My middle daughter, age nearly six, was tested and identified as gifted earlier in the year (99th percentile).
There have been a number of issues, and I've found this forum interesting and helpful.
I am feeling bothered today about her schooling, in particular her reading. She is very excited about reading and language. She loves to learn new words. She is very playful with it.
In the holidays she read 'Winnie the Pooh', amongst others. She has just started tonight reading 'The Sea of Adventure' by Enid Blyton. I suggested an easier book, like a Secret Seven, but she is insisting, and is up to chapter four.
At school she is on level 19. She began the year on level 17. She wasn't reading before starting school. Her new entrant teacher was wonderful, and gave her piles and piles of books to bring home, she was moving through the levels rapidly.
The class she is in is a year 1-2 composite class.
She doesn't enjoy the level 19 readers, and complains about how boring they are, so I asked the teachers at her IEP last month about moving her up. They told me that her reading comprehension isn't good.
This week I raised the issue again. They tested her yesterday, she reads fluently at L19, and answered the comprehension test correctly. Same with L20. at L21 she stumbled on a few words, and didn't pass the comprehension test.
They want to leave her on L19 and work on her comprehension, and gave me extra comprehension homework to do with her, which might be helpful.
She is upset about it. I remain positive about school when I talk to her, but she said she 'can't wait to move out of that boring classroom'.
I have no idea what the rest of the curriculum is like for her.
I would have felt more cooperative towards the teacher. but when I said to her that the plan is fine, as long as we keep a good eye on her because she progresses so quickly, the teacher said 'all children at this age progress quickly'.
You have received a couple of alarm bells about the particular teacher. One is, if your daughter passed the 19and 20 tests she is ready to work on Level 21, or 20 at worst. Why keep her on 19? Second the teacher's parting shot about 'all children' - that is a 'slap-down' by a teacher on the defensive. a small one, but that's what it is. In the first place its not true, in the second place why say it?
You have an upcoming problem in that your daughter is (i assume, since you said 'nearly 6') a second half year birthday. That means Yr 1 this year, year 2 next year. If she finds the classroom boring for the first year imagine how the second year is going to be? Also, does it mean 2 years with this same teacher? Unlikely to go well.
If you already have an IEP you have something to work with. I think you should work at not getting the same teacher next year, and ideally not a 1/2 composite (but I know some schools only have composites). My Daughter had a fantastic yr 2 in a pure Yr 2 class with a fabulous teacher and gifted cluster. My son we moved on into Yr 3/4 to avoid a second killer year in 1/2 with a vague beginner teacher and a hostile maths extension.
Good luck. You are also doing the right thing with heaps of self chosen books at home. Oh, one little thing - make sure your daughter understands how comprehension tests work, esp non-fiction. My daughter almost failed her first reading comp in non-fiction becuse she didn't know she was being asked about the text she had just read (About hippos), she thought the questions were a test of what ELSE she knew about hippos so she was racking her brains for answers that went beyond the text. She didn't think they wanted just what it said on the text because that was right in front of them, they could read that themselves! (sigh!) (she was only 4 at the time and hadn't been at school)
I concur with everything J said above and can add to it.
My son is also HG and 2 years along this path from your daughter. He has luckily been in either composite classes or had pull-out interchanges the whole way through. Your daughter needs to be working at a level that is challenging her. When she's mastered the level it's time to move her up to the next challenge. Let her know what's expected of her and let her have access to the challenge level she'll participate at. If you allow the teachers to keep her at a 'boring' level she'll start to switch off or dumb down.
I found frequent trips to the library to be the lifesaver really. I let my son read whatever he wanted and resisted the temptation to limit him to books he could completely comprehend. JMHO -if he's reading and enjoying it then he's comprehending enough to want to continue and will only improve, versus becoming bored by completely comprehended basic stuff.
I totally agree with Linda - the Library! My daughter was in exactly the same position of having finished all the little readers to Level 22/Gold/Silver (can't remember) before age 6.
After that we struck real problems as they wouldn't give her anything else to read! The school even re-issued the same books to her! Comprehension was mentioned but I considered that if a book is so boring, why would you even be bothered with any level of deep comprehension.
I did feel very annoyed but struck back with Library books. I put one book she really liked at her 'real' level in her bag to read at Silent Reading time instead of the school book. Who knows what the teachers thought when she was reading novels but I figured it was better to encourage the love of reading than discourage it with boredom! This worked really really well.
