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Reception teacher told us not to read everyday

(347 Posts)
TeaJunky Fri 06-Dec-13 11:58:32

Ok, so dd started bringing books home. She initially brought the purple level with no words then progressed onto pink quite quickly. She reads her school reading (phonics) book to me everyday and as the reading book is changed only once a week, she began to find this boring quite quickly.

I wrongly assumed that she is perhaps ready for something more challenging and I wrote this in her reading record.

Dd's reception teacher called me in at the end of the day and proceeded to show me the whole reading scheme on the trolley and explain that it only consisted of 500 words and the whole point of it was to achieve fluency blah blah (I already know all this). She said dd had been tried out on some 'harder' books and struggled with them hence she stayed on pink.
That was fine by me, so I suggested that she perhaps needed a new book more often as she read everyday. The teacher said 'really, don't read everyday because it can get boring really quickly'.
I pointed out that it actually wasn't me pushing dd to sit down and read, it was her bringing her book bag from her room and literally dragging me onto the sofa to read - she said 'honestly, don't let her do it everyday' hmm

What ?!

The second thing that worried me about the whole conversation was the fact that the reading scheme only went up to level red, so the whole of the reading scheme was only three levels; purple (pre words), pink and red. She said that's the highest they can go in reception on the scheme.

Am I right to feel that this is a very limiting and pre-determined scheme with no room for differentiation or individual progression?

This is a highly thought of school and we are happy with everything else but the whole reading convo we had seems so bizarre.

thoughts ?

givemeaclue Fri 06-Dec-13 12:03:36

Yes you are right, that is ridiculous that she says not to read with her every day, most school encourage that. Also limiting reception reading to red??? The minimum standard they were aiming for at our school was yellow by end reception and some finished on level 9,10 etc and are now progressing to free reading in y1 having done all the levels.

Make appt with head and get other books out the library. Keep reading every day.

littleredsquirrel Fri 06-Dec-13 12:06:10

Completely ridiculous.

I'd be teaching her myself using songbird phonics books from the library or bookpeople

I agree make an appointment with the head. This just sounds like something to make the teacher's life easier, not something that's in the best interests of your DD.

Periwinkle007 Fri 06-Dec-13 12:08:52

the scheme shouldn't only consist of 500 words.

My eldest daughter started reception on book band 5 and ended on book band 11, my youngest is in reception now and is on book band 4.

I do NOT like the idea of a child being limited like that. I would try and get hold of a set of books yourself, something like songbirds phonics or read write inc stuff and do them at home, ignore the school ones if they are going to be so ridiculous.

reading every day is important IMO. far better to do 2-3 mins a day than 10 minutes once a week as it is regularly reinforcing what they are learning.

Periwinkle007 Fri 06-Dec-13 12:09:52

what scheme is it out of curiosity?

brainonastick Fri 06-Dec-13 12:10:18

That is shocking.

Dds' school let's them swap books every day, bring home more than one if they want, or the same one over and over, and go all the way up to free reading if and when ready - ie completely child led and aimed at encouraging a love of books and reading.

Anything else would make deeply concerned, and I'm sure Ofsted would be interested to hear about it.

BrianTheMole Fri 06-Dec-13 12:12:11

That sounds rubbish. My dd brought 2 books home a day in reception. She was ready for that and the teacher obliged.

LittleMissGerardPoppyButler Fri 06-Dec-13 12:14:05

Is it the Oxford reading tree? You can read Ebooks for free online.

My son in year 1 only gets his book changed twice a week but we read every day so I asked for 2 books as apparently you have to read all the books in each level before they move you up hmm

When he was in reception they only changed them once a week, but they gave all the children 3 books a week.

You could ask for more books?

domesticslattern Fri 06-Dec-13 12:15:54

My DD1 is also at an Ofsted outstanding school and we were told in reception that she would not get any reading books until Easter. "We don't want any child getting ahead" were the precise words. And when the books did come, my god they were tedious. And slow. And shit.

Rather than picking a fight, we used it as a fantastic opportunity to read all those picture books and good stories at home and the library. More time reading for enjoyment, generally sharing and loving and producing and talking about books every day- rather than obsessing about book bands and what the school provided. We picked up some phonic books at the library, but most spent time sharing picture books, reading signs around the place, playing word games etc. It all worked well. I found it was not a very good idea to try to take on the school.

