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Anyone else against parent helpers listening to children read in the classroom?

(164 Posts)
MumbleJumbles Thu 06-Feb-14 10:24:40

I'm feeling a little uncomfortable at the moment with who listens to my children read at school.

My daughter is one of the top girls in her class for reading, my son is in reception so only just started to read.

A parent who I am good friends with, volunteers as a parent helper. She usually does painting / baking / craft stuff in the classroom. But on 2 occasions recently, has come out of school and told me she's listened to my children read and then made a comment on their reading skills (not derogatory, just a general "oh I listened to 'L' read today, coming along nicely").

I don't really feel comfortable with this, and I'm not sure what benefit there is in my kids being listened to by somebody elses parent (whose kids are in the same classes as mine)?

Am I being unreasonable / irrational?

Lottiedoubtie Thu 06-Feb-14 10:26:45

Yes, both.

The elder shouldn't really be commenting about it to you, but it's a non issue really..

Seeline Thu 06-Feb-14 10:27:39

I used to volunteer regularly and listen to children in my DCs class read, as did other parents. We were very clearly told that we should not discuss any of what we did with other parents at all. If that advice is followed, I don't think there is any harm in it at all. I was happy for my kids to read to other parents on the basis that all practice was good. They still read to the teacher/TA, but this was additional.

curlew Thu 06-Feb-14 10:30:45

Tell you what. Become an MP. Get the job of Secretary of State for Education. Battle your Cabinet colleagues for funding. Put loads more money into schools so there can be lots more teachers and TAs. Then they won't need parent volunteers to listen to children reading.

MumbleJumbles Thu 06-Feb-14 10:31:44

Yes seeline I see your point that any reading practice is good practice, I think it was just the comments that came from said friend about my children's reading ability. It made me feel uncomfortable that she feels happy to discuss with me in the playground in front of other mums.

MumbleJumbles Thu 06-Feb-14 10:32:46

But curlew - we didnt USE to have parent helpers or even TA's in school when I grew up? Class of 30, 1 teacher. That was it! Why all this additional help? Have children grown naughtier and naughtier since the 1980's?

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 06-Feb-14 10:34:48

I used to read to parent helpers in school. I don't remember tAs though.

If your dd is struggling and not being helped by a teacher then by all means worry. If she's doing well and getting te chance to read I wouldn't worry.

NK2b1f2 Thu 06-Feb-14 10:34:49

I don't mind parent volunteers reading with children but I would object to parents allowed to help out in their own child's class. And I don't think you are unreasonable at all. Parent helpers should never discuss anything they have done or heard in class. Don't they sign a confidentiality agreement of some sort? I am sure your friend meant no harm but I would remind her that she is not supposed to talk about it.

shallweshop Thu 06-Feb-14 10:36:05

I think YABU. I am grateful for any additional support my children get, particularly my DS who struggles a bit with his reading. For some children, whose parents dont have time/cant be bothered to listen to reading, parent-helpers are invaluable. Maybe this person shouldn't comment to you on child's progress but maybe because she is your friend, she thinks you might like to hear that they are doing well? Personally, I really like hearing any extra information about how my kids are getting on. Hats off to your friend who gives up her own time to go and help.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 06-Feb-14 10:36:11

Oh and really. No other mum gives a crap how your child is doing so why sorry about her making chit chat in the play ground and saying she heard her read.

MumbleJumbles Thu 06-Feb-14 10:40:57

But the thing is, I think she does give a crap about how my children are doing.....she is fairly competitive and was visibly surprised when DD came out of school before Christmas and told me she'd moved up a reading level.

I don't want our kids to be in some sort of competition, but her daughter has already told mine that they're on a challenge to beat my daughter up to the next level. I hate it - I don't think reading should be about chasing your friends up the ladder sad. That coupled with the mum listening to mine read has made me feel uneasy...

HRHLadyG Thu 06-Feb-14 10:41:36

I like the idea of children being given the opportunity to read out loud, its very important. One doesn't need a degree to listen and how lovely of those parents who are able to give some time to this!
I also think if my child had read to a parent I'd be happy to receive a positive comment about it! x

Adikia Thu 06-Feb-14 10:41:47

Why are you uncomfortable about it?

