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Accelerated Reading Scheme

(10 Posts)
Letustryagain Sat 17-Sep-16 08:59:51

DD has just moved into YR3.

She became a free reader at the end of YR2 and got very good SATs results in reading comprehension with only the Inference section (where she got two questions wrong) meaning that she didn't get Working at Greater Depth but got Expected instead (I found this out from having a discussion with the class teacher at the end of term).

When she left Reception she was on Purple Band books (Level 8) and then moved onto Gold during the first half term of YR1.

Her progress seemed to slow down at this point and she had very little interest which is why it took her the rest of KS1 to get to Free Reader. She reads slowly but always takes in everything she's reading and can answer very specific questions about what she's read with ease. She also is very fluent using all punctuation correctly and putting on voices for different characters, she has lovely expression when she reads (not just my opinion but a continual message from the teacher when they comment on her reading). But I think maybe she was pushed too hard as she now has no interest in reading whatsoever.

The school have just introduced a new reading scheme and today we got her level through. They've put her at 2.6-3.6 (2.6 being her current level) which is the equivalent to Gold level books!!!! angry

This was done purely on the STAR test (reading a story online and answering questions on it) so with no input from the teacher at all, I'm really really cross.

The worst thing is that I struggle to get her read as it is and now she has such a small selection to choose from that it's only going to get worse.

At home she's reading 'My Naughty Little Sister' - it's the only book I've managed to get her to read in the last few months and she's really enjoying it but these books are a Level 4.7-5.0 so apparently above her level but they're clearly not. She always tells me exactly what each story is about and what's happened, sometimes even quoting from the book itself.

She brought a book home about football yesterday which was within her 'range' but she said she only had a minute to choose one and there was nothing she liked.

So I've put a note in her reading diary saying that we will not be reading the school books. Her love of reading has already been destroyed by the mind-numbing books she's had to read at school and I refuse to do further damage by making her read the drivel that she's brought home and that I will let her continue with the books she actually enjoys (if I can find any - she's even been put off reading at home even though we have shelves of books and she loves being read to).

I understand that this will mean that she can't be assessed at school because everything is being done via the AR system on their computers (basically the teachers will never hear them read now - they have to read a book and then answer a quiz online - that's it), but I refuse to put her through this if it means that not only her confidence will plummet but any chance of getting her to read for pleasure will be gone.

Am I going to damage my child by taking this stance?? I will make it clear to the school my reasons for refusing their scheme but I am appalled that effectively they've failed her for the last 2 years if she's back to Gold level!!

Can you tell that I'm angry? She's not the only one by the way - there are others in the same boat but all the children that were in her reading group before the end of term appear to be Level 5 and above!! So in my view either the teachers have got it very wrong over the last 2 years or she's suddenly forgotten everything she's learned over the last 2 years (unlikely...). sad

HTuser Sat 17-Sep-16 12:38:48

Has your daughter completed any of the quizzes linked to the books AR books she has read - what were her quiz scores? If she is reading beyond the book level she will ace each quiz and that will provide the teacher with plenty of evidence she needs extending.

One of the purposes of AR is ensuring the child understands the text and can answer appropriate comprehension questions. The STAR test and the quizzes monitor the understanding. To be allocated 2.6 - 3.6 books your child will have demonstrated in the STAR test that was her understanding (not decoding) level. Maybe she tested badly, but doing the quizzes and sailing through them will identify the monitoring system that the teacher checks online that she is exceeding the books allocated.

The Education Endowment Foundation (Sutton Trust) did some research and AR came out as one of its recommendations for the most effective way of developing reading skills, so many schools are taking it on board. We have had it nearly a year and I know lots of other schools are buying in.

We re-test with the STAR four times a year and it is really useful for monitoring progress. The teacher looks at the data that AR collates on the quizzes at least once a week. If a child is allocated, for example, 2.6-3.6 books, but does badly on each quiz the teacher adjusts the book choice; sometimes the child is picking all 3.6, but is understanding at nearer a 2.6, so the teacher can guide the child to more appropriate choices. It also works the other way, which may be the case with your daughter.

One thing our staff like is that there is no such thing as an unmonitored free reader in our school now.

mrz Sat 17-Sep-16 12:42:50

mrz Sat 17-Sep-16 12:50:53

HTuser Sat 17-Sep-16 13:00:43

Yes, I read that blog (rather old - 2010) when I researched the possibility of buy AR and I do not agree with many of their reasons.
For example the choice of books available is far from limited. When we logged all the books across the school to include in the "library" the vast majority of books had quizzes available - this included our scheme books, classroom novels and information books.
The blog's concerns assume AR is used in a very narrow and prescriptive way. For us it is one more strand in the teaching and assessing of reading. We still hear children read. We stopped guided reading several years ago, preferring class reading and individual reading, and AR allows us to ensure the child is working on comprehension more frequently than the teachers can manage. Our teachers don't have LSAs, etc. for this role, so finding technology to support has been useful.
Many of our parents like the fact they get a notification after each quiz. The children like the computer time and each morning many race to get themselves on the ipad log sheet to book to do a quiz. We don't award all the prizes or use the extrinsic motivation with 99% of the pupils, but it was useful encouraging a small group of Y6 boys that reading was cool and giving the competition of who reached X points by half term really upped their reading at home!
No system is perfect and one size doesn't fit all, but we are very pleased with AR. It works for us and our pupil perception discussions, feedback from parents and the progress results across the school is worth its cost!
My only issue is that AR quizzes are from memory, so class comprehension activities include the quoting from the text to evidence the point aspect.

MrsGsnow18 Sat 17-Sep-16 13:05:23

AR shouldn't be being used alone in the school. It is just way for encourage extra/independent reading.
The class teacher should still be teaching reading through reading groups etc.
If this is not still be done in yr3 then I would have major concerns.

Humidseptember Sat 17-Sep-16 14:18:54

HTuser Sat 17-Sep-16 12:38:48

I must admit some of the questions that come with the reading level scheme is so hard for me to understand let alone dd, ie vague odd questions.

I wish my dd was an un monitored free reader because the reading scheme has held her back at some points, totally demotivated her at others and has not kept up with her skills in reading in any way.

mrz Sat 17-Sep-16 18:06:26

"Yes, I read that blog (rather old - 2010"

Did you read recent research too?

Letustryagain Tue 20-Sep-16 14:48:43

Thank you for all your views.

So my problem still stands in that DD is a very reluctant (but very capable) reader.

She will pick a book at random and it will sit in her book bag untouched. My fear is that this new 'scheme' will reinforce her dislike of reading by making her choose books that she has no real intention of reading and therefore will not undertake the quizzes or move onwards in progress.

What will the outcome of that be? Can I just continue to let her choose her own books and read them at home? How will the school react to that? At the end of the day when she became resistant to reading the teachers told me not to push her and that because her reading and comprehension were so advanced for her age, we didn't need to put the pressure on her to read. I don't want to continue to battle with her about it if she really doesn't want to do it

She still loves having a story from me every night (we're reading HP - The Goblet of Fire at the moment) and that's her favourite time of day. So she loves being read to, she just doesn't want to do it herself. sad

irvineoneohone Tue 20-Sep-16 15:37:17

Just let her do minimum required from school?
Older you get, you may need to read something you don't really like, and still have to answer questions etc. So, it maybe a good lesson. Just keep it as little effort as possible, and enjoy what she likes other times?
That's what I would do if it happened to my ds.

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