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Do any other schools read EVERY book at each level?

(56 Posts)
PatsysPyjamas Wed 25-Jun-14 21:12:19

This is starting to piss me off. In DD's school they have to read every single book at a certain level before they can move up. They are expected to read every night, and she does read more often than not, but it is really becoming a chore. Just checked her reading record and she has read 50 books in Stage 11. Is this really necessary? I am really keen for her to love books, and this seems to take all the fun out of it.

pointythings Fri 27-Jun-14 08:13:15

My DDs' primary did not make them read every book in a band by a long shot. Jumping bands was quite a normal thing, and both DDs ended up being given the Jackdaws (harder books within a band) straight away when they went up a band because that was what they were ready for.

DD2 did get put back on scheme books for a term or so in Year 5 because the school brought in books up to Pearl/Diamond, but she found them quite enjoyable. She wasn't on them long either.

The school now runs reading groups for readers at all levels, and they tend not to use scheme books from Yr4 upwards - instead they pick 'real' books which fit into the level where the group is. I believe there is a resource somewhere which maps books into scheme levels, but no idea where it lives. It lets children read enjoyable high quality books alongside the phonics-based books so not a zero sum game.

diamondage Thu 26-Jun-14 23:43:58

That's the problem right there - this system is turning reading into a mechanical process - to try and get through an unknown quantity of books. It's crazy!

DD generally enjoys her school reading books, they are mostly banded correctly (except the ORT books which, imo, have been misbanded). Tonight she brought home Milly Molly Mandy, but choose to read Akimbo and the Lions. I'll just write that in her reading diary because she's not got to play the numbers game and her reading will improve as long as she's reading a range of texts, not just every book in a level.

FFS the banded book publishers, like ORT, produce very comprehensive tools for assessing children so that they can be correctly placed on their finely graded bands. No where have I ever read a recommendation that DCs should read every book in a level.

Maybe you should send the school a link to that Ofsted report ... or the governors!?!

PatsysPyjamas Thu 26-Jun-14 22:58:12

She doesn't have to read the whole book every night, but the book isn't changed until she has read it all. And given that she has currently read 42 books in stage 11, over 52 nights (just checked diary), it seems even slower if she only reads a page a day. I do take your point though - she would be better off reading something else.

SixImpossible Thu 26-Jun-14 22:51:11

I don't remember my dc bringing home any reading scheme books with over 25ish pages. Maybe their schools don't take the schemes as far, and move the children on to other literature at that stage.

Anyway, why should she have to read the whole book every time? If she's read it at school, ask her to retell it to you. Choose a page or chapter and read just that, discuss why whatever it is might have happened, or try to predict what is going to happen. Ask her what the character is thinking or feeling. Give 5-10 minutes to the school book, then move on to whatever book she will enjoy more.

bigbuttons Thu 26-Jun-14 22:29:07

My school does this too, drives me bloody mad. I have had to really fight to skip a level. Dc6 is now coming to the end of it all. I just lie now, sign the book off and he reads what he wants to.
I think the ORT is really good for beginners, but it should be used with flexibility.
The school I am teaching in doesn't use it at all and it's rather r
efreshing to see children choose books that they are actually interested in. yes, sometimes they are too hard or too easy, but IMO it fosters a love of reading.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 26-Jun-14 22:24:43

ORT Biff Chip and Kipper books have 32 pages from Stage 7 onwards. Book band 11 usually includes longer books too. Rainbow Fairies count as book band 11

PatsysPyjamas Thu 26-Jun-14 21:51:07

That's reassuring at least! Not sure about SEN but I know the class my son is starting has 50% EAL.

Pooka Thu 26-Jun-14 21:43:52

For context, the highest achieving primary in our quite high achieving borough got 74% level 5 or above in 2013. 100% level 4 or above.

It's a one form entry faith school in a desirable area with very very low EAL/SEN.

Pooka Thu 26-Jun-14 21:37:02

No, not bad (I don't think so at least). 62% level 5 pretty good I would have thought. Given that 4b is expected level at end of ks2.

Level 6 reading comp really tricky. IMO harder to achieve than level 6 maths because it calls for a level of maturity in inference and comprehension.

PatsysPyjamas Thu 26-Jun-14 21:32:33

Looked up the school and it doesn't look like any children achieved a level 6 in reading in 2013. 62% achieved level 5 of above, but there is no mention of 6. Is that really bad? It is quite a deprived area.

PatsysPyjamas Thu 26-Jun-14 21:06:03

Sorry, fell asleep last night. I think the stage 11 books do usually have 32 pages, and she usually reads a book a night, although not always. The children aren't all on the same level as they are assessed in Reception and start at different levels. Also, they read at a different pace and some children read every night and others just a few times a week.