Also just went to the Library and got a pile of books on all sorts of topics, fiction, non-fiction, anything and left them by her bed. 99% were read and enjoyed - occasionally one book just wasn't her thing.
I think the day I decided to take the matter into my own hands and encourage a variety of interesting reading at home, I felt much better and didn't worry about what they did at school.
Seems the IEP isn't being followed through successfully. Your daughter's case seems similar to our sons. He turns 6 end of Sep and is in a Yr 1 class with an IEP and maths extension (working on Yr 6 stuff). His "comprehension" tested well below his actual reading age and was targeted (among other things) in his IEP. Just had his IEP meeting and it's been a great success. (Comprehension age up 1.5 yrs to 9.5, a much smaller difference to his reading age).
He is NOT given readers lightly nor even regularly. He has a reader that has a topic he is interested in assigned by his teacher. He is often asked if he would like to learn more about xyz before the reader is assigned. His teacher asks us to identify topics he might enjoy (so she can find appropriate readers). He is only asked to read something specific from that journal (reader) and then has questions to answer or gives an oral presentation about his reading to his class. We are asked to record books he's reading for fun (Famous Five Series, Magic Tree House Series, various fiction and non-fiction picture books at this time).
I think it's working well because it is 1. interesting for the child and 2. parental input is sought and acknowledged and 3. it's encouraged, not mandated.
We are grateful to his teacher and the support the school offers children like him.
Perhaps there are some ideas in there that might help your daughter's IEP work for her. Good luck.
You story is my story, exactly. My son has just been formally assessed at the 99th percentile also, and has just turned 6. He was at level 18 months before last term ended (and was bored with that ~ has never been challenged with any reading material issued by the school), but is now on level 15. Why? Because his comprehension isn't where it should be according to the teachers. Can you give me an example I asked? "Well, he just races through and isn't interested in answering questions about the story" they say, "so we're going to keep him at this level until he can tell us more about the story".
They also told me he was needing one on one reading time as he was so advanced compared to his class, but won't put him up with another class level due to social immaturity (but couldn't give me an example of how his behaviour was any different than his peers). I then asked if I could do extra work with him at home to 'help' his comprehension; no.
His teachers don't get my son, won't acknowledge his psych report of being HG, have said they only see 'it' in his reading ability, and prefer to focus on their perceived negatives about him (very healthy self-ego / know-it-all and lack of comprehension).
I have decided to move him to a school where I hope I can have some sort of workable relationship with the teachers. I just don't know how they can educate my son when they are so unwilling to work with fact, and seem to take pleasure in taking him, and me down a few pegs. It is very frustrating, and I feel for you. Why do these teachers seem to have so much power?
Thank you so much everyone- so nice to log in and read some responses from understanding people!
The teacher is brand new. She seems nice, and competent, but I think that people generally have difficulty understanding giftedness. I think it might be too early for me to guess what her views really are, but the "all children progress quickly..." instantly made me feel misunderstood.
Yes, I have been thinking about her year level placement for next year.
I raised the issue of year skipping at the IEP. I was given lots of reasons why it wouldn't work, and told no, but there was a teacher present from another classroom who is their gifted ed coordinator, and she said that if year skipping is required, there's nothing wrong with that. I said that I would like to revisit the idea later in the year. (And yes, she turns six at the end of September)
Right now I'm quite convinced it will be needed. I'm worried that I will somehow be proven wrong.
The teacher has given me comprehension worksheets and readers to work with at home, so hopefully my daughter will understand how they work!
I don't feel like going and talking to the teacher about it again this week, I feel that nagging too much often just makes teachers even more defensive! I will allow her to continue with her own reading choices at home for now.
Tb, thank you for your ideas, I think that would suit my daughter quite well, I'll suggest it at our next IEP, or sooner if I feel better sooner!
Sorry I didn't see your post before I posted mine.
It really seems like the reading system doesn't work for gifted readers at all. I wonder if it's quite common for there to be big discrepancies between fluency and comprehension.
When I was little I just read Enid Blytons and whatever else because I was homeschooled, never had little readers, never did comprehension tests. When i went to high school I always got 100% on the comprehension tests.
I would be really careful about moving schools. Will there be the same issues at the next one? I don't know much about it, but it's just my first thought.
