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fluency and reception - reading above their level

(28 Posts)
teafor1 Fri 24-May-13 10:50:22

My 5 year old son is coming home with RWI red ditty books having just finished the floppy phonics ones 1+. He reads all the words in these books without sounding out but each word is said separately, ie not fluently or smooth sounding. He understands what he is reading. At home he is reading books that are about ORT 3 level (a variety of sources - scheme books or library books). Again there is not much fluency but he does have some intonation when reading. He does more sounding out with the harder books. He seems to enjoy reading and does it before bed every day. I realize that he'll eventually be more fluent reading the easier books because he won't be concentrating on the decoding part but is it hurting him to read the harder books? He does understand them and gladly answers questions or does the "story map" at the end of the Collins Big Cat books. Occasionally I'll give him an ever harder book just because I know he'll be particularly interested in it. For instance I just gave him one about tadpoles turning into frogs. It was a slog for him to read but he really enjoyed it. He actually gets mad if I try to help him too much! :D

So my main question is: is it ok for a child to read books that are above their level if they are not frustrated with it? More practice the better right? Thank you!

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 24-May-13 10:55:41

Not an expert, but I'd say that if he isn't getting frustrated or upset at not being able to read everything, you're not going to "hurt" him to let him read challenging books

Periwinkle007 Fri 24-May-13 11:22:34

reading harder books won't hurt him at all, they may encourage him to recognise the easier books are easier if that makes sense which in turn will increase his confidence at reading fluently. As long as he is reading the easier ones too whilst working on this then I can't see a problem.

teafor1 Fri 24-May-13 11:28:05

Thanks both of you. Periwinkle, that is what I figured. He is getting the easier ones from school (4 a week) so he'll get plenty of practice with fluency etc. He is genuinely excited about the harder books. The story lines are just more exciting or there is more detail to the non-fiction books, plus I pick ones I know he'll be interested in. He didn't have time to read one this morning but he's keen to read it when he gets home from school. It's called "Big Bad Blob" by Penny Dolan. It's part of the Leapfrog series. What boy wouldn't want to read about a piece of chewing gum turning into a monster and chasing a boy?

Periwinkle007 Fri 24-May-13 11:33:28

my daughter was reading harder books at home than at school for quite a while although they have now caught up with her (she is reception too) you are right about the interest. reading scheme books have a place but you need to capture their interest in stories and reading and I don't think scheme books do that.

simpson Fri 24-May-13 11:38:50

I don't think there is anything wrong with it at all as long as the child is happy to do it.

DD is also in reception and up until very recently has always wanted to read harder and harder books.

Lately she wants to read slightly easier books but for me to ask harder comprehension questions (as I don't tend to push her so much if its a hard book, I just make sure she can understand it at a basic level).

OnFoot Fri 24-May-13 11:39:31

I'd encourage him with this! IMO, work ethic is hugely important in future success so if you have a child who is bright and reading above their level AND is willing to slog away at the more difficult, yet more interesting, books, you've hit the jackpot! Sounds great!

teafor1 Fri 24-May-13 13:35:01

Thanks for the reassurance everyone. We'll continue on as we are doing! I am looking forward to the day when he is reading at a higher level and can read longer books and/or regular library books. The library doesn't have enough of the lower level phonics based books so I've going broke buying them! Luckily my daughter isn't far behind (starting reception in Sept) so she'll use them as well. Then I'll either try to sell them or donate them. I figure it's money well spent if it gets both of the kids reading.

Another question: Will fluency just come with lots of practice? He just got blending in January so it's not been all that long for reading.

simpson Fri 24-May-13 13:49:46

What I used to do was look at the back of the library books which listed others at a similar level and get the library to order them.

You can also try the Oxford owl website which has loads of free ebooks (but they are school type ones).

teafor1 Fri 24-May-13 14:07:01

Simpson, great idea for ordering books at the same level from the library! I got the ORT Read with Biff etc (the more phonics based ones) so we have those up to level 6. The school is doing RWI and sends home RWI books so I'm open to any other scheme. Initially I only wanted phonics books but now that they've done so many phonemes and he's learned more "red" words it's easier to find books. I've also got Songbirds (of course) Bob Books and a bunch of Collins Big Cat ones. Oh and the best books ever for young boys: The trucktown books by Jon Scieszka.

simpson Fri 24-May-13 14:11:58

DD used to read the reading corner phonics books (Run Rat Run) was her first book.

There are loads of them and they get progressively harder at each level.

It lists all the books on each level at the back of the book, so I used to order them at the library...

