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Confused as to why DD seems to be behind at school

(16 Posts)
confused28 Mon 30-Sep-13 12:46:41


Just wondering if I can have some opinions on whether DD seems to be being kept behind at school before I speak to the teacher.

She is in Year 1 age 5 (june bday). Last year the teachers seemed to have no concerns about her and she got expected for all of her EYFS targets. I was quite confused then as to why she was placed on the bottom table in the year 1 class (from day one so year 1 teacher must have been advised on her position by the reception teachers) as that would indicate to me that they considered her to be behind in her work.

She is also still on pink level ORT. However at home she can quite easily read red level and even some of the easier yellow level books. What's worse it that DD's school divide each level into 10 and she is still only on pink 5 so still 5 levels to go before she gets near red!

She has also had no spelling homework but again at home she does quite a bit of writing and I feel she would definitely be able to cope with some simple spellings.

Does this seem as though she is behind or is this quite normal in year 1? It could be that they are trying to give her more confidence by keeping the work easy but I'm worried that by not challenging her she will fall further behind. It's just that by now most people on here seem to be saying their child is on at least red and is getting spellings.

I also wonder if she is coming across differently at school than how she is at home as the school don't seem to think she can do the things I know she does with me.

manchestermummy Mon 30-Sep-13 13:12:24

Sounds really obvious, but do you if she's definitely on the 'bottom' table? My DD1 (also year 1) tells me that they move tables for various activities. Do you have a reading diary at all? You could always mention that she's finding the current books easy, and don't forget also that comprehension's important, so might it be that she can read fine but not fully understand?

Periwinkle007 Mon 30-Sep-13 13:24:01

I am surprised if they truly think she is on pink that they gave her expected at the end of EYFS to be honest so I think they are probably aware she is able to do more.

I too would be wary about assuming she is bottom table. I thought my daughter's groups were ability based but am starting to think otherwise by little things she has commented on.

I would ask to speak to the teacher and approach it from the point of view of 'how can we help her at home, she likes writing and is keen to practice different words she knows' then you are telling them she is capable of more without being blunt about it. Say what she is reading at home, you could say that over the holidays you spent time on reading and she is now able to read... take the books with you to show them if you are comfortable doing that. It quite possibly is that they haven't tried her with anything harder and she has started to move on but they don't realise. I am still wondering how on EARTH pink level can be split into 10. possibly no words, 1 word a page and a bit more than that but how can they make 10 additional layers?

It is very normal for children to do more at home than at school and much is to do with confidence or finding it hard to concentrate with lots of noise going on around them.

thegamesafoot Mon 30-Sep-13 17:55:32

Confused 28 - I would be quite concerned about the reading aspect and would want to get to the bottom of the system they use.

How often do you get books home and do the children have to read all the books in each band before progressing to the next band?

As an example at dds school children could take home at least a book a night, some took two especially at weekends. Children were benchmarked to see if they were ready to move up a level, this included comprehension questions. So they certainly didn't have to read all the books in a level and could move up more than 1 level if required.

The result of this was that by the end of reception most children were at blue/green, the highest level being read was white and only children with special needs were still on pink. I would add I only know this as I was a parent helping with reading and that this profile of a reception class is perhaps not typical.

If your DD is reading the pink books well (say 90 - 95% correctly) and understands what she is reading then why would they keep her on pink? One way to improve reading skills is to experience new vocabulary - moving up a band is part of that (as is reading from a range of scheme books, but that's a different issue again).

My point is that I have never understood a reading system that enforces reading x amount of books to progress - learning to read has jumps and lulls and a reading system should be looking to capitalise on the jumps and support the lulls.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 30-Sep-13 17:57:56

It does seem a bit behind. My DD, who is the same age, says that everyone in her class is at least on red level for reading with most on yellow or blue. I think it's worth going in and having a chat with the teacher and saying which books you've read at home. I imagine that she is getting a bit bored to be still on pink level.

The other thing I'm wondering is how often she gets a new reading book. At my DD's school they get one daily if they wish and the teacher expects them to be changed at least every other day. This level of practise obviously gives them the chance to improve their skills more quickly because of lots of 1 to 1 attention at home. If your DD is not getting new books several times a week I'd definitely ask if she can start doing so.