We have been through all of this, my ds was found to be hg 99.9% at age 6 as well and like yours was a great little reader, lucky for us at that age he had a great teacher and they actually put him into an older class just for reading. He is now 10, in year 6 and we have had very little extension for these past years. They have told us about thelack of comprehension for years. Basically I did as the others, went to the library, and let him read whatever he wanted. At our parent teacher meeting I commented that he hadn't moved much with his reading and she basically said well we know he can read anything, she was too lazy to test him properly to his level.
You are very lucky that you are getting IEP's and that there is a gifted coordinator in the school. We had none of this, just cruised and I am desperately seeing through the next two terms to get him out of this school and off to intermediate where there is an accelerated class. They took no notice of him really until he showed giftedness in maths which didn't come till year 3-4.
Push for the acceleration next year, I soooo wish I had. The early and younger they are the easier. There is lots of info to the positive on gifted websites, take a look at hoagies, then take it in with you to prove them wrong.
good luck, I have found primary school a battleground, I hope this isn't the same for you.
I've posted several times about my son's acceleration where we did a trial of a term at the higher level with the option for the school to drop him back if it didn't work for any of their 'airy fairy' reasons like maturity and physical ability. There were no problems and he adjusted to the older kids easily so he stayed 'up'. He's still accelerated and probably needs another jump but it will wait until the end of primary school to happen I think.
I really don't understand why some teachers think it's such a big issue to accelerate- children are so varied in every way, even if they are the same age! My older daughter is in year three, and I know that there are children of the 'correct' age who struggle with the work.
Middle daughter is tall, strong and coordinated, and also confident, so I think she won't even stick out noticeably.
Teachers often quote social difficulties as a reason not grade skip. In fact, the research generally supports acceleration and grade skipping is a useful form of this, especially for younger children when the skip can be made without too much difficulty. Gifted kids are often more socially mature than their age mates and teachers tend to interpret social problems as immaturity when it is most often the complete opposite. A skip to an older age class can actually help with any social problems!
With regard to reading, there is no way your daughter should be working on L19 if she has answered the comprehension test correctly for this and L20. At the very least she should be working at L21 and stretching to the next level even. If the work isn't challenging, then gifted kids will often perceive that it is not worth doing. Too much of this and there is a real danger that the child will switch off learning at school altogether, and that is when the serious problems can occur.
I think I will talk to the teacher again about the reading level this week. Daughter is very enthusiastic about the Famous Five right now and raving about islands and shipwrecks, and how difficult it must be to navigate boats through sharp rocks... I just don't see how she can get through Famous Fives, but have bad reading comprehension...
Not looking forward to the year skipping conversation, but maybe the teachers will surprise me :)
Think of it this way - would you, as an adult, stick with reading something you didn't understand? Probably not, so why on earth would a child do so? She's reading these books at home, for her own pleasure, so she's not trying to prove anything to anyone. It just isn't logical to me that she would read these books if she couldn't follow the story or understand it.
I think teachers often interpret 'inability to retell the story' as a sign of a lack of reading comprehension in advanced readers, but I find it to be the direct opposite. My dd was an utter failure at 'retelling the story' in her early primary years. What she could tell me but was unable to tell her teacher was that she was so confused by the request to 'retell the story' when there was literally no story to retell that she didn't understand what was being asked of her.
As a result of her inability to retell the story at one point a teacher put my then 7 year old back on to a 5 year old reading level. The teacher insisted my dd didn't understand a single thing she read because she couldn't retell any aspects of the the story at all. Uh huh.
Background info on dd - she was a self taught reader who recognised some words at 12 months, was reading 'readers' at 2, picture books at 3, Roald Dahl at 4, and devouring multiple children's novels per week at age 5. At age 5.5 the school had her tested by a gifted coordinator who found her reading level (including comprehension) to be > 12 years. She stopped testing at the 12 year old level only because the material was deemed to be too mature for her.
The day her teacher told me she had put my dd on a 5 year old reading level we went to the library and I selected a random book from the 8-12 year old section. I read the first chapter then asked dd to do the same and retell it to me. She did so in incredibly vivid detail. listing character descriptions, the setting, the events, and adding her own interpretations and predictions about the story.
I then asked her to tell me about the stories her teacher has asked her to retell. She became very angry and said they were 'babies books' that only had a few sentences per page She said in one of them a kid dropped a doll on the ground, left it outside, then it rained and the doll got wet. She told me "The teacher wanted me to tell her the story but I didn't know what she even meant because there wasn't a story to tell!"