CloudsAndTrees Fri 24-May-13 14:44:35

It's fine to read other harder books at home. My school uses RWI, and I think it's a great scheme as they go. The books will seem easy on the reading side for a while, but children are often reading well before they are writing well, and RWI incorporates writing very early on.

We give children the RWI books and more difficult ORT books to read at home. With RWI, parents do have to remember the writing that is going on as well, because it can be easy to just focus on reading.

daftdame Fri 24-May-13 16:40:58

I found fluency and expression seemed to be encouraged by taking it in turns to read pages. You child can then model what you are doing within the context of their reading books with punctuation etc IYSWIM. It's also quite fun if you assign each other characters for speech.

I think reading a range of levels, within capability, is good as long as your child is enjoying it. You may notice different skills coming out with each level. As you say the higher ones challenge the decoding and because decoding is easier on the lower ones you can more readily work on expression because the decoding is not such an effort.

Have you tried re-reading the higher ones? Maybe after a day or so. Once he has worked out what a word says he may recall it and be more fluent and expressive.

teafor1 Fri 24-May-13 17:55:59

daftdame: He will only reread books that are particularly good or interesting (for him) and I have seen a huge difference between the first and second and especially third reading for fluency and expression. But as I said the book has to be amazing for him to want to reread. I don't push it with rereading books though as I don't want to put him off. I'll just have to find more great books for him!

daftdame Fri 24-May-13 18:47:14

All sounds good to me. I wouldn't push the re- reading either if he doesn't want to. Good that he is retaining what he has learnt from first reading. Sounds like your lad is already quite discerning. smile

greenformica Sat 25-May-13 18:35:27

I was told that it's best for a child to read a large quantity of books and to not over stretch themselves. They need to be able to understand the story and enjoy each book.

My sons are both bookworms, the first was on free reading at the start of year one while the other has been more relaxed and is now on level 5 in his Reception year.

I think it doesn't really matter how quickly students go through the reading stages though, they all get there in the end.

greenformica Sat 25-May-13 18:36:29

Best be led by him. If he wants to read, go with it.

learnandsay Sat 25-May-13 19:54:27

I got my daughter over the hump of managing the long words by making a fuss of her. She loved the jumping on the sofa that we did when she figured out "elongated, cylindrical" and so forth. It was silly but effective. I don't know if that kind of thing works with boys.

Ferguson Sat 25-May-13 21:25:08

Hi - retired TA (male) here -

I don't think you can expect great expression or interpretation yet - after all, it's only 4 years or so since he learnt to talk!

Others might disagree with me, but I don't think it matters if a book is REALLY difficult, if he shares the reading with you or some other fluent reader; just let him read the words he can manage, and you 'step in' with the harder words.

I used this approach with 'reluctant' readers, whose confidence benefited from feeling they were reading a difficult book, even though they might only be saying the easiest words. Non-fiction can be good for this, for example, books on dinosaurs, science, geography, history, astronomy, engineering etc, so the child says the words he knows or can sound-out, and you do the difficult words - in the case of dinosaurs, VERY difficult words!

To help with expression (if you MUST be concerned with that at this stage), maybe you could find a really easy play script or drama book, where he could act out the different characters, or give some voices to his favourite teddies or dolls.

Hey! I've just thought of a BRILLIANT book : Anne Fine's "Diary of a Killer Cat", which has children's and adult voices, and the Cat! Super funny and a delightful story!

[ I tried to 'post' this on Friday, but MN seemed to be off-line for a while]

Iamnotminterested Mon 27-May-13 18:36:50

Greenformica, no, they don't all get there in the end. Some children will leave primary school without the skills necessary to access the secondary curriculum properly. Sad but very true.

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 18:49:30

Although to be fair Iamnotinterested but it does sound like the OP's boy is progressing. I think the point was more about not giving books that are too challenging and therefore counter-productive. That is they make the child feel like a failure and put them off.

Incidentally if the OP's boy is enjoying the more challenging books I don't think this is happening, they are just more challenging - decoding wise.

teafor1 Mon 27-May-13 20:10:30

You are right daftdame he is progressing quite nicely and I was just wondering about the risks of harder books. Perhaps he's not up to MN standards wink but I am really pleased with how he is doing. I'm especially happy that he enjoys books.

simpson Mon 27-May-13 22:10:22

A love of books/reading is far more important smile

Periwinkle007 Tue 28-May-13 11:14:41

absolutely - and if to keep his interest you need to help him read harder books then it doesn't matter.

learnandsay Tue 28-May-13 16:24:45

Didn't the OP say the child doesn't like being helped?

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