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Do you lie to parents about DCs progress?

(99 Posts)
TheNightIsDark Mon 13-Jan-14 22:52:42

Bit of an odd one. DS is 4.9. Homework on Friday- 2 reading books, key words, tally chart of 3D objects and putting 3 sentences in correct order.

Lots of the parents are complaining that their DCs found it too difficult and couldn't do it. I've found myself nodding along and saying DS did too. He actually walked through it I just had to show him a tally chart was lines for each one not writing 1,2,3 etc.

I feel a bit like I'm betraying him. He's in no way gifted, he just picks things up easily but admitting that at the gates would sound boastful. It probably does here tbh blush

Do I keep pretending he's not getting it if the others aren't? Or just stay quiet?

TheNightIsDark Sat 18-Jan-14 23:01:05

Very well put tired

Keeping a child on an easy level will bore most of them. Sure fire way to put them off reading.

tiredbutnotweary Sat 18-Jan-14 22:53:58

Beryl I think some parents would feel frustrated at the implication that they can't determine for themselves the correct level, as if most parents are so driven by competition that they would happily have their child struggling and frustrated either with decoding or not following the nuances of the plot.

Many parents, especially those taking an active interest in teaching their children to read, are more than capable of realising when a text is a good fit for their child.

Some schools, at least anecdotally from MN posts, have bizarre rules, from insisting that a child reads every book in each stage to the example above where writing is used to determine the reading level.

I am grateful that in reception DDs school listened & responded to me when I thought she was ready to move up a band. They always assessed, using PM benchmark & always moved her up at least 1 band.

Now, in yr 1 & 5 & 3/4 she's on copper/brown (the level above lime) & not only loves the scheme books (she always has) but reads for pleasure too.

As for comprehension skills well surely learning new things you don't already know about is one of the benefits of reading? For example currently reading Spider McDrew which uses the phrase "you're a hopeless case". No she didn't know what the phrase meant - I would never say it to her, so why would she. She knows what it means now because I explained it to her.

Despite not knowing everything (you know, being 5 and er a human that will hopefully be learning new things all her life), I (& her teacher) know her comprehension skills are more than ample to read at this level.

In The Wonderful Wizzard of Oz (her current bedtime story that we read to her) there is a line:

"All the same" said the Scarecrow, "she needs a heart as much as the Tin Woodman."

The Scarecrow is referring to Oz, who had appeared to him as a "most lovely lady", "beautiful creature" that "looked upon him [the Scarecrow] sweetly." I asked DD why the Scarecrow thought the lady needed a heart as much as the Tin Woodman. She replied "the lady wasn't kind" ... "because she wants the Scarecrow to kill the Wicked Witch of the West." Which I think most would agree is a lovely bit of inference on her part.

If schools have rules that inhibit appropriate differentiation, or if the default view is that parental information about their DCs capabilities can't be trusted then this is, in my view, a disservice to children.

Thankfully I think the majority of schools & parents get the balance right most of the time. But what is the justification for the schools engaging in this limiting behaviour?

simpson Sat 18-Jan-14 16:32:51

But some kids do master inference/comprehension early (DD) and was refusing to read the school books (so we didn't at home) but it was also starting to show in school as well.

SlightlyTerrified Sat 18-Jan-14 16:12:06

So Beryl would you keep all children in your class on the same reading level even if their ability (including comprehension) was a lot higher? Surely it's not about actual reading levels but about making sure children are given the right work for them.

columngollum Sat 18-Jan-14 15:56:28

Then take all the levels and colours off the scheme books and just call them all books. Problem solved.

BerylThePeril44 Sat 18-Jan-14 15:17:09

Parental obsession and competition with reading book levels. Children learn to read at different rates and its important to foster a love of books alongside this. The home reading scheme supports the reading which is taught within school and is not the be all and end all! Also important to develop confidence and build self esteem...not all books have to be 'difficult.' Children can learn to decode letters and sounds pretty quickly...doesn't mean they will master the higher order comprehension skills at the same pace or have the maturity to understand trickier texts.

SlightlyTerrified Sat 18-Jan-14 12:56:00

What's the huge sigh for?

TheNightIsDark Sat 18-Jan-14 11:37:15

Thanks onesie. We signed up to Oxford owls. We have a vast range of ORT and songbirds phonics here but it's only DD (3) who likes them. She obviously doesn't read them she just has an odd biff and chip obsession!

TheNightIsDark Sat 18-Jan-14 11:36:02

No homework this week. Not sure if they had too many complaints!
And no comment on last weeks to say it's been looked at so next time I won't be making sure it's done straight away.

What's the sigh for Beryl?

The not going up a level until they can write seems very strange! You don't need writing to be able to read.

BerylThePeril44 Sat 18-Jan-14 09:32:40

Huge sigh!!!!! From a primary school teacher.

columngollum Sat 18-Jan-14 09:22:55

The dynamic between proper friends and school gate mums is completely different, by definition.

