When you’re pregnant your main wish for your child is that they’re healthy. The next wish is that you know what you’re doing and can cope with having a baby.  And then a variety of different hopes.  For me I didn’t want my child to struggle at school.  Life is hard enough sometimes, adding in struggling with getting on at school isn’t good to add on.

I loved school, I found it (apart from physics which I didn’t see the point of) easy, and did well.  The OH hated school, found it a struggle and didn’t see the point because he knew he was going to farm.  Unfortunately N seems to have taken on more of his dad’s traits than mine. At least N enjoys school, and is progressing fine, but reading is his nemesis.

Feeling guilty about reading - Bubbablue and me

He’s just recently moved up to reading level gold / level 9 which is in the middle of the target range for his age and school year.  His reading has really improved since September, with more fluency and more recognition of words without having to sound out and blend them.  He can read, but outside of school reading books I cannot get him to read.

Encouraging reading

We read bedtime stories, and I try and get him to read a page, then I’ll read some.  But 1 page is it.

I’ve bought easy chapter books – the first stage in reading them.  I’ve read them to him at bedtime, suggesting that he could then read them himself another time.  He’s not bothered.

When he needs to research facts for homework, I’ve produced his encyclopaedia, but no he wants to google because he says that’s what they do in school (admittedly, the facts in his book weren’t new exciting ones for the last homework).  He’ll read what’s online to just find what he needs.

He’ll read bits on menus, signs, and food packs.  But books (or even magazines, even farming magazines) he won’t touch if they’re not school books.

SATs reading

Where it gets complicated is Year 2 SATs, especially reading comprehensions.  N likes grammar and anything with black or white answers.  So in theory, reading comprehension with a right answer he’s looking up, he should be ok with.  But it means reading.  And in SATs papers, sometimes it can be 2 pages of A4 text without lots of small paragraphs.  So he switches off and just guesses the answers.

I’ve tried every angle to try and make him understand that he needs to be willing to read, even to drive a tractor.  Doesn’t he want to do his best and show what he can do. The more he reads, the more exciting texts he’ll be able to read faster. And reading non-school books and comprehensions will help him in his maths and other English work.

So far nothing has worked. But then I’m not his teacher, and I can only do so much without him starting to begrudge school and reading.  If the teachers can’t get him to read the work, then there’s not much hope for me to do it.

The proposed solution for the short term, SATs situation at least, is the teacher requesting that he be allowed someone to sit next to him during the SATs (at least for English) to ensure he remembers to actually read the comprehension text.  He does this for homework with me sitting next to him, so hopefully that will work.  But really he should be wanting to do his best himself, and not just guess.

It feels to me a bit like cheating. Because he can read the text, he doesn’t have dyslexia, doesn’t jumble up words. He’s just not engaged in wanting to read when he sees a massive chunk of text in front of him.  N even told me he doesn’t see the point in reading the text if he knows the answer to the question.  I’m trying to make him see that there might be different possible answers and he needs to check that he knows the one they’re asking for.

The one good thing is that really year 2 SATs aren’t that important.  By the time he gets to year 6, hopefully he’ll be happier and want to read more. Otherwise I’ll be tearing my hair out by that stage.

Do you have a child who’s doing exams this term and you’re worrying about their want to actually do any work? How has it been managed?

Mum Muddling Through

2 Comments

  1. We are not at this stage yet but to me all I keep thinking about as I read this is the ridiculous pressure on children and parents in all this. We have all this yet to come and I’m not looking forward to it! Crossing everything for you that all will turn out well and thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub 100th x

  2. A really interesting post. My little boy, also Year 2, was a really reluctant reader until last summer. He is football mad, football obsessed. And he devoured Michael Morpurgo’s The Fox and the Ghost King which combines his loves of football and history. I think a lot of the school reading books he brought back were so dull that they just didn’t capture his imagination. He would skip words, his eyes would dance around the page. But give him The Fox and the Ghost King, or Match of the Day magazine, and he reads well, fast and attentively. #coolmumclub

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