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Reading Group WWYD (long)

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Would you ever allow your child to be placed in a lower reading group to boost his confidence and fluency? DS' assessments came in and he is above grade level in reading--enough to qualify for AIM reading (not sure but sounds like gifted program even though the school doesn't do gifted). BUT the teacher wants to keep him in the regular reading program until he's more confident reading out loud. At conference it made sense, he does struggle with reading out loud. He hates it b/c its slower, and this is a kid who wants to do everything fast. He wants to get to the exciting parts so he skips words and makes dumb guesses so he probably scored low rather than high relative to his ability.


But a couple mom's whose kids would be in DS' reading group were sharing scores; I didn't share except to say that he's where he needs to be. The difference is HUGE--more than 10 points in DRA level. I don't know what to do? DS tried to read Indian in the Cupboard last week; I don't really know if he understood it but he finished it and could give a basic summary.


Do I really want him to be in a class of emergent readers? She says she'll move him up in the middle of the year. I don't doubt that he would struggle a bit in the AIM classroom, but he'd be learning. Shouldn't I start him there? I just don't see him feeling good in a classroom reading "Rick is Sick" and "Sam's Wagon."


Am I just being a snob? WWYD? How would you approach this with the teacher?

Edited by ChristineW
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BUT the teacher wants to keep him in the regular reading program until he's more confident reading out loud.


Does he like reading out loud? If he does not, I'll ask his teacher to put him in the AIM group.


My older boy was in B&M for K and 1st. He tested a few grades ahead in reading (de-coding) and comprehending. However he is not interested in reading out loud any book his teacher choose. His teacher compromise by only asking him to read standardized tests for decoding and comprehension. He had no reading group because the teacher ran out of readers for him. His reading partner in 1st was a 3rd grade teacher. The rest of his class had a 3rd grader for reading buddy.


Long story short, I learn the hard way that I have to advocate for my kids if they are strong readers.


You might find this guided reading leveling chart useful.

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I don't think you're being a snob. It sounds as though you're just concerned that your son won't be challenged and could get bored in his reading group.


To answer your question, I don't like the teacher's plan much, because I think that reading aloud is a separate skill to reading, so ideally they shouldn't be lumped in together. If your child is a strong reader but can't/won't read aloud, he should be placed in the appropriate (higher) reading level and be given the opportunity to work on the reading aloud at a different time.

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As a Jr. Great Books facilitator, I can honestly say that for a reading group that's focus is on read aloud, your child needs to be placed with same paced children. This can vary greatly from the child's actual reading comprehension and DRA scores.


Does your child's school use DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) testing also? If so, this score is used much more frequently to break into reading groups than a child's DRA score.

The benchmark goals and definitions of testing can be found here: https://dibels.uoregon.edu/training/measures/benchmark.php#4grade1 Clic on any of the acronyms for detailed information about each component of the test.

It sounds like the ORF (Oral Reading Fluency and Retell Fluency) portion is the area that your son may be struggling with.


I certainly understand wanting to place your child appropriately, and as the teacher said, it looks like moving up mid-year may be the perfect way to light a fire in your young student. Somehow having a goal to work toward seems to motivate some students practice a skill they may struggle at and to try their best to get to the "higher group".

Edited by AnIslandGirl
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Do they read aloud a lot in the higher group? Does it make him nervous as opposed to just bored? If so, I could see the reluctance to put him in the higher group immediately. I could see keeping him in a lower group for a month or so, until he gets over his issues. I'd coach him on the specific issues and let him know that he can move up if he does A,B,C.


I agree that he needs to be reading interesting material, but one month this way or that way isn't going to make a big difference if he's a good reader.


I think a semester is too long.

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I'd be skeptical that the move-up to the higher group would really take place in the middle of the year. If you think about the way that the school year is structured, fall is the only clear run of school without holidays, vacations, etc. I can imagine the conversations as the school year progresses: "We'll get to it after Christmas break, February vacation, April vacation. Oops, there are only six weeks left in the year; no point in doing it now." A whole year slips away so quickly.


Also, what is being covered by the higher group now that your child would be missing? Would you get to the middle of the year only to find that the kids in the higher group have advanced to the point that your DS would have to struggle to catch up? Would that then be used as a reason not to move him at the mid-year point?


My advice would be to secure the place in the higher group for him now and work with him like crazy at home to make sure he builds the verbal fluency that helps him to keep up with the group.


This is what I would do (have done) with my DD, but it's also based on her personality. She is a pleaser and would have felt demoralized and demotivated if placed in a lower reading group where the material didn't challenge her while watching other kids read more difficult material.

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I tend to agree with the "NO". Do it at home. He can read to you and work on pronounciation and comfort. He won't get that much practice in a classroom for goodness sakes.


AS well, you will be holding him back from developing his reading skill, knowledge base, and vocabulary.


I see more harm than good. He may even serve to be an outsider to the group that he is in. The group may feel defeated based on the ease with which he can read.


Ask the teacher to meet and address your desire to change. Explain that after reflecting on her opinions that you would rather see him promoted according to his actual reading level. Let her know that you will work on reading orally at home with her help. You see more harm than good both academically and socially. She should respond well with you "needing help" and presenting a factual case on your son's behalf.

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Just Right Reading started this week. I was prepared to fight, but I needed DS to attend a few classes so that I could point out that the lower class was a bad fit. BUT, I didn't have to do anything. The AIM reading teacher wanted John and the other first grade teachers sided with placing him in the higher level class. Teacher was nervous about sending him but told me that John had a really good day. :)


We're still working on practice for reading aloud, but I think John won her over when he started talking about the plot to 39 Clues.


Thanks for helping me stay sane.



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