Aeroaddict Fri 06-Dec-13 12:20:36

That does sound odd. I don't think I would be making a big thing of it with the school though. I would and did just get reading books out regularly from the library at the level you think she is at, and read them at home. I think often as parents we tend to get a little bit too focused on reading, and forget that there is an awful lot more for children to deal with in reception.

DS finished reception on yellow level books, although reading much harder stuff from the library. This term he has shot up through the levels, to the point that he has gone up a level several weeks in a row. His school books have now caught up with where I think he should be. I don't think it did him any harm taking it slower in reception, as they are still so young, and busy settling into school.

TeaJunky Fri 06-Dec-13 12:34:25

Wow lots of responses, thank you.

The school reading scheme is mixed, so some songbirds, some floppys phonics, some ort fiction and non fiction.

We do have the songbirds phonics at home and have just carried on reading at home everyday , although I clearly write it in her reading record which scheme/ level, and title of book.

Her teacher seemed to have this idea that I'm a pushy mum. Reading everyday is pushy? I think not.
We do have hundreds of lovely books at home which she mentioned, and said reading to the child is more important - I told her we've done that from 4 months old anyway when dd joined the library, and still do and also visit the library regularly. She just seemed to brush that off though.

Overall she IS a lovely teacher, she's very on the ball with sending extra phonics stuff home etc, and that's probably why this conversation seemed so strange to me. confused

I'm also quite reluctant to step over her and go to the head as she said I can approach her any time if I have a concern Etc.

I see little point in making a huge deal of it as we have the resources at home (some of them which are identical to schools), but it's just the whole approach that's put me off. And the fact that reading levels are restricted and words to 500 (sorry to write almost shorthand, out at the mo)

Huitre Fri 06-Dec-13 12:39:35

The reading levels being restricted would be the biggest worry for me. Red at the end of reception seems a very low target to be aiming for! To put it into context, at the start of Y1, there were only one or two children in DD's class still on red and this is not a particularly high attaining class over all. If the whole class is being restricted to the level of the lowest attainers that seems a very bad way to proceed to me. Could you ask her why they restrict levels like this? Maybe her reply might lead to an interesting conversation!

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 06-Dec-13 12:43:59

I would be intrigued to know what she does with kids who can already read when they start. Red is very low to aim for by end of reception.

Holding back and restricting the levels would worry mea hell of a lot.

brainonastick Fri 06-Dec-13 12:50:11

I wonder how the 'value added' figures are worked out? The ones that show how much the school is bringing on the children from their starting point. Maybe they are trying to get an artificially low starting point. Just a thought, might be complete rubbish. But the restricted levels seems so bonkers that I an think of another reason!

Pointeshoes Fri 06-Dec-13 12:54:14

I would just carry on with picking out books from the libary , getting other reading scheme books , and teaching her yourself. I can see her getting bored at been on the same level for that long.

TeaJunky Fri 06-Dec-13 13:04:22

It's very strange and I think I need another chat with her as much as I feel cringey about it confused

Also, the school has an overall educated, middle class intake so attainment isn't low/ language isn't an issue.

Could it be that the school isn't using the scheme per se, but purely for the fluency aspect hence the common 500 words?
Interesting point about value added.
Utterly baffling.

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Dec-13 13:06:13

Hi TeaJunky:

The teacher is oddly right - don't read the school book everyday.

Start going off plan is my advice.

Now if you're unsure and only starting out (which it sounds like for the latter at least) try something like Oxford Owl: lots of early reading advice/ ideas for parents and tons of free e-books:

They also have an early maths site (which I now see has been expanded to all of primary):


My advice is at home read the school book maybe 2-3 times a week (if she's doing well (say 85% or more of the words correct) and getting a bit bored with it. And 2-3 times a week have her chose one of her own books or do an e-book off Oxford Owl. We read once a week to our girls (a chapter from a book like Charlotte's Web, Lemony Snicket, Christmas Carol, etc...).

All in all we find the variety keeps them interested and enjoying reading.

School don't seem to mind as long as reading is occurring.

And trust me 3 weeks of Big Panda/ Little Panda (which DD2 had in Y1) would kill the joy of reading in anybody.

mistlethrush Fri 06-Dec-13 13:09:53

We have always got the reading scheme book 'out of the way' and then gone onto something else that DS enjoys reading more. It was the only way to survive R - Yr2 bookwise. It doesn't seem to have hurt DS in any way and he reads well above his age and is interested in a very wide ranges of types of books (as long as they are not the school reading scheme ones).

