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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:57 am 
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Location: Warwickshire
I have posted on here that my dd2 is very lazy and needed constant nagging to do homework at junior school.

Somehow she passed the 11+ (she's quite quick and not stupid, although not top of the class).

At her induction day she was given a very long reading list and told to keep a reading log. I don't really know how much work she should do - how many books she should read - how much she should write. Fortunately she likes reading so has read quite a few books off the list already. She's read quite a few of these books many times, they're not all as "difficult" as I imagined they would be.

I bet lots of girls will read all these books and keep a log. I have told her I don't think it's unreasonable to do half an hour a day (she does nothing else in the holidays save see friends and laze around at home - as it should be). She could read for 15 minutes, write for 15 minutes. Being naturally lazy, she has decided of course to start by writing about books she knows virtually off by heart anyway. At least she will have written something.

How many books do you think a dc should read from a reading list? It's quite vague - you "should" read some of the books and "should" keep a reading log. It would have been much better for her if the note had specified "read 5 books" for example. I can't help thinking as she is lazy, she understands she should be doing something, she is the one going to gs (and not me!) that she can decide how much work to do.

Any advice - how many books she should read, how much should she write, how long should she spend? I know some girls worked really hard to get in and will have worked very hard in the holidays. Any advice on how much I should help (I'm happy to help her get going with her first day's reading log) but how much do I nag her? Surely the whole point of going to secondary school (any secondary school, not just a gs) is that she will learn to be independent and get on with work herself without me nagging her all the time. Or is this my fault for having to always make her do homework (and she's only ever done the bare minimum)? Or shall I just wait for her to feel mortified because everyone else will have read lots? She won't like feeling she's not as good as everyone else. She's refusing to do any work in France (we're away for two weeks) which is quite reasonable - if she does some work now.

I really am wondering if she is going to the right school if she can't be bothered to do any work now. I know it's the holidays - but like many year 6 dc, she hasn't done any real work since Sats in May. Any advice gratefully received. I'm tempted just to leave it, see if she does anything, let her feel mortified when she realises others have worked.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:39 am 
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Well, as the parent, that's up to you! Some students will struggle to read five books during the holidays but others will devour thirty - i kid you not.

You have a list and that's a start. I don't know her reading speed but as an English teacher, I'd say one per week is reasonable but it would depend on the complexity of the material. Half an hour seems right if she isn't really motivated.

I don't understand the format of the log as you mention it - is this simply a record of what she has read, page numbers, brief comments and so on, or does she have to write about each text in more detail? To me, a log is simply a brief record with not much else. Maybe the writing is putting her off. If she does have to write daily, what about 25 minutes reading and 5 minutes summing up what she has read in a few sentences?

Keep her brain ticking over - don't let her get away with doing nothing as this is why students 'go backwards' over the holiday. My DD is 11 - she is reading ever so much as this is what she has always done - but she is also skimming through a few aspects of next year's curriculum in preparation; nothing serious, but just enough for her to have to think about things.

And don't take a hands-off approach - Daogroupie can warn you about the dangers of doing that! If she is disinclined to do anything, she will need help with organisation - ensuring homework is done on time, that kit is clean, giving you letters from the school - all the usual. I have had the same issues with my DD.

If she's quick, then she definitely is in the right school - don't worry about that. She got in on her own merits and she met the standard. Once she starts in September she will realise the need to work a bit harder to keep up with her peer group. And that will be good for her! Just ensure you keep an overview and make sure things get done. She was lazy before so this is a personality trait. Don't assume she will have metamorphosed into a different child in six weeks. And she is still only 11.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:58 am 
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I don't call reading work. Maybe you could focus on helping her develop into someone who enjoys reading rather than seeing it as work? I agree that a log could mean anything. If you are not careful a log can put children off reading. The school is probably just going to briefly get an impression whether a child reads a lot or not. A reading habit is a good one. It can wax and wane. I would try and make it flourish in an enjoyable way this summer.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:12 am 
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Thanks, Kingfisher and Mystery.

No problem getting her to read. She will read anything and everything. It's the getting down to writing and as you say, just being told to keep a reading log is not very helpful. The sheet just says; keep a reading log. She is to write down books she enjoyed as a child (I cringe here; do we mention those dreadful fairy books that she read for the entire of year 2?) and before that, a rather unusual choice of all the Mister Men/Little Miss books? Plus a photo of her reading in her favourite place - in a chair in her bedroom (usually surrounded by Jacqueline Wilson books - Jacqueline Wilson, not surprisingly, is not on the list).

I have ordered four new books for her to read, thinking that we are here for four weeks and as you say, a book a week minimum. But she tends to skim read a book in a couple of hours, maybe this will force her to slow down. Mystery, I am sure dd2 sees reading as an absolute cop out for homework - she spends most of her life in her bedroom reading, anyway. She will probably enjoy the excuse to read even more. I can already hear it, I'll ask her to tidy her room and she will tell me she is reading school books and hasn't time to tidy.

