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Free reading/not following a reading scheme

(34 Posts)
LittleMissGreen Sun 16-Mar-14 22:00:50

Just curious really, after lots of recent posts, but not wanting to hijack one of them.
If children become free readers early on, or aren't following the school's reading scheme, is there any impetus to make sure that the children read different genres of book - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays etc, or can they literally choose whatever they like from their home/school library.

columngollum Sun 16-Mar-14 22:30:51

My child is following the scheme and the books are pretty unvaried. I think it's because she's not following it at the conventional speed. I suspect what's she's being given is a diet of old books from under the floor somewhere. So, I guess it must depend on each school. But my inkling would be that, no, there might not be any such impetus, no.

strugstu Sun 16-Mar-14 22:34:26

My grandchild is free reading and is sent to the school library on her own - comes back with what she wants !

nonicknameseemsavailable Sun 16-Mar-14 23:16:40

no I don't think so but then there often isn't on schemes either. the school will presumably use different varieties of text in class. both my children like a mix of fiction, poetry and non fiction and we have had a couple of plays but they aren't that keen on them unless they get to act them out. As DD takes her own books in she often reads 3 or 4 from a series of books or by the same author before moving on to try something else. So long as they aren't all fairies or mermaids or very similar then I think they end up with quite a variety anyway. she wouldn't tend to take poetry or non fiction to school to be her reading book but she is always reading them at home.

Mashabell Mon 17-Mar-14 07:12:08

After the initial stage of learning to read with regular phonics and decoding words like 'cat, mat, sat; keep sleep deep; sting string spring', the purpose of learning to read is to get children to recognise more and more common words by sight, as we do now. The more they are able to do so, the more fluent they become, especially with trickier words like 'treat, great, threaten' or 'only, once, other'.

Conversely, the more they read, the more fluent they become, because the simple act of repeatedly meeting words on a page helps children to become familiar with them. After working out the right pronunciation and meaning for the likes of 'once' and 'soup' a few times in context, they recognise such words instantly too, and they no longer make them stumble.

Once a child can read most common words without stumbling, reading becomes a tool for other learning and u as a parent can simply think about educating your child and what u would like him or her to learn.

There is the sheer entertainment value of reading as a pastime too, of course. Think of what u use and have used reading for. We teach children to read with the aim of enabling them to do the same.

Jaynebxl Mon 17-Mar-14 07:27:07

Possibly not in their individual reading books but as part of literacy they will explore various genres such as information books, poetry, plays etc even very early on in primary.

thegreylady Mon 17-Mar-14 10:43:57

My grandson does a combination of emerald ORT and free reading which involves choosing a book from the library in the KS1 hall (he is Y2) or bringing a book from home which he has to show to the teacher. He is currently working his way through Mr Majeika and Horrid Henry with occasional bursts of How to Train your Dragon smile

redskyatnight Mon 17-Mar-14 12:15:37

I think this can be a problem. DC's old infants school moved children onto free readers too quickly IMO. DD was quite happy to select a variety of books, but DS instantly started picking very simple books all of similar styles. Not great in terms of improving his reading.

In their new junior school even the free readers are guided in terms of suggestion of what to read.

Soveryupset Mon 17-Mar-14 12:21:59

This can definitely be a problem. DD1 and DS1 both became free readers in Y2 when they were roughly a L3 and whilst DS1 was en extremely fluent and prolific reader, DD1 wasn't and it was a nightmare to keep her going.

Books in the library appeared to be either too easy, (rainbow fairies type/big print, etc), too short, too long, too complicated, too scary, it took months to get her to read a proper book, well until we stumbled upon David Walliams and she ploughed through those.

Still we didn't feel she was getting a good spread. Now she is back on the reading scheme, (moved schools) she seems to be getting a better range again, we've had plays, non-fiction, fiction, biographies and they are all pitched at the right level for her.

However this was never a problem for DS1, who I think was a better reader despite being at the same NC level, and also a keener one so didn't mind if a book was too long/too difficult etc...

sittingatmydesk Mon 17-Mar-14 12:29:21

This was a problem with my eldest - he finished the scheme in year 2, and could choose from the library. This meant that he hardly read any fiction until half way through year 3, as he just refused to choose any.

Ds2 finished the scheme in year 1, but the ywar 2 teacher suggested that he go back and see if there were any books he hadn't read. That kept him happy for a term, until he disccovered How to Train your Dragon.

LittleMissGreen Mon 17-Mar-14 12:43:44

Thanks for humouring me all! I think if DS2 were a free reader he would only choose to read science text books, that's what he reads in the evenings. I think it's been good for him to stay on the scheme and read other things too, although he tends to read non-fiction by choice, he does get guided to fiction, poetry etc. too.
Masha "Once a child can read most common words without stumbling, reading becomes a tool for other learning and u as a parent can simply think about educating your child and what u would like him or her to learn. " I guess to a point that is kind of where I was coming from really - WHO decides what the child should be learning from their reading - does the child get complete free choice, or do parents give input, or does the teacher make a suggestion - please take a non-fiction book from the library this week etc. Once a child, is reading only about reading for pleasure, or is there still more they can be learning 'about reading' or is that just taken care of in other literacy lessons, rather than in guided/individual reading etc.

