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ds bringing home books we feel are too old for him

(26 Posts)
3bunnies Sun 26-Oct-14 22:06:20

Ds has brought home a book which we feel is inappropriate for him at the moment (he is 5 and in reception). He is ahead in his reading so I understand that for some children who are older the books would be fine and might encourage a reluctant reader to keep reading. I have previously asked that they don't send home inappropriate books, he is still keen to choose books himself though and they are all together in boxes for each book band. It appears to be in the correct book band with the right sticker but is much longer than they usually are.

The books aren't awful but are using slang language and spellings (e.g. stoopid, Dunno) at a time when I would prefer that he read words spelt correctly. They also introduce jokes about farting etc which while I realise will be a large part of his life I would rather not get him to read yet. He thinks that the book is great because it is about football, although some of it goes over his head and I haven't been checking as much as usual for comprehension!!!!. I would prefer to not have the book sent home than for us to have to stop him reading school books, I am guessing though that it would be a pain to ask them to check the books he chooses. How do other teachers/ schools manage this situation?

<dons hard hat and waits to be told that I am pfb (well ptb) and to embrace the richness of the English language>

MiddleEarthBarbie Sun 26-Oct-14 22:59:52

You are being really, really pfb grin

It is so important that he enjoys reading. Embrace that.

The farting is a really, really ridiculous thing to get upset about. If you do decide to go into school, complain about the colloquialisms instead.

Happy36 Sun 26-Oct-14 23:12:19

If he loves the books then I guess you have to put up with the farting and the slang. You can have a discussion with him about the slang spellings. You could always take him to the local library and choose other books there that you find more appropriate so that he is exposed to a wider range of reading material and the school book´s effect is therefore reduced.

39steppesmum Sun 26-Oct-14 23:12:21

you are being a bit pfb, but on the other hand it is hard for good readers to choose age appropriate books.

In most schools it seems the kids choose out of the right colour box. This can be very frustrating, when they choose the same book 10 times, or books too hard/easy/odd. There is nothing wrong with you saying this book isn't any good, one of the things about reading is learning to choose, so if you say 'this is a bit hard for you to understand at the moment, you need to choose one you can read', he is learning about selection.

The simple answer is, enjoy the fact he is a good reader, if a book doesn't work, put a note in the reading record saying he read xx pages but the content was a bit too old, please change book, then go to the library/bookshop and make sure you have plenty of things for him to read that aren't school books.

NerfHerder Sun 26-Oct-14 23:26:35

WHat reading scheme contains fart jokes? confused

My children read well above their age, but their schools have had no difficulty in finding appropriate books- look at older books. The language in them is usually far more sophisticated than modern books, but the content entirely age appropriate. Books such as the Moomins, Pippi Longstocking, Little women, Littel House on the Prairie, Swallows and Amazons, etc.

3bunnies Mon 27-Oct-14 00:06:16

I don't have any problems finding books myself for him to read - having older dc who struggled to read I have found plenty of books in libraries etc which I am quite happy for him to read and which stretch him.

I am quite prepared that he will be full of fart jokes and if it was just in a joke book I don't think it would be so bad (I told him the what's brown and sticky joke myself the other day). I would just rather not have them from school yet. The review of the book says it is ideal for 8yr olds but 11 yr olds will enjoy it too (Ds is a good reader but I still don't think he has the ability of an 8yr old).

The joke was about what you get if you take the h out of a boy's name (who had fouled him though claimed he didn't do nothink) who was Jack Farthing (answer- a big stink). Then the boys were joking about him. I know that I maybe should have launched into a discussion about not calling people names even if the boy was himself a bully but decided to let that go over his head and just laugh about the farting(this is only p6 of 107 pages - which is also too long for him).

Ds wants to read the book (only this book and all of this book) because it is from his teacher, I would be happy to just provide some appropriate books from home but it seems as if I will need to try to work within the system. He gets quite fixated on reading his books and wants to finish them (which is great) but it makes it harder when it isn't the best choice for him at this stage. He has agreed that maybe he can read some of each chapter and we read the rest.

He's not quite up to Swallows and Amazons yet but I am sure that there are plenty of age appropriate materials which he could tackle.

3bunnies Mon 27-Oct-14 00:24:48

I didn't mean such a massive drip feed but I guess the context makes the joke worse. If it had just been a straight joke I wouldn't have minded as much but still I wonder what the school would say if a child in reception was full of toilet humour - it seemed to start around yr 1/2 for my older dc and was frowned on by teachers.

Oh and if anyone can recommend books about football which I might like more I am open to recommendations! He is particularly wanting to read 'boys books'.

goingmadinthecountry Mon 27-Oct-14 00:44:11

It wouldn't get into the book boxes in my classroom. The last thing we need is boys making yet more fart jokes! There are plenty of good books to read and children need to read proper spelling at that age.
I hate Captain Underpants too and refused to have someone read Diaper Baby to me, explaining why of course.

