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Differentiating in Reception

(28 Posts)
13lucky Mon 24-Mar-14 20:21:03

Hi there, my ds is in Reception (October born so one of the oldest). He is good at reading - we have the Chip, Biff, Kipper box set at home and he can read the Level 6 ones. They don't use these at school - they use the Read, Write programme and he does phonics everyday in a group and reading once a week in a guided reading group. The books he brings home are not challenging him - the current ones say Phase 3 on the back if this means anything to anyone here? He gets two books per week with no chance of changing them earlier than this because they discuss them in their group. I have asked whether we can have access to other books but have been told no. We do go to the library but I'm finding it difficult to find the correct level of book. I'm wondering whether I should be pushing the school to try and provide books more to his level. However I also understand that he needs to be part of a reading group to develop his social skills in discussing the story with his peers (something he struggles with as although he knows the answers, he is a shy boy). The other aspect I'm surprised at is that they don't do any formal maths in reception...obviously they do a lot of maths through play but they don't do any 7+3=10 for example. My ds was doing this at preschool and I'd like this to continue - obviously we can do this at home with him but I wondered why the school doesn't differentiate when they have children who are capable of this. I probably sound like a really pushy parent - I'm not - my ds just seems a bit bored. Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

freetrait Mon 24-Mar-14 20:35:49

My daughter is reading at the same level. She gets those books home from school now as well as phonics ones (RWI orange ones). I think a combination of both is working well for her. We are lucky her school will change book when she is ready and happy to give her this level book. However, we also have a lot of reading books at home as I bought them when DS was in YR and she is working her way through these as well as the school ones.
Try Oxford Owl or you could sign up to Reading Chest if your library hasn't got much to offer. It's worth asking in the library though and trying different things- I've found DD will try all sorts and at this stage (6) they can have a go at quite a lot of things. DD like fairy tales so I got some easy readers of these out of the library for her.

Maths is not done in a formal way, but there should be plenty of opportunity for learning and challenging himself. In a way YR Maths is pretty open ended and teachers should be looking for where children are at and then challenging them to solve the next problem. Worth a chat with his teacher?

Littlefish Mon 24-Mar-14 20:35:53

The school sounds like the have the right approach to reading with your ds in that they are supporting him to improve at the things he finds difficult. Have you spoken to the librarian about suitable books for your dd? To be honest, I would just let him choose books that he is interested in and then support him to read them! rather than expecting him to read them independently.

Re. The maths. At this stage, it is far more important that your ds is able to understand and use mathematical concepts practically, than be able to record them in a formal way. They will begin to introduce more formal recording as the year progresses. Just do some with him at home.

simpson Mon 24-Mar-14 20:36:16

Are you sure they don't do maths? I am in a reception class and they do lots of "if you had 7 marbles and X gave you 3 more, how many would you have?" type of questions.

Do you think they do this and your DS does not realise its maths?

Re the reading I would check out the Oxford owl website as it has loads of free ebooks online.

I would also read things like Topsy and Tim (my DD loved them when she was reading stage 5/6.

columngollum Mon 24-Mar-14 20:41:10

You're out of luck I'm afraid. Schools just teach what they teach and do what they do. If you want to continue his education programme the way you like it then you'll have to use evenings and weekends. Pushing the teachers just upsets them and gets them to ignore you and you still don't get the schoolwork that you want.

ps, try charity shops for reading books. You spend years going through dusty, old books looking for the right ones, and then you have to store them all somewhere. But such is life! If you have some space in the garage buy books now for him to read later, saves you some rooting around in old book boxes.

freetrait Mon 24-Mar-14 20:42:17

Ooo Topsy and Tim, thanks for that tip simpson, I think DD would love those. Will get some (along with the big pile of other books I've got her- I get very excited when they start reading grin.

13lucky Mon 24-Mar-14 20:44:04

Thanks for the helpful replies. Yes I'm sure they do a lot of maths in this way simpson - he just loves having maths written down for him to do! And obviously if he's keen, I'd like to capatalise on this. But maybe that's just something we need to do at home if it's not usual for this in reception. I'm very lucky that he just wants to do reading, writing, maths dd never did! I suppose I just want to make sure he is being stretched enough to keep his interest in school.

columngollum Mon 24-Mar-14 20:46:07

My daughter has never been academically challenged in school and she still loves it.

columngollum Mon 24-Mar-14 20:50:37

I think it might also have something to do with the temperament of the child. I think there's too much going on for lack of academic rigour to matter for her at the moment. At school it just doesn't seem to be an issue. The homework gets done in five minutes too, so that's not an issue either, nothing is.

simpson Mon 24-Mar-14 22:17:10

I think CG is definitely onto something. Does your DS enjoy school?

