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Critical thinking and reading development in year 3

(11 Posts)
Whoamireally Sat 24-Sep-16 05:36:22

DD (age 7) has always been classed as a competent reader and finished year 2 on book band 13. She came home with her first reading book for year 3 at book band 10. It's a book she actually read at the end of year 1, so she was actually quite upset and firing questions at me I couldn't answer such as doesn't Ms X think I am as good a reader as Miss Y did?

Along with the book was an email saying the majority of the year group had come home on a lower book band than they finished year 2 because they were trialling a 'new system' based on
Bloom's Taxonomy for Reading . So in order to progress to the next book band, children will need to demonstrate that they are achieving those higher levels on their current reading band.

I went away and did some reading around critical thinking and higher order cognitive processes in children. It was very interesting. There's a lot of literature out there suggesting that we can and should be pushing critical thinking skills from a very early age, and I particularly liked this Stage Theory of Critical Thinking .

However, on the other hand you have Piaget who suggests that these skills are emerging but not fully developed until the age of 11 or so. Combine this with the knowledge that the frontal lobe and general neurological development which would enable a child to reach those higher order levels of thinking doesn't happen until the teenage years.

So after all my reading, I have come to the conclusion that I whilst wholeheartedly support the promotion of critical thinking skills from a young age, and think what they are attempting to do is exciting and progressive, I don't think it's appropriate to use the ability to think critically as a measure for determining progress in reading in 7 and 8 year olds who are not neurologically and cognitively able to do it.

I've emailed the class teacher to ask what my daughter's individual learning objectives are, in order to need her to drop back 3 whole book bands, but in the meantime, I'd be really interested to hear what other teachers and parents think.

SaltyMyDear Sat 24-Sep-16 05:52:44

You are over thinking this.

She's a competent reader. Enjoy books with her at home. And let the teacher do her thing with her at school.

It doesn't matter what book band she is on. You know that. Now you have to tell your DD that.

BombadierFritz Sat 24-Sep-16 06:02:05

I think you might have overthought this a little smile
instead, think of it from the less academic pov of ks1 targets and assessments, which will be the main drivers for this change.
once you start thinking about things from a 'developmentally ready' perspective I am afraid you will end up so disillusioned you will have to home school.

Whoamireally Sat 24-Sep-16 06:17:50

Yes salty you are right, I almost definitely am overthinking it grin but I do tend to overthink things that I don't understand so that I can come to understand them.

The issue of the book bands is by the by. The whole year has been pushed back. We're a family of readers, so my issue is not with the reading, because the seed is sown. It's about whether it's reasonable to measure and determine progress against something which children cannot do very well at this age, and interested to Know if this is being replicated elsewhere.

Whoamireally Sat 24-Sep-16 06:22:14

Thanks bombardier. As an academic I do often get hooked up in....academics, which is why it's helpful to have a different viewpoint.

I'd love to homeschool but have no patience whatsoever grin

Crushedredpepper1 Sat 24-Sep-16 06:23:39

Hi, Thanks for the links which I will read later ( very useful!) I don't think they are doing it explicitly in our school. I think the school should have tried to explain to the kids really as it would be disheartening to drop three bands.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 24-Sep-16 06:27:08

Piaget and stage theories, although widely taught still are more seen as important from an historic perspective. The boundaries are nowhere near as fixed as he believed. One of mine passed a test considered to be indicative of abstract reasoning (teenager) when he was 5, yet his older sister didn't. Some of the stages can be taught and encouraged by exposure, so conservation of liquid (realising that the height of a liquid is dependant not only on the volume but also the shape of the vessel and if you pour from one glass to another the volume remains the same) can be encouraged to develop through them playing with water.

Back to the original question my feelings are mixed. I can see that asking those questions will encourage critical thinking and comprehension. To be honest at level 13 most of the 'hard' work of decoding is done, so in that respect there is little to be gained from more generally boring book bands. As a parent I would probably be pushing mainstream early reader books rather than sticking to a book scheme. I don't think that any of mine went beyond 13 - I just politely declined any more reading books as they were killing the enjoyment. I would encourage your dd to see the lower reading book not as a step back but as a different skill --if I could bare more years of book bands--reading it and discussing it. I would also encourage her to be reading her own bedtime stories with you to push on with the vocab. Sharing a chapter is a good approach, so say you pick a Roald Dahl/ David Walliams etc - whatever she enjoys and she reads the first x pages and she reads the next, increasing until you read a chapter each. To be really honest though I would probably ditch the reading scheme altogether but then I am one of those awful parents who would rather that their child loved reading than ticked a box on a reading record. You can still slip those questions in with any books and it will probably be more engaging than trying to think whether they have ever read another book which has a magic key in it.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 24-Sep-16 06:32:30

she reads the first x pages and you read the next

irvineoneohone Sat 24-Sep-16 06:37:09

We haven't bothered with banded books after Lime(spring term of reception), my ds read what he wanted to read, and worked on comprehension on this site.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 24-Sep-16 06:47:36

Have a look at Vygotsky for a different perspective on development, and yes while the brain continues to develop into the 20s it is an interaction so that critical reasoning will encourage the reinforcement of neuronal pathways. I find debates over the dining room table to be a good way to foster such thinking and I would expect my 6yr old to participate as much as his 11yr sister. He though tends to get side tracked into meta conversations working out how we move from one topic of debate to another.

Whoamireally Sat 24-Sep-16 06:52:13

Thanks shouldwe and irvine really helpful suggestions smile I am getting a better idea of how we can support this without making reading at home really boring.

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