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home readers too easy and unsophisticated

(64 Posts)
madeitagain Fri 16-Oct-15 07:26:28

My child almost six is bringing home books that are simple in both vocabulary and story line. He was bringing home more complex and challenging books in reception. He doesn't particularly enjoy these 'easy' readers and becomes careless and unmotivated when reading them. I am fortunate in that I am a teacher and have access to guided reading books and can thus easily provide my child with more challenging and motivating books, generally one or two levels above the books he is reading at school.
My son's teacher is in her 3rd year of teaching, my son is happy at school and learning. His reading is improving, although I am not sure if this is because of the reading he does with me or at school.
I want to be diplomatic and convey my support for the teacher but at the same time convey my thoughts on his home readers. I am not 'a pushy parent' and would be more than happy with simple books if I thought they were of benefit to my son, Any ideas on how to approach the teacher?

Sirzy Fri 16-Oct-15 07:30:26

I would just out a note in his reading record saying "x seems to be reading all these books easily now, could we try him on the next level to see how he gets on please".

Assuming he is understanding the books too that is and he is able to discuss what has happened and how characters feel etc

Itshouldntmatter Fri 16-Oct-15 08:05:14

I could have written your post OP. Haven't got the answer but I am following with interest.

irvine101 Fri 16-Oct-15 08:32:06

This happened to my DS in reception. He was on same level books for whole autumn time, and he changed books every day, so he kept bringing same books and start to get really bored.(And me too.)

Back then I haven't got a clue about dos and don'ts at school, I simply written a message to the teacher, without thinking it could be a bad idea.

The teacher assessed him straight away and he actually jumped few levels.
In infant age, children progress so quickly, I think it's ok to mention it to the teacher.

irvine101 Fri 16-Oct-15 09:03:03

And also, my DS was awfully shy child in school, the teacher told me she didn't realize his ability straight away. He kept saying, "I don't know", every time she asked him something. She told me she was glad that I mentioned it otherwise she wouldn't have pushed him further.

onemouseplace Fri 16-Oct-15 13:12:25

I'd write a quick, direct, note in his reading record and then, if that is ignored, have a quick word with his teacher.

I've been going round in circles for about a month now because I felt that DD was bringing home books far below her ability (and at a level she was reading mid-way through last year). But I didn't want to come across as one of "those" parents. So I tried the indirect approach in her reading record (DD is finding these books very easy), the direct approach (We've read these already - is there a problem?) and when both were ignored I was so hopping mad I did have a (polite) word with her teacher.

Who was very apologetic, has moved her up 3 levels and given some pointers on what she need to work on. I, on the other hand, feel like a massive tit for being so worried about coming across as a pushy parent that I didn't trust my gut instinct that something was wrong and raise it earlier.

And if the teacher has a good reason for him to still be on this level, then you know and can work on it instead of doing what I was doing which was a massive eye-roll every time new books came back.

catkind Fri 16-Oct-15 22:01:27

We've got a system going. DS reads books from the library, DD reads DS's school reading books.
I suppose I should ask about getting something more interesting really, but given how ancient their book stock appears to be he's prob better with the library anyway. He whizzes through one occasionally just to show he can.
Advice above is good though. Just tell the teacher what you said here, they don't generally bite!

MrsKCastle Sat 17-Oct-15 10:43:35

I would either speak to the teacher, or write a clear, direct note in the reading record. If there's a reason she's giving him easier books, she can explain and if not, you're letting her know that he's ready for a bit more. I've had a couple of parents approach me this term about reading books being too easy/difficult and I'm always happy to listen to their concerns, check the level and them know what I think. I'm also always happy for parents to use their own judgement and read library books etc not just school books.

Snossidge Sat 17-Oct-15 13:49:08

I would just write a note saying these books seem to easy, would it be possible for them to assess his reading level. Why the drama?

claraschu Sat 17-Oct-15 14:05:18

We always read our own books at home, never bothered with school readers, which tended to be less interesting. Teachers never seemed to notice or care, but our kids were all reading well and the teachers probably focused on kids who were struggling a bit.

tobysmum77 Sat 17-Oct-15 15:40:05

In relation to 'sophistication' dd (y2) is on gold reading level and they still unsophisticated. I honestly can't tell the difference between the levels.

