in books and inspire them to read for enjoyment.

numbum Wed 08-May-13 20:58:58

Just write a note in her diary saying 'DD read all these books with ease in one night! Do you think she's ready to try the next level?'

If we saw that sort of comment in our reading diaries we'd probably put a couple from level 3 in plus one from level 4 just to see how she got on with it.

It's not pushy, teachers/TA's/parents don't always notice the 'click' of reading immediately just from listening to them read once a week

AlienAttack Wed 08-May-13 21:07:02

I'd second Simpson's suggestion of a reading Corner phonics books from library. The other ones we used were "start Reading" (I think) which are banded in the same colour bands as many primary schools (including my DD's) used, I.e. pink, red, blue, yellow etc...which really helps you and your DC find ones which are about the right level

AlienAttack Wed 08-May-13 21:07:43

Should make clear, these start reading books were also from the lubrary

learnandsay Wed 08-May-13 21:08:52

If she's reading yellow books she won't have just suddenly clicked, she'll have been reading relatively convincingly for a while. She certainly may have improved. That's true.

From this forum and my experience I distinctly get the impression that there are different kinds of Reception teachers. I think there are some who don't mind rushing children through the levels as though the books were on fire and then there are others with whom climbing the levels is like watching paint dry. My own solution is to acquire my own supply of reading books for my daughter and hang the school books. The previous move through yellow was so tortuous that I think we even read some books which had been previously lost in the school archives. And on this level the response to current books being too easy seems to be to read two non decodable ginn books per day. I've decided that there is no logic in it and to stop worrying about it. If the child can read she can read and I suppose that's all that matters.

snowmummy Wed 08-May-13 21:18:00

School is not the only source of books. Go to the library! Buy her some magazines.

simpson Wed 08-May-13 21:39:52

Oh yes the start reading books are fab (DD read those too).

If you have any charity shops near you it's worth checking the books in there as I have founds loads for DD.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Wed 08-May-13 22:54:07

If you approach with a can you help me opening gambit it usually works, ask teacher what books to go to outside school as they should know. I put a note in recently saying ds was reading yellow fluently expressively and with enthusiasm and he has now been moved up to blue although school generally reluctant to whizz them on. Fwiw blue not proving harder in terms of decoding just more interesting subjects. Reading mr men books and toddler books seems to be helping just as much as school books, even read a paragraph of fantastic mr fox this week!

learnandsay Thu 09-May-13 08:46:20

Schools have the opportunity to mix their own books up, relabel them, stack extraordinarily old/ancient books right next to brand new ones, stick new labels over old labels, have two different colour labels on the same book.....

It's really impossible to say if these books are harder, easier or longer than those books; it depends on the school, it depends on the books, it depends...

Give me a match and a can of petrol and I'll clear the whole issue up.

manchestermummy Thu 09-May-13 09:04:16

My approach to all of this has been to let DD have a go at reading whatever she wants - if she's finding it too hard she'll say, but she seems to absolutely love just being able to start the story off. I'm sure someone might say that I'm doing nothing to improve confidence as she can't read all of it, but that doesn't seem to be the case for her at all.

FWIW she's on level 4 at home and level 5 at school (they do one level higher for guided reading). learnandsay this is definitely what happens at DD1's school - I take their levels with a pinch of salt!

MrsTruper Thu 09-May-13 14:19:23

What I thought my dd should be reading and the books dd came home with never seemed to match up! Too few/too many/too easy/no remarks in reading record for months by teacher etc etc

In the end I gave up speaking to the teachers as I kept getting fobbed off. I bought some scheme books to use at home plus library books and did my own thing at home.

intheshed Thu 09-May-13 22:33:41

I wrote in DD's reading record something along the lines of 'DD read this book with ease, great to see her making so much progress!' She was soon moved up a level.

The books aren't changed as often as I'd like, but we have the Julia Donaldson Songbirds books at home, so I try to get her to read one of those if she doesn't have a school book to read.

I also keep a look out for reading scheme books in charity shops etc, I've picked up quite a few Ladybird read it yourself books for 50p each.

StarlightMcKenzie Thu 09-May-13 22:41:23

DS couldn't read the book the teacher sent home over a month ago. I couldn't get him to read for love nor money.

Today he found the book, read it out loud without a single mistake.


Children are strange. I've had to write in his reading book 'found this book easy' and the teacher is going to wonder why then he's held onto it for 6 weeks.

But ds has never had much time for children's books. He prefers pizza boxes, bus timetables and his absolute favourite 'In the Womb' BBC book. hmm

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 10-May-13 10:38:40

I'm having a very similar issue with my DD, also YR. She reads the yellow books pretty fluently at home and finds them very easy. I've suggested pretty much everyday in the reading journal that she needs something more challenging but the teacher (eventually) said she sounds out too many words when reading at school. I've asked DD to only sound out at school if she's stuck so hopefully the teacher will realise that she actually can manage them with ease.

At the same time I've ordered various books from the library that are at the level above and we're going to try those at home. I actually think DD will find them find and more enjoyable. Obviously teachers are the experts on teaching but they can't stop you and your child doing what you think is best at home. I don't want to be pushy - and don't think I am really - but I don't want DD getting bored of reading when she's taken to it so well.

Periwinkle007 Fri 10-May-13 11:48:57

Ghoul she is probably spelling them out at school because that is what she thinks they want her to do. my daughter suddenly started sounding something out that I knew she could just read and I asked why. so she said 'well that is what everyone else does'!

I definitely agree with getting harder things to try at home, the only way they learn is through exposure to more and more words to try spelling out and recognising. The teacher is right to keep down the levels if still sounding out the majority of the words but it sounds like she doesn't actually need to so I am sure they will move her up once they realise that.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 10-May-13 11:59:38

Periwinkle - thanks I think you're spot on actually. DD thinks the teacher wants to hear the individual sounds in the word when in fact she can read them without breaking them down. I think there may be a difference between what she can do at home and what she does at school which is itself something to work on with her smile

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