For me that would be the most important thing for reception.

The harder, more formal work starts in yr1.

DD loves school but she will kick off ( at home) if not appropriately challenged enough (which luckily has not been a problem this year).

Personally I would just keep doing your own thing with the reading and not stress about it too much as the more formal assessing will not start till next school year. I am very lucky in that DD's teacher trusts me to crack on with her reading at home and provide appropriate books for her.

17leftfeet Mon 24-Mar-14 22:28:48

Phase 3 refers to the third set of phonic sounds so stage one includes s,a,t etc moving on to phase 3 which includes ar,oo,sh etc
There are also phase 3 tricky words so the books sent home will include a combination of phase 3 phonics and tricky words

With phonics it is a lot about repetition which is why they want you to keep the book for a week but it doesn't stop you talking around the book. So if the story is a trip to the supermarket you can talk about whether the shopping is finished, how can you tell the shopkeeper is a shopkeeper etc

LittleMissGreen Tue 25-Mar-14 09:14:53

I would imagine that if your DS is shy in school then they can't really put him up to read a level of book that they don't have evidence that he can read. (Speaking from experience as DS1 was the same).
With the maths, DS3 is in reception, they do lots of maths on the interactive white boards - sometimes we get print outs sent home. But he has a book full of maths that they have done, whether practically and their are photos of him at work measuring things, or work he has written in his book, or a print out of sums from the white board etc.
He also does movement maths every day where they for e.g. have to count in twos tapping alternate knees, or in ones with a different movement and the children choose the start and finish numbers e.g. 87 to 95. Because it is done every day it isn't recorded and DS often doesn't tell me about it as part of his day, but 'remembers' he has done it if I ask him about it specifically.

LittleMissGreen Tue 25-Mar-14 09:15:51

D'oh that will teach me not to proofread after editing - there not their blush

ReallyTired Tue 25-Mar-14 10:30:34

Pushy parents of the world unite!!! (I mean that as a joke! Please don't be offended.) My daughter is in reception, but she is younger than your son. (April birthday)

If you want to support your child with his maths then the singapore early bird kindergarten textbook B is a really nice resource. It is quite expensive, but very good quality. It has suggestions for lots of fun activites and my daughter enjoyed it.

We found the grade 1 singapore math books too hard for dd.

I have been using kumon maths books bought from Amazon. They are dull as dishwater, but effective at learning basic maths. The approach is diliberately very slow and methodical. It isn't especially child friendly, but my daughter will put up with it for 5 minutes a day and gets results.

I started with this book. I suggest you test your child to see if he can write out all numbers from 1 to 30 in order, with no reversals and all figures drawn correctly.

If your child is confident at ordering and writing numbers up to 30 without reversals then you might be better to start with Kumon simple addition.

Flexiblefriend Tue 25-Mar-14 12:37:05

I had similar concerns last year when DD was in Reception. We got loads of library books at home, and she did maths online on Mathletics, which is something the school encourage. I think if they are happy and enjoying school in reception, that is the most important thing. I was amazed how much DD learned through the year, without her realising she was doing anything but playing.

Now she is in year one I am glad I kept my mouth shut, as now they are doing more obviously academic work, and DD is now bringing home books that are what I consider the right level for her. I can see now it wouldn't have done her any favours rushing through the levels last year.

Bumpsadaisie Tue 25-Mar-14 13:07:11

I think in our YR they do have two broad ability groups for the YRs - some of them are just starting out in reading and writing e.g. perhaps they can write their name and are on lilac/pink band books. The other group are writing more fluently and reading say red, yellow books. I know that the two groups get set different homework.

My DD could be working at a higher level than she currently is as she is reading the books she is sent home with very fluently and without any trouble at all. But I am not making a fuss as she is not expressing boredom and I think its nice for DD to have an easy time in YR, and to develop a feeling that she is good at reading (she's not the kind of child who enjoys a challenge, more like one who gets instantly demoralised if she can't do it!). I think all the playing and friendships and learning the routine and self care is far more important at age four than whether you finish YR on red books or blue books.

mummymellymoo Tue 25-Mar-14 14:17:24

My son is in Reception and October born too. He is almost free reading but is on a much lower book band as teacher is keen for children to read in groups . He is happy with this and so am I – he reads his school book in a couple of minutes as soon as he gets it and then he supplements this with books from the library/his sister's bookshelf/charity shop. She thinks, and I would agree with her, that at this young age social reading is better rather than making him appear/feel 'different' from the other children. In terms of 'reading scheme' books to choose, try the Songbirds set or Espresso - they are both very good.