Will look up the school's SATs levels...

If DD doesn't have to do reading scheme books in yr 3 I will be delighted, but I'll still have reception-age DS to do it all with.

kesstrel Thu 26-Jun-14 15:31:46

Sorry, mumsnet system doesn't seem able to cope with the link, though it is correct. Try cut and paste in your browser.

I will have another try with a different page

kesstrel Thu 26-Jun-14 15:26:40

Fascinating report by Ofsted just out on teaching of reading in Stoke on Trent. Quote:

"Inspectors noted that less effective schools did not move pupils on quickly enough to more challenging books and there was evidence from pupils’ reading diaries that not all staff responded speedily to parents’ requests for a book to be changed. In several of the classes observed, pupils did not read enough books or have their books changed quickly enough.
Case study of less effective practice Key Stage 1
All pupils had a reading book that they took home in a bag provided by the school. Books were banded according to difficulty and colour coded. Reading diaries were completed by parents and included informative, articulate evaluations. These were not acted on by teachers and there was little communication in these diaries between home and school. Parents were not sufficiently guided by teachers in ensuring that appropriate skills were practised or extended."

And there's lots more very interesting stuff comparing good practice with poor practice, and commenting on the number of schools apparently oblivious to the required changes coming in September.... ... upils-read

SixImpossible Thu 26-Jun-14 14:56:50

Sorry, Y2 reading scheme book.

SixImpossible Thu 26-Jun-14 14:55:42

Please come back and clarify, OP. 32p must be a typo - there aren't that many pages in a Y1 reading scheme book!

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 26-Jun-14 14:53:34

My DD has sometimes skipped whole bands when made a jump in progress. Some levels she has read every book, others just a few. Having said that if your DD only has a few weeks of Y2 left I'd probably just leave it for now and see what happens in Sept.

sunsout Thu 26-Jun-14 13:39:05

Mine move up according to their progress not how many books they have read.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 26-Jun-14 13:36:20

we also do it in amount of time not quantity. school say 20 mins a day for yr1. sometimes I am lucky if she will do 5 mins but other days she will happily read for an hour so it balances out. DD1 reads to herself a lot, we listen to a few pages and she sometimes comes to ask us things when reading to herself. DD2 is only 5 so she still reads to us all the time for her reading book but often reads to herself otherwise

WowOoo Thu 26-Jun-14 13:24:25

I save threads and get recommendations from here PatsysPyjamas and then order them from the library. Our library has one fantastic woman who recommended loads of books.

He alternates between non fiction one night (I choose three and then he chooses which one) and then fiction of his own choice as long as it's suitable.

I wouldn't force ds1 read 32 pages a night to me or silently unless he really wanted to and we had loads of time. shock
However many pages in 30 mins is what we do.

I read one page and he reads the next sometimes. It's still useful for him to listen. The teacher is fine with this by the way.

Only 3 weeks to go! smile

MasqueradeWaltzer Thu 26-Jun-14 11:44:35

At dds' school they are listened to periodically by teacher/TA who makes judgement whether they are ready to move up or not.

Definitely prefer that - your school's approach sounds like it might hold back the more able readers.

Galena Thu 26-Jun-14 11:43:26

Yeah, DD reads well and she has only moved up levels when she has read all the books at her present level. It's tedious for me, but luckily she doesn't mind reading them, so we just read them once home from school, and then she reads other things later...

diamondage Thu 26-Jun-14 08:29:22

It is tempting to read them less often and opt for other books instead, but then I know she will just stay on the level for longer!

In your situation I'd be tempted to just write non committal phrases, such as "great reading", "superb expression, very fluent", "excellent comprehension", whilst getting DD to read 32 pages out loud from books that she actually wants to read. You're not telling any lies and it's not like you haven't tried to tackle it via the teacher already.

As long as you continue to hear her reading out loud, ask questions to check her understanding (vocabulary and inference etc.) and ensure she reads from a range of genre, fiction, non-fiction, poetry etc. then she will come to no harm. In fact she will likely benefit by not having a love of reading slowly sapped from her by the drudgery of such a system.

In my view schools that do this are being lazy by not differentiating based on ability, which is, of course, what they should be doing. The school benefits because they don't need to assess children to determine whether they need to move up a band (or two), they therefore don't have to deal with parents querying whether their DC is on the correct band, other than by stonewalling.

Whilst I can understand that it must be annoying at times for teachers to have to deal with parental queries on whether a particular DC is on the correct band, I think it is perverse that you'd remove that annoyance by refusing to provide books based on reading ability.

