The curse of being competent...

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Lougood, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Lougood

    Lougood Well-Known Member

    Ok, so I need some advice. My girls are both very competent readers. They are in 1st grade and at the mid year testing they were reading at end of 2nd/beginning of 3rd grade level. They do reading groups in each of their classes, but b/c they are above grade level they don't get to meet with the teacher. In one class the teacher just gives them a new book every few days and in the other the teacher flat out told her that b/c they were the best readers in the class they wouldn't be meeting with the teacher as much...truth is they haven't met with her since school started back up. I gave the teachers the month of January b/c they were finishing testing, but here we are into February and they still haven't met with the teacher for groups. I'm so torn. I was a teacher so I know how hard it can be, but I made it a point to read with EVERY group at least twice a week. I don't know what to do. How do I address this? I like their teachers a lot and think they are great, and I know how hard it is when there are kids struggling, but on the other hand, it's not fair. I also thought about going to the principal to suggest having parents who used to teach maybe lead a reading group or two a week...I know at least a few 1st grade moms who fit the criteria and would love to do it. I need to address this first with the teachers b/c I don't want to seem like I'm going over their heads to the principal. I'm not sure if any of this makes sense. Would you be upset? Help please!
  2. Aeliza

    Aeliza Well-Known Member

    I would think that's a great idea to offer to volunteer to read with some of the more advanced groups. That will take some of the responsibility of the teachers so they can focus on the groups that may require more of their attention. It's not fair that some of the students who can read at a higher level than the rest of the class not get their teachers attention or any at all. First talk with the teachers. If they seem up for the idea see if they can set it up. Otherwise, because you aren't so much complaining about them doing something wrong, but more offering help, talking to the principal would not be a bad thing or stepping on toes. But, just in case, maybe talk to the teachers first and see if they'd like for some parents to come help with the reading groups.
  3. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    We had this problem when Jon was in 2nd grade. Upon speaking with the teacher, I found out that she simply didn't have enough time to get to everyone--she had them in her schedule, but many times, just couldn't get there. Once I realized this, I started volunteering in the classroom a few days a week--as a certified teacher and sub in the district, they loved it! That way, I could do the reading groups, just as if I were subbing, and we were able to see 4 groups between us, rather than her just seeing 2. My other son was in an inclusion class that year, so he was able to get more time in reading groups because there were always 2 teachers working with the kids.
  4. TwinxesMom

    TwinxesMom Well-Known Member

    If you have the time I suggest volunteering as well. My girls are both at the top of the class but the rest of the class is so behind that they are lucky to be able to do what's assigned. Jazz just started coming home with extra read home last week. Jess hasn't even had that.
  5. ohtwinmom

    ohtwinmom Well-Known Member

    Former elementary teacher here...we would sometimes see if a teacher in the next grade up had a spot in her reading group at the child's level. So they would just pop over for guided reading and come back. That way they are being seen and challenged.
    1 person likes this.
  6. tinalb

    tinalb Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    That is what happens here. I know Lila (and a couple of other kids) goes to a grade 2 classroom for reading group. I think volunteering to help out is a great idea, Lou!
  7. summerfun

    summerfun Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Yes, I would be a former teacher, like you, I know in our county it is a requirement to read with each child at least 2 times each this does not happen. :good: And the good news is that being a former teacher yourself you understand how difficult running a class can be. I would definitely talk to the teacher and express your concerns and definitely offer to volunteer. Do you get to volunteer in both their classes? Regardless, each teacher should be reading with every child every matter what their reading level. I know in our school they don't move kids up or down to the next grade for reading's just not possible schedule wise. Definitely talk to the teacher and express your concerns, If they are as great as you say they are, I'm sure they will put a new plan in place for your girls. :good:
  8. Lougood

    Lougood Well-Known Member

    Thank you ladies. I'm going to try and set up a conference with in the next week and see what happens.
  9. Sofiesmom

    Sofiesmom Well-Known Member

    If the teachers are really that great, I just don't think this would be happen, or is that too black and white? My children are all in a class of 30, and their school has a very open policy so lots of children with low ability and individual / special needs but also some who are working years above their age appropriate level (could be as many as 4 or 5, so a huge range in the class rooms). They work a lot with rotations, 5 groups of 6, often based on ability (different groups for different subjects and often mixed as well) and all children will have teacher rotations, not just the weak ones, but the strong ones need a challenge too. I am not saying it's easy, but I don't think it's the parents' job either (we do work with parent volunteers as well). I would definitely talk to the teacher. Those who start reading above their age appropriate age early on, don't necessarily stay there automatically. Reading at first is fairly easy but when the real comprehension becomes more important, they certainly deserve help as well. Reading 1-2 years above their level is not an excuse (my twins are top in their class for reading too, and among the very youngest, currently in Y2/Grade 1) for not having to deal with it.
  10. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    I think that really is too black and white. The year I helped out in Jonathan's class, there were 6 2nd grade classes, and 4 inclusion classes. He was in one of the 2 classes that was not inclusion. Which meant that 2/3 of the grade had 2 teachers to do reading groups daily--generally there is enough time for 2 groups per day. In Jonathan's class, and one other, there were only 2 teachers, so instead of 4 groups per day, only 2 groups in their class got guided reading per day. So, no matter how good or bad a teacher is, she can only get to 1/2 the number of kids per day as a class that has 2 teachers. Also, the make-up of the class comes into play as well, and who is able to work independently, and who can't. In the younger grades, the more advanced readers are more able to work independently, and for longer periods of time, therefore, for the sake of the entire class, they need more direct instruction than an advanced reader. Hence, the advanced reader tends to get less instruction.