Coolas Mon 27-Oct-14 00:58:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

manchestermummy Mon 27-Oct-14 07:33:19

Dd1 had a book about children being evacuated in ww2 in year 1: it frightened her and we had a lot of explaining/reassuring to do.

I would be annoyed about "dunno" etc but would probably try to explain the best I could, or ask the teacher to suggest how you could explain it to your child.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 27-Oct-14 08:25:50

hmm technically if he can't 'get' the whole book then it is too hard and therefore that would imply he shouldn't be reading books from that box.

I get a bit wound up about slang in books but I suppose the impact from my point of view is about the effect on spelling and then their own writing. If their spelling is ok and you can explain to them why 'dunno' might be used then it shouldn't really be a problem.

My girls are good readers and we have had a couple that raised a lot of questions, Nelson Mandela, one about the Cocos Islands gold, War and tank invasions etc (the one that upset DD1 the most was a story about a dragon!) and I don't think schools should find it impossible to have a selection of books for good younger readers that are suitable.

What book band do they have him on? could you ask perhaps for them to allow him to take in his own? my daughters do this and the school have been quite happy for them to do so.

3bunnies Mon 27-Oct-14 08:30:37

He has read stuff about ww2 and that hasn't particularly bothered him. I have flicked ahead and we have a shower scene where he is embarrassed to take his clothes off in front of his mother, trying to get conviscated items back and lying to his teachers. I just feel that it isn't appropriate at his age and as a tool to teach him to read. When he is 7/8 and he can snigger at it in the back of the car - fine. As a reading book it has too much slang, I don't want him thinking that 'I didn't do nothink' is an appropriate response to a teacher but he is too young to go into great discussions about the topics raised. I can't check his comprehension of the story because it is just beyond the scope of experience which he is likely to encounter in the reception classroom bubble. Bear in mind that his classmates are still on 'oh no floppy' and the picture books we read to him from school are on a far more appropriate level. He only likes it because of the football (as far as I can see there is only passing reference to a few matches so he will be disappointed) he doesn't get all the junior school chitter chatter. He reads everything with enjoyment (after two reluctant readers it is very refreshing), but he does like to finish a book once he has started it.

I very much doubt that his teacher (who is lovely) intended him to have this book. We have discussed these issues (having two older children in the school I was aware that books like this do feature in the higher levels) and she fully agreed with me about broadening his reading not having books aimed above his age range. I am sure that she won't expect him to have read it and if it wasn't half term she would be swapping it today. I am just wondering what system other reception teachers have for ensuring that the reading books are age appropriate.

3bunnies Mon 27-Oct-14 08:42:52

nonickname he is on gold (ort level 9) but can also read books slightly ahead of that (short chapter books - e.g. ort time guardians bought to tty to entice history buff dd2 to read). This book is way beyond anything else he has read - 7 chapters arranged over 107 pages many of which are full pages of text. I think it must have been incorrectly classified as it is in no way comparable to the more advanced biff chip and kipper ones which usually inhabit this box and which he fully understands and enjoys. He has problems with writing so hasn't produced much written work yet. I 'dunno' how good he is at spelling yet but he generally has a good bash at arranging magnets on the fridge, Squebles and spelling aloud.

NerfHerder Mon 27-Oct-14 09:05:12

Well, I think Farthing/farting is actually an excellent example of wordplay, designed to appeal to children. Wordplay is essential to develop higher level language skills, and I think particularly in English it helps with learning our 'interesting' spellings (of which there are thousands).

I agree 107 pages is ridiculous. My 5yo (Y1) is on ORT level 14 and his books are not that long. 54 pages maybe. He's had plenty about football (though factual books, rather than fiction, but Spider McGrew book is fiction, can't remember its name, think it's ruby level).

This particular book sounds misclassified, as you say, but books above their level are often a good starting point for discussion. We had a book about the olympics, that featured Oscar Pistorious. Led to lots of discussion, particularly as it was last year when the trial was first staring.

HappydaysArehere Mon 27-Oct-14 09:26:28

Just buy some great books for Christmas. I always think that Christmas without books is a let down. Of course there should be other things but when excitement dies down and the holidays stretch ahead, they come to the fore. I used to have the task of selecting the purchase of books for children aged four to seven. I relished this and loved finding the fun, magic and if possible wonderful writing that could be mulled over. I actually agree with you that the content is more suited to older children but to pay it any attention now is only to add fuel to the interest. Sounds as if the teacher inherited this selection of books and if the children are keen on their reading then hip, hip hurrah. Pay no attention and just keep enjoying other books, fiction and non fiction, the phase will soon pass. It's great he likes reading.

