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Year 1 reading levels- feeling a bit freaked by other parents

(89 Posts)
ladyandthechocolate Sat 21-Sep-13 20:43:51

DD is very young for her year, late aug and has just gone into y1. She started reception with no reading ability and now is on a reading level which I think is magenta. She still has to sound out most words and can find the process quite frustrating. She is getting to grips with some of the tricky high frequency words (we, you, here, said) but they are not coming easily. She adores being read to and we've recently finished the magic faraway tree and charlotte's web so her understanding is there.
Anyway, I wasn't worried until I went to a party today and some of the mums were chatting about school and reading levels, one was moaning her ds is finding the yellow level too easy and needs to be challenged. God, I hate these comparisons but tbh I was a bit worried about dd's progress. It seemed all the others seem to be streets ahead.
We read every day but should I be doing more?

ladyandthechocolate Thu 26-Sep-13 22:01:19

Feeling a bit better this week. We've had a couple of truly dull books from school and we've plodded through them. I know it must be hard to write books like this but seriously!? Then we had some spellings and she whizzed through those with no problem.
Am taking great reassurance from the posters who have shared similar stories. Thank you smile

Wuldric Wed 25-Sep-13 23:16:30

Honestly and truthfully please do not worry.

I was always worried about DS and reading - he was slow to it and behind his peer group. This carried on and carried on. I worried myself silly, really. Posted on MN a few times about trying to find books that interested him.

But DS surprised me. He often does. After literally years of worrying with him being the last on all the reading schemes and what have you, they did a reading age test with him and he was 3 years ahead of his chronological age. Which isn't stunning or anything but at least he wasn't behind.

It turned out that he was a maths/music type. They find their own ranges and interests. Seriously, you have to promise me not to worry.

BeaLola Wed 25-Sep-13 23:09:06

I have a 5 year old DS.

Yes its bloody hard to do the la la la and block out the other parents doing the competitive bit OP. Theres some good advice on here and some that makes me feel more a failure than I sometimes do. But when I have occasionally posted on here worried there have been some kind Mnetters with sage advice that have made me feel better - I hope you have felt that too in between the not so helpful comments.

At my sons primary school they do not give books out until Year 1. In reception they bring back story books of their choice for the parents to read.

My son started school last year only being able to write 1 letter and no idea re phonics, counting above 10. In his class were children who could already read very well, write sentences , count to 100 and various other bits that he couldn't.
Tonight we sat there as he read to me the book he has chosen - he has started reading -fantastic - in the last 3 weeks his progress is measurable- his reception teacher and new teacher assure me when I raised concerns that he was fine - he would get there in his own time and speed and not to compare and that being interested in reading and enjoying being read to would all help.

In an ideal world he may have been able to do more before he started school than he actually could but in his 5 years he has coped with a lot more than I ever have had to including getting us as his new parents at 4.5 . Thats not an excuse but he is happy and settled and that is as important or even more so than what level books he is on.

OP do have a word with yr childs teacher as im sure it will make you feel better and keep on reading to her like you are and la la those competetive mums !

PeppermintCreamsSaga Wed 25-Sep-13 21:35:23

My Yr 1 son is a very able reader (sorry) but there is no way I could sit down and read him proper chapters books like you do with your daughter. I've tried him with Roald Dahl, Dinosaur Cove etc but he really doesn't like them yet. She sounds wonderful. smile

I was with my niece, who is a couple of months older than DS, a couple of months ago at my sisters house. (with DS) She had in her hand one of the ORT read at home stories. She couldn't read it (DS did straight after) but looked at the pictures and made up a wonderful story relating to the pictures. There is also no way that DS could do that, and I know who will do better at story writing in the future.