BornFreeButinChains Mon 17-Mar-14 12:47:06


I am taking care of mines extra reading material, i am trying to foster a love of history, have got some younger reader basic history books, childrens ensycoldpiea (sp), books on weather, space, the human body! I love Amazon.

At night when she goes to bed we read, her to me, me to her, and then she randomly picks up things and has a little read, so she is getting all sorts in.

mistlethrush Mon 17-Mar-14 12:47:19

My DS is Yr4 - he was free reading for part of Yr3, but back onto the 'scheme' again this year with the next lot of 'age appropriate' books - hopefully he will finish this lot before the end of the year and read what he wants again. We write down all the books he reads in his reading record though.

Meglet Mon 17-Mar-14 14:12:48

Same as jaynebxl. DS is a free reader but I know his group have been reading poetry, learning how to use an index in non-fiction books and last week they were working on 'skimming' skills.

He chooses books from school but only reads them 50% of the time, sometimes he enjoys them, sometimes I push him to read a different type of book for variety. We have lots of books at home which we work through (I hoarded my favourite childhood books) and I top up from the library, birthday money and the odd bookshop treat.

DebbieOfMaddox Mon 17-Mar-14 14:20:56

DD1's school doesn't follow one scheme. The early books are from a variety of schemes and are given out by the teacher; later on they are a mixture of scheme books and other books levelled by the school, and they are allowed to choose their own from the appropriate level -- but the teacher does keep an eye on what they are choosing and will steer them towards a different genre if their selections are getting too "samey". I can only think of a couple of plays, though -- they seem to cover that more in class than in home reading.

simpson Mon 17-Mar-14 18:05:46

DD is free reading in yr1 and brings her own books from home. I make sure she reads a different variety of books although getting her to read non fiction ( unless about historical figures) is like pulling teeth grin

Mashabell Tue 18-Mar-14 07:52:56

WHO decides what the child should be learning from their reading.
That's a huge philosophical/educational question on which there is no universal agreement. And as parents (and grandparents like me) we end up relying on our gut instincts. Similarly re TV watching, use of computers, joining cubs and brownies, etc. - or not.
And what we do and don't do ourselves influences our children as much as what we encourage them or stop them doing.

is there still more they can be learning 'about reading'
Children keep learning about that throughout their school days, mainly through various comprehension tasks. Schools teach children how to learn as well as different subjects. As parents, we help by asking questions about what our children read.

columngollum Tue 18-Mar-14 09:51:47

Neither we, nor our children, necessarily gain useful or long-lasting insights from reading just one book on a subject. The information given in some lower level non-fiction books is often too curtailed (for ease of reading) to be any use. The children would be far better served by being asked to read smaller sections of bigger and more detailed books. I don't even know where the logic comes from of giving crappy non books to young children. (Well, I do, it makes more profit for publishers.) Children would be better educated by being asked to read real books with proper information in them. (Even if it meant that the child had to spend a week or two with the same book, reading a little at a time.)

columngollum Tue 18-Mar-14 09:54:47

It reminds me of a museum curator trying to palm a crappy non catalogue off on me on account of the age of my child.

Crouchendmumoftwo Tue 18-Mar-14 11:01:22

Hello, interesting post. My son has finished his reading scheme his teacher told me (he is in year 1) and he will be getting books from the school library. I feel a bit lost now that he isn't on a reading scheme and he isn't a free reader. He doesn't pick up books and read them really.

MilkRunningOutAgain Tue 18-Mar-14 12:52:34

My son finished the reading scheme in yr 2 and became a free reader. He is now yr6. He has brought nothing home from the library except captain underpants for about 4 years, he is genuinely fluent and has been since yr 2, he just doesn't like reading. I find it all rather stressful and have tried a variety of strategies to encourage him, as have his school ( I'm not school bashing, the school has been helpful) . There are always a few kids that don't read widely even when perfectly capable. I still hope that one day something will grab his attention and he will read for pleasure....

LadyEnglefield Tue 18-Mar-14 13:13:33

Both my DTDs (8) became free readers this year in Y3. I'm pleased that the school didn't hurry them through the levels but laid emphasis on understanding the text.

They can now choose any book from the class library so I know that its at the appropriate level for them.

However, at the moment they are both obsessed with the Malory Towers and St Clare's books so they read their own books. They are also required to make at least 4 entries each in their reading records detailing what they've read, what they enjoyed about it etc etc.

On top of this they have daily guided reading each day.

angelcake20 Tue 18-Mar-14 15:16:15

DCs were free readers at beginning of Yr2 and had to choose one fiction and one non-fiction each time they changed their books, though the range in the infant library wasn't great. In KS2 they write the books they are reading in their reading record and DD's teacher complains every parent consultation that she reads too much non-fiction so they are checked. However poetry only happens out of school if I insist.

columngollum Tue 18-Mar-14 15:51:32

angel, why not suggest to the teacher that she incentivises/bribes your daughter to read more fiction? Clearly repeatedly moaning/nagging doesn't seem to be working.

Iamnotminterested Tue 18-Mar-14 22:07:45

I'm always stunned on here by the 'my dc were free reading at nursery' quotes.

My DCs school has 30 reading bands. AFAIK no DC, even the best readers, were free readers before year 3.

Horrid Henry and Rainbow Fairies as free reading material in ks1? Oh, c mon!!!!

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