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How to not be 'that' parent?

(34 Posts)
TallyGrenshall Tue 14-Jan-14 10:26:37

I need help with approaching DS' teacher about his reading books.

He will be 5 next month and is on red band books (has been since October) His teacher said at his prents evening in November that he is well ahead of his class and that she was really limited with what she can do with him because she has to focus on basic phonics etc.

Which is fine and understandable BUT DS is still on red band books and they are far too easy for him. He brings them home, reads them in 2 minutes, we have a little talk about the story, characters feelings etc to check his understanding (no problems) and then thats it. There is no challenge in the books at all for him. His teacher has noted that his expression/emphasis is also good.

DS has lots of books of his own and reads every night so it's not really a massive problem but I think he should maybe be moved up another band. I don't know how to put it best so I don't look like a reading loon

TallyGrenshall Tue 14-Jan-14 10:29:35


Or should I just leave it and let him read more challenging stuff at home?

WeeBitWobbly Tue 14-Jan-14 10:32:38

I would agree just do at home, maybe update teacher at a later date or mention at next parent teacher.
I'm surprised harder books are not available

NynaevesSister Tue 14-Jan-14 10:34:17

I don't think you are 'that' parent if you ask for a quick chat with teacher after school. The last time you spoke was Nov!

If you want to be THAT parent you need to be on to the teacher every week!

HumphreyCobbler Tue 14-Jan-14 10:38:17

As long as people are polite, as I am sure you will be, you won't be considered 'that' parent. I am a teacher and I was always happy to listen to parents with concerns.

I do take issue with the statement that she can do little with him. It is her job to differentiate!

PeterParkerSays Tue 14-Jan-14 10:38:32

If you have a reading book or diary, to record what you've read with him, put a note in asking for them to review his reading as you feel that the red band books are too easy for him and you'd like their opinion. I'd be concerned that they can't differentiate work for him though. If the teacher persists with "I have to concentrate on the rest of the class" I'd be having a chat with the head teacher.

poopooheadwillyfatface Tue 14-Jan-14 10:39:30

I was that parentgrin
still am. Also became a governor. a good way to be that parent and actually make a difference and not just grumble.

They should be differentiating. However my school don't/can't/wont either in reception, as phonics is done as a class. I have a yr R child who hasn't covered any two letter sounds yethmm and it is delaying him being able to read more.
The school is surprised their phonics test results are poorconfused

I have raised it. They say they do small group work and differentiate in phonics. They don't. His teacher has confirmed they don't.

WidowWadman Tue 14-Jan-14 10:49:24

I am that parent. Unashamedly. Did email the teacher about too easy ORT books, which my daughter hardly ever changes (the reason probably is that they're a bit dull). I got the response that we're free to give her access to other books from the library.
I think the teacher probably knows that she can read, I hope.

SageBush Tue 14-Jan-14 10:56:30

I think it would be very reasonable to ask about moving your DS up a band if the books aren't challenging him - surely that is something the teacher should also recognise when she hears him read? My son (just 5) started on ORT/ Songbirds books in October, is picking up reading really well, and is now being allowed to bring two books home each week, with a view to moving him up a level in a week or two, as his teacher has recognised that he is making fast progress. We have been extremely pleased that his teacher has noticed this, and has proactively suggested this differentiation - that is the sort of thing that should surely be happening with your DS, given that he is already advanced with his reading.

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 11:06:28

If you don't ask you'll not find out if the issue is to do with a school process (or the teacher has just forgotten.)

SlightlyTerrified Tue 14-Jan-14 11:07:04

I definitely think they should be differenciating in YR. Some children will be on much higher levels than red, some even when starting school. DS1 was doing stage 5 phonics when starting reception and DS2 was learning the very basic 1 letter sounds. That was the correct level for my DCs and I would have been unhappy for anything different than that.

Even if a child was having to sit through the basic phonic classes this shouldn't affect them moving up reading levels - crazy!

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 11:08:20

Sometimes you have to be a "that parent" to get an issue unstuck which it transpires wasn't nearly as stuck as you had been told it was.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-Jan-14 11:13:14

You won't be 'that parent' if you just say to the teacher that she is finding it too easy and please can she be moved on a bit.

Or you could write a line in her reading diary?

TallyGrenshall Tue 14-Jan-14 11:17:48

Thanks, I'll try to grab her this afternoon and see what she says.

The reading books are changed twice a week and he is allowed free reign in the school library once a week instead of being limited to the early reader section butthe book band has stayed the same and DS still has the same basic phonics lessons (he says he knows the sounds but enjoys the songs)

OpalQuartz Tue 14-Jan-14 11:26:15

It does sound like he should have been moved up by now. At our school they tend to move them up the bands really quickly in reception, but then it slows down as they get older.

PeterParkerSays Tue 14-Jan-14 11:35:39

In my DS's school, a few children have been moved up a year for phonics, could you ask if your DS could do phonics with a Year 1 class?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-Jan-14 12:36:24

OP have you had info from school about when in the year they are focusing on new sounds, rather than consolidating?

Our school spent half a term doing new sounds, then half a term consolidating and using the sounds in different ways, then they learn new ones and so on. Halfway through YR they split the class for phonics so that those who were more advanced could move on faster.

His reading level shouldn't be dictated by what phonics they have covered though, that is ridiculous. If he is ready to move up then he should be moved up.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 14-Jan-14 13:09:30

DD1 was reading fluently when she started school, she still did all the class phonics and class reading (which was a bit frustrating later in the year as I do think she could have had some differentiation then) but she did have her own reading book. The school had her levels below what she could read but I don't think they realised just how good she was and at least they did move her up when I asked them to check her ability etc. DD2 is in reception now and is doing class phonics etc but again her reading book reflects her individual ability and the staff are moving her up when they think she is ready. There is no reason why a reception child should be sat on red books if they can read them easily.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 14-Jan-14 13:11:11

I actually didn't mind them doing the basic phonics. a little frustrating because they personally could have made more progress had they been able to skip the large amount they already knew BUT at least if they do all of them then they really will be secure in their knowledge of them and there is no chance they have missed any.

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 14-Jan-14 13:15:25

You are only "that" parent if you are my otherwise lovely PFB friend who asks the teacher every single day when little x will be moved up a book band.

Asking twice in 3 months is perfectly fine.

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 13:17:40

I think the phonics per day only takes a few minutes and there's no reason why they shouldn't participate in it whether they can read or not or whether they're strong whole word readers or not. It's a group activity and as such they should join in (seeing as they are part of the group.)

But I think having pupils on the wrong level reading books for years and years (for lots of internal or external reasons) is mad and bad. I know coordinating the level of the home reading book with the parent (especially the active parent) can be hard or harder still, depending on the level of awkwardness of the school/teacher/parent/child. But it's still not rocket science, no matter what!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-Jan-14 13:20:54

Tantrums grin Does the teacher duck when they see her coming??

gingercat12 Tue 14-Jan-14 13:21:36

I always leave little messages in DS's reading diary along the lines of "this is not a challenge for him" or "we need to practice this or that". I noticed DS's teacher reacts to these, and sends home books accordingly.

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 13:26:57

To be fair to the parents though, there are often perfectly legitimate reasons for some sorts of gaps between what the children read at home and their level of home-school-reading book. But teachers are often not good at explaining to parents what those reasons are. So parents go away feeling that the teachers haven't got a clue what their children are capable of reading (when the teachers actually do know.)

columngollum Tue 14-Jan-14 13:29:00

My daughter got given a set of hfws and said to the teacher I can already read and spell these. The teacher replied I know, now put it in your book bag!

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