I would not play that game, and being one of those parents, I would challenge the Head Teacher to provide me with evidence that such a policy meets the individual needs of the pupils. It might be worth checking the school's Literacy / reading policy, I highly doubt they mention the reading scheme being run in this manner. Out of interest how many of the DC gain a level 5+ in reading in year 6?

In DDs school the book bands go up to 17 (so six more after lime / level 11, lime being where the majority of schools stop). I don't have a problem with this (excepting misbanded books) because they don't hold the DCs back. There is currently a reception girl on band 16, who comes up to year 1 for reading comprehension and spellings. Now that's meeting individual needs.

RustyBear Thu 26-Jun-14 07:53:57

At the school where I work, the books in the various bands are a mixture of reading scheme books and 'ordinary ' books that are at the same level. They are kept in the library and every child takes out at least one book at their level every time, even the very good readers.

But they all also are allowed to take any book they like, fiction or non-fiction, from the rest of the library, which is unlevelled. This means that children on lower levels always have a book tailored to their ability, but can take a story for someone to read to them/help them with, or a non-fiction book on a subject they like. But it also makes sure that children on the higher levels are actually reading something that stretches them, or introduces a new genre, instead of them always choosing easier books that they can get through quickly. Of course, if they do happen to be a Horrid Henry fan, they can read those as well as their book-band book.

Spottybra Thu 26-Jun-14 07:38:59

No here. There's fiction and non fiction in each level. Teachers and I thought practical science abled ds would love the non fiction when in fact he hated it. So he reads the majority, roughly 75%, of fiction a couple of non fiction then jumps to the next level.

Mashabell Thu 26-Jun-14 07:33:28

What those boring phonics books are meant to ensure is that children meet all tricky common words (any, many, only, once, other) often enough to recognise them by sight.

The official phonics doctrine is that children have to learn to grasp the relationships between between sounds and letters, including the variable ones, like a in man - mane, many or o in on - only, other. In their phonics lessons they get introduced to them all and their reading they then supposedly practice sounding out and and blending. When stuck on a letter, perhaps the o in once, they try to remember the various sounds they were taught for o.

In practice, children try and remember the tricky words as whole words, when they get introduced to them in little groups (e.g. you, group, soup), because reading the likes of come home, some dome, one bone, is really tedious until u can recognise those words by sight instantly.

Because 69 English letters and letter strings have more than one sound (see further down), the main ingredient in becoming a fluent reader of English is lots of practice - to meet all common words, especially the ones with a tricky letter or two, often enough so recognise them by sight.

Children who happen to be born with an above average visual memory become fluent faster.

Many English graphemes/spellings have more than one pronunciation. That's why phonics is an essential but not totally sufficient way of learning to read. Children need to practise lots of word recognition as well. - Hence all those dozens of boring phonics books.
a: and – any, father, apron
a-e: gave – have
ai: wait – said, plait
al: always – algebra
-all: tall - shall
are: care - are
au: autumn - mauve
augh: daughter - laugh
ay: pays - says

cc: success - soccer
ce: centre - celtic
ch: chop –chorus, choir, chute
cqu: acquire - lacquer

e: end – English
-e: the - he
ea: mean - meant, break
ear: ear – early, heart, bear
-ee: tree - matinee
e-e: even – seven, fete
ei: veil - ceiling, eider, their, leisure
eigh: weight - height
eo: people - leopard, leotard
ere: here – there, were
-et: tablet - chalet
eau: beauty – beau
- ew: few - sew
- ey: they - monkey

ge: get - gem
-ger: anger - danger
gi: girl - ginger
gy: gym – gymkhana
ho: house - hour
i: wind – wind down, ski, hi-fi
- ine: define –engine, machine
ie: field - friend, sieve
imb: limb – climb
ign: signature - sign
mn: amnesia - mnemonic

ost: lost - post
-o: go - do
oa: road - broad
o-e: bone – done, gone
-oes: toes – does, shoes
-oll: roll - doll
omb: tombola - bomb, comb, tomb
oo: boot - foot, brooch
-ot: despot - depot
ou: sound - soup, couple
ough: bough - rough, through, trough, though
ought: bought - drought
oul: should - shoulder, mould
our: sour - four, journey
ow: how - low

qu: queen – bouquet
s: sun – sure
sc: scent - luscious, mollusc
-se: rose - dose
ss: possible - possession
th: this - thing
-ture: picture - mature
u: cup – push
ui: build – fruit, ruin
wa: was – wag
wh: what - who
wo: won - woman, women, womb
wor: word – worn
x: box - xylophone, anxious
- y-: type - typical
- -y: daddy – apply
z: zip – azure

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