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Thoughts on reading schemes - Parents what do you REALLY think about them?

(53 Posts)
neverwithoutabook Thu 24-Nov-16 19:34:56

My DS primary school always use reading scheme books and never send home anything else, are these books actually useful for kids or are 'real books' better to help learning to read?

mrz Thu 24-Nov-16 20:00:10

Reading scheme books are designed to teach specific reading skills and are necessary for most children. The "real book" method was as resounding flop leaving many unable to read

neverwithoutabook Thu 24-Nov-16 20:12:19

Thanks for your reply! I just think the books can be really boring, the ORT biff, chip et al books in particular!
DS seems to get bored reading about their monotonous, dull adventures over and over.
Should I be using real books as extra help to try and get him excited about reading?

mrz Thu 24-Nov-16 20:27:52

I would hope all parents are sharing a variety of books with their child to encourage an interest in books (not guaranteed) but I wouldn't recommend asking a child to independently read books above their skills and ability. Scheme books are "text books" written for the purpose of teaching specific knowledge and develop skills.

Personally I'm not a fan of ORT but there are many high quality reading schemes available

Tomorrowillbeachicken Thu 24-Nov-16 20:31:06

The biff and chip books make me want to lose my mind. We supplement with real books at home though and the ort seem to work well for DS

LucyFuckingPevensie Thu 24-Nov-16 20:34:18

I find them a pita to listen to tbh. My Dts were quite happy to read them though and they now have much more interesting books to read.
We used to share a book at bedtime too, we still do actually. We turns to read a couple of pages.
Like a pp said, they do help develop specific skills so it is worth persevering as I think they really helped my Dts.

catkind Thu 24-Nov-16 21:57:33

At the early stages clearly scheme books are key (specifically, decodable books).

After that, as long as we get a good variety of well written, engaging books, not particularly bothered whether they're scheme or not.

Old school had a variety of schemes but modern and engaging and usually with a touch of humour, DS mostly loved them. They got him reading things like poetry and plays that he might not normally find.

New school has a rather uninspiring collection of supposedly "real books". Except they're not, they're things like the neverending fairy books, or the football equivalent, just as formulaic as the worser schemes. They're not levelled, there's no progression and no "I have a new box to choose from" excitement. DS just refuses to change his school book and we go to the town library instead.

Bitofacow Thu 24-Nov-16 22:06:30

We, my ds and me, hated them. They were a tedious intrusion into the exciting, fun, dangerous worlds we were exploring. They nearly killed off my sons love of reading.

They make what should be a pleasure a boring life sapping experience.

ceeveebee Thu 24-Nov-16 22:22:00

Our school sends home 4 reading scheme books a week but they are a mixture of ORT, snapdragons, songbirds etc, plus a "sharing book". The variety stops them being boring. Although DTs are only in reception so the novelty factor is probably still there!

attheendoftheday Thu 24-Nov-16 23:10:46

I quite liked the Julia Donaldson Songbirds books when dd1 was first learning. Biff etc al make me want to claw my eyes out, they are so, so boring. We do a lot of supplementing at home.

neverwithoutabook Fri 25-Nov-16 19:14:19

Do you think all reading schemes are as boring as the adventures of biff et al? The school has chosen that scheme but would I be able to use a different scheme at home that might interest him more? any suggestions?

Vinorosso74 Fri 25-Nov-16 20:48:01

DD is Y2 now but we used to get a variety of Biff et al, Songbirds, RWI. Once she was a more able reader we got shortish stories but the school had them assigned to the appropriate level if that makes sense? In reception they also brought another book for parents to read and look at with child chosen by the child which was good.

Vinorosso74 Fri 25-Nov-16 20:50:20

Sorry I found the Songbirds books were most enjoyable early on. Some Biff ones were ok but tedious however they seem to workin that children can decode and it's familiar characters. Liked how RWI also have non fiction books too.

lorisparkle Fri 25-Nov-16 21:00:48

My boys love listening to and reading a variety of books. At different points I was not happy with the scheme books they brought home so tried 'reading chest' . It is a website and lending service. The boys loved getting their own books through the post! I found different schemes suited different children at different times so believe variety is the key.

neverwithoutabook Fri 25-Nov-16 21:01:16

Does anyone think that because parents are probably the people that read with their children the most, that they should have some input on what is required to be read by their DC's school? If parents are reading with their kids for 2+ hours a week, shouldn't we get some say so in the books?

catkind Fri 25-Nov-16 22:02:33

Well you can't control what books school own to suit your individual child. If the books school are sending are really not engaging my child I tend to find something else to read most of the week and just do a school book once a week. Though school have never offered 2+ hours of reading material a week anyway, rarely more than 10 minutes total, so there was plenty of time for reading home books even if we did the maximum allowed of school reading.

