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DS has been lying about his reading level

(30 Posts)
MarshaMallow84 Tue 08-Mar-16 11:49:58

My 5 yo DS is in year one. He is a summer baby but after a slow start his reading really seems to have taken off. Since Christmas he has been bringing home progressively harder reading books in higher and higher colour bands. I was beginning to wonder what his teacher's criteria was for moving children up as I didn't see how he could be making progress that quickly (although as I said, he seemed to be handling the text reasonably well) So yesterday at pick up time I was waiting in his classroom for him to pick some new reading books as he very proudly has just informed me he was now on gold level. His teacher walked past and I asked if that was the case? She looked shocked and said "no!" She didn't know off hand what reading level he was on, so she got her list out and eventually told me he should actually be on turquoise level. In other words my DS has been administering his own reading scheme for the past 3 months!! When I told his teacher this she just shrugged and said "how has he been handling the more advanced books?" and when I told her that he seemed ok she just nonchalantly shrugged and said "oh well, give him a go with gold then" and disappeared. I am very confused! DS decodes reasonably well but he doesn't read punctuation and he is still quite stilted when reading out loud. I have no idea what level he should be on and I feel his teacher has just left it to me to assess him! I feel like his teacher doesn't really care, but maybe I'm placing too much importance on levels. I'm also quite shocked that DS has been lying to me for the past 3 months and that no one at school has picked up on this! He really enjoys reading and burst into tears when I asked him about it. I think he just desperately wants to be on gold but wouldn't it be better for him in the long run if he were on a lower reading level? I don't want to discourage him though....

LemonBreeland Tue 08-Mar-16 11:54:47

I think I would be asking for a meeting with the teacher and asking her why your 5 year old is not being supervised with regard to his reading scheme.

He may be decoding the words in the higher level books but does he have the comprehension?

I would be furious with the school.

ineedamoreadultieradult Tue 08-Mar-16 11:56:38

The fact he has felt it necessary to lie means someone, either at school or at home, has made is obvious to him he should care/they care what level he is on. The kids at our school don't even realise there are reading levels!

MarshaMallow84 Tue 08-Mar-16 12:05:54

Thanks for your thoughts. I didn't know whether I was justified in feeling annoyed with his teacher.
The children at DS school seem very competitive about their reading levels. It's all they talk about. DS isn't particularly sporty so perhaps he felt this was his forte instead...He's generally a very easy going, happy child though.
I hope he hasn't been feeling under pressure from home. We obviously do care about his reading but I've told him the main thing I care about is that he's behaving well and listening to the teacher.

irvine101 Tue 08-Mar-16 12:13:57

I don't think turquoise and gold books differs so much in text. If he is so willing and handling well, maybe it might be better for him to have more challenge? My ds was a really good decoder, and jumped from purple to lime, but comprehension didn't match. And school wasn't doing anything about it, so I started to help him with comprehension at home.
You may have to pay more attention when he is reading to see if he is understanding the story, vocabulary etc.
Also I recommend this comprehension website, you read short text and answer few questions. Doing 5 minutes a day helped my ds so much. And it's free.

redskytonight Tue 08-Mar-16 12:33:11

Has he been lying? Or has he just been bringing back books he likes the look of? (which my children often did as they found the ones they hadn't read at their desired level to be deathly dull). What are you annoyed at his teacher for? She clearly has assessed him but the school has a system where children pick their own books (as DD's old school did).

MarshaMallow84 Tue 08-Mar-16 13:01:03

That looks an interesting link - thanks Irvine.

Yes, he's been actively lying. He knows the colour scheme and each colour has it's own little shelf and the child is supposed to know their colour band and pick a book from that. He has been coming home from school and proudly announcing that today Mrs X has said he is good enough for the next level. Which it turns out has been a total fabrication! The classroom is open for parents to pop in after school so we usually pick his books together once a week. His teacher is rarely around to confirm which colour band he is in so I have to go on what he tells me.

