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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:15 am 
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To any reading experts out there

School is running a single word reading age test on my child today. This is because I asked about why school still says she is on the same bookband as Jan 2010, but she reads harder stuff at home.

How would you then usefully translate this into a bookband level for suitable reading at home? And is this a better or worse method than choosing books where child reads with a 90 - 95% accuracy rate?

When my daughter is reading, she takes a while to get into the swing of things, I don't know why. What I mean by this is that she makes a lot of mistakes for the first 100 words or so and then gets fluent again. Would a single word reading test be "accurate" for a child with this peculiarity?

With thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
I am no expert on reading but I helped out in primary school for some years, heard lots of children read and administered plenty of those single word reading tests. The tests can only give an indication of how well a child can "decode" a word (with correct pronunciation) and/or their familiarity with the word. There is, of course, far more to reading than this, such as being able to read phrases and sentences correctly with the pauses in the right place and understanding what is being read, using expression, tone of voice for questions, statements, emphasis etc, etc. Some of my children used to score at the top of the scale from a very early age but they certainly would not have got any pleasure or learning from trying to read books for 12 year olds when they were 5 - their understanding and appreciation of the subject matter was nowhere near their ability to decode and pronounce the words.

I would expect that a teacher would not be relying solely on a test like this to determine the band of books a child was on. The schools I have been familiar with would be judging on how fluently a child was reading the books, how they talked about what they were reading, whether they had read a range of types of books in that band - fiction and non-fiction, and whether they were still enjoying their reading or had become bored and needing more stimulation.

Practicalities as well - there is often not enough time for a teacher or class assistant to hear every child read often, particularly once they get out of the infant years so children can "languish" on a band simply because the teacher has not heard them read for a while.

My twins were in separate classes at school and had very similar abilities and read similar things at home but were on totally different reading bands at school - it was just a function of the classes they were in and different priorities and ways of doing things. One used to fret about this but in retrospect it really made very little difference to how they progressed in the end because they both carried on reading and enjoying what they wanted at home.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:25 pm 
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That was a very interesting reflection re. your twins, and practical info from being a volunteer. Thanks for that. But how did that work in reality - did they do loads of reading each night so that they read both the school book and the books they liked reading at home? Didn't reading the schoolbook become a bit of a chore for the twin who was on the "wrong band"?

I'm more than happy to keep on with child being on the wrong band at school so long as the home reading of choice is enjoyed, but the downside is that child is possibly in the wrong guided reading group at school as a consequence, and it's a pain trying to keep two books on the go; it's not what I do as an adult, so I don't expect a child to do that either.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:55 pm 
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Now, of course, I am looking back over a number of years so have the luxury of knowing everything worked out fine in the end! At the time, as I said, the one who was effectively held back from moving on at school was upset, particularly as she had her sister to compare directly with. It will give you an indication if I tell you that in Reception one child was heard to read at least twice a week whilst the other was only heard once in the whole year by the teacher and two or three times in the whole year by the teaching assistant - and that only after I asked! So we did not really have the problem of having two books on the go at once as the school one never got changed. I think it did hold her back a bit temporarily but she carried on enjoying books at home and forged ahead again rapidly as soon as she moved class. However, she was undoubtedly a "difficult" child in that year and I know I would not have been happy had the situation continued for more than the one school year.

Being able to communicate and discuss concerns with the teacher is the key really. Do you get a chance to do this regularly?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:48 pm 
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Sort of, but never have had a satisfactory answer. That is until today when I was extremely persistent and took in everything dear child has read at home and asked both the class teacher and then the head why they felt it necessary that DC should read the same books again as 8 mths ago. I felt really bad all day, but when I looked in the schoolbag late tonight I realised DC has been sent home with a decent looking, and amusing chapter book. Hooray! Next battle is to find out what groups she is in and what work she really is doing. Quite a bit of colouring in came home today. They didn't even do that at pre-school and this is end of KS1


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:07 pm 
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Glad the persistence paid off! It is a shame you have to push so hard to get any information. When mine were in the primary there was an open-door at the end of each day for parents to pop in and talk to the teachers - no having to save things up for the next parents evening or having to make a big issue of things - much easier and more satisfactory.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:16 pm 
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Ah yes, but there can be an open-door, but with closed doors and minds!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:31 pm 
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Sadly true... :roll:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:54 pm 
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We had a battle with Midget's school, particularly in yr6. In yr5 his teacher clearl knew how much he loved reading and was the only one who didn't need to fill out the reading record as he knew he was reading consistently. He also had no issue with him taking in his own book's to read.

Now, in yr6, he was told he could only choose from one section, when he should have really had free roam of the library! I went straight to the Head, armed with books he read's at home, saying reading of this level should be encouraged and the Head agreed. Apparently some teacher's thought they should go strictly on age or group, when infact that isn't the case. She then sorted this out and he was also allowed to continue reading his own books if he found nothing of interest in the library!

Hopefully this is all sorted for you now, stick to your guns and insist on what you feel is necessary, ope you get further info on groups etc without too much hassle.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:27 pm 
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How can a teacher go through all that training and think that? I find it so weird at times the stuff that some teachers say ....... and I'm kind of one myself.


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