Learning to read is not a race. DS was one of the early readers in his class, but the rest of them are slowing or quickly catching up. (Not that they are/were behind) DS has also started to slow down and plateaux with his reading.

thegamesafoot Wed 25-Sep-13 07:52:12

Are you able to do the reading in the morning? My dd is also a summer baby although not as young as yours. I discovered that reading over breakfast was way better for her - it's easy to take a breather and although it meant building a bit more time into the morning routine for us it was definately worth it.

I mean when I read my own book at night my eyes quickly droop, I can barely manage a page or two, if I only read last thing before bed it would take me half a year to finish a book.

I've also noticed how poorly both my husband and I are at reading out loud to dd if we've suffered a bad nights sleep and are therefore already tired at her bed time - loads of mistakes, leaving out words etc.

Depending on how tired your dd is when she reads it might be significantly contributing to her frustration levels.

PrincessScrumpy Tue 24-Sep-13 23:38:04

We've just had a parents meeting with the teacher for dd (everyone in the hall type occasion) and the key thing they said was to make sure dc have down time as they are working so hard at school they need time to just relax and watch tv or play. Please don't up the homework, she will get it. One day it will just click and she'll be able to read everything.

dd1 has always loved books and due to her rushing to show me her latest reading books others in the playground (competitive mums) have commented that dd's reading level is high for her age (although not high compared to mn levels). I've always played it down and said they all get to the same level in the end so doesn't matter how quickly they get there as long as they enjoy learning. Once it's a chore you will really struggle. Dh and I are both writers so it's not really surprising a love of words has been passed on to dd but people love to compare.

You don't have to wait until parents evening you know - I would email the school and ask to speak to the teacher, not because I think there is a problem but I think the reassurance would really help you to relax.

christinarossetti Tue 24-Sep-13 22:04:04

It sounds like you're doing absolutely plenty with her at home, and it's great that her teacher responded so positively and promptly to your note.

My dd is now in Y2 and it was really noticeable in Y1 how some children absolutely took off.

ladyandthechocolate Tue 24-Sep-13 21:37:01

Thanks for the later replies. I put a note in her reading book for her teacher today and got a reply which said along the lines of "make it fun, practice writing words on a steamy mirror, lots of repetition etc.". She didn't say she thought there was a problem but I guess we'll talk more at parents evening after half term.
Are we doing enough at home? Well, I can't feasibly think we can do more. We come home, bit if tv as the DC are all pretty tetchy at this time. Then tea time, baths and homework. Usually the reading book, some maths, a game or something similar. Some nights we don't get much done as she is so grumpy. So in essence I think I've answered my own question! I still am a bit concerned, reassured by some of the replies though so we just need to continue doing what we're doing and hope that her progress continues.

morethanmama Tue 24-Sep-13 11:02:08

Actually, and I'm probably going to get flamed for this, but as the mother of an August born I have always thought that I need to help my dd to ensure that she didn't fall behind her peers in her class. I might not like the fact that she is the youngest but I don't want her self esteem damaged by being less able than her classmates. She is just in year 1 and nearing the end of blue band btw. She couldn't read at all when she started reception but finished on yellow - but I have read a lot with her at home. Her comprehension is spot on too.

Likewise I do lots of maths with her but also role play to help her socially and we have lots of play dates out of school activities.

I would do all of this with a September born too - but really I think you need to ask yourself if you are doing enough at home, - and only you know the answer to that.

PassTheTwiglets Tue 24-Sep-13 10:43:52

This has been said lots but just to add that my DD is another one who was a slow starter with reading but who is fine now. She wasn't interested in books at home and she was one of the slower readers in Reception. But fast forward to Y6 and she's one of the best readers in the class, LOVES reading and is getting very good SATs levels for literacy/reading/writing/whatever they call it these days! Assuming no particular problems (which your teacher can alert you to) they'll all come out more or less the same at the end...