Maybe annoyed is the wrong word... I just would have expected his teacher to know - roughly- how well my DS can read so that she knows if he's reading appropriate books. It seems he has decided he should be on gold and she's just (literally) shrugged and said "oh alright then". He's my first and I feel so clueless though! I don't know what my expectations should be!

MumTryingHerBest Tue 08-Mar-16 13:32:51

MarshaMallow84 how do you feel he is coping with the books he is bringing home?

Is he spending a fair bit of time decoding words or is he coping with 95%/97% of them without much effort?

Is he adding tone, expression and showing good understanding of what is going on in the story? (my DCs school does expect this at Gold level).

Does he understand what the longer words mean in the context that they are given in the books? (I often ask my DCs about the meaning of random/obscure words).

Does he read across a wide variety of books e.g. fiction, non-fiction, fact, poems?

Is your DC taking a long time to work through the books or is he getting through two or three a week?

Out of interest does the school not ask you to sign a reading record in which you can also leave notes if particular issues arise?

One thing is for certain, if your DC is not forming a solid foundation to his reading skills, it is going to get pretty tough when they move onto the lengthy chapter books.

To be fair to the teacher, given the high level of interest other children are showing towards moving through the book bands, she has likely had a fair few discussions from other parents demanding to know why their DC is not yet a free reader.

megletthesecond Tue 08-Mar-16 13:36:54

The school don't record it in their reading diaries?

My dc's always have their reading level noted when they are assessed and whether they have stayed the same or moved up. There isn't a chance for them to get muddled or fib about it.

louisejxxx Tue 08-Mar-16 13:42:57

I think herein lies the issue with just letting the children pick the ds's school the teacher selects them, records it in their records, then records it in the child's reading record. I'm surprised that at least part of that isn't being done! Otherwise it's obviously inevitable to happen.

I think the main issues here are:

- No communication between teacher and parent about what level your child should be on..I think yr1 is too young for the teacher to expect the child to accurately relay this issue.
- What has caused your child to feel like he needs to lie to please you? Has the teacher pressured him, or is he just feeling bad that others may be ahead of him?

Try not to focus too much on the act of him lying...He has clearly done it out of a good place as he's either wanting you to be impressed or trying not to disappoint you.

SelfRaisingFlour Tue 08-Mar-16 15:27:21

I do reading with year 2 children at school and some of them lie/get mixed up about their reading levels. They'll swear that it's their correct level and Miss X moved them to it. I always check with the teacher/TA if I'm not sure about their level. It's pointless reading books which are way too hard for them.

I read with the weaker readers so I guess they see the other children picking harder books.

bojorojo Tue 08-Mar-16 17:33:28

Goodness me! Whatever happened to reading logs! We had the book written in the log and had to sign when DC had read it. She was asked to comment on the book too so that she had actually understood what she read. This sounds vague and pretty useless to me, regardless of whether the books are similar in level.

Ferguson Tue 08-Mar-16 19:07:08

On the other hand, I guess you could say it does show a certain amount of initiative, and if he is coping with that level of book it probably doesn't matter too much! There is (are?) only two 'bands' between turquoise and gold, I think:

More important, is HOW is his reading progressing? Ideally, you need to be aware of that, and adjust levels with the teacher if necessary.

This may be worth considering:

An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing, and really help them to understand Phonics, is reviewed in the MN Book Reviews section. Just search ‘Phonics’ and my name.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 08-Mar-16 19:12:45

Bless him. It's quite funny really, you'll probably look back on it one day and laugh.

I'd be more worried that the school don't appear to have noticed what he's reading.

If he's managing to decode the books accurately and you think they are about right, I wouldn't worry too much. If you think it's a bit stilted, you can always ask him to reread it.

I think the new NC is placing more emphasis on finding suitable books by decoding level and adjusting the comprehension tasks to match, re-reading books to gain fluency.

NotCitrus Tue 08-Mar-16 19:29:19

The substance of the books is pretty similar round those levels - if what he needs to work on is intonation and comprehension, then any book he finds interesting will do.
Ds is in Y2 and comes home with various purple/lime/turquiose/gold books which all seem the same to me, and half the time we ignore the book he comes home with and he reads me something else. His main issue is predicting what might come next so needs to care! Teacher clearly knows what he needs to learn whether she remembers what level he's 'officially' on or not. If any. No-one's ever mentioned levels...

