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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:50 am 
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I have just been talking with my sister. She is in the UK and concerned about her DC in Y2 (state primary).

Long story short her DC reads very well, with good comprehension and with 100% accuracy at the book band level assigned. I know everyone is very knowledgeable here so thought I would ask some questions on her behalf. She goes into hear the children read and has found that there are many a couple of levels above her DC who don't read so fluently or with as much comprehension as her child. She admits she is biased but has formed this opinion over several months and is quite level headed. She has a high opinion of the teacher but gets the impression her v quiet DC, although seen as above average, is viewed as generally less able as other children in the class. When 'tested' her DC often will not give the correct answer although they know it for some reason? This confirms teachers view that the child isn't as able as the mother thinks.

This doesn't worry her and she doesn't want to come across as unduly pushy or competitive but her questions are:

Will DC's book band level mean KS1 reading score is effectively capped lower than others who read at higher book band levels?

Will this influence literacy targets going forward?

WWYD in this situation, if anything?

I've told her to wait it out for now. Is that the right advice?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:14 am 
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In my opinion what you describe is a very common problem in state primaries, I
think there are a large proportion of parents who think (me included) that their children are reading below their actual level at school. In my DCs school this is probably because the books are changed by the TA who simply gives them the next book on the list. The children get on the reading "conveyor belt" at a certain point, they all read the same number of books and consequently where they get on determines where they get off, the fact that some children read more books at home than others is not considered etc. etc. etc.
With my first DC I got very stressed about this (exactly the same worries your sister has) but with hindsight I realised it was not worth worrying about, she got a level 3 in reading at the end of KS1.
My DS who is now in Y1 is an excellent reader- reading Enid Blyton books at home, yet he is on Oxford reading tree level 5 at school which he finds ridiculuously easy, I dont worry about it because the important thing is that he enjoys reading and reads well, I think at this stage in state primaries the teachers are more concerned with the children who are struggling and it is up to us as parents to stimulate our children if they are doing well. This is not a criticism of teachers they have a very difficult job and some children need more help than others.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:35 am 
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Thank you, that's very reassuring and will pass on the advice.

I know that her DC reads much better than mine of a similar age, lots of chapter books at home that sort of thing. The 'reading conveyor belt' is something I can identify with too, those that start ahead, stay ahead. When they came to stay with me sister's DC seemed to be ravenous for books and devoured our collection of chapter books! Chatted to my kids a lot too about various stories displaying very good comprehension. A love of books is the most important thing, I quite agree. This is sister's eldest child so she's negotiating the system for the first time which I think always makes you a bit anxious.

Very encouraging to hear that you don't think it influences 'levels' at the end of KS1. Sister fears that a certain percentage of children on a certain book band tend to get a blanket level 2b, 2a and 3 etc at the end of term and that it generally works like that? Her DC was assessed once and I think got a question wrong which justifies them remaining at a lower level, or something like that. I may have misunderstood.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:31 pm 
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i used to volunteer in a year one class to hear the children read when my dd2 was younger.

The teachers seem to be very hot on the comprehension side of things - if the dc is not answering questions about the book correctly then they may feel she isnt understanding that level enough to move them up. Do you know why your sister dc is giving wrong answers?

Another problem is that the children that read reasonalbly well or well are not listened to much in school so personally, particularly if the dc is bored at this level, i would have a quick word with the teacher - hopefully the dc will be tested again, but must answer the questions correctly :lol:

As a volunteer i occasionally came accross a child who was obviously on too low a level and would tell the teacher. They always checked this out and more often than not the child was moved up.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:46 pm 
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Quote:
The teachers seem to be very hot on the comprehension side of things - if the dc is not answering questions about the book correctly then they may feel she isnt understanding that level enough to move them up


would really like to know how does the school deal with the quiet / shy children?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 2:04 pm 
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Thanks TiredMum, just wrote a reply and lost it, damn.

Am sure my sister would do the same, as I would re: suggesting children should be moved up a level if not on the right one etc. The difficulty comes when the child is your own and if you are drawing a direct comparison between their reading and their peers. Hard to sound objective :).

I think the broader issue might be that my sister isn't sure the teacher believes DC is as capable as she knows her to be in this area. Reading between the lines she thinks the teacher seems to want to keep DC down, even subconsciously. Teacher may have a good reason for this of course. DC got a question wrong at the last assessment (just one) & apparently the teacher did say she found it surprising as DC had always seemed very capable and demonstrated good understanding. It's as if doubt is creeping in. I've probably made my sister paranoid :) as I think it's very important a teacher believes that children can surprise us and ability doesn't have a ceiling etc.

My sister thinks the teacher is a good one so hopefully things will work out in the end, it's very early days after all :).

Worried Ruby - I think that's a good point. One of mine used to drive me mad for similar reasons, not showing their understanding or choosing not to answer at all. The teacher told me they couldn't infer from the text. They were about 5 at the time. When asked what colour the hen was in Jack and the Beanstalk, for example, they answered 'pink' when the answer was 'gold'. I asked them why they'd given this answer and they rolled their eyes & said 'I knew it was gold Mummy, of course. I was a bit bored and you can get pink gold, and it looked like the hen was made of that sort of gold so 'pink' is the answer I gave. It was a silly, obvious, question!'


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