In terms of spellings my DD hasn't had any at all which I think is not going to change during Yr 1. I wouldn't worry too much about this unless others in the class are getting them.

lljkk Mon 30-Sep-13 18:01:52

I have no idea what reading colour or table my y1 child is on.
I think ask the teacher all your questions, OP.
I don't know why a teacher wouldn't give work to their child which was adequately challenging.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 30-Sep-13 18:07:21

lijkk - I don't know what table my DD's on (well I know it's name but not where that places her in relation to her classmates) but I really don't see how you can miss the reading colour given it's clearly printed on the reading books they bring home.

shebird Mon 30-Sep-13 18:23:31

It might be that there are a lot of older or quite advanced children in your DDs year. There are a high number of September and October birthdays in my DDs class and the difference between them and my summer DD was noticeable in Y1 but gets less as time goes by. Perhaps she lacks confidence in class and maybe the teacher is just giving her space to find her feet.

trinity0097 Mon 30-Sep-13 18:44:41

Her EYFS targets might have been lower than other children in the class, despite her achieving them. Other children who scored more highly on entry would have been given more challenging targets to reach.

NewNameforNewTerm Mon 30-Sep-13 18:54:52

I wouldn't be too worried about the lack of spellings sent home. Many schools, like mine, do not send spellings home at all.

confused28 Mon 30-Sep-13 19:15:57

Thanks for the advice.

I also find the whole book bands divided into 10 really crazy. I think they have based it on different letter sounds but ultimately it just means that whilst DD is going up the numbers she is not actually learning anything new and is still reading the same old words. Luckily I am doing red and yellow book reading with her at home so I feel she is learning from that.

She can definitely read the Pinks about 95% usually only needs help with words that are unusual and once she has done them once then she remembers them.

Her comprehension is actually very good which makes me wonder whether she just gets very shy when the teacher asks her questions. She can tend to panic and I wonder if her mind just goes blank and then the teacher assumes she can't do it.

Am going to put a polite note in the reading record tonight about it.

lljkk Mon 30-Sep-13 19:35:17

Coz I concentrate on helping Ds read the book rather than memorise sticker colour on the binding.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 30-Sep-13 20:25:58

Confused - a note in the reading record sounds like a good idea. You can always follow up with a chat if you don't get any explanation. It does sound as if your DD may just be worried about speaking out and showing what she can do. Another thing the teacher said about my DD was that she was sounding out every word even though she didn't need to. Does your DD do this? Mine thought this was what the teachers wanted so I said to only do it if she didn't know a word and her fluency is much better now.

lijkk - Your school's books must be more discreet than ours. The colour band is all over the spine plus flashed across the front; difficult to miss!

Periwinkle007 Mon 30-Sep-13 20:52:56

what sort of books do they send home? The pink ones I have seen have actually often had harder words than the red ones, some are very old reading schemes which were more for discussion and using the pictures to inform etc than decoding or common words.

I agree Ghoul, our school ones are coloured stickers and numbers so can't be missed.

blueberryupsidedown Tue 01-Oct-13 09:57:04

Often what a child can do/produce/read at school is not the same as what they can do at home. For some children it's very difficult to concentrate in a classroom with 29 other kids.

I also think that it might be worth going over the basics of phonics. Some children just take a bit longer than others to integrate all of the sounds.

The best thing here is that you have concerns early in the year and can discuss it with the teacher and have a plan. Even if the teacher tells you that your DD is within the expected band in the curriculum, it doesn't mean you can't do more at home - keep up with reading lots and making sure she has different books (books that actually interest her) at home, to read for fun.

The best advice a teacher told me when DS was struggling with his reading was to let him read whatever interests him and take into account the school books too much. He loves Horrid Henry, joke books, fact books about animals, about cars and airplanes, and adventure books such as the Magic Tree House books. Now in year 3 he reads Diary of a whimpy kid (he has read all of them) and the Tom Gates series, they are all books that are not available in the school library. There are so many great books out there, and in my opinion some of the books sent home by school are not that great/recent/FUN!!!!

simpson Tue 01-Oct-13 12:32:47

My DD is in yr1 now and I volunteer in a reception class and a child on pink level books at the end of reception in both schools would not have got expected on the EYFS scores at the end of reception.

That said, it does sound like your DD is higher than that but is having to wade through every book at each level which is most annoying. I would ask the teacher about it.

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