TeaJunky Fri 06-Dec-13 13:36:16

Hi pasta, thanks for your reply.

The reason for my surprise is not that I was told not to read the school reading book everyday - it seemed more of a general 'no need to read everyday' kind of approach, with emphasis on reading to dd everyday. Which she knows we do anyway - so it's a bit of a pointless comment to make.

Had I been in her place I think my instinctive response would be ' since dd reads every day, I'll just change the book for her more often so she doesn't get bored'. So simple really.

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Dec-13 13:54:35


I've so been there...and also don't get the teacher's attitude.

It's probably a knee-jerk reaction of a defensive teacher that's teaching by rote. Today is Tuesday it's book 3 in the scheme in book bags....

Genuinely - don't put a lot of value in the guided reading diet they send home - especially if only 1 book a week.

Go off plan. Read what you want. Read what your DD wants. Read anything and everything.

You're right to be reading daily and your DC will be the better off for it!

allyfe Fri 06-Dec-13 14:29:57

I would find it odd to limit the children to Red at the end of reception. A friend of mine's daughter started reception with a higher reading level than that. I was worried that the school was sending home books that were too easy for my dd, so we got the Usborne First reading book series from the Book People - they have reductions at the moment before Christmas, and if you catch one of the 15% ones it is only £25 for 50 books which my daughter is loving. They do get harder quite quickly (the only problem), but until we get organised enough to make regular trips to the library, they are providing us with additional reading fodder. They are also all phonics based. We are only allowed two books a week from school because they simply don't have enough otherwise. It is a bit of a shame that it has to work like that. And if a child wants to read every day, it seems madness not to encourage them.

I love that my daughter is enjoying her reading smile

DeWe Fri 06-Dec-13 14:43:29

I would interpret that as don't read the reading book every day, not don't read anything.
I was amazed when I came on here and found people were expecting to read every reading book 3-4 times. I never read it with the dc more than once, even if they hadn't done it before. There are so many books at home that there's no need to keep on at the school books.

I wonder if your dd isn't keen to read at school and has said something about "mummy making me read..." and they're just trying to get you to back off, perhaps.

When I was at school, one of the parents were told "please don't read every day because we're running out of books". (primary school, this was in year 2). Parent preened themselves thinking that their child was so good at reading that even the books suitable for year 6 were easy for their child... fast forward a couple of terms and the parent was devastated to find that they weren't, in fact there were several children in year 2 that were ahead on the reading scheme.
What the teacher had meant was that they were running out of books on that level, and the child wasn't ready to move up a level yet. Mother wasn't pfb (this was at least #3) nor particularly precious, so I think the teacher thought they would understand, unfortumately they didn't.

When dd1 was in reception they limited to top books were ORT 3. Then they went onto free reading. Year 1 was limited to ORT6. I had to point out to the teacher that Harry Potter at home, ORT6 in school, no way was it worth any of our time reading the school books. That went out of the window very quickly when a new head arrived. I didn't realise until then it was the head that kept that one. Reading between the lines with that knowledge, I don't think her reception teacher thought it was a good idea either.

mercibucket Fri 06-Dec-13 14:48:55

whats the big rush? when they can read, they can read. job done

be grateful the teacher has spared you years of ploughing through biff n chip daily. just read other stuff with her or get her to read more interesting books to you

we have to read the book every day! i have done 8 years of biff n bloody chip daily (spread over a number of children of course). if only our teacher was as kind as yours ..

buy her a special big box of chocs for xmas grin

TeaJunky Fri 06-Dec-13 15:12:16

DeWe - thanks for your speculation but it's highly unlikely dd has mentioned anything remotely along the lines of 'mummy making me read'. As I've already pointed out, dd is very eager to read everyday and goes on and on at me until I sit down to listen to her. It is always initiated by her and even her teacher said how eager she is to do everything at school.
She does love learning and reading and I don't see why I should restrict that.

It isn't a big rush, but when someone tells you 'this is the highest level reception can reach', then professional or not, something is very wrong.

mercibucket Fri 06-Dec-13 15:36:27

I don't see anything wrong tbh. they just mean their book scheme. you can read what you want at home. a lot of kids in different countries don't even learn to read til 7. they just learn quicker. you say the school does well so why worry

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