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To not feel happy about 6 year old ds being 'tested' on fake words? Phonics.

(319 Posts)
OHforDUCKScake Thu 13-Jun-13 19:11:13

And is this something all year one pupils have to do?

So the children learn the phonics, 'oa' 'air' 'ng' and so on.

Now, the government, since last year, want to test them on it. If they get a certain amount wrong, they fail and have to do it again.

The thing is, the way they test them is to give them fake words to check they really do know their phonics. hmm

They will be given 20 real words and 20 fake workds and they have to get 34 out of 40 or their fail.

So, as long as they can read toast, fair, treat

As well as taim, roaf, rait

Then they will be ok.

I dont know where to start, honestly. First of all, testing them just so the government can see what the deal is, using them as guinea pigs it feels like. They are only 6!

Secondly, the weeks leading up to the test they have been teaching them fake non-words. hmm

A test? At 6? That they can fail?

I asked if we were obliged to do this? Teachers are, and parents are. I have no choice but to let my son have the bullshit test.

If AIBU then thats fine, but he is our first so we dont know the drill and he is already struggling in some areas so possibly a little more sensitive than usual to him being taught bullshit words and being tested on them.

Feenie Sun 16-Jun-13 18:16:28

That's not to say we shouldn't look at better methods, but phonics doesn't appear to be it.

That's not what the evidence shows. Where are you getting this from? confused

LindyHemming Sun 16-Jun-13 18:48:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zebedeee Sun 16-Jun-13 19:32:03

Feenie, the article you linked to, wasn't evidence against Reading Recovery, more a press release turned newspaper article. Wheldall wasn't comparing MiniLit TM against Reading Recovery, and as he is promoting his own business it is in his interest to discredit Reading Recovery.

In fact in this from his blog, he tries to put a negative spin on a report on Reading Recovery (naturally, as someone building a business in competition with Reading Recovery), but in fact illustrates how Reading Recovery has a whole school impact for the positive, with Reading Recovery schools performing better than non-Reading Recovery schools.

But you can of course be selective in who and what you want to believe; Professor Joan Freeman, (you can google her) is, according to you wrong. It is in Wheldall's (great financial interest) to put down Reading Recovery; although even in the newspaper article he can't do it entirely, not least maybe because his own programme appears to have been influenced by Reading Recovery.

Feenie Sun 16-Jun-13 20:43:37

Three countries have thrown it out zebedee, since it has totally failed the very children it was supposed to help.

Reading Recovery is failing in Australia

Reading Recovery Program Deemed a Failure

Reading Recovery failure creates low self esteem

MissBetseyTrotwood Sun 16-Jun-13 21:23:39

DS1's phonic awareness, amongst other things, helped him to learn to read. Now it will help him spell.

Luckily, DS2's massive lack of progress in phonics has been picked up nice and early by his lovely head of key stage; she has read the research and knows that this, and other issues he has, mean he may be at a higher risk of developmental dyslexia.

The tests weren't a big deal for DS1 and seem a bit silly really but I don't lose sleep over the use of synthetic phonics within a classroom rich in good quality literature.

zebedeee Sun 16-Jun-13 21:35:28

There are critics of Reading Recovery, (just like their are critics of Read, Write Inc and other synthetic phonic programmes). Again you link to Wheldall for New Zealand (MiniLit, see above), but these articles aren't proof of your rather Gove-like statement of countries having 'thrown it out'; Reading Recovery still remains in Australia, New Zealand and America.

'Reading Recovery is supported and significantly funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Education as part of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy.' Reading Recovery, NZ website

'Reading Recovery is "proven program" that works, network says

The Promising Practices Network (PPN) says Reading Recovery is proven to have positive effects on student outcomes. PPN is a group of individuals and organizations dedicated to providing information about high-quality, evidence-based programs that improve the lives of children, families, and communities.' Reading Recovery Council of North America website

And there are some Reading Recovery job vacancies,, in Australia.

Feenie Sun 16-Jun-13 21:57:19

But most critics of Reading Recovery aren't denouncing it in favour of phonics - they are denouncing it full stop, independently of the phonics argument - and with plenty of evidence based research to back them up.

In contrast, RR cannot produce any independent research to back its claims, and more or less refuses to take part in any such studies.

RR cost billions to implement, and those US states who still use it do so presumably because they do not want to admit the enormous and embarrassing waste of money it has become. New Zealand funded it in its conception, but I am surprised they are still funding it now, given it is so expensive and non-productive.

RR - an evaluation of benefits and costs

Evidence based research on Reading Recovery

Feenie Sun 16-Jun-13 22:20:08

Whole Language Highjinks - How to Tell When Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction? Isn?t

Reading Recovery is a high-profile individual tutorial approach that has been widely used in the United States, particularly for first graders. Analyses of Reading Recovery by independent researchers have shown that between 25 and 40 percent of students have been dropped from the program’s own data analyses because they do not do well enough in the program to be maintained in it.

MuddlingMackem Sun 16-Jun