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Able reader in reception - what should we expect?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by therearecats, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. Apologies for crashing in as a parent here, but I would really appreciate some thoughts from teachers about this.


    When our daughter started reception, we knew that she could read, but it turned out that she was doing it rather better than we thought, and after a few weeks she came back with a Level 14 reading book.


    While we're very pleased that the school have clocked what she can do, since then there has been no sign that they are trying to teach her anything other than basic phonics (they also give her a reading book once a week of her choice, which she reads on the first day but is never changed more often).


    I do know that reception is about learning lots of other things, but should we be expecting a bit more from them at this stage or should I leave it for now and worry about it in a year or two's time?


    We can give her plenty enough to read (she gets through about 15 chapter books a week....) so I don't worry much about the books (apart from as a sign of their enthusiasm levels) but she is also getting very bored of the phonics sessions.
     
  2. Apologies for crashing in as a parent here, but I would really appreciate some thoughts from teachers about this.


    When our daughter started reception, we knew that she could read, but it turned out that she was doing it rather better than we thought, and after a few weeks she came back with a Level 14 reading book.


    While we're very pleased that the school have clocked what she can do, since then there has been no sign that they are trying to teach her anything other than basic phonics (they also give her a reading book once a week of her choice, which she reads on the first day but is never changed more often).


    I do know that reception is about learning lots of other things, but should we be expecting a bit more from them at this stage or should I leave it for now and worry about it in a year or two's time?


    We can give her plenty enough to read (she gets through about 15 chapter books a week....) so I don't worry much about the books (apart from as a sign of their enthusiasm levels) but she is also getting very bored of the phonics sessions.
     
  3. Don't wait! your child is enthusiastic and this needs to be used. Go in and speak to her teacher about the provision that they are able to offer to bring your daughter on. The last thing you want is for her to be bored and start coasting. Once a child starts to coast it is very difficult to stop and make them realise that there is so much more to learn.
    Speak to the school now, today, to find a way to work together for your daughter's sake. the school will be delighted that you are keen to be actively involved in helping them to help her.
    Good luck.
     
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Why is she getting bored in the phonics sessions?
     
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Welcome to TES.
    If a child is a precocious reader with supportive parents, there is no way in which a school can negate their reading progress. Why are you worried when, presumably, you are offering the sort of conversation-rich, book-loving home that, as we teachers know, makes such a difference to our pupils' lives?
    As for being bored with/in/during but definitely not of phonics sessions - so what?
     
  6. If she is bringing home only 1 book a week, maybe try the library. There is such a lovely selection of books there.
     
  7. What is a level 14 reading book? Our good readers leave the scheme books after level 8and those books are not appealing / content appropriate for 4-5 year olds.
    These books are longish and I certainly wouldn't expect any child to read 40 or so pages aloud in one night. Why not let her read books she chooses? You sound to have an excellent library at home, and reading is about pleasure and acquisition of information, not about a level.
    If she can read great, and well done for helping her. My children could both read well before they went to school too.
    One child was also good at writing and spelling some words for herself, the other not so good.
    Is your daughter's spelling good? Can she write?
    Some children, pick up spelling through reading, but many need to unpick the sounds used in words in order to write anywhere near the level of their reading. If she is bored with the phonics sessions, is it because she can already do the work they are doing? That's worth following up, if she can already read, write and spell, then obviously she needs to be doing something more. Sarah and Emily fitted this category (preEYFS) and kept me challenged for a whole year settingup tasks which would extend their writing skills and vocabulary. Most children who can already read, need to start closer to the main body of the class for writing and spelling, and some get really frustrated because they find reading so easy and dislike the fact that there is something they can't do as well.
    We are always pleased to have children who come to school reading, even those who could quite easly decode books L7 and above. However, reading scheme books further up the scheme are not always suitable content wise for Reception children, so we use 'library' books to develop their textual and inferential comprehension skills, and prediction skills, whilst working to develop writing and spelling skills.
    Comprehension is a big issue. Some children, though good decoders and even enthusiastic readers, find it hard to express their answers to questions exploring their understanding of the text and even trickier to give answers to 'why?' questions (inference). What sort of feedback have you had about this?
    If you are concerned, the first port of call is the teacher. The biggest turn off for children is an awareness that the parent does not value the teacher. Show her that you are working with the teacher and it's good for all parties.
     
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I'm assuming saphire band rather than RR level 14 which is only green ...
    OUP and other publishers produce books specifically for very able reception readers - age appropriate content /interest level book banded gold upwards.
     
  9. Thanks everyone, and apologies if I haven't explained myself very well, something not helped by all my paragraph breaks disappearing.
    I suppose the whole problem is summed up in a nutshell by Worktop's comment :
    That's what's not happening; she gets a level appropriate (ish) book to read with us at home, but it is never mentioned at school. At school she is with the rest of the class while they work through individual letter sounds one at a time. They are about half way through them as far as I can tell. I am reassured that you think she should be doing something more - that's my gut feeling but I am not a teacher, was educated about 1 million years ago, and everyone keeps telling me that reception is about much more than just reading.
    To answer the questions:
    The Level 14 book was, um, interesting. She could read the words but the wider content was beyond her. She now brings easier fiction books back from school, which are much more suitable content wise but are not stretching her reading at all. At home she reads all the usual run of Flat Stanley/Jeremy Strong/Horrid Henry/Worst Witch very happily. I'm not really worried about her reading, and not at all worried about levels - what's holding her back from more difficult books is her emotional development (she's still 4, and very averagely so in that respect) not anything else.
    She can spell tolerable well when she thinks about it, and write also, using full stops, exclamation marks and a very occasional apostrophe. School's insistence on starting cursive from scratch has rather put her off writing for the moment.
    We have had a couple of meetings with the teacher, and have been promised extension work but it hasn't materialised yet. I think they cautious because they are afraid that we want her moved up a year, which we don't/

