Behind target, but is the target correct?

One of the most unexpected pieces of news that we received was that John was behind target with his reading and that therefore he’s been recommended for the Special Educational Needs section.

I say unexpected because John has gone from a standing start last September to reading quite well books that are notionally in the P2 age range when he’s actually one of the youngest in the P1 class. Not only that but reading homework that was supposed to take anything up to 20 minutes was gone through pretty much as fast as he could turn the pages.

What’s actually happened is that he’s one of the few kids in the class who hadn’t gone to nursery school so couldn’t read before he started school. We did have a go at teaching him to read but found out that we were totally rubbish at it but in practice he was starting to teach himself to read by way of his little computer before he started school. That he was able to make a start on teaching himself to read shows that he shouldn’t be falling into the special needs category as it’s obviously much harder to begin to teach yourself to read than it is to be taught to read.

Now you might think that this shows the advantage of going to nursery school but all it shows is that it’s more school than nursery. Thanks to the extra couple of years of being full-time with me and Wendy he’s way ahead of the other kids in just about every other area you could name.

The other thing to note is that the target in school is markedly different from that in the books as it assumes that the kids have been in nursery school for a couple of years. In reality the target shouldn’t be changed: there’s an appropriate level of achievement to be reached at the end of P1 and it shouldn’t be trying to account for differences in the starting point.

Anyway, as a consequence of this we’re getting him going on the Kumon reading programme over the summer which seems quite likely to have him ahead of the target by the end of the summer. As it is, his maths level is somewhere in the P3 level.

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