In terms of maths, I would have thought that they are doing lots of numeracy based activities, usually involving counting objects/taking one or two away/estimating groups that sort of thing. My son's teacher says that when they do any more formal numeracy with number lines etc, she just gives him harder questions/tasks and gives him a 100 square rather than a 1-20 number line.

Being one of the older ones, your son is probably like mine, starting to reach 'play' fatigue and ready to move on to more formal Yr1 work.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Mar-14 16:02:35

I've wondered similarly. My daughter is in the top reading group and they're only on the second purple book. They're averaging one a week so I think it's ages before she will be able to progress. They are at least sending home level 4 books but they don't match the phonics- she's reading fluently but hasn't learnt all the sounds yet. I haven't taught her split digraphs as I was waiting for school to...

maths wise they're doing sums though, and doubling, counting in twos I think.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Mar-14 16:04:13

Purple in rml /read write that is. It's the one before orange and they've only a sentence on the page which she can read with ease.

I hadn't thought about the separating from peers argument though.

It will be an ongoing problem as it's a low ability area. She's not super super bright but already ahead of the others.

Fairenuff Tue 25-Mar-14 16:48:29

I'm surprised that they don't do number bonds to 10 in reception OP, I would definitely talk to the teacher about what they are learning in numeracy. There is a lot you can do at home with him, finding shapes in the environment, weighing and measuring, for example are all activities which benefit from home support. Also telling the time. learning about directions such as left, right, quarter turn, half turn, etc. and recognising and ordering coins.

Regarding the reading, if he is reading fluently start working on comprehension by asking him simple questions about the story, such as predicting what might happen next and explaining why. Maybe concentrate more on writing so that he forms all his letters correctly?

freetrait Tue 25-Mar-14 18:02:14

Actually, to be pedantic, it goes green, purple, PINK then orange. DD read all greens, one or two purples, one pink and is now working through orange, along with magic key and anything else.

GoodnessIsThatTheTime Tue 25-Mar-14 18:55:41

Ah is it! We're not there yet. They're doing the rml/rwi one a week in class in their groups so only bringing home what they've done in class. About 10 weeks per colour then...They've set her higher by book band though which makes no sense if they're following the phonics approach. I suspect in another school there would be another group working a bit faster.

Hence following thread about differentiation. I like the rml approach but hey group is working much lower than she is able to. She would happily work in a higher group of there was one.

freetrait Tue 25-Mar-14 19:12:31

I don't even know what DD's school do for groups! Will ask at parents evening on Thursday. Teacher was happy to give DD book suitable for her. Not sure if anyone else is reading at that level..DD doesn't know and I don't either! Also, it relied on me teaching her the phonics as class not doing it yet....just she was really taking off and so I thought it would be better she learnt them! With DS there was one other boy he was coupled with in Y1, and now in Y2 he is in a guided reading group with about 4 others. Think they've caught up/read a bit lower to get the comprehension good.

13lucky Tue 25-Mar-14 20:01:15

Wow thanks for all the replies. Sorry only just logged back on. I suppose my main query was whether he should be being catered for a bit better in the classroom. I do not really want to do extra work with him at home because he is only 5 and I believe that a school day is plenty long enough at this age without having to do extra work at home. I'm just not sure this is happening and wanted to see your experiences / thoughts.

He asked to do some maths tonight and easily whipped through some questions I wrote for him, eg 27+3, 18-6 etc etc, and also wrote out numbers correctly from 1 to 100. But they do not do any formal maths like this in the classroom. I guess I just carry on doing it at home when he asks - I don't want to get the teacher's back up! They do use Mathletics in KS2 but I asked if he could have a log in at Parents' Evening a few weeks ago and nothing has been forthcoming.

Re reading, I will look at the suggestions you have made above, thank you. The Phase 3 books are too easy for him - I'm not sure why we aren't allowed access to other books at school but I was told no at parents' evening.

Thank you for your replies.

pixiepotter Tue 25-Mar-14 21:10:32

wow when I read the title I thought you meant they were doing calculus

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