     
  10. You sound very sensible.

    Your first port of call is definitely your daughter's teacher.
    Your daughter does not need to be 'stretched' for her reading development as it already sounds from your description like she is a lovely little four year old who is just advanced at her capability to decode and understands like a bright child.
    Can the teacher focus more on spelling and handwriting for your daughter during phonics sessions perhaps?
    You won't be the first parnent, nor the last, that is very well aware that their child is perhaps not being fully catered for - but at this tender age it could be that other things are more important for her with the 'school' experience!
    The issue, though, seems to be that you need a conversation with the teacher to feel reassured about this and, actually, perhaps to come to some kind of agreement of approach.
    I wouldn't want your daughter to be precluded from the phonics sessions but the phonics sessions need to cater for her ability - be it through writing and spelling perhaps - and she needs a pretty advanced 'extension' activity by the sounds of it - like a cumulative text which she can read, do a self-dictation with perhaps and draw a picture.
    This paper might be of some interest to you because it discusses the idea of 'two-pronged' phonics teaching - systematic and incidental. It sounds to me like your daughter maybe needs some incidental teaching at school - and this is facilitated by the use of a core Alphabetic Code Chart!
    http://www.phonicsinternational.com/Debbie_RRF_Two_pronged_handout.pdf
    You could always download one yourself for no charge to have at home and just drip-drip the teaching of phonics which is more commensurate, perhaps, with your daughter's level at the moment.

     
  11. you mention level 14 suited her technically, but was a bit much in content - have a look here
    https://community.tes.co.uk/forums/p/432419/5868698.aspx#5868698
    i agree with debbie, a nursery child has lots of other things to learn - i addressed this in a thread entitled 'very gifted 4 year old' in gifted and talented dated 26 june - i can't make a link for some reason
    if coasting isn't nipped in the bud by 7-ish, it can well become bad news, but i wouldn't worry too much before then myself
     
  12. Well done - she sounds amazing! Whatever you've been doing, keep doing it as she sounds like an exceptional child. I agree that often the books have unsuitable content but as a school, these children come along once in a blue moon so they are unlikely to have the resources to help out.
     
  13. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    I think the notion that reception is about 'other things' is worth holding on to. My daughter could read before school and was bored rigid with the b for ball stuff. So she started to play up and it soon became clear she was bored, so she was put up a year. But, she missed out on all the social skills stuff, so struggled a bit till she hit Year 2, when a good teacher started to stretch her properly.
    The whole thing was a bit of a disaster and we just got through it by telling ourselves she was learning other things. We encouraged her at home to read widely and become an independent learner. For most of Reception and Year 1 she just went through the motions, filled in the Sammy Snake sheets and sat and read her own book in the corner. By Year 3 things had evened out a bit, other kids had caught up and she wasn't so isolated in terms of reading and writing achievement.
    Don't expect great things from the reception class. It is a very hard job and difficult to cater for a pupil who is nowhere near the norm. I would be asking if it is possible for her to go into the next class up for the phonics sessions, that might be less turgid.
     
  14. Thanks everyone for all the thoughts and advice. So if I am understanding you correctly, we don't need to worry about her coasting yet (we will also tackle this in a sidelong way with musical instrument lessons in a few years), but we should possibly be expecting a bit more extension work in class.
    I will give them a few more weeks to see if any extension work has materialised. We've had a couple of meetings and been promised it, but we're trying very hard not to be annoying pushy parents which does have the downside that we might not have been assertive enough. Then if nothing happens I will go in again.
    But what I am also hearing from your posts is that is hard for a school to deal with children working at a substantially different level. What's the best way round this? Is it something we have to make up for at home or what? I was a bit dispirited when I went into a meeting in the year 1 classromm this week, and realised that the books were still well below what she's reading now, while the written work is pretty much what she'd do at home. But that said, I can't think that any other of the schools round us would be any better at dealing with it.
    Lardylegs - thanks for your post. I had a very bad (although shorter-lived) experience with being moved up a year myself, and I've heard similar things from other people too, so I don't think this is a road we want to go down.
    But you've also made me realise that part of my daughter's problem - in a way - is that she is quite gentle and conformist, so I don't think boredom will make her play up, at least not for the moment. In a way the school might take more notice if she did. Certainly I only got extension work at school by being Very Annoying Indeed.
     
  15. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I have a child like this in my class, he goes to a phonics group with year 1 who are working on Phase 4 Letters and Sounds. he finds the phonics easy but still needs to work on letter formation. He is currently reading Stage 6 Oxford Reading Tree books, I agree with people who said the higher levels are not always interesting for young able readers.
     
  16. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Have you looked at OUP All Stars? Aimed at "G&T" readers in reception
     
  17. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I'll have a look at those next time I have some Literacy money to spend, thanks.
     
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  19. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Is she musical? I only ask that because I think parents can expect too much from music lessons. Music lessons have a host of benefits but most of them are secondary to the aim of loving music and loving making it.
    I was never bored in my infant days, despite being [sorry to blow my own trumpet] an exceptionally able reader and rather bright in other ways.
     
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    inky you are probably confused and think bored means fed up where really it means being expected to do something you don't want to do
     

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