I think teachers get blinded by this quite a lot. I didn't keep dd at that school for long.
@ Alicia - I know its serious but i also smiled to myself at your story about your daughter. It reminded me of when my son's new entrants teacher told me that he would be put in the "very beginners" maths group as he did not know any numbers at all. Since this was very clearly not the case based on his maths at home, I asked to see the test. It consisted of 5 boxes, with a 1 in the first and a 5 in the last, children asked to fill in the rest. my son had left it all blank. i asked him why, he just looked at me and said "I had something else to think about!"
LOL - something actually interesting I guessed!
On showing some work from home, they re-tested at a higher level - whaddayouknow, highest group...
Always made me worry about the bright kids whose parents lack the time or energy to intervene.
Hi! I have posted on this before, almost the exact problem that you are encountering, right down to the famous five scenario. I told my sons (6yo) teacher that he was reading books like Roald Dahl each night and asking me to make up worksheets, and she replied with a smile, "well some of them are quite easy".I also agree with the posting on the books having so little depth, what on earth are they possibly trying to get them to comprehend? Its like the teachers are looking for a key phrase eg 'sally was very sad when she dropped her doll' but my son would just take that as a given, and not think to mention that. Good luck, I am at a complete loss as to where to go from here! I only wish I had thought to look around for a school with an established extension prog as I am reluctant to move my son....
I tried to talk to my sister about this, who is a teacher, and understands the issues I have at school with my gifted child and she really didn't want to know, and went on about there being so many different 'levels' of comprehension that they just have to get before they can move on. I gave up really, just like I did with my childs teacher who basically gave up testing to higher levels because as she said "we know they can read anything" - just too lazy to keep testing.
In saying this my sister is a fabulous teacher and I would give anything to have her teaching my children as I know she puts her heart and soul into her class, her class room resources and in trying to do the best by every single one of her children, and working them to their own individual needs.
She mentioned to me about special needs children going into other classes or with teacher aids, and though that's all good, as their teacher she likes to keep a finger on the pulse and know where they are at, what they are learning and doing and she feels she should be teaching them (not the teacher aid). So little time, so many kids
This is a very sad story. Same thing happens at my child's school with reading and maths. My 5 year old has been doing maths since age 2 but because she doesn't answer the teacher very quickly or cope well with egg-timed tests, they don't see her as very advanced in maths. She has been reading since she was 3 but this year has only moved from level 16 to 17 because they first said she "decodes" but doesn't understand everything, now they have admitted she understands but says she doesn't answer all their questions. My child had fantastic teachers for 3 years in a Montessori pre-school but now gets frustrated and bored.
This 'comprehension' issue appears to be used to justify the dogmatic ignorance of the teachers who don't get our children.
Though my son is older now, when he was 6 he was already in the top reading group, but was interested in food chains and I enquired about how to meet his reading needs. Was told as he hadn't read every book in the classroom he wasn't able to be extended with his reading. So I went to the library myself and got the books he was interested in. He continued to be able to read at the level they gave him at school, and then focus on reading his interest books at home.
At 7 he was lined up at the opening of the store to get the latest Harrry Potter instalment and read that series at that age, understood and comprehended because life at hogwarts was a lot more interesting and could provide more discussion than some uninteresting event in a colour coded reader.
I posted above as my son was much the same, but also like Ana he had this problem with maths too, is testing at year 6 at a year 11 for algebra, yet doesn't always get 100% for his basic facts, he hates the timing with basic facts, and finds them really boring, but bring on the difficult algebra and his in his element, because this is the way his brain thinks ...
My son hates the timed tests as well! He is in the process of being referred to the local one day school, and the teacher wanted to pass on some test results. But she said that she was having problems testing my son as he kept not completing the maths tests because of boredom! I had actually told them not to bother testing maths, as we use a software programme called mathletics (mathletics.co.nz) and my son had progressed very quickly through the NZ Curriculum levels at his own pace (completed year 4, 5,and 6 so far this year).
Maths is now the only subject I feel that I am able to support him at (there is a really good support/help you understand how to solve the maths problem section that is useful for the non maths gifted parent!). I have no idea what he is reading at school, and don't have the energy to ask them to extend him, I do that through the local library instead.
