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Yr 8 English - should they be reading the whole text?

(34 Posts)
courderoy Thu 28-Nov-19 21:54:10

i just want to test if this is normal practice, it’s an example rather than a specific question about this text.

Yr 8 mixed ability set have been studying To Kill a Mockingbird this term. They have read 7 chapters along with the audio book in class and have watched the film.

They wont read much more in class so won’t have read the whole book. English homework policy is a computer based vocab builder and nothing else, and in any case there are not enough texts for them to take home.

I could see how getting through the text would be challenging in the limited time available. I just wanted to test whether this is a normal approach?


OP’s posts: |
Wildorchidz Thu 28-Nov-19 21:57:38

I’m a bit shocked that they don’t read the whole book..
But I’ve no idea if that is normal
And it’s very depressing that they don’t have enough books to take home

YourOpinionIsNoted Thu 28-Nov-19 21:58:05

No, not normal anywhere I have taught. Awful way of teaching literature.

Also, TKAM is far too complex for yr8.

This smacks of a school recycling their old GCSE stock down to ks3, then bodging it to fit.

YourOpinionIsNoted Thu 28-Nov-19 22:01:34

And it’s very depressing that they don’t have enough books to take home

Now this is normal. One between two is generally the accepted standard, especially at ks3.

If they take books home you spend every bloody lesson chasing the 10-20% who haven't brought it back in, working out who can share with who, and the books get trashed at the bottom of school bags.

FloreanFortescue Thu 28-Nov-19 22:03:22

It's £4 on the internet. I'd just buy it and encourage DC to do some wider reading. Not having a book each is just ludicrous.

YourOpinionIsNoted Thu 28-Nov-19 22:08:37

It's really, really normal not to have a book each. It's only the two private schools I've taught in where a book each is the norm. State schools, no way.

wheresmyliveship Thu 28-Nov-19 22:10:06

Off topic but what’s the homework website? I’d be intrigued to see how that works and whether it allows them to implement the vocab!

FloreanFortescue Thu 28-Nov-19 22:12:22

@YourOpinionIsNoted that's so depressing. We always had a book each at my school.

missmapp Thu 28-Nov-19 22:14:03

My two boys at secondary always read the whole text , but never bring a book home. Where they are interested we buy the book, but sometimes they are happy just to read at school. They do bring poetry anthologies but they look like school text book type things.
Ds2 , in year 7, had just started doing a computer vocab building thing for homework, but also has questions linked to the book. Other son is in 6410 and has GCSE style questions for homework

missmapp Thu 28-Nov-19 22:15:06

Not sure what 6410 is ! Meant to be , in year 10

Ellapaella Thu 28-Nov-19 22:15:41

We had to buy all essential texts for school and I remember buying this for DS. I would buy them from eBay for a couple of quid. He had to read it at home and then it was discussed and read again during lessons.

Ellapaella Thu 28-Nov-19 22:18:40

Year 8 seems quite early for TKAMB though

courderoy Thu 28-Nov-19 22:20:37

They can have a book each in class but 120 students (half the year) study a text at the same time. As YourOpinion says if they took them home they wouldn’t reliably come back anyway.

Agree that TKAM is too much - a shorter easier text studied in full would seem better.

Big push on disadvantaged gap means that the school would never ask parents to buy their own copies - it also means that ‘catching up’ on reading as homework wouldn’t be an acceptable homework as it would mean those that didn’t do it could get irredeemably behind.

The online system is Bedrock. Cynically I think it was introduced to reduce marking. It is the only English homework set in years 7 to 9

OP’s posts: |
TooExtraImmatureCheddar Thu 28-Nov-19 22:22:09

shock When I was at school we had a book each! The English base was full of copies of texts not currently in use. It’s not like schools have to buy all new books every year. My half sister is 20 years younger than I am and last week she sent me a photo of my name in her Higher Maths textbook.

YourOpinionIsNoted Thu 28-Nov-19 22:40:48

Schools can't store every book ever - things get thrown away.
Fiction dates. In my first school I taught a book on which s central plot point involved this new fangled thing called the internet... Can't teach that now!
Books get removed from specifications - pretty much every school teaching To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men at ks3 are going do because they used to be GCSE texts and now they have surplus books.
Cheap paperbacks fall apart. Expensive text books last longer.

GrammarTeacher Fri 29-Nov-19 07:03:28

We don't have enough books. We don't have enough money for more books. It will increasingly be the case that this happens. I dislike this greatly. In my English department we also wouldn't have enough space to store all the books. We don't have enough space as it is.

Teachermaths Fri 29-Nov-19 07:08:07

Cynically I think it was introduced to reduce marking

Why is this a bad thing?

Evidence shows that marking is one of the least effective ways to help students make progress with learning. (despite many schools still insisting upon every piece of work being marked).

alislim Fri 29-Nov-19 08:37:54

At the school I work in we skip whole acts in Romeo and Juliet just to study the key scenes and have the key quotes for their GCSE's

courderoy Fri 29-Nov-19 09:56:48

Teachermaths, sorry I phrased that badly. I should have said just to reduce marking.

Completely agree that reducing marking isn’t a bad thing, but I think it might have been given undue weight.

OP’s posts: |
courderoy Fri 29-Nov-19 10:01:40

Also the fact that marking is ineffective presumably doesn’t mean that you stop doing the work that is being marked. The homework system now means that the students don’t write any extended text for homework for the first three years of secondary (the online system is all shortform) and then have a bit of a shock in year 10.

OP’s posts: |
Teachermaths Fri 29-Nov-19 16:53:16

The homework system probably replaces knowledge recall that would have been done in lesson and the lesson time is now spent on extended writing. (I'm obviously not an English specialist!).

The knowledge recall is important to be able to write effectively and well. Also having self marking knowledge recall means teacher time can be spent properly marking extended writing and providing live feedback in lessons on students writing. Makes more sense to do it this way in my head.

From a Maths pov, actually marking questions as right or wrong can be done by students. The important thing as a teacher is why students have gone wrong. If they all have the same question wrong there's usually 2/3 different misconceptions which need further teaching. There's no point a teacher writing the same thing in each book, instead a live example of why students went wrong and another similar question to answer is much more effective than any red pen. (Sorry we've gone very off topic here!)

CripsSandwiches Fri 29-Nov-19 18:42:13

I've no knowledge of that particular text (other than reading it 15 years ago!) as English isn't my subject but the students I know in y7/8 do read the entire text of books they study (mostly as homework - they are leant copies of the book) and answer questions as they go. For example homework is read chapters 7-9. Write a brief summary of each chapter and comment on how the descriptions add suspense in chapter 8.

stucknoue Fri 29-Nov-19 18:45:11

My DD's were sent home with books to read as homework

CripsSandwiches Fri 29-Nov-19 19:20:34

I should add these students are at grammars if that makes a difference.

MrssusT Sat 30-Nov-19 19:18:43

It's not unusual in KS3 pre GCSE. It also depends on what the learning objective and assessment focus is for the teaching unit.

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