Onesiegoddess Sat 18-Jan-14 09:17:45

Three suggestions

Use reading owls on line. Lots of biff and chip books to be read on a computer at all stages.

With school mums I'd just joke and stay quiet. Some parents are very competitive.

With proper friends I'd be brutally honest about my boys strong and negative points. id want the best for their kids and they would want the best for mine.

SlightlyTerrified Fri 17-Jan-14 14:49:47

Vworp - that seems odd as often reading and writing levels are miles apart, at one point DS1 had a difference of a whole NC level but it wouldn't make sense to have kept him back with his reading as the more they are reading then their writing is likely to improve. I would be very unhappy with this.

VworpVworp Thu 16-Jan-14 23:16:02

Our school don't move you up a reading level until your writing catches up to your reading.

Poor DS- he's on ORT stage 3 (I think...) but reading Tintin by himself at home.

TheNightIsDark Thu 16-Jan-14 21:35:09

Apparently DS hasn't gone up a reading level yet because he's going too fast and they don't know if he's reading the words or guessing them from repeated refrains.
She did say he was very bright it's just getting him to focus that's the issue.

So that's the reading drama dealt with and I haven't heard homework mentioned for a while so I've avoided that one smile

columngollum Thu 16-Jan-14 13:25:30

But that's not fair to assessments in general, because you might only want to know about the "can do this" topics. (A driving test is such a test. You might be a great formula one driver, but your examiner won't find that out.) We got the wrong book once and comments about reading dates, foreign names and all kinds of things. Having found all that out the teacher still hunted out the old books again.

Sometimes people want not to know about all the abilities they're not specifically checking for.

Euthah Thu 16-Jan-14 13:17:31

I fear we are getting off topic now, but you can't use a too easy book for assessment as it won't allow a distinction between 'can do this and no more' and 'can do this and lots more'. DD has only gone up 1 level since pre-school and by not giving her challenging tasks I feel the school is not allowing her how to learn to learn. But that really is off-topic; I'm not going to lie to school about it smile

columngollum Thu 16-Jan-14 12:30:52

Euthah, I guess it all depends on what you believe the school reading book is actually for. If you believe it is for reading/decoding/comprehension improvement, then yes, a too easy book is no good. But if you believe it's for consolidation, confidence, testing/assessing then a too easy book is about right.

And what it's for depends on who you talk to...

Euthah Thu 16-Jan-14 12:25:27

Headinhands I like your health visitor//walking analogy, but I don't think it works. In your analogy, the assessment of your child's walking wouldn't stop them trying more challenging walking skills, and they'd get better, whereas only being given books you can already read makes it hard to improve.

If your child is consistently given books that are too easy, they will be more likely to get bored, or fail to see the point in reading books - and they won't have much opportunity (in school) to get better - which given that they spend the majority of their non-tired hours there during term time specifically so they can learn things, cannot be right. DD got a new book yesterday. She read it to herself, in her head, in about 2 minutes - but (and this might be me being paranoid) I am sure I clocked at least one parent weighing up what colour band it was.

Danann Thu 16-Jan-14 02:16:11

and I've never spent £10 on presents either, I usually get the kids to help me make a card, bathbombs, a candle and some cakes.

Danann Thu 16-Jan-14 02:09:17

There is a Facebook group? That is my idea of hell! Not that I'd be allowed to join because I'm only 25 and have 2 kids, so the alpha mummies at DDs school won't talk to me and the alpha mummies at DS's school are all friends with my parents/their kids are friends with my brothers and sisters (small catholic school and very large family) so they treat me like I'm still 12

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 22:45:58

The child's name only went in the card if the parent gave money hmm the teachers gave out thank you cards at the start of this term. Made me feel horrible for the children who's parents couldn't afford it or wasn't on the Facebook page.

Huitre Wed 15-Jan-14 22:34:59

We're in a wealthy area too but with a v mixed intake at the actual school, which is rather unpopular (mainly due to the mixed and varied intake). I know what you mean. Someone who moved into the area was telling me that at her last school people were giving £20 and £30 each for teacher presents (she's class rep and was organising the collection and asked for my advice). I said 'there are parents at this school who would struggle to find a couple of quid so far better to make it clear that everyone can sign the card even if they haven't given anything and get something small with no pressure' etc. And she did, to her credit. I like our school. Most of the parents/PTA are pretty sensible. It's just the odd one or two who I want to give a good talking to!

TheNightIsDark Wed 15-Jan-14 22:31:44

I gave alpha mummy a tenner <mug> next year DS can just make a nice card.
His TA and teacher are amazing though so I don't feel like I've lost a tenner. He has bowel issues and they've not once moaned about cleaning him up and just said "he's not the first and he won't be the last". Which after having to move his school is a fucking relief!

simpson Wed 15-Jan-14 22:29:08

But I did not spend a tenner.


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