I would just like to comment and try to help if I may. I am 32 now, but I was reading my Father's NBR and The Independent newspapers while in primary school.
Your stories bring back memories and I can maybe explain some of the things I have read.
There was a comment about retelling a story. The reason the child can not retell the story is because the story is so boring and simple.
It may be 100 pages long or more, but it all boils down to one sentence to them.
For example there may be a fantastic story about how the baby elephant got separated from its parents and had an amazing journey with many encounters on the way home.
What your child sees the story as is something more simple. Baby elephant gets lots, eventually finds parents. That is it. The encounters, the emotions and experiences do not fundamentally add to the basic overall idea of the story and its retelling.
So in the end your child comes across as having poor comprehension when really they have just summarised the story far more due to their excessive intelligence.
The last comment from Gillian is interesting too. I found it difficult not to go off on tangents when thinking about questions. As I would spend too much time thinking about what they were asking and wanting. Also just musing on the idea would waste time.
Hence timed tests would/could be deeply frustrating. I always felt it tied quality of thinking to speed of thinking too much.
I encourage you all to give as much mental stimulation as you can and to watch out for the teachers you mentioned at all costs(even talk to your kids to find out which classes they find boring/boring teachers).
Hopefully, to shed some light, I will quote what DS very helpful and fantastic teacher let us know "the school doesn't like the kids to go past level 18 in year 1 because the ministry believes the average child's comprehension is not developed past that point until year 2. Plus, if the gap is too big in year 2 it makes the next teacher's job harder trying to cater to them." So, it is in the school's best interest to hold your kids back and in our child's best interest to be extended.
Best help I can give is to encourage everyone to phone all of your local schools and ask to speak to the principal or GATE co-ordinator about their GATE program and what it entails. I did this in a calm and relaxed manner with the idea that I would gain some nuggets of wisdom to take back to DS school and include in our meeting with their GATE co-ordinator the next week (who had to be appointed before we could meet with her!!! the school didn't even have one before we asked). I told them briefly about DS asked if they grade-skipped, extended, or had streamed classes for the brightest only, if they did IEPs and were their other gifted kids at their school, did they have anyone at their school currently attending One Day School. Tell me about their GATE program.
Some schools said they were full but thanks for the call, others said they were strictly in zoners only, one said they wouldn't grade skip and offer extension in only maths or reading. Then I struck gold. The principal said they have streamed classes at each year level, he was very interested in such a bright boy, would definitely get him an IEP, possibly a grade skip if we met with him to discuss things further. WOW. After all the other responses I jumped at the chance, telling DH we were only going so we could know what to ask for at DS current school. We met with the principal, he brought in the deputy principal GATE person and brought in the head of lower school. We were shocked. The top three teachers in the school wanted to talk about our gifted but full-on challenging child? They were positive, helpful, accommodating. As we weren't moving our child to this school I felt I could be very honest and told them his good and bad points. They weren't put off. They asked to meet him. After the first meeting DH and I sat in the car, looked at each other and said "DS should change schools." We had the meeting with current school GATE co-ordinator which was positive, but the other school had everything already in place while current school would practise on DS. Hmmmm. A month later he changed schools, grade skipped and discussions were underway about getting an in-class mentor, own ipad and IEP. I am grateful for the positive experiences we have had, it pays to research.
So perhaps if any of you wish to look at it as research, you could check out what other local schools are offering. Even if you don't move your child, you can take some good ideas back to the meetings at your current school. Takes the stress out of it with the possibility of learning something. Just maybe you will have a surprise outcome.
thanks for sharing, it is truly amazing to finally read a positive experience! Good luck to your ds in his new school. Unfortunately we are getting to the point now where we only have one school, i.e. intermediate then high school, no other choices. I hope it all goes well for you.
My son started school in T2 and is reading about L 23 - 24 at the moment. I actually thought his comprehension didn't match his reading ability at first because he seemed to really struggle with an online reading comp tool his class uses. However his teacher assures me that his comprehension does match his ability because he regularly does other comprehension tasks in class. It is just the online medium that he doesn't seem to enjoy.
I am a bit envious of all of the posts saying how much their children devour books. As much as my son is a self-taught reader and to quite a high level he doesn't actually like being "made" to read and digs in his heels if the book has more than 12 pages. I get books I think might interest him from the library and they seem to collect dust. He is still at a developmental age where a book has to have pictures, so I don't think that he will be moving on to chapter books any time soon!
