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DS8 report: doesn't reflect what we see?

(19 Posts)
kittykato Sun 30-Jun-13 12:19:18

Hi all, Just wanted opinions really...

Got our DS's report on Friday and though it's generally good I was worried by the comments about his reading and writing. The Class teacher says 'He does not show an obvious interest in reading and this is reflected in his reading diary' and this is re-stated in the HT comments (he actually says regular reading is a must- see below).

However, he DOES read lots and for pleasure and often falls asleep at night reading! He probably reads for about an hour, maybe 1 1/2 hours a night before sleep and then will choose to read at other times too. I thought this was reading more than necessary really, but am I wrong?

I think the issue is the reading diary requires writing and he does the bare minimum with most activities that includes writing... The teachers comments say that if he reads he will absorb good writing models. Does it always go that good readers = good writers?

He is otherwise very bright. He does have behaviour issues which we are trying to get looked at (also mentioned in report), but the comments on reading were unexexpected.

I've looked on the web but most of the advice to get boys to write is to get them to read!

I will try and get him to read 'better' authors as his favourites are Captain Underpants, Horrid Henry, World of Norm etc...(when I said he'd have to not read them as much he started to cry!)

Would should I do? I'm thinking maybe the teachers have got it wrong and don't realise he's actually filled in 2 reading books (though the comments are rather samey).

Any advice apreciated!

kittykato Sun 30-Jun-13 12:20:59

Sorry about the spelling having 3 way converstions!

spanieleyes Sun 30-Jun-13 12:27:37

Yes, good readers are generally good writers too, as long as they are reading "decent" books. I have to say a diet of Captain Underpants and Horrid Henry are not the best for magpie-ing ideas and vocabulary from! Perhaps it is his reluctance to extend the range of his reading material that the teacher is referring to, rather than the amount of reading he does.

tiggytape Sun 30-Jun-13 12:30:56

I thought this was reading more than necessary really
I don't think there's any such thing as too much. If he enjoys it and chooses to read then that's great

Does it always go that good readers = good writers?
It does often go that way eventually. But the key word is eventually. Many children master reading and enjoy it long before they approach written work in the same way. Some people never enjoy writing as much but their wide reading means when they do attempt it, they might naturally be better at it.

The teachers can only go on what they see in the diary so they may suppose he is skimming lots of books or they may not have appreciated the volume if the comments for each are only short. It doesn't really matter - the point is he is reading.
Is there a comments section for you to fill in when you return the report? If so, you could say that DS reads at least 3 or 5 books a week but finds filling in the diary difficult and could use some advice with that.

At home you could also mix up his reading a bit with some non fiction on topics he's interested in.

BackforGood Sun 30-Jun-13 12:40:26

My ds has always been an avid reader, and, although he hated filling in a reading diary with a passion (made a pleasurable thing into a chore), and basically gave up even making a token effort at it when he was about 7, the school staff were very comfortable with that as they would frequently comment "You can tell he reads a lot because of his comments / contributions in class, and in his writing". So I think if he is reading a good range of stuff (and all mine read Captain Underpants and Horrid Henry ^as well^), then it will be more reflected in his verbal and written work in school.

Periwinkle007 Sun 30-Jun-13 13:06:22

might have missed it but how old is he?

It is hard to make book reviews sound interesting. Perhaps you could get a children's thesaurus to look at with him and help him find some new words to use to describe his books. I wouldn't stop him reading the books he enjoys just explain that perhaps for every one or two of those books he should try a different author as well because otherwise he might miss books he will like just as much and there are so many other authors and topics out there. I would try to give him a bit of help with how to pad out his reviews a little bit and that will in turn boost his confidence with writing. Perhaps explain that he can have a statement about whether he liked the book then why he did or didn't. Then which was his favourite character and why. What was the best bit of the book in his opinion. Was there anything HE might change in the book if he could. That kind of thing. With a few new snazzy words and a little bit of a change of details it will probably soon look much better. If he had a list of different types of question he COULD answer about each book he could then choose which ones he wanted to use for each review, so not use all of them each time, and then all the reviews would look much more varied.

redskyatnight Sun 30-Jun-13 13:41:00

OP, I sympathise. I have a 9 year old DS who is also a good reader (and reads a wide variety of reading material) but he hates to write. He is also expected to write in his reading diary and the comment is usually along the lines of "this book was good". I've encouraged, suggested, modelled sentences, talked about vocabulary he could use from his reading ... to no avail. I am hoping that his good reading skills will reflect in to his writing some day ... but we haven't go there yet.

KingscoteStaff Sun 30-Jun-13 13:56:25

I'm guessing you mean 'DS, aged 8', rather than your 8th son... If I'm wrong, please accept my apologies (and admiration!)

By the end of Year 3, boys sometimes need a push to get them off Horrid Henry/Captain Underpants/BeastQuest. They are so pleased to be reading Chapterbooks - as are their parents! - that the relatively simple plots and vocabulary go unnoticed. Try How to train your dragon, the Humphrey books, Glory Gardens (if he likes cricket) or the Max books (written as letters).

