I have a great job. I get to work with families to help them support their child to successfully learn to read. Some children who come to me have a long road ahead of them, others a gap has slowly increased over time. My job is to work out why a child is behind or struggling with reading and create a plan for them to have success and catch up quickly. Each week I get to see their confidence and skills develop. I also see the relief on a parents face when they see there child receiving the “right” kind of help and this results in success.
I hear over and over from parents that they were not aware of how far behind their child was. One of the best ways I can support parents is to empower them with the right questions to ask the teacher. Our education system is “a system”, a system that has many great benefits and like any system it has its weakness. I believe one of its weaknesses is the way we communicate to parents, we need to empower parents to make informed choices so they can support their child’s learning journey. I personally cannot change how a teacher has to write a report but I can give you the questions to ask if you are concerned about your child’s reading.
If you have concerns about your child’s reading then why not make a time to meet with your teacher and ask the questions below:
- What reading level is “Jane” currently on?
- What is the average level you would expect her to be on going into “year 3”? What is the schools benchmark?
- Do you assess vocabulary? What level is Jane’s?
- Do you assess comprehension? What level is Jane’s?
- Do you notice a difference between her oral skills and her written skills?
- Is it possible for me to have copies of results for her reading, vocabulary and comprehension such as a running record or pm benchmark so I can target the extra support we give her?
- How do you find Jane’s concentration? Is she easily distracted? Please give me an example of her behaviour when she is concentrating? Please give an example of her behaviour when she is distracted.
- Does she glance away from the board or a page of written work a lot?
- Does written work take her a long time to complete?
- Does she ask a lot of questions during class time to you or the other students?
- Are there other subjects she is struggling with? Is she struggling in these subjects because she is behind in reading and writing or do you think she is struggling due to another reason?
- Do you run any literacy support programs? If so can Jane be assessed for them?
ALWAYS ask if you can see your child’s results or an example of her / his work?