    There is the ideal, and the reality. Unfortunately, the reality is that not all children can get the attention they deserve all the time. Fortunately, in our case, the lack of reading instruction in 2nd grade had not hurt Jonathan in the long run. And, Marcus had the teacher for 3rd grade that Jon did for 2nd, and due to a different class make up, and the kids being a bit older, she was better able to see all the children for guided reading on a regular schedule.
  11. Sofiesmom

    Sofiesmom Well-Known Member

    Sharon, understand, but if they haven't read with the teacher since the beginning of January, that's just not OK. The teacher needs to make an effort to divide time as fairly as possible, which should include all abilities (I do understand that lower ability get more attention, that's unavoidable). I am not talking daily but at least weekly? My kids get home readers daily, and they do guided reading rotations at school but not having a chance to read with your teacher for several weeks ... sorry, but I don't find that OK in first grade.
  12. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    I didn't say it was OK, I said it was understandable, and yes, an effort should be made, but not knowing exactly what was going on in the classroom, it is hard to say why the kids haven't been seen. I also found out that when my kids were in 1st and 2nd, they weren't the best reporters about what happened in school. One time one said they hadn't had reading in weeks, when I spoke to the teacher, I found out otherwise--it was because the teacher had changed the routine, and they didn't pick it up as "reading time". :)
  13. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I agree, yes - the interpretation may not be quite the same!! My DD 'never' did reading - HAHA! They saw it as phonic work (which they did not do) and therefore 'never' did it!

    But- it too, is an issue sometimes.

    In 1st grade, we had similar concerns. My DDs did not read with the teacher (along with a few other kids) more than once every one or two weeks because the teachers simply did not have the resources to reach everyone, every week, and still meet the standards with the time they had. Is it OK - NO. Should you get more information- absolutely.

    There are so many dynamics that if you have not been in a classroom, it is hard to understand. The earlier statement on kiddos working independently is very true- sometimes the attention span of the group is so short that you can only get through a group a day without having behavior issues.

    Aides and supports are being removed due to budget cuts around the nation. The people it hurts the most are the kids....and it should not happen that way.

    I will say that the school we have right now would not allow parents to led (even parents that were teachers) groups. THe school has an accountability to the students and also (ours) can not leave students in a small group without a staff member present. They also can not have non-staff do curriculum based activities.

    Can parents run fun game fridays under the supervision of the teacher- yes. But to do actual curriculum/teaching work- no. Our district policy would not allow it. (which in these days-- the schools should use any resources they can, but it does have a lot of legal ramifications if other parents should protests or object).
  14. ljcrochet

    ljcrochet Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My girls never talk about reading to their teacher. They are in 2nd greade. Not sure how often they do it.
  15. Lougood

    Lougood Well-Known Member

    I suspect this is the policy in our district as well from speaking with other parents/staff.

    The teachers really are great, and they are doing the best they can. Being a former teacher, I understand how difficult the dynamics in the classroom can be. As always though, as soon as I posted this, they resumed reading groups. I think a month is a LOT for testing, but I can see how it could have happened. All is well with the world. :) Sure the girls won't get to meet with the teacher as often as others, but I'm positive the time with them is quality and they are learning on their level. Also, the teachers are doing more independent reading with their group and having them do projects since they don't need the instruction in fluency/decoding like the other kids in their grade...hence less time in group. They did say they would be meeting with them at least every couple days for 5 minutes to check on their progress/comprehension and try to do full groups at least twice a week. I'm satisfied with what's happening. Thanks again for all your help.
    1 person likes this.
  16. hudsonfour

    hudsonfour Well-Known Member

    Can I ask, how many kids are in the reading class? That can make a huge difference too! What type of testing were they doing? As a teacher I really resent the "testing" interfering with student learning time. I know one of the assessments that k-2 kids in my county take 3 times a year, take the teacher an average of 30 mins per kid to complete...and it is all done on a one on one basis. That is taking time away everyday from all the other kids. How long is their reading instruction time? We have 90 mins of uninterrupted reading instruction~ this is a county requirement...and we are moving to 120 daily! In Fl we also have class size class can be larger than 18! I can't tell you how great it is to have small classes.
    Hope you don't have to deal with this again!

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