I'm a reading volunteer in yr 1 and find most of the children seem to enjoy the Biff Chip and Kipper books. They like the humour and they like seeing familiar characters in a familiar sort of family setting. I think they're the more modern BCK, phonics based, there are non fiction ones too where the characters pop up occasionally. But to be fair that's not the only scheme they use so they're mixed up with other stuff.

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 25-Nov-16 22:17:25

I think the issue is the 2+ hours a week of school books, whilst I can see that might be positive for a family who had no books, but then such a family wouldn't like be up for 2+ hours a week work in any case.

Like catkind we got less than 10 minutes a week - some were interesting, some weren't, but none were long enough to be boring, and we never felt the need for any scheme books outside, just books and an attitude where it doesn't matter if you can read a word, or chatting on the internet to relatives, or anything else to read.

Karaoke has been great now too, although it's removing lots of the more interesting misheard lyrics from her singing which is a shame.

So what I think - I assume they serve a specific purpose, I can believe it, but the same as I wouldn't expect someone learning the piano to just do nothing but scales, I wouldnt expect a learning reader to just stick to a scheme.

CruCru Fri 25-Nov-16 22:17:30

I like them well enough. Must admit that I ordered a set of the Julia Donaldson ORT songbirds online (36 for about £20) and have been going through those in addition to the BCK books. We've just got onto the level 4 ones and have just read one on Tadpoles - my son is really enjoying them and asks to read each evening. However, he gets quite excited about moving up levels and making progress.

We've also got the Ladybird RIY books but they are a bit more difficult. "Cinderella" was a level 1 book but included words that a child who has just started to read might find difficult - "Cinderella", "stepsister", "godmother" etc.

Wheredidallthejaffacakesgo Fri 25-Nov-16 22:22:30

I like reading scheme books that allow the child to practise particular skills in an order that makes sense and fits with the curriculum and the child's needs.

I don't like reading scheme books when they are actually a selection of books from different schemes dating from (I kid you not) the late 60s onwards, that about a decade ago got labelled up with coloured stickers to denote book bands. The initial bands are particularly inappropriate for children being taught phonics as most are look-and-say.

So I like reading schemes, but implemented in a thought-through way, and using material relevant to modern understanding of literacy pedagogy.

Coughingchildren5 Fri 25-Nov-16 22:28:48

I recently invested in the old ladybird Peter and Jane reading scheme. My Ds loves it! I was amazed how happily He has tucked into the stories. He really did get bored with the lower level phonics schemes from the school.

bretonpuffin Fri 25-Nov-16 23:32:56

DD (year 1) really likes the ORT books, so I don't mind them at all. I think because the characters are familiar and the magic key stories formulaic, it's given her confidence reading. She finds them funny. On the odd occasion she brings home something other than biff and chip they're never as good imo.

mrz Sat 26-Nov-16 05:10:57

*"*^*Does anyone think that because parents are probably the people that read with their children the most, that they should have some input on what is required to be read by their DC's school*^*"*

There isn't anything required to be read's free choice

TataEs Sat 26-Nov-16 07:32:08

i think the new phonics reading schemes are good. the accomplishment when a child reads a while page or whole book is brilliant (i read with reception in my sons school) but i think they should only be used alongside story books, story books give children a love or stories and books you are unlikely to get from biff and kipper! but i think it's a parents responsibility to read stories of their choice as well as the school reading books.

some of the school i read ins level 1 books are ridiculous, 'i saw a tyrannosaurus, i saw a stegosaurus' was one i had the other day... it would be much easier if they were all the ort type. but the kids have to read a new book every day, i'm not sure even ort have enough books for that!

Sirzy Sat 26-Nov-16 07:38:13

Ds school send home a wide range of reading schemes which is good at keeping things mixed up a bit. Last night he has a book about "extreme conditions" which he loved and promoted him to do more research on his own which is great.

He is less keen on the comic type books so they try to send less of them home with him - but we still get them so he is reading different formats of book over time. I know lots of others love that style though!

I think where one scheme is followed religiously (do many schools do that now?) it could soon get a bit boring and monotonous. Especially if they are books which don't engage the child well.

MsAwesomeDragon Sat 26-Nov-16 07:58:47

Dd's school have a few different reading schemes that they send home. In the early levels they are all phonics based so all the words are decodable with limited phonics knowledge. They seem to have loads of these, so children who stick on those levels for a while don't get fed up reading the same few books over and over again. Then once they reach higher levels we start getting older reading schemes that have been recategorised by the school, so books that used to be blue are now purple or vice versa, depending on the difficulty of decoding the words. Dd is now on white level which seems to include those infernal rainbow fairy books, but dd does seem to enjoy them and is so proud that she can read them herself.

We also supplement the school books with our own books and library books. We liked the songbirds books (I bought them online and they have been passed around various cousins and friends by now).

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