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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:46 pm 
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I got really annoyed with DS junior school when he was in Y3, when he had been in the infant school he was what they called a free reader, so he could choose any books from their library to bring home and read every night and we would complete his reading record every night etc. He had started their reading scheme and moved through the levels etc until they felt confident with his reading that he could choose his own books which he did sensibly. We also had and still have a broad selection of books at home. He could also discuss the books in detail, predict what might happen and make limited inference from the text.

He moved to year 3 and was put on to the reading scheme the junior school used, he was suddenly back reading books he had read in Y1. He got bored very quickly and after asking him it appeared they had not been properly assessed for their reading ability. I wrote a note in his reading record saying that he was no longer going to read any of the school reading books, they knew I was a primary school teacher, so I got asked to come and discuss the issue with the English coordinator. Next thing I know he has been assessed properly and gone up 3 levels on their scheme and reading the same books he had been before.

He left the school with a 5a in reading, he was in their level 6 reading group throughout Y6 and he was allowed to use a kindle as a reading aid due to a sight condition. He is now in Y8 at a super selective GS, English remains his weakest subject but he loves to read and knows what he enjoys whether it is David Walliams or JRR Tolkien, just struggles with Shakesphere!

I think reading schemes can be good, but children need to be heard on a regular basis and assessed at a regular basis to make sure that they are still on the correct level. Sometimes the books can be boring, sometimes they can be repetitive but the bigger the selection within a level the better for the children as they can then read a variety of books and prevent them repeating a book.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:21 pm 
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They responded well at least. At our school they would have spent ages trying to come up with reasons to force the same books down him again and made out you were some kind of monster who had deluded ideas about your child.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:39 am 
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moved wrote:
mystery wrote:
:lol: I bought mine more than one reading scheme as the collection they were forced to use at school was so poor. Despite recording everything we did in the school record my daughter still felt forced to choose something desperate and random from school to read. They had baskets of jumbled garbage at school which were vaguely sorted into those different colour book bands. Reading would go so well in the holidays and stall during term time so in the end I wrote a letter asking them never again to ask her to choose a book at school as it was proving counter productive.


Funny, 20 years ago, I used Oxford Reading Tree (it was new) and baskets of banded books that I'd bought myself. I had 36 year 1 children and by the end of the year about a third were reading Flat Stanley style books or harder and all bar one were reading well. Even the one could read to a limited extent. They did all read aloud every day but in groups of six.


Important point, when I was teaching most schools could only afford one reading scheme and changing it was a major investment. I taught in a number of schools and not until my 5th year did I finally get to teach at a school with those baskets of different type books. It was a joy, there was only one DC who couldn't read and with such a range of schemes to chose from he was making progress. The school was in a wealthy area and the PTA had bought all the books.

Guest55 is right though in saying it is the implementation that is the issue. The basket system is designed to enable DC to have flexibility to chose a book they will enjoy whilst the teacher directs them to the appropriate level. On returning to teaching many years later one school had the books in each basket ordered numerically and the DC diligently ploughing their way through each and everyone.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:54 am 
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Yes, a good range of good schemes (with books with all the pages in too) for the teacher and child to choose from would be a joy - but it wasn't like that. If you saw the baskets you would know what I meant - but yet this stuff was inflicted on the children with a rule that you couldn't move on to a new basket until you'd read everything in a basket - but there wasn't even a list of what was in a basket or what a child had read so it was all terribly vague. There was no educational reason for requiring children to read from the baskets when they were already reading perfectly good books from home.

Hopefully my school is / was an exception, but I'm not entirely sure. Also, as a teacher you don't get to see what the experience with the school book is like at home --- even if the scheme is "great" in the teacher's eyes it might be boring the child and the parent silly, or contain words using many GPCs that the child has not yet covered and thus involve a lot of frustrating and bad habit forming guess work to read.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:09 am 
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Been both sides of the fence Mystery and with DC of differing reading needs to boot :( Some schools don't check their baskets regularly either. A school I heard readers for often left it to non-qualified TAs or parent helpers. I regularly had to remove totally in-appropriate reading books from some of the baskets. It is a shame such a wonderful initiative is being badly used and badly resourced.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:25 am 
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Interesting to see the direction the thread is going.

I posted reading background and current level to get a realistic idea of where we are and how the journey ahead is. Similar to one of those practice paper bench mark questions for 11+ suitability. Had a meeting with her teacher Yesterday which was quite good.

Takeaway points :
1) Almost all of the level6 work will be done in school.
2) No additional preparation required at home apart from occasional homework.
3) There will be just one 30-45 min extra session per week.
4) They have considered expectation management so the process won't stress DCs or the results won't come as shocks to DCs.

It seems the school has everything under control so I can go back to my laid back relaxed mode.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:32 am 
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Having just read a thread where it appears the DC are being expected to do three hours after school that sounds good to me Berks-mum.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:12 am 
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Yes, I was happy to see that the school has managed it quite well. When asked about DD missing l6 in reading, teacher said that the first mock paper was just to give DCs a feel of the L6 paper to get an idea of time management and exam conditions. They will do a few more practice papers before the actual test. They are aware that L6 in reading is hard, pass mark has gone up in last couple of years and timing can be a challenge. So, they are quite realistic in their expectations.

So far, there was only one piece of homework(Literacy) from the beginning of year 6. Maths, no homework till Today and probably there won't be any. DD said, in the two mock papers they did some DCs have secured l6 and others are close to it.

ps. guest55 I know this is the primary L6 you will say. But I also know many DCs have covered a good amount of real L6/KS3 work in preparation for 11+ exams.


Last edited by berks_mum on Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:15 am 
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That sounds promising Berks mum. My year 6 child is supposedly preparing for level 6 across the board in lessons but I see / hear no evidence of it and a lot of work they do is the same as the year below because it is a mixed age class. So your experience sounds more promising. Is your daughter keeping up the other language(s) at home ?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:47 am 
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mystery, there is only one extra session/week but apart from that all other lessons are mixed and normal year 6 classes. This year the tables(sets) are of mixed ability.

Reading about the difficulty level of L6 English, low pass rates, DCs getting stressed and parents withdrawing their DCs I was confused. DD doesn't report much of what happens in school so I had a chat with her teacher and was happy to find out that L6 work is a tiny fraction of the overall Year 6 work.

DD is fluent in one MFL which she reads and writes at the basic level. I let her watch cartoons and movies in the third language(not MFL) and when she asks to learn reading/writing I will teach her. For now, she has complete free time when she is back from school.


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