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ORT - where should students be with their reading?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by tb9605, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter


    Apologies if there have been threads on this before (I scrolled down the first few pages, but couldn't find one). I'm a Head of Secondary English and also a parent of primary-aged children.

    I wanted to know where on the Oxford Reading Tree your school expects students to be at the end of each Year? I'm talking average students here, not the extremes.

    I'm concerned that our main primary feeder is setting their expectations too low (not sure what, if anything, I can do about that, but I'd like to know if my suspicions are correct), and I'm also concerned about my sons's reading (Year 1 and the teacher has him on level 2).

    All responses gratefully received.

    Happy New Year all.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As to your initial question 'Where should students be in their reading?' the answer isn't simple. My answer would be, 'at the best point for them with their present skills/ ability'. Children may progress quite fast but then need a period of consolidation of those new blends/ vocab. etc. That period of consolidation will vary very much from child to child, before they are ready to progress to the 'next phase/level'.

    Children with Dyslexic tendencies will need specially targeted goals and may take till Sec. to 'get' reading. In my younger son's case it's taken till his 20s that he finally has mastered it.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I wouldn't expect children finishing primary to still be on any kind of reading scheme.
    I know some schools use scheme books throughout, but once children are confident with decoding, then 'real' books are a better option and are used by most schools.

    Having a secondary teacher going to a feeder primary and telling them their expectations are too low would be very bad form indeed. You, presumably, don't know the starting points of the children and therefore cannot gauge where they should be at the end. Children may make incredible progress in reading, but still be finish primary a lower level to what you'd expect in other schools.

    I belong to a FB group where this kind of thing was discussed fairly recently. Some staff were saying their year 1s start on stage 1 because they spend all of reception teaching the children to speak and listen because most arrive being unable to do either. Other people start their reception children on stage 2-3 from September and most are on at least stage 7 by year 1. ORT do have a general age band guide, scroll down for it, but schools should have children on the stage which suits them best, not fussing about age.

    Your son could be exactly where he should be for his level or could be too high or too low. You either trust his teacher to know what they are doing, have a sensible chat and ask them when he might be ready to move on or you think about moving him to a different school.

    From your other posts, you appear to be living and working in Spain. This could also explain why you are finding standards lower than you'd expect in England.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  4. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    Thanks cat.... I am in Spain, but it's an Engish Nat Curriculum school, with many native English speaking children, so similar in that respect to an English secondary with a large EAL contingent. Also, it's not standards that are lower, rather expectations. I have no intention of telling Primary teachers how to do their jobs... I just want to ensure we in Secondary know where students are coming from and have the strategies in place to support them with their reading.

    Yes Lara, I agree that in an ideal world students should be at a level that is appropriate to them, regardless of age. But, if that were the case, we wouldn't be lumping students into Years based purely on their ages, we'd be doing it by ability. But we don't... I take your point about dyslexic students, however (as I said in my intial post) I'm interested in the average student here.

    Thanks also for the link, but what I really wanted to know is what your school sets as their expectations for each year. What ORT level would, for example, signify "secure" in reading for each Year group? I appreciate this will be different for different schools, but I still feel it would be helpful for me to know what you do in your school.
    Norsemaid and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  5. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    We would probably say Stage 6 or 7 for an expected reader at the end of Year 1. We mix and match our schemes a bit so they don't start on ORT as we use phonics based books early on. Very few of our pupils are still on a reading scheme when they leave us. Most of them are off reading schemes and choosing freely from the library by the end of Year 4. After Year 1, we judge their reading more on how they perform in tests than what book they're on.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    And @becky70 's answer, together with mine will show why it isn't at all helpful for you to know what other schools do because every school is very, very different.

    In my current school we start with RWI phonics books/scheme/groups in reception, then move children straight on to about stage 4-5 in the summer term, or sooner if we feel they are ready.
    Almost all our children are are stage 9-10 at the end of year 1 and almost all are free readers by the end of year 2. We don't use schemes at all from year 3 upwards, regardless of reading ability.

    In my previous school we used Floppy's Phonics in reception and started stage 1 about Easter time, but children spent a long time on each stage as there were lots of children with EAL and/or SEND. Through year 1 most children were on stages 1-3 and then moved on to stages 3-6 in year 2, with a few above. We continued in year 3 and 4 for those who were thought to benefit and children generally stopped using the scheme after about stage 8.

    In the school before that we used RWI phonics/reading/writing in class and sent home reading books from ORT, right throughout the school. Year 6 were generally on about stage 18-20 when they left.

    Did the school in the middle have low expectations? No just a very different intake.
    Did the third school I mention have low expectations because they kept children on a scheme? No, just a different philosophy.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    Thanks. That is very, very helpful actually: the more approaches I hear about, the more data I have to make an informed judgement from.

    Keep the comments coming - much appreciated.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I regret writing the examples now.
    How on earth is it the place of any secondary teacher to make any kind of 'judgement' about a feeder primary school. Especially if basing that 'judgement' on examples from schools in a different country given on an internet forum?

    What your feeder primary does is very likely to be the best approach for them.
    What level your son reads at is very likely to be the right level for him.
    What total strangers tell you the 'average' child does in a different school is utterly irrelevant.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  9. tb9605

    tb9605 Occasional commenter

    You misunderstand me.

    The judgement I wish to make is on my own strategies for boosting reading ability among secondary students: the more information I get, the more accurate my judgement is likely to be. I have no plans to judge other professionals.
  10. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Just want to pop in with my FE experiences. We found that many students who had been educated abroad were behind their English educated peers. Particularly families of service personnel who had moved around a lot. Also families who had lived abroad when they were very young. Children of bi-lingual families also struggled. They often bombed their GCSEs. Somehow they had missed out and we had to help them catch up aged 17-18.
    My local school expects children to be on Turquoise/ Purple band (stage 7/8) by the end of year 1. Lime or above by the end of year 2. However, one girl was on Lime (stage 11) by the end of year 1 last year. (Didn't her mother let everyone know) and some year 2 children are only on stage 4-5.
    I fully sympathise with secondary teachers when pupils arrive who do not have the reading ability to cope with secondary work.
    tb9605 likes this.

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