Inkymess Tue 08-Mar-16 23:21:17

We got given a list of levels and how they use them. DC bring book home of appropriate colour. We read and write note in log. We are asked to read most nights for 10 mins. After about a term they move up a band.. In year the TA noted in log what book they had each week. In yr1 the child writes it in each week.
I am baffled how any confusion occurs

Inkymess Tue 08-Mar-16 23:24:58

Btw our yr1 are on yellow, blue, green and poss the one that's after that. Gold would be miles ahead. Our school do a slow steady approach but are a very high performing school.

Out2pasture Wed 09-Mar-16 03:26:42

how is this any different than a child bringing home any book he chooses from the library?
do you feel he was purposely lying to you or just stating what color book he is bringing home?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Wed 09-Mar-16 09:02:13

He's been telling the OP his teacher has moved him up a level out.

irvine101 Wed 09-Mar-16 09:09:54

I think some school makes children and parents unnecessarily competitive.
My ds's school had a chart of children's book levels, maths, literacy grouping, in order, from top to bottom on the wall, visible from all the parents and children. I thought that was a very bad idea.

Only1scoop Wed 09-Mar-16 09:15:50

He's obviously supervising his own reading choices bless him with a few fibs along the way.

Sounds worrying that the teacher seemed to not have much of a clue where he is at, and oblivious to what's going on.

At 5 he should surely be monitored with his choice of book and regularly reading at school.

gleegeek Wed 09-Mar-16 09:20:59

Bless him! He'll go far smile I actually don't have a problem with this. My dd's infant school didn't have a reading scheme at all, just free choice boxes of books. There was a mixture of 'real books' and reading scheme books in no particular order. The actual teaching of reading happened in class and reading to the teacher gave them a chance to show decoding skills/comprehension skills etc. This was obviously before phonics were taught so intensively. All the children learned to read and no stress of levels and competition.
Just read as often as possible with him, keep a dialogue going with the teacher if you're concerned at his progress and hopefully he'll end up a happy keen fluent reader smile

ReallyTired Wed 09-Mar-16 09:28:52

I think the answer would be for him to have one easy book and one harder book.

mrsjskelton Wed 09-Mar-16 09:39:09

Turquoise is 2 levels below gold (purple in between) so there's a fairly significant difference in the texts. That said, the new curriculum doesn't follow the colour bandings. But given that schools don't just have the cash to buy an entire new reading scheme they make the old schemes work and add supplementary texts. As a teacher (Year 1), to be sure a child is on the correct level, I tend to look for an element of "stumbling". The child will be able to read the previous level with confidence and only a few stumbles. They should be able to talk about the text and have a deep conversation with you regarding the content. The new level should be challenging but not uncomfortable. I.e. If there's no flow in their reading at all and they're not able to follow the text then it's too difficult. At the end of the day it's about enjoyment. A child will get more out of reading a text they can access - decoding is not everything. I now place far more importance on comprehension and as a result I'm more likely to keep a child on a level for longer so that we really explore the range of texts in the level.

As a parent I'd be concerned that my child's teacher thought it was okay to jump 2 reading bands without assessing him himself/herself. I'd ask the teacher if he can be reassessed because you're not sure. After all it's their job not yours!! They sound a little nonchalant about it!

KingLooieCatz Fri 11-Mar-16 12:31:31

Mine has been at two schools, at both they wanted the children to go through the levels, to make sure they were understanding everything and learning the words, and new sounds etc. He could have skipped levels when he changed schools but they gave us a level to read at home over holidays so he wouldn't miss any learning along the way. So I'd be taken aback at a teacher letting a child dictate their own level.

The books DS reads "for fun" are much harder than what he gets from school, but I still believe he is at the right level, he guesses words when he reads for fun, but he is enjoying the reading more.

I'd think about making sure he goes through the levels but let him explore more advanced books when he reads for fun.

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