Writing does indeed follow reading. I think Periwinkle's suggestions of different comment ideas are excellent. You could write them on cards and pick one out (with drum roll) each evening. Then one night he'd be writing about his favourite setting in the book (and why) and the next night he'd be comparing a character with one in another book: 'Hiccup is similar to Noggin as they both have to deal with dragons. However, Noggin is much more important in his tribe as he is the King and Hiccup is the smallest and weakest.'

<<Goes off to reread Noggin books>>

pointythings Sun 30-Jun-13 16:15:42

I hope he doesn't have to write a full on review of everything he reads - that's a sure fire way of turning a child off reading and not very good practice from the school.

I second moving on to more challenging boy-friendly chapter books - the How to Train your Dragon ones are brilliant as they start off quite light and witty and then draw you in as the series go in and explore more complex themes. The vocabulary used is also very good and will really help enrich writing.

kittykato Sun 30-Jun-13 16:41:17

Thank you all so much for the replies! I will definately try to stear him to the books suggested and the 'ideas' for comments sound a fab idea... He does like other books - we're reading Heidi at the mo (me to him) and he's loving that?!? - so got him the 1979 Annual ;D

Great ideas and glad to know he's not the only one too.

BTW he's 8 (sorry never got to grips with internet speak really)

Ferguson Sun 30-Jun-13 17:29:38

Hi - retired male TA here :

I agree about writing following reading, but as someone said, with the operative word often being EVENTUALLY.

In case it helps a bit I'll copy a reply I just gave on the previous thread :


This is a common query, and I always give the same answer because he was (and still is) one of my favourite authors : Arthur Ransome.

Swallows and Amazons was the first, but there are many more. They are old fashioned, and might be too 'tame' for some children. One of my favourites is Coot Club, set on the Norfolk Broads, in REAL locations. The 2-1/2 inch OS map of the Broads shows all the places. The story also conveys the social history of the area. For instance, the children want to communicate with their friends in a nearby town; they say if they send a letter in the morning post, it will be delivered the same afternoon!

Another real place that can be traced on maps (and on the web) is the setting for Watership Down; the housing development that destroyed the rabbits original home is on the outskirts of Newbury, Berks.


The fact that some books are set in real locations, I feel, can give an added interest in looking at the relevant maps or web sites about the places.

If YOU know he's doing well, I wouldn't worry about reports.

ragged Sun 30-Jun-13 17:41:18

DS2 is supposed to be a good reader & he's a terrible writer.

DS3 excels at the act of writing but can't read for toffee.

mrsbaffled Sun 30-Jun-13 20:34:47

I have heard it said that children learn to write/spell by reading.
It just isn't true in some cases. My DS(9) reads for 2-3 hours a day but is a terrible speller with dyslexia. No matter how much he reads, it just doesn't affect his spelling.

xylem8 Sun 30-Jun-13 23:55:55

I think watership down is too old for an 8 yr old.

sashh Mon 01-Jul-13 04:52:39

* Does it always go that good readers = good writers?*

That was not the case with me and still isn't. Mrsbaffled I have only learned to spell better over the last few years, due to the spell check on my computer.

I used to spend ages trying to work out a spelling now I just put something similar and the spell check picks it up. I have noticed I'm doing that less, but still need to do it for some words.

I'm dyslexic (diagnosed aged 33)

FadedSapphire Mon 01-Jul-13 07:07:46

My 8 year old is a very good reader but reluctant writer. Please let your ds carry on with Horrid Henry etc. Maybe try Tom Gates or Mr Gum too.
For a light read but different to Horrid Henry maybe 'Dino Cove' books by Reg Stone. Secret Seven more accessible than Famous Five.
Another fun series is 'Me, you and Thing' [can't remember author].
How to train your dragon is tougher than some of above and children either love or not sure about them.
Don't worry about this though- your ds sounds like he is doing fine.

kittykato Mon 01-Jul-13 08:05:59

Thanks again for the replies, lots of good book suggestions- will def take a trip to the library to get some!

We tried to read Watership Down together and I have to say I struggled with that (and the Never Ending Story!). His 'visual literacy' is quite good and if he likes films that come from books I suggest he/we may try to read it. These books were tough though :*

Thanks again x

FadedSapphire Mon 01-Jul-13 10:19:52

Tom Gates and Mr Gum have pencil sketches in and a comic book style which my ds enjoys.

PastSellByDate Mon 01-Jul-13 10:22:49

Hi Kittykato:

Not sure whether your DS is Y2/ Y3 - but I wouldn't be too worried about the writing thing - DD2 has only just come good on writing (end Y3) although strong reader and DD1 (weak reader) still struggles with writing, but is getting better at avoiding being monosyllabic (I went to the store and bought a jersey. - now more like Yesterday, after football practice, I went to the store and saw the England jersies on sale. I begged and begged, until Mum bought me one).

We worked on several things with writing:

Doing more: get them to write postcards, send thank you cards, enter contests (by writing a letter not e-mail entry) and keep a diary.

Magazines (often children's magazines have quizzes which require writing).

Quizzes at museums, tourist attractions - again gets them writing.

Often books you read have comprehension worksheets - just type in KS2 worksheets for XXXX book - and see what comes up. A lot of times they're free and it really helps to get thinking about the story they're reading going on but also expressing opinions on characters, situations, what might happen next, etc... happening.


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