"I am a bit envious of all of the posts saying how much their children devour books. As much as my son is a self-taught reader and to quite a high level he doesn't actually like being "made" to read and digs in his heels if the book has more than 12 pages. I get books I think might interest him from the library and they seem to collect dust. He is still at a developmental age where a book has to have pictures, so I don't think that he will be moving on to chapter books any time soon!"
DS was like this until I only read the first chapter of a book he thought sounded exciting (he then proceeded to read the rest). His reading has taken off since. Just needed the confidence to tackle something larger I think.
it's depressing that this is such a familiar scenario for people!
we ran into similar issues when my ds was in year 2; he'd been reading tolkien over the school hols (started with his dad, but then got hooked and read the rest on his own) and his teacher had him on jr journals. totally bored in class, did literally nothing - when i dropped in and suggested that he might need something slightly more challenging, she told me that jr journals were great for all ages and would improve his comprehension, and that the problem with giving him more challenging material was that he wouldn't be able to understand it. and i'm a bit like, seriously, you're telling me that you have a WHOLE SCHOOL LIBRARY, and you can't find something that is more challenging than a school journal while still being in my childs range of comprehension? and you're in charge of TEACHING HIM??? ....
like others, his comprehension has been questioned over and over again, because he can't see the point in retelling a story - heck, as an adult, even *I* hate trying to do this. give him something he is interested in and he can practically repeat it word for word - but something he's not that into - it's almost impossible.
in the end we had him assessed (i was hoping that i could return to the teacher with a piece of paper that would say GIVE THIS CHILD SOMETHING BETTER TO READ!) and he came out in the 99th percentile and we ignored the reading curriculum for the remainder of the year - i think he read almost everything in the classroom, and we certainly kept the library busy.
now we're fighting a whole new battle - he's a fantasy & sci-fi nut, loves epic novels and series, has a killer imagination and a great writing style, but they're telling me that he can't distinguish reality from fantasy and that he needs to read more 'realistic' material. i mean, he'll research when necessary - so will read non fiction etc if there's a purpose - but not for pleasure - and why should he HAVE to? and they suggested that i give him 'choose your own adventure' books (to learn good decision making) and those 'my story' books (which seem mainly aimed at girls) - stuff he's not interested in because the level it's pitched at bores him. every time i talk to these people i want to bang my head against a wall, i'm pretty sure that none of them have ever bothered picking up a decent fantasy novel - and yet they feel like they're qualified to tell me that it's no good - good lord. does it ever end?
My story is similar, and I am really, really over the school teachers.
I have learned so much this year about how the school system doesn't work for my son, and have finally taken the bull by the horns, and started doing things my way after receiving no help from them, only attitude.
Our boy has just turned six:
- he has Asperger's (principal)
- he just doesn't 'GET it", principal
- he has to stay at this reading level because he doesn't comprehend.. (teachers)
- he is at the top of his reading class (this part is true) and has no one to read with, but we can't advance him to another class because he is socially not ready (teachers)
with the results from the ed psych report I went and got, that he was at the 99th percentile for verbal ability..
- we don't know that test (teachers)
- did they (ed psych) say anything about him having Asperger's? (principal)
- well we only see 'it' in his reading (teachers)
- we might be able to put him up a class for reading a few times a week (hasn't happened)
- no, we don't want you to do anything with him to help at home (teachers)
And to prove a point I suppose, the day we met at school to discuss his ed psych report (his two teachers and the principal and me) our son came home with a book that had 23 words in it for his home reading. I felt just awful.
He had been reading books to about 185 words. I think it was their way of giving me the finger.
He is stuck at level 15, had been at level 18, but due to his 'lack of comprehension' and because he reads "too fast" is sitting at 15. Like others posts, what is there to comprehend in these very basic books? He reads fast because he 'can', and he is bored and can't wait to be finished. I am helping older kids in the school with their reading in the mornings before school, and can see levels 20-21 that would still be really easy for my son to read. (Why am I volunteering when I have had no help from the school ~ it was to make an effort, and hopefully have it reciprocated. It hasn't worked).
Anyway, this is what I have chosen to do.
Get him out of school once a week to go to the GO school, which has been great.
Get books from the library that will advance him and do it on our own.
Ask the teachers directly for what I want and not be afraid of getting on their wrong side, as I am already, and they really are being rude. It hasn't helped though!