BlackeyedSusan Mon 23-Sep-13 19:31:35

children vary. your dd could just be going into reception instead of being in year one. ds is 2 months older. 2 months ago he was not interested in reading books. ideally i would like him to be a little further head, but as yet I m not panicking. he is beginning to read more aand has improved over the laast 2 months quite a lot.

kilmuir Mon 23-Sep-13 18:30:15

I help out listening to pupils read in a year 1 class, huge variation in reading abilities, ignore those parents who go on and on about levels

NewBlueShoesToo Mon 23-Sep-13 14:57:26

Ignore it, some parents love competitive book colours (I think it's because the only thing left that so obviously graded).
Keep reading to your daughter and with her. A love of books is much more important.
You could try reading picture books which are easier so that as you read your daughter will begin to see and identify some of the words, repetitive books are really good for this.
If she is making progress and is happy to read and beginning to write then stick with what you are doing and let her enjoy reading.
Good luck.

LegoWidow Mon 23-Sep-13 14:48:19

Try not to worry - easier said that done I know. My son is in Year 2. He spent most of reception on red level and was on red up until about autumn half term of year 1, so less than a year ago - just after he turned 6. It then really "clicked" for him and he's raced through the levels and is on white level now. He was moving up levels every few weeks at one stage. He loves reading now and sits in bed reading his encyclopaedia or chapter books most nights. They all develop at a different speeds.

ixqic Mon 23-Sep-13 14:24:50

fwiw, my now 8yo was not interested in reading at all till the middle of yr 1 when she was about to turn 6.

By the middle of yr 2 (nearly 7) she was reading independently including the Roald Dahl books, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. (recommended for 9 -11 yr olds)

I'd say that as long as you read to her and she's understanding well and has a decent working vocabulary then she will be fine. I wouldn't start to worry till she turns 7 which is when they start formal teaching in Scandinavian countries.

The Oxford Reading Tree is slow crucifixion for parents. I stopped reading it by the end of the autumn term in yr 2 (when she was 6.5yo and she was had a good uptake of high frequency non-phonetic words) and we read whatever we liked in bed. She'd read for 5 mins and I read the rest till lights out. Round the middle of the Summer term I listed the books we/she had read in her reading log and I was pleasantly surprised.

my2bundles Mon 23-Sep-13 12:44:00

Dont worry, my son is one of the older children in yr 1 and he sounds to be at the same level as your daughter. I flagged my concerns with his teacher and she reassured me that he is doing fine, he is making progress at his pace and is average in the class. They are s5till woring on blending, phonics etc and they expect a reading leap in most of the children at some point during the year, each child will differ as to when this happens. Dont worry your dd is where she should be, please ignore xxwowxx@s clap trap.

lljkk Mon 23-Sep-13 11:38:20

Do other people have these levels up on a big poster by the classroom door? Else, how in the world do you know what is above or below colour wise? I'd be nodding politely & happily cluelessly at "yellow", "red" or "magenta" levels.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 23-Sep-13 11:00:12

I'd say that is almost exactly where my dd was at the beginning of year 1. I didn't question it but knew she was in the hands of a very capable teacher. They also do read write Inc. as said before she has made really good progress.

So yes, have a word with the teacher about your concerns but please ignore silly comments about ensuring your child is in the top group. There is just so much more to life! smile

treadheavily Mon 23-Sep-13 02:49:03

ladyandthechocolate my dd's reading level in Y1 was only just above average. I was a bit surprised because I, like you, expected her to be like me (I read before going to school.)

I was even more surprised that she was singled out of her year for 2 extension groups and sent to the local high school for them. I couldn't understand given her very average-ness at reading & writing.

However, her teacher assured me that she was indeed very clever and that the reading & writing would happen.

And it did. By the end of Y2 she had finished all reading levels and assessed to have a reading age of 11.

So my point is, try to trust the teacher and to be patient with your child. The learning may not happen the way that you or I wish or imagine, but it will happen. It would be really interesting to know where your daughter is at in a year's time.

Anja1Cam Sun 22-Sep-13 22:03:42

A bit late to this thread - and all the reassuring words have been said. Progress and interest are great, and she'll get there. For some kids, at some point it 'clicks' and they speed ahead, others need to apply themselves more.

