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How do you know that a reading book is the 'right' level? (Y1)

(22 Posts)
imaginaryfriend Mon 13-Oct-08 23:11:19

Dd's doing really well with her reading. She's in Y1 brings home books from a range of schemes at school, mainly from the Storyworlds series. She usually brings home stage 8 or 9 books which she reads through with no problem, sh rarely doesn't know how to read a word in them. She does have some problems with reading 'fluently' and with expression so the teacher usually asks me to get her to practise that, also to read in a louder voice (she's very shy).

So if she can read a book easily does that mean it's the right level? Shouldn't there be a few challenging words in them? Her teacher suggested that I start some first chapter books with her at home so we've been reading some of the Corgi Pups first readers but the vocabulary is very different to her reading scheme books and I'd say she gets stuck on at least 5 or 6 words per page (there's about 10 lines of text per page) - does that mean these are too hard?

I'd just like to have some books around that are the right level.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Mon 13-Oct-08 23:17:28

I think getting stuck on five or six words per page means the book is slightly too hard. She should be able to read all but one or two words per page in order to build up fluency and confidence. It depends on how quickly she picks up new vocabulary as well - when she comes across a new word, does she recognise it the next time she meets it or does it take a few encounters to sink in? Have a look at the Bananas scheme if they have got it in your library - the books are in four levels Green, Red Blue and Yellow and she can work her way up.

dollybird Mon 13-Oct-08 23:18:09

I'm not going to be much help but have the same sort of problem. I've no idea how the teaching reading is done at dc's school. They seem to get all sorts of different 'schemes' (mostly the Biff & Chip ones - not sure which scheme this is). DD who is a year younger than DS has had the same books as him but he is not behind in reading - think she just enjoys it more.

I would say they need a challenge so if there are tricky words it will help them to get better. If they enjoy reading it anyway let them do it. If they get upset at struggling then maybe it is too hard. DD didn't have a reading book at the weekend so she read her brothers.

singersgirl Mon 13-Oct-08 23:25:22

Some guidelines say that for independent recreational reading the child should find no more than 1 word in every 20 difficult; for instructional reading it is nearer 1 word in 10. So that means if your daughter can read 9 out of every 10 words, it is a good instructional level - neither too hard nor too easy. If she can read 19 out of every 20 words, she can read it to herself.

I'm not sure how to count to be honest. It sounds as if those Corgi books are about right for her instructional level.

imaginaryfriend Mon 13-Oct-08 23:33:56

Thanks. My feeling is that the Corgi books are perhaps slightly too hard but the reading books from school aren't challenging at all.

cory Tue 14-Oct-08 08:36:37

As for independent recreational reading- I don't believe in guidelines, it depends on the child.

Some people are easily put off by difficulties, others enjoy a challenge. I was one of the latter and was given free access to my parent's library at a very early stage.

Not challenging at all, sounds dull for everybody. Corgi books sound ok. She doesn't have to be doing exactly the same thing at school and at home.

FioFio Tue 14-Oct-08 08:38:26

Message withdrawn

Gobbledigook Tue 14-Oct-08 08:55:30

At the boys' school they have created their own 'levels' (colour bands) by using a mish-mash of different reading schemes (ORT, literacy land etc). To me it seems that within each colour band there are some books that are significantly easier to read than others.

So within the band ds2 is on now, there have been some where there have been 2 -4 words per page (say a page with 6 or 7 lines of text) that he's had to work hard to break down and 'work out' and then there are other books he reads with complete ease.

I actually think this is good - it gives them some chance to be challenged and to push themselves and work hard at it, mixed in with chances to read books that they can do without help and this builds their confidence. At least this is what I've found with both ds1 and now ds2.

In addition though, it's about understanding of the story and what is going on - predicting what might happen next, understanding why the characters behave in the way they do etc.

When ds1 was reading I never focused on this - he flew with his reading and could read much harder books than were aimed at his age so I just let him read them without checking understanding. Consequently I had to spend a couple of months really focusing on this as his comprehension suffered a bit.

With ds2 I am making sure I focus on this as much as whether he can read and 'decode' words as I now realise how important that is.

The other thing is, at least in our school, the books they bring home to read to us are a level 'below' the books they are reading at school in guided reading and literacy work.

At home I make sure we do his reading books adn if it was an easy one he might be up for reading one of his own books that might be a bit more challenging.

Gobbledigook Tue 14-Oct-08 08:58:47

Agree with others re individuals though - you have to be lead by the child I think. Some children like the challenge and some get down-hearted and you def don't want that scenario imo.

Ds2 actually finds it really rewarding to work out the hard words and he is quite good at remembering them second time around so once he's worked it out once he's got it. When I used to read in school when ds1 was in yr 1, there were quite a few children who would work out a word and then a few lines later have to do it again, and then again - they didn't seem to remember the word.