3bunnies Mon 27-Oct-14 09:31:30

He quite enjoys harder books and loved me reading the Hobbit over the summer - he will ask if he doesn't understand something but it is different when I read to him. I agree that it is clever word play and might have asked his 9yr old sister to work out why it was funny . I think that I will talk to the teacher. I don't mind him taking in books but he is keen to read the school ones. History and current affairs he is quite happy to discuss (he loves horrible histories) and he isn't easily scared so thankfully those books are ok for him.

Picklewickle Mon 27-Oct-14 09:38:55

DS is reading a The Secret Football Club by Tom Palmer. It's an easy chapter book, fairly big writing but probably about 107 pages so one to take turns on. We have only read a few chapters but it seems to be aimed at young readers. Tom Palmer does others that seem more grown up but this one seems fine for my 5yo so far.

As to how we manage school books, children choose all their books except one a week. If I didn't think he should be reading it, we would just stop and switch it ourselves. When he's had a teacher-chosen group read book that was way over his head, we just did a token few of pages, wrote up that he wasn't getting it, and left the rest. I think you can address it in a low key way without banning him from reading school books altogether.

I think it's fine to mention it, but do it as in "this one's a bit grown up, can we swap it please?" rather than "I insist you check every future book individually in future or we will have to stop reading school books!!" Obviously!

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 27-Oct-14 16:00:02

sounds more like lime level to me but I am not an expert. DD2 (5) is about white/lime level (she was on white and reading them easily) and the school are happy for her to take in her own books, these vary from Rainbow Fairies to Katie Morag early readers, Laura's Star early readers and other such stuff. Generally around 60-70 pages. As far as the school are concerned at her age it is more about getting them interested in reading so they are happy for her to read her own books. If you manage to find something he particularly likes that is suitable I would ask the teacher after half term if it might be possible for him to read it as his school book.

Happy36 Mon 27-Oct-14 20:46:02

Someone mentioned books for Christmas, perhaps you have all seen this idea before, I saw it myself shared on Facebook a few weeks ago ... in time for 1st December wrap up 24 different books (can be books from around the house - perhaps ones that have fallen out of favour or considered "young" for the kids at their current age - or "new", look around the charity shops / library clearouts or Amazon etc. special offers), place them in a big stocking or under the Christmas tree, etc. then choose one to open and read together each night leading up to Christmas.

HappydaysArehere Wed 29-Oct-14 09:12:51

Love that idea Happy36. Hope the idea takes off. The Book People do a lot cheap books which might help to make it affordable and the charity shop might produce some gems.

Happy36 Wed 29-Oct-14 18:37:03

Yes, I´m going to do it this year too although I´m hoping to just recycle our own books - my kids are 3 and 6 so anything wrapped up makes them excited, and we will do the reading at the same time as opening the advent calendar so they´ll be on a chocolate high too(!) See if you have any old books that your son liked when he was younger, he will probably love to "re-discover" it.

Michaelahpurple Thu 30-Oct-14 08:43:49

I am totally with you , prim or otherwise. I think more care should be taken with advanced readers to avoid this sort of thing. There is no need for Tinies to read material about hating school, misbehaving, disliking girls, skiving homework, speaking badly, wondering who will be on the cheerleader squad, teasing about who kissed who etc, all of which cropped up by the end of year 1 from books brought home from school. I just stopped using school ones and sent in his own, from summer year 1 onwards but this was really only possible because school abandoned reading schemes after, as I recall , ORT 12 so it didn't disrupt things

I would talk to his teacher.

3bunnies Thu 30-Oct-14 19:24:49

The book has been conveniently forgetten and he is reading one of the time guardian books. They are white and about the right level for him. He has asked for books for Christmas so I just need to identify an appropriate set to last him for a few months of reading progress. I would say that he is probably on a rainbow fairy level so just need to find a more boy/unisex option. I will also try him on some Flat Stanley and some animal books which I think he might like. I have also ordered some football books from the library - turns out he was hoping to learn how to play football so I have convinced him that a non- fiction will be better.

I think that you have articulated it far better Michaelahpurple than I have. It is knowing that there are other similar books - he's only just started full time, I don't want him thinking about bullies, teasing and lying to his teacher even though I know it is around the corner. In the same way I don't really want my nearly 10yr old reading about drink, drugs and boyfriends even though I know that it is just a few short years until that is her world.

I think that the Christmas idea is lovely but I know that he will be wanting Santa is coming to.... most nights although we have a few other favourites which will come out too.

thegreylady Thu 30-Oct-14 20:02:52

There is a Billy Bonkers book about football which I have just ordered for 5 year old dgs . He also loves the Oliver Moon books and Mr Majeika.

HappydaysArehere Fri 31-Oct-14 08:54:16

I love Flat Stanley. Remember reading it to mine when they were young. Also loved charlottes Web. Treated all spiders with great respect ever since! There are so many lovely books which mums and dads can enjoy! Best thing about kiddies is that they need to share books with those poor mums and dads who just don't have such fun with their own books.

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