I have seen in my DDs how different they can be, and for the record both had the same reception teacher. neither could really do more than recognise the letters in their own first names at the time they started reception:
DD1, late July baby third youngest in her class, took to reading effortlessly and I never had to make much effort practising with her - we do and did read every day at home. She enjoyed it and was a 'natural', holding her own with the best readers in her class from day one.
Three years later
DD2 , early Sept baby, oldest in her class, took much longer. by Christmas we were still working on blending 3 letter words. I had to muster all my patience not to show my frustration at the lack of progress and the endess need for repetition. She did make progress. She is reading fine, enjoying it too - but at a very different pace. She enjoys writing enormously too, but again the 'quality' of her handwriting is nowhere near where DD1 was at the start of Y1. On the other hand she's a natural in mathematical reasoning, something I had noticed already when she was a toddler...

So: don't worry, don't get sucked into competitiveness, and be guided by the teacher (who in my case had some suggestions on how to support DD2 even though she was not worried in any shape or form by the slower rate of progress)

PeanutButterOnly Sun 22-Sep-13 21:55:34

Hi - if it's any reassurance my DD was in year 1 last year and is a Nov birthday. She was struggling to blend simple words this time last year and I was probably even more worried than you because she's an Autumn birthday. She did come on a lot in a year. We bought an Usborne set of readers (yellow box set called Very First Reading) which helped a bit and I did a lot of extra practice with her that I hadn't had to do with my first born child who was June Birthday

Have a word with the teacher, that's all you can do really! It is a worry and a shock if for whatever reason they don't develop in something as you think they might. But they are all different. Year one can be an anxious year for reading from a parent's point of view - from what I've seen there can typically be a large range in that year from those free reading chapter books to those still working on the basics.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sun 22-Sep-13 21:27:10


Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sun 22-Sep-13 21:26:45

There could be any number of factors here. She's only jut gone into yr 1 so there is plenty of time to help her and get her where she needs to be. ORT has to be one of the most boring schemes ever. My dd thrived on library books and rainbow fairies way before she was moved up on the damn things.interest is key , she will do better reading books she enjoys.

In all honesty the teaching may or may not have been that great it might not be your dd who has the problem if that makes sense. Hopefully her new teacher will be able to pin point where her strengths and weaknesses lie. Once you know that you can begin to know what to work on. Better now than in yr 2 or three. If it does turn out that this is how it is and she naturally is slower to pick it up , it will sink in, she won't be on red forever but of she's getting annoyed with herself then obviously it's best to act sooner rather than later before it puts her off for good.

Don't be hard on yourself it is very hard to know, if it was easy you wouldn't need to post. I hope your dds new teacher can she's some light. smile

skyeskyeskye Sun 22-Sep-13 21:18:00

Don't worry about it. Its just her age and she will catch up at some point.

Our school identifies the younger ones who need more help and they get one to one assistance called Reading Recovery.

ladyandthechocolate Sun 22-Sep-13 21:14:21

wheres I do agree it is best to find out, that's why I posted to begin with,to get some general feedback on other people's DC at a similar stage.

I feel she should be better at reading than she is as I am very academically qualified and while DH hasn't got great academic qualifications for other reasons, he's certainly not daft. We've read lots and lots to her since she was a baby. I think she finds the whole decoding aspect quite frustrating and I sometimes feel uncomfortable reading with her as her irritation shows through and ruins her concentration. Maybe it's a maturity thing or is it a sign of an underlying problem?
She's done oo/ee/ch/sh and understands those.
We do reading eggs but not regularly. We do some reading pretty much every day but sometimes it's really really hard to find lots of time for extra work for reasons I can't go into without giving myself away. That should improve with time though.
Feeling a bit sad and worried now. Not particularly with what others have said but just the realisation that there could be a problem and how I'm going to fix it.

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