We just get some from the library.

catkind Sat 17-Oct-15 17:06:41

Ds is year 2 too, they don't use reading scheme books, but the normal books seem like poor quality toddler picture books. Cute animals having picnics. Ds is usually pretty young for age but this is babyish even to him. Honestly, some biff chip and kipper would improve the literary merit and the instructional value no end. Don't understand it.

mrz Sat 17-Oct-15 17:35:26

Reading scheme books are written for a specific reason and as such the content / format will be very different to books read for "pleasure"

Forgetmenotblue Sat 17-Oct-15 17:41:08

I'm a teacher. Feedback from parents is always really useful. Children often show what they can do a lot more at's relaxed, cosy, quieter than a busy classroom.

Just let the teacher know, it won't be a problem.

catkind Sat 17-Oct-15 20:55:38

Reading scheme books are written for a specific reason and as such the content / format will be very different to books read for "pleasure"
That's a different perspective. Surely the primary purpose of reading scheme books is to engage young children in reading? If they're not enjoyable they've failed at the first hurdle.
Yes there are some dull uninspiring scheme books, then there are also many dull uninspiring non-scheme books as DS school have ably demonstrated.
Planet X Alien Adventures, Dinosaur Cove. One "scheme" one not, similar content, similar format, similar target audience. Neither high literature but what beginner books are? The most "classic" easy readers I can think of are Dr Seuss, which were written as ... basically a reading scheme.

mrz Sat 17-Oct-15 21:08:56

Reading scheme books are written with the prime purpose of teaching specific reading skills which is why they often don't match with books children read at home for pleasure. They should be viewed as text books designed to instruct.

tobysmum77 Sat 17-Oct-15 21:13:44

Yeah I'm sure there's some truth in that if they are modern, high quality books. When they were written in the 80s and are some weird repetitive nonsense over 32 pages about phone boxes being vandalised I'm less convinced.

mrz Sat 17-Oct-15 21:20:29

Cat in the hat was commissioned as a reading primer but many of his other books had a political message. Yertle the turtle representing Hitler and The Lorax with a strong environmental message.

Itshouldntmatter Sat 17-Oct-15 21:21:16

I jumped on my high horse about a new stage reading book which literally had the main character identifying that his mother was telling him to be more normal because he had chosen to read his book in his bedroom instead of go out to play!! School have banned it grin Aside from that, what confuses me about the books on the upper stages is honestly how unchallenging they are. At least the ORT fiction ones are. They feel like books that are designed for children who don't much like reading.

mrz Sat 17-Oct-15 21:22:18

The 1980s reading schemes are perhaps the most formulaic of all designed to introduce words to be memorised.

fearsomepixie Sat 17-Oct-15 21:50:15

I would actually try to speak to the teacher rather than putting a note in, as tone cannot be read. I know this from experience, having had the same issue with my son in his early school years. I wrote a pleasant, short note just saying he was inclined to become bored with books he found too easy. I got a note back saying "you could always read with him at home". So I can only assume the teacher was having a bad day the teacher misread the tone of my note and thought I was criticising. We did, and do often still, read with him at home, which was how we knew the books were too easy for him.

tobysmum77 Sat 17-Oct-15 21:50:45

Yes I suppose so but the repetition is seriously dull when dcs know all the words before opening the book.

mrz Sat 17-Oct-15 21:54:47

Yes that's the point I'm making, they are text books, if you like, a learning tool not written to entertain .

catkind Sat 17-Oct-15 22:18:27

I guess DS school must agree with you there mrz. Except the non scheme books they're sending home are actually far less engaging than the scheme books DS had before. Instead of good books aimed at 6 yr olds he's getting mediocre books aimed for parents to read to toddlers. Not a good exchange even if they were an appropriate difficulty level.

catkind Sat 17-Oct-15 22:22:28

The scheme books DS had were definitely written to entertain and did so.

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