Help: reading schemes

(30 Posts)
Pickleup Thu 13-Sep-18 01:57:36

My child has just moved schools between reception and Y1. The old school had a reading scheme called PM plus, and he was level 10 on that one by the time he left. The new school uses a different one called Oxford Treetops (I think) and they have sent him home with a level 14 book which seems an awful lot harder (more than three levels harder, I reckon). I am not sure how these relate. And how do they relate to the colours that everyone talks about on MN? How do you know what colour level your child is on? What colour levels are you supposed to be doing in Y1?

OP’s posts: |
Norestformrz Thu 13-Sep-18 06:06:07

PM (Reading Recovery) Level 10 is roughly ORT Level 4 (light blue). Both schemes are whole language which would worry me.

Pickleup Thu 13-Sep-18 07:36:51


what is “whole language” please and why is it worrying? What is ORT? Is PM Reading Recovery the same as PM Plus?

His old school didn’t explain this and his new school just assumes we know already.

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LetItGoToRuin Thu 13-Sep-18 08:40:34

Neither scheme is based on phonics (learning the sounds the letters or combination of letters make) but are based on recognising whole words. Phonics is how it’s supposed to be taught these days, and at the end of year 1 each child has a phonics check, designed to identify problems with the child or school’s learning of phonics.

Has your DS read to the teacher yet? If the book is too hard, I’d ask for a quick chat with the teacher to discuss it.

user789653241 Thu 13-Sep-18 09:29:17

book-level -comparison -chart

Pickleup Thu 13-Sep-18 09:47:20

Thank you

So when MNers post about colours (orange, blue etc), which scheme are they talking about?

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user789653241 Thu 13-Sep-18 09:56:50

Looks like PM plus and reading recovery levels are exactly the same.


user789653241 Thu 13-Sep-18 10:00:20

I think this is the one talked about most.

Justgivemeasoddingname Thu 13-Sep-18 10:02:18

We're in Scotland so our p2 is the same as your year 1. Ds has just gone in to p2 and is on blue (level 4) Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) he covered all his phonics in p1 so is reading full stories now. Perhaps your new school thinks he covered the phonics? Ds is our 3rd child and all of our children followed this system and the older 2 are excellent readers so I have liked it.

Are you sure he's been given level 14?

Justgivemeasoddingname Thu 13-Sep-18 10:05:59

Level 14 is for teens!

5000KallaxHoles Thu 13-Sep-18 10:45:02

Give it time and talk it through with the teacher if it's a bit hard for him to read. DD1 moved schools at the same point and we had a couple of weeks of fiddling about and trial and error to hit on a book band that worked for her as her previous school hadn't used them. Couple of weeks into term and it had stabilised on a level fairly appropriate for her.

When people talk about colours they're talking about book bands usually where schools have got lots of different types of books from various schemes and sources grouped into relatively similar levels. There's a "normal" order for the colours to go in but then schools do their own variations and twists on it so it all gets a bit muddled at times and overly competitive/stealth braggy as well

user789653241 Thu 13-Sep-18 10:53:53

Justgiveme, ort lv14 is normally for ks2(yr3-6).

Pickleup Thu 13-Sep-18 11:24:25

justgiveme thanks for digging that up about ORT - I will have a read.
I find the whole scheme thing very confusing: it feels like a licence for publishers to print money, and really restricts the choice of books for kids to read. The PM plus ones were very dull and would put anyone off reading.

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ThreeAnkleBiters Thu 13-Sep-18 13:16:03

My DS is in Y2 and one of (but not the) best readers in his class and can read level 14 treetop books - they're like short chapter books. It's possible that a very confident Y1 child could already be on level 14 but they'd be quite far ahead and it would have been noted at his previous school. It sounds to me like a miscommunication. I would write in his reading journal that the book is too far too difficult (unless DS is actually able to read it confidently) and he was on the equivalent of level 4 last year.

For this kind of book the child should be able to read fluently with some expression, taking note of punctuation and only pausing over 5-10% of words. If DS isn't doing this it's too hard.

Kokeshi123 Thu 13-Sep-18 13:32:38

This PDF shows a level 14 Treetops book. Are they really expecting this of the average Y1? Seems very hard to me.

ThreeAnkleBiters Thu 13-Sep-18 13:49:05

Kokeshi123 It would definitely not be for an average reader at the beginning of Y1 (or Y2 actually) but it's not implausible for a very very good reader in Y1.

Pickleup Thu 13-Sep-18 14:34:07

It’s definitely 14. The words aren’t all that hard but the story is quite challenging (I think). Concepts like losing your job etc. At the old school the books were about dogs sitting in boxes or hens laying eggs.

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ThreeAnkleBiters Thu 13-Sep-18 14:38:25


That definitely sounds like it was a mistake. Even the very very good readers in Y1 get books that are carefully selected to be age appropriate with subject matter that is interesting to the age group. My DS is in Y2 and a very good reader but the level 14-15 books he brings home are especially selected for subject matter he really likes (e.g. about space travel). In my eldest class there was one girl who was an amazing reader (had been reading full chapter books since reception). She didn't do reading scheme books because the ones that matched her reading level weren't for her age group - she just chose chapter books from the school library.

Pickleup Thu 13-Sep-18 14:55:32

There’s a parents information meeting soonish so I will ask them to explain their system then. It seems like a lot more reading goes on at this school than the old one, which was very...haphazard

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ThreeAnkleBiters Thu 13-Sep-18 15:10:51

Even if the school is excellent at teaching reading I very much doubt most Y1 students would be able to read that book or find it useful for their reading progression. Lots in Y1 are still really struggling to read at all - quite a few started the year on level 1 in DS's class. There's still a huge spread at that age - now in Y2 it's narrowing alot.

drspouse Thu 13-Sep-18 16:07:58

Gosh no, that looks hard for an average reader in Y1.
How was he doing with the level 10 in the previous school?

user789653241 Thu 13-Sep-18 16:15:49

As mrz said, and clear from the chart in the link, RR(PM)lv 10 is eqivalent of ort lv 4, not lv 14.

Pickleup Thu 13-Sep-18 16:37:22

Level 10 was like this

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Pickleup Thu 13-Sep-18 16:40:31

That was PM Plus level 10. He could read that without a problem, but the school only benchmarked once a term.

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Norestformrz Thu 13-Sep-18 18:36:34

With PM the child learns the book before bringing it home so it's not a good indication

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