So, you need to go with what works for your child.

aintnomountainhighenough Tue 14-Oct-08 09:58:49

Hi IF hope you're well. My DD (also year 1) is reading that level of books however her new school have really focused on expression and fluency and it has really paid off. She reads the books fairly easily too, usually just a couple of words that she struggles with. I would take the opportunity to really work on the expression and fluency as if she is confident reading the books then you can focus on these things more easily whereas if she goes up a level and struggles it potentially will be too much for her.

I have found that my DD now picks up books we have around the house and reads them as opposed to me putting books in front of her. I do like this as I think she is reading for enjoyment rather than having to. I assume that if your DD is finding 5-6 words quite hard her reading is a little stilted? I wouldn't push with these personally I would work on fluency in slightly easier books to build her confidence.

imaginaryfriend Tue 14-Oct-08 11:42:31

Thanks for the replies and hi ANMHE smile

I totally agree that fluency, understanding and expression are important and dd does tend to read in a bit of a monotone. However she really does understand what she's reading because she chats all the way through the books, asking questions, referring to the pictures etc. It's definitely true that in the lower band books in which she recognises every word her reading is much more expressive but it does seem like she's not 'learning' from them at the same time. With the Corgi chapter books it is a rather stilted process because the involve a lot of words she hasn't encountered or learned a method of decoding yet. For instance a word like 'chance' threw her because it had a 'ch' a soft 'c' an a that sounded as 'ar' etc. There tend to be, in the Corgi books, quite a few words like this per page that she can't work out using her current level of decoding knowledge. She doesn't mind the challenge or get disheartened particularly but it does make reading them a bit of a chore and she's not particularly keen to read them.

We need something in between really. I have some old ORT stage 9 & 10 books which are probably the right level but she really liked the idea of some chapter books to read. Does anyone know of any that are perhaps slightly easier on the vocab than the Corgi books?

hellywobs Tue 14-Oct-08 14:44:42

It strikes me that other schools really do push the children along the levels a lot more than my son's school does. My son (November birthday) is on ORT level 5 (but reads lots of other non-scheme books so is effectively "free-reading"), and level 6 on another scheme and another girl in his class who is very good is on ORT level 6. There are two boys in his class in Y1 on stages 7 and 10 respectively but most of the kids are on stages 2-4. They are flying through the books now (one book a night generally) but last year it was one book a week unless you asked for more. It's interestng to see how different schools do different things.

My son's teacher is also hot on fluency and expression, which I think is the reason my ds is not on a higher level as he tends to read in a bit of a monotone though he's getting better.

singersgirl Tue 14-Oct-08 21:26:12

Hellywobs, DS1 was at a school like yours in Y1 - the boy who was reading 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' at home was only reading ORT Stage 8 at this stage in the year, and most of the class were on Stages 2-4. DS2 went to a school where they really push them through the levels.

IF, in terms of next stage reading, have you tried the Bananas books? There are three levels, Blue, Red and Yellow, with Blue being the simplest. We bought some and had some from the library. Colour Young Puffins and the Usborne First Series are very good too.

imaginaryfriend Tue 14-Oct-08 21:39:53

hellywobs, dd seems to be in a Y1 group who are really very good with reading, they're all around the same level 8-10. But the next group down is reading level 4-6, around half the class are reading level 2-4 and one group is still on level 1.

I don't really understand the term 'free reading' - does it mean a child can read literally anything at all, even a fairly complex novel, and recognise every word? If so dd is far from free-reading. But if she was given a reading scheme book up to say level 8 she could probably read it immediately and fluently with expression.

dinny Tue 14-Oct-08 21:43:13

at our school it seems it is all about fluency/expression/understanding as much as ability to read the words

has she tried reading Enid Blyton for her chapter books?

dinny Tue 14-Oct-08 21:43:58

IF, dd's only 'prob' with redaing at school is also her loudness (that shyness again)

imaginaryfriend Tue 14-Oct-08 21:51:41

Thanks SS, I'll look for those books.

imaginaryfriend Tue 14-Oct-08 21:53:12

Hello dinny! I've had notes in dd's reading diary since Reception that she needs to speak up and read more fluently with more expression! She's fine when she reads with me at home, maybe I should mention that to the teacher?

How's your dd getting on BTW?

hellywobs Wed 15-Oct-08 09:25:23

Thanks for the recommendations about banana books etc, I'll look out for them.

The Enid Blyton books are worth a look as well - we've got some so I'll dig them out and see what he makes of them. Ds loves the Usborne non-fiction beginners books.

dinny Wed 15-Oct-08 11:19:44

Hi, IF, she's getting on much much better, thanks - she seems pretty settled and much more confident and happy at school (year 2) and is really enjoying the work, thanks for asking smile

Jux Wed 15-Oct-08 11:39:06

At this stage with dd I got the Daisy Meadow fairy books - to read to her, not for her to read. They inspired her to really want to read herself and were much more interesting to her than the ORT stuff she was getting at school.

imaginaryfriend Wed 15-Oct-08 12:39:26

That's really good dinny smile

Jux, dd doesn't like those fairy books but I am wondering if she'd like to read her Amelia Jane books as she's always been quite keen on me reading them to her.

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