How challenging should reading be?

(108 Posts)
AleHouseWench Thu 17-Nov-16 18:51:58

I'm not sure if I'm right or if I need to give my head a shake so am open to all advice. I firmly believe my son (year 1) should be on at least the next level of reading book. He reads everything he gets almost fluently, uses expression and understands what's going on.

I don't feel that he's being challenged at all. Surely there should be some words he's struggling with or just can't get at all in each book otherwise how is ever going to learn.

I have shown him some examples of higher level books (which he has also had home from school) which he can still read well.

What are you thoughts? Does anyone know what criteria schools use to move them up.

I just wanted to gain some outside opinions before I spoke to his teacher. TIA

Euphemia Thu 17-Nov-16 23:02:01

What other work is he doing at school related to the books?

taptonaria27 Thu 17-Nov-16 23:23:12

You should read to and with him at home - read whatever you like, you are not bound to the band the school suggests.
IME reading is a bit overlooked in infant school in terms of the book bands. It's really important but so time consuming to assess each and every child and their band that there is a time lag

Ditsy4 Fri 18-Nov-16 03:38:47

Take him to the library and get some read together books.
Have a look online at some comprehensions for his age. Check that he is understanding. Can he write answers? Can he predict what is going to happen next? Can he have empathy with a character? Even if you are doing the reading can he do these things? In NonFiction can he tell you how the book is laid out? Read a book with chapters. Ronald Dahl, Michael Morpergo etc let him read a sentence, a paragraph, a page a chapter. Discuss it.
These are the some of things that all looked a t before we change book bands.

OlennasWimple Fri 18-Nov-16 04:03:51

Honestly, I'd just ignore book bands - read lots with him at home, do the stuff that Ditsy suggests, let school worry whether he is lime or purple, it doesn't really matter

mrz Fri 18-Nov-16 05:51:37

The old book banding system doesn't natch the expectations of the new curriculum so you should really ignore the colours

AmberEars Fri 18-Nov-16 05:58:18

In answer to your question, I've heard that as a rule of thumb, they should be struggling with approx 1 in 10 words if the book is of the correct level.

However, I agree with the other posters. I've got three primary age DC and I never have/had a clue what colour book band any of them are on. Some teachers tend to push them ahead while others prefer them to finish all the books in a band before moving on. It really doesn't matter - we read school books and home books, as long as they are enjoying reading it isn't worth worrying about.

ThisIsNotARealAvo Fri 18-Nov-16 06:02:10

As pp said children should be reading at 90% accuracy, so yes finding 1 in 10 words hard to read. Any more than this and they will not retain the story. Comprehension is important too so if the teacher feels a child is just decoding but not understanding they will want them to practise that.

Wanderingraspberry Fri 18-Nov-16 06:23:21

I think it depends on the school. Ds also an able reader has attended two primaries at the first they would only send home books that could be read very easily to build confidence which meant that there was challenge. We bought other books to read at home and used the library. The book people do good progressive sets. DD is now at the second and is not a good reader, I had to ask for her to be put down a level as she was struggling with so many words that she was upset, so I now see the point of the confidence building!

Zoflorabore Fri 18-Nov-16 06:45:36

I'm in the exact same situation with my year one dd, at recent parents evening the teacher said when they checked her level recently she just wasn't ready to move on.
I am getting frustrated as dd reads brilliantly at home and has been on the same book band colour since Easter of reception. Op what level is your ds reading at?

For those posters who say to ignore the colours- it's so hard not to but that's something I am personally working on- I have become a bit obsessed with it to be honest as I know my dd is capable of more.

mrz Fri 18-Nov-16 06:53:16

If a child could only read with 90% accuracy I wouldn't move them up.

ThisIsNotARealAvo Fri 18-Nov-16 07:06:48

No 90% means they are on the right level.

mrz Fri 18-Nov-16 07:11:03

Books should match current phonic ability/knowledge not percentages

gallicgirl Fri 18-Nov-16 07:15:56

My DD is similar and has got to the point where she's reluctant or refusing to read school books. We supplement with lots of other reading. She's very fluent but lacks compréhension sometimes.

Unfortunately it's a balancing act to ensure fluency without sacrificing interest.

Doesn't help that DD is a stubborn little wotsit!

Feenie Fri 18-Nov-16 07:20:26

No 90% means they are on the right level.

That used to be the case with Look and Say schemes - as Mrs says, it doesn't work with decodable schemes and the new curriculum. Which is now not so new - more than two years on and some schools are running out of excuses.

