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Does anyone know what reading age a junior school child needs to have to be a free reader?

(44 Posts)
MrsBartlet Fri 10-Jul-09 18:20:50

Got ds's report today - he has a reading age of 11.0 but is still not a free reader. Is this normal?

mrz Fri 10-Jul-09 18:23:01

There isn't a set level it's up to individual school policies.

Quattrocento Fri 10-Jul-09 18:27:53

And individual school policies can be barking so well worth checking out.

DD had a minor rebellion about not being a free reader this year. None of the class were allowed to be free readers even if they were free readers IYSWIM. DD had a reading age of 15.2 years and refused point blank to read any more reading scheme books and after a while, the school saw it her way.

MrsBartlet Fri 10-Jul-09 18:28:27

OK - I wondered if that might be the case. I'll talk to the school on Monday. Thanks.

MrsBartlet Fri 10-Jul-09 18:29:47

How ridiculous to be expected to read reading scheme books with a reading age of 15.2 - your poor dd!

suwoo Fri 10-Jul-09 18:29:51

That sounds ridiculous. DD was a free reader in year one when she was still 5. I doubt she had a reading age of 11 though, but I don't know how they work that out.

Doobydoo Fri 10-Jul-09 18:31:24

DS Has reading age of 15+ he is a free readersmile

Doobydoo Fri 10-Jul-09 18:32:09

Agree with the working out bit.Think they carry out tests when they start school etc.

MrsBartlet Fri 10-Jul-09 18:32:10

Ds was a free reader in the infants but they start a different system when they go to the juniors (at our school anyway) and they have to work up to it again.

ingles2 Fri 10-Jul-09 18:32:20

I've got a yr3 and a yr4 and both have been free readers for years.
That's probably because I totally ignore the scheme books in the bag and we read what we want, then write in the book record same as normal.
Ds1 has had the same book in his bag all year hmm no-one mentioned it though and they have checked the records.

Quattrocento Fri 10-Jul-09 18:33:53

yy ridiculous indeed. It was a victory for Mumsnet actually, because I posted about how to get her to read her reading scheme books and the combined wisdom of MN persuaded me here to support DD, and the school accepted the position.

Quattrocento Fri 10-Jul-09 19:09:55

Oh but there is the reverse side of the coin. DS is labelled a free reader when in reality he is anything but. He's more of a cajoled reader. Or, more usually, a bribed reader.

lljkk Fri 10-Jul-09 19:14:51

DC school has a policy of not free reader b4 Yr3 -- I only know this because towards the end of Y2 DD nicely asked & got a special dispensation (my interpretation) to be a FR.

Soups Fri 10-Jul-09 19:26:44

last parents evening he had one of 12 but still no where near a free reader and brings home very very easy books from various schemes. However he is a free reader for in school reading time, I think they have something like 15 mins as day sitting on the carpet reading. So there he's allowed to read normal kids novels. He's also a free reader for the school library for books deemed suitable in content for up to Yr 4. Not complicated eh grin

MrsBartlet Fri 10-Jul-09 20:08:34

Thanks everyone. Ds is in Y3 and has watched over half the class become free readers throughout the year. He is pretty much at the top of the class so we have been a little confused. I do think his reading may have plateaued a bit at the start of the year but now I am sitting here wondering what their reading ages are in their reports blush! I am sure some of them will have higher reading ages than him (dd's was 12.0 at the same stage and she was a May birthday) but I can't believe that so many of them have overtaken him in the space of a year.

Thanks for the link Quattrocento and well done for standing up to the school. I used to run a bookshop and specialised in children's books so my key aim is for them to enjoy reading. This is my reason for wanting ds to move on as he is bored of the books he is allowed to read in his colour band. We are already staging our own secret rebellion as he is taking in a Harry Potter book and reading that instead!

Mintyy Fri 10-Jul-09 20:11:14

Sorry but what is a free reader?

verygreenlawn Fri 10-Jul-09 20:15:02

I think (but please correct if I'm wrong) a free reader gets to choose their own book (ie not a reading scheme book). Ds is 6 (yr 1) and is much happier now he just goes to the library and chooses his own book. I think our school let you do it once you are on a white label.

verygreenlawn Fri 10-Jul-09 20:16:31

.... not sure though if white label is some national level or their own labelling system.

Ds seems to be happily working his way through all the Dick King-Smith books at the mo!

MrsBartlet Fri 10-Jul-09 20:22:00

Yes that is right - before free reader children have to select reading books from specified bands of books grouped according to difficulty levels. Once they are free readers they can choose what they want to read.

katiestar Fri 10-Jul-09 20:49:21

I thought reading ages only went up to 15?
I would say it depends how reading age is measured.Some tests only measure decoding ability.

Quattrocento Fri 10-Jul-09 22:41:19

Doesn't that depend upon the test? Not that I've the first idea which ones they use at DD's school mind you. Reading ages aren't given on their school reports now - the information on DD's reading age was given at a parents' evening. It definitely went up beyond 15 though but obv don't know where it ended. Can they go up to 70?

MrsBartlet Fri 10-Jul-09 22:51:54

His report said that there were two reading tests done, measuring different things. One was an NFER test which gave his reading age as 11.0 and his QCA reading test was 4c. I would have thought these were pretty good for Y3 which is why I am confused as to why he is not moving on as his classmates are.

lljkk Sat 11-Jul-09 09:09:27

Maybe it's a technical thing, MrsB?

I think some schools are a lot more flexible than others in book choice. I was told when DD was most the way thru reception "She can pretty much choose what she wants" from the KS1 library, even though her nominal reading level wasn't that high yet then. DD was game to try most anything, so they let her, within reason.

Schools really shouldn't make a big issue out of this; DS (nearly 10) has never talked about being a 'Free Reader' at all, though I expect he has been one for a year or longer.

piscesmoon Sat 11-Jul-09 09:23:14

I wouldn't bother about it-join the library (if you haven't already)and let him be his own free reader-then it doesn't matter what the school do, or don't do.If he has a reading record book I would write down all the books he reads on his own for pleasure in addition to his reading scheme book and they might get the message.

MrsBartlet Sat 11-Jul-09 09:35:01

I'm not overly bothered about it - it only bothers me from the point of view of ds watching his friends overtake him. As I said before we used to own a bookshop so as you can imagine our house is full of books and we all spend lots of time reading. We do also go to the library often. I think we'll just wait and see what happens with his new teacher in September and continue to give him books that he is interested in to read.

In reality he is actually progressing as his reading age was 9.6 in October and 11.0 now but this just hasn't been matched by a progression to free reader!

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