If parents didn't volunteer to listen to reading the children wouldn't get as much practice because a teacher/TA can't hear everyone read that often.

My little brother used to listen to the infants reading when he was year 5/6 as he couldn't do PE and even that was some benefit to the children, Not all parents listen to their kids read at home so for those kids having anyone listen to them read is very important, and for any child extra practice is always a good thing. It doesn't matter who listens, so long as that person can read.

HRHLadyG Thu 06-Feb-14 10:43:36

If you don't want to be competitive and see reading as 'chasing your friends up the ladder'..... then don't. You can't change the way others behave only the way you react x

Adikia Thu 06-Feb-14 10:44:13

Ah sorry, if the other mums openly competitive that's slightly different.

Only1scoop Thu 06-Feb-14 10:45:22

Is it the "coming on nicely" comment which has irked you somewhat?

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 06-Feb-14 10:45:34

Then let her be competitive. It won't change how your dd does. Or hers for that matter.

lljkk Thu 06-Feb-14 10:46:18

I would feel a lot more uncomfortable if I knew someone who helped out in class and I asked how my child was doing & they said "Sorry! Can't say a thing! It's entirely confidential you know!"

What a ridiculous age we live in.

MumbleJumbles Thu 06-Feb-14 10:46:36

Well we haven't reacted at all....they've created this non-existent 'competition'. My daughter is confused as her friend wants to 'challenge' her to race to the next level. We're just keeping going as we are.

Perhaps I should have re-phrased my question: "Should parent helpers listen to kids read in the same class as their own". Perhaps situation could have been avoided if this mum was listening to other classes of kids read, not the same class as her own kids...

Sparklysilversequins Thu 06-Feb-14 10:48:12

You're right it was only one teacher to thirty children. Was that ideal do you think? Do you think all children got the attention and assistance they needed under that system? Isn't it better that we have moved on and there is a higher adult to child ratio?

However there was a parent that used to do this at dd's school too and it used to really annoy me to be told her opinion of how my child was doing. Don't mind them helping out but I don't want to hear their take on t child thanks very much.

shallweshop Thu 06-Feb-14 10:48:20

I'm afraid I've realised there is no escaping 'competitive mum'. It used to wind me up but I now try to rise above it and focus solely on what my own children are doing. All kids learn to read eventually and will get there in their own time.

Poledra Thu 06-Feb-14 10:50:01

Actually, I think you have a point, OP. I have no problem with otehr parents listening to my children read. But I would have a problem with the competition between the children that she's encouraging (even if your DD isn't having anything to do with it). I'd have a quiet word with the teacher, as certainly in our school, parent volunteers are NOT meant to discuss any child's progress with other parents. My friend has heard 2 of my children read, and has never seen fit to comment on it to me, other than to perhaps mention in passing 'Oh yes, I was in <DD2's> class yesterday.'

ReallyTired Thu 06-Feb-14 10:50:19

I think that parent helpers should only help with classes that do not have their children in. Parent helpers often find out some pretty confidental information about the children who they listen to read to. If I had a child with special needs I would not want a parent of another child in the class to know.

I listen to some children in year 4 read and its obvious that their parents never listen to them read. Having parent helpers mean that these children actually stand some chance of being able to read at the age of eleven. I chosen to listen to children read as I want to get my children's school out of special measures. I have no desire to spy on the teacher.

Reading to a TA once a week is simply not enough for child with learning difficulties. Some children are resistant to practicing their reading at home with their parents. Some of the parents have major reading difficulties themselves and struggle to support their children's learning.

I feel that parent volunteers should be interviewed to find out their reasons for wanting to be parent volunteers and given some training.

kilmuir Thu 06-Feb-14 10:50:58

I go in to listen to reading. I would never dream of making comments like your friend. Not acceptable
Several parents have said thank you for finding time to go in.

redskyatnight Thu 06-Feb-14 10:51:12

I think having parent helpers read in school is a good idea (esp if children who don't get this at home).

I think parents helping in their own child's class is a bad idea.

I think parent helpers should not talk to anyone else about the children they read with (when I was a parent helper, we were told very firmly that this was an absolute no no and if parents asked directly we were always to refer them to the class teacher).

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