Feenie Fri 18-Nov-16 07:21:20

Mrz, of course smile

AleHouseWench Fri 18-Nov-16 08:22:46

Thanks everyone.

He's reading at band 8/9 (was 9 but suddenly 8's have started coming home). He reads them fluently (8 and 9) with much more than 90% accuracy.

His comprehension is fine and he can also empathise and predict what is going to happen next.

We started reading Fantastic Mr Fox last night and he did very well, struggling but working out a couple of words (which is what I was looking for to be honest, this (IMO) suggests he is being challenged) but still comprehended well.

I'm finding it hard to agree with those who are saying book bands don't matter at school, of course they matter, he should be at a level which reflects his ability both in and out of school otherwise where is the challenge, how will he progress and I feel it's the teachers job to have him on the correct one - I hope that makes sense.

Thank you again for all your input, I'm going to speak with his teacher. My fear is that if he's not being stretched with his reading then is he not being stretched in other areas either?

IsayIdontknow Fri 18-Nov-16 09:04:13

My DS was around that level in year 1. I put down all the reading I do with him at home (mostly fiction) in his reading record, and teacher responded by sending him the non fictions/poems/joke book etc on a certain level then moving up him every term. I was happy with this approach. Our school keeps using scheme books till year 6, so no satisfaction of finishing the scheme and graduate into free reader for us!

Ginmummy1 Fri 18-Nov-16 09:17:40

I think people are saying that the ‘order’ in which phonics is taught according to current guidelines doesn’t correspond exactly to the (older) book bands. Therefore a child could legitimately be given books of different bands (up then down etc) over several weeks, to match where they are in phonics.

People aren’t saying that he shouldn’t be reading books that match his current phonics knowledge. They’re saying that you can’t use the colour of the book band to determine this.

They’re also saying to ignore the 90% guidance, as that relates to the old ‘look and say’ method.

If he is decoding accurately, reading everything fluently and comprehending well and it just all feels very ‘easy’ I would speak to the teacher.

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 18-Nov-16 09:36:23

he should be at a level which reflects his ability both in and out of school otherwise where is the challenge, how will he progress and I feel it's the teachers job to have him on the correct one - I hope that makes sense.

What do you think the challenge of reading is? Once you've learnt all the possible sounds various letters produce. You should, with few exceptions (foreign import words, truly irregular sounded nouns) be able to read any word you come across. I believe that the sounds are complete by "stage 6", so after that anyone word should be readable, so any book could be read.

There's speed, stamina, punctuation, expression if you're reading aloud etc.

The reason I think book levels don't matter is because they are a tiny minority of the reading done by the child...

ROSY2016 Fri 18-Nov-16 10:39:22

Mrz if they are good at phonics,comprehension,story writing,punctuation as well as reading 100 percentage accuracy ,why still they are in same level? is there any highest level of reading to particular level? I was told in my dd school for reception highest level is stage 5, and in year 1 they can move up to maximum stage 8. Is this true?

Feenie Fri 18-Nov-16 10:46:16

No, that's an entirety arbitrary ceilingl set by that particular school - it is not good practice.

Feenie Fri 18-Nov-16 10:48:04

Mrz if they are good at phonics,comprehension,story writing,punctuation as well as reading 100 percentage accuracy ,why still they are in same level?

Who knows? Lack of day to day assessment, probably.

ROSY2016 Fri 18-Nov-16 11:01:54

Thank you Feenie, that's what it was confusing me. In the mumsnet forum and other forums children's reading stages are 8/lime/white level in year 1,my dd's school reception and year 1 teachers told me this.Also she mentioned, My dd has to slow down with the number of reading books as they can move up stage 8 in year 1. I am supporting her with books from library and some extra books in ORT highest levels.

Ginmummy1 Fri 18-Nov-16 12:15:42

Rosy2016, that sounds so frustrating, that they have an official ‘ceiling’ and are telling your DD to read less in order not to run out of books at the permitted stage!

It sounds like you’re doing the right thing by providing her with a range of appropriate material outside school.

We have a different problem in that my DD’s school don’t have a ‘ceiling’ (good thing) but also don’t have age-appropriate books for younger readers reading at a higher level (can be interesting!). For example, she’s reading about states of matter, and while it’s well within her reading ability, we’re spending quite a lot of time talking about quite complex physics in order that she can fully comprehend what she’s reading. We’re all enjoying it but I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate – she’s still only 5!

However, this is a much nicer problem to have than the school basically telling you not to encourage your child to read!!

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