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Y3 Literacy is very boring

(6 Posts)
northernlady Wed 05-Nov-14 00:58:12

My son has started at Junior school in Y3. He has been a 'free reader' since the start of Y1 and is fluent and confident with excellent comprehension. He reads for pleasure all the time, several proper books a week (and loads of comics, annuals etc on top of that).

The school has a baffling approach to literacy. For example, the latest class text, on which class work is based, is Mr Majaika. These are books my son read two years ago, with full comprehension. He quite likes them but they lack challenge. He is not the only good reader in the class. By comparison, this time last year, in his infant school, my son was reading Little House on the Prairie as a text in guided reading, with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the class book.

As for reading books: the school insists children stay on Tree Top books to the end of Y4, even if they can read them fluently up to level 16 (as my son can). The justification is that otherwise they might abuse their free reading and only ever pick Horrid Henry. I suppose some of them might (and i'm not sure that's any worse than the tree top drivel), but my son reads all sorts of books, on all sorts of subjects and has been picking his own books at school for the last two years!

I wouldn't mind except my son, who has always loved English, now says it is boring and his worst subject.

Does it really matter? Is there a justification for this approach? Is it unreasonable to expect the teacher to differentiate? Is there anything I can do?

Bonsoir Wed 05-Nov-14 06:58:54

I sympathise with the Tree Top drivel! Have you spoken to the teacher at all?

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 05-Nov-14 11:58:45

I am not familiar with Mr Majaika so can't comment on that but unless it is a text with more than one level of interpretation I think you have good grounds to question the choice from the point of view of more able students.

I don't agree with the tree tops rubbish. Lazy teaching in some ways IMO because if they taught children to choose books appropriately then they wouldn't have to worry about them choosing the same things all the time. Children can easily be encouraged to read a variety of books and if it worries them that much then they can address that by not having more than a few of one sort! Surely they should be teaching the children to take some control and responsibility for choosing their own texts otherwise at the end of Yr4 they will end up with children who still can't work out whether a book is right for them or not which is ridiculous at that age.

redskybynight Wed 05-Nov-14 12:22:41

Just to sympathise that my Y4 DD is having the same issue with being bored. In her school it is blamed on the change to the primary curriculum and there seems to be much less scope to differentiate though I don't really understand why (her 2 years' older brother did not have this problem at the same school, so something has obviously changed!).

I do think it is good to have more prescription over school readers (I have the DS that would just choose easy stuff!) but can see how insisting on Treetops is rubbish. At DD's school free readers still have to pick from within a selection but at her stage the selection is all "real" books - including things like Tom's Midnight Garden and Charlotte's Web- which provide challenge and range, without being dull!

Quangle Wed 05-Nov-14 12:45:18

Similar issues here. DD is also a passionate reader and has read loads of children's classics - Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Railway Children.

But the homework she gets is a really basic and tedious comprehension which she can usually do without actually reading the text as the questions are obvious. It's also really crushing - no imaginative work, nothing to inspire or lift. Luckily the free reader books are ok but the literacy homework is awful. I'm going in to talk to the teacher on Friday about this but am expecting the usual justifications.

Opopanax Thu 06-Nov-14 11:55:42

We found exactly the same thing (all-through primary but some weird miscommunication between KS1 and KS2) with DD who has been off the reading scheme since Y1 but got put back on Treetops this year in Y3. I talked to her teacher who was massively unhelpful but then decided to take it further and booked a meeting with the school's literacy coordinator. She sorted everything out with no fuss at all and DD is now allowed to pick more or less whatever she likes with the caveat that she must choose a reasonably varied range of genres (which seems pretty sensible). Maybe others might have similar success in talking to whoever is responsible for literacy in general?

I have noticed that there is a lot less differentiation this year in every subject, which really seems like a step backwards. Even though children are supposedly choosing when they want more challenge, the actual level of the challenges available is not really that high!

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