Research other schools that offer a more supportive environment. We've decided this school is absolutely not the one for him and will leave at the end of the year.
I've started reading a book to our son at night called 'Stories of the Wild West Gang' by Joy Cowley.
Previously my son was not interested in reading even though he could do it well, I assume because the content was so boring. He has always been interested in factual books about bugs, volcanoes etc that were a bit too hard to read at his level, but THIS book has awakened in him the love of a good story. I have to read it to him as its a chapter book, but he is loving it. The kids do naughty fun things! I am hoping as he learns to read more, with my help, not the teachers, he will soon be able to read books on his own, like the famous five etc.
I feel empowered, not needing to dance the dance with the teachers, knowing that we're leaving. It is their job to educate my son, and their ignorance is appalling. I refuse to give them any more power. They are just so UNEDUCATED about this.
My ds10 was never into reading at year 1/2, he was a top reader and luckily was put into a higher class at this age to cater for his learning, but as for reading for pleasure at home, nothing.
It wasn't until year 3 that his teacher suggested a series of books that he might like that his reading took off, she found for him a great series for boys, something that I thought wouldn't be appropriate for him to take to school) but she suggested it so I figured it was ok, he never looked back and was hooked.
However he has never ever been interested in reading anything non fiction, or reading for learning. He is very creative and wants to be an author, but he has a specific genre (generally action and horror/gore) that seems so inappropriate but he wont read anything else. So I find books that are appropriate for him within this genre.
He has phases where he does nothing but read, then something else may take is interest for a month or two and he will only read a little at night, then he'll go back to it.
Find what floats their boats and often you can't hold them back.
This is a topic very dear to my heart - the practice of keeping children at a reading level until they are able to answer the questions on a Probe or Benchmark test satisfactorily. My (not gifted) 5year old is reading at Level 17 in class but can easily read Junior Journals at Purple and Gold level and is able to summarise stories, offer character descriptions, link themes across stories etc., all higher level comprehension skills. I am a teacher myself, so I bring him home readers from my school to keep him interested. He is a really motivated reader, loves books and has been so keen to read and his teachers have not quite been confident enough to keep up, I guess. Anyway, I do have an issue with teachers insisting that comprehension is high enough to progress to the next level - particularly at the 'colour wheel' stage. The levels here strongly reflect the decoding difficulty, not comprehension levels - so a L17 text is likely to be as easy or difficult to decode as a L20 - and it does depend on how 'deep' you go. Some of the picture books I read to my 2 year old, my 5 year old is just beginning to be able to read, yet I've been reading these for years and expecting all my kids to get some level of comprehension out of them, which of course they do. It is possible to comprehend a text at different levels. Once children are on to journals, comprehension is more of an issue. However, as long as children are reading them fluently and making few mistakes - around 1 in 20 - they should have plenty of working memory space to devote to understanding what they read. Kids learn to comprehend primarily by exposure to, and talking about, story after story, plus plenty of real life experiences to relate to. Which makes it so difficult to teach in a school environment. So I do question what, exactly, teachers are doing to enhance their comprehension by keeping them down on lower levels. Once students can decode easily, they should be making mistakes with comprehension at their instructional reading level as these now become the focus for teaching opportunities. We do, as teachers, need to be really clear also of how we expect students to reveal their ability to understand a text.
I had a 16yrs+ reading age in primary school - and used to ummmm "borrow without asking" Uni psychology textbooks - I didnt find them difficult to understand at all, indeed found the more complex language easier to read and the concepts being expressed were visible all around me thus observable and therefore equally easily understood (and even back then I found the "facts", as they were presented, wanting).
My decoding however is dreadful, at the 27th percentile. Luckily for me, no one actually noticed but in those days and I could just pretend to read those boring old readers and their droll stories! I cant think of anything that would have put me right off reading completely.
My grandson has no more difficulty with more advanced text well above his reading age than he does with a level 14 reader .... but the difference is that if the information within the text interests him his brain is "switched on" and his comprehension kicks in.
It seems to me that like most things .... the theories that are being applied in our schools are based upon "normal kids" and the reality that different children can and do learn differently is yet again lost.
Given that your daughter was probably asked 4 questions, she would have got one wrong. A pass is considered to be 80% but with 4 questions that's a bit dumb. Sounds like she is comprehending fine to me