Kingfisher, she could read probably ten books and write; but she is lazy. The books are not hard - the list is too long to type - but the ones she's already read, years ago, are the Roman Mysteries (they helped her in her Latin lesson on induction day!), Harry Potter, Black Beauty. It is nice discussing books with her and I can hear that she doesn't recognise themes in books, but when I gave her some suggestions she picked the ideas up quickly. I don't ever want to put her off reading, so those books that I think she won't enjoy we haven't bought.

I take yours and Daogroupie's opinions about leaving her to it - she'll leave it all till the last weekend. Otherwise, she is terribly disorganised and lazy. Letters from school in the past have never reached me, homework has never come home - etc. But as Amber rightly said elsewhere, she has to learn some independence. However, she will have to, won't she? I won't be in the playground, I don't know other mums, so any information has to come from her or I will never get it, and she will be in trouble.

Thank you, Kingfisher, in particular, for the advice about the reading log; twenty five minutes reading and five minutes writing may be more encouraging (it will sound less of an ordeal to her).

I am sure when she starts that as you say, many of the girls will have read all of the books. If I was my dd, I would have devoured the lot but, like my dd, not known really what to write. A book a week sounds a sensible start with perhaps minimal writing.

If only she wasn't so lazy ... :roll: thank you.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:26 am 
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Now I am confused. If it says reading log why not make it just that? Date and title of book read and leave her to devour hundreds of books both on and off the list. Surely they are just wanting to develop a love of reading? Why labour the bit about writing about the book? Are they asking for this?

Perhaps it could be taken as an opportunity to broaden her reading? For some people the list will do this but as your daughter is incredibly well read already it may not do it for her.

Your daughter sounds fantastically well read and enthusiastic about reading. I am not really understanding what is bothering you I am afraid.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:35 am 
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Mystery, no way is she "fantastically well read". Someone who still reads Jacqueline Wilson and Enid Blyton (as well as other authors) is not "fantastic". I wish!

But your advice about the reading log sounds fine, date, title, a few comments.

What is bothering me is how to get her to work, and what I wanted advice on was how many books she should read, and advice on how much/what she should write for a reading log. Kingfisher has reassured me a book a week minimum would "do", and a fairly short reading log. You have suggested I encourage her to read - which I don't need to do, so that's fine.

Thank you for all your advice, she has started reading right now. She is reading for 20 minutes, she is going to underline (pencil!) any words she doesn't understand, and that is it, and make very brief notes (unless she wants to write more, that is up to her, as far as I am concerned the more she writes the better!) We will discuss what she's read - briefly.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:36 am 
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There's nothing wrong with skim reading easier books. My DD does that all the time but she also has something more complex on the go as well. From what you have said, the log would simply be a list of books she reads, maybe with page numbers as well, so '24/7/13 Harry Potter 1, chapter 6 pages 42 - 60.' When she has finished the book she could sum up what she has liked about it or what she didn't find particularly engaging. A paragraph would do it.

If she knows most of these anyway and she loves reading my view would be that she needs something more complex. Pick something and read the first chapter with her. I always found that my DD enjoyed new texts that way but she hated the slow pace of reading aloud so she would take the book on her own and read it for herself.

The battle is halfway won with her if she enjoys reading. I have found that very bright children who don't have to put in much effort to get through will do the minimum and appear lazy until the work is at an appropriate level for them. For some, that means they won't need to do much extra until university, but those are exceptional cases.

My DD sounds just like yours! She is lazy too, but exceptionally clever and at a super selective where she needs to stay awake! I have to ask her the minute she walks through the door what happened at school - does she have anything to tell me (notes, trips, Mufti, concerts etc) and what is the homework? She will have written it down in the school diary but more often than not she will just write 'Do Science' and she will have forgotten what that is by the time she has got to do it. So that's when she expands and write down exactly what it is she needs to do.

But - the number of times I have had emails from her tutor requesting that I return some form that I have never seen! Thankfully, most notes are sent via email now!

She will probably always be lazy - just as mine is forgetful and disorganised. Accept it and try to find ways to ensure things get done. Don't pressurise her too much now, though. Things will kick off in earnest in the autumn.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:39 am 
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If you feel obliged to see more than the title written down I'd get her to either give a brief opinion and a reason or to paraphrase the blurb.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:47 am 
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I think it is very irksome for a child to comment on everything they have read. If this is what the new school wants I think they are sadly misguided.

You said gins that she spends her life reading in her bedroom and skim reads a book in her bedroom, and has already read a lot of what is on the list. Black beauty, unabridged is meaty writing for a primary child and she read that ages ago. I am still not understanding unless it is the writing you see her balking at? And it is not clea r this is required.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:08 am 
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Thank you, KS10. She did read for twenty minutes (6 chapters - but they're not very long and she has read Black Beauty before) but was stuck when it came to writing anything. So she put the heading, date, pages she'd read, two lines what she'd read about and a line why she liked it. It's not great but a start. And she needs to get into a routine of doing this daily without fearing it is too difficult.

I am quite happy to sit and discuss Black Beauty - we've never discussed much, so good for mother/daughter bonding and encouraging her to work.

Kingfisher, your daughter does sound like mine! Mystery, I seem to confuse you a lot, I did try to explain; I just wanted advice how much to read and what to write. Kingfisher and KS10 have been most helpful, and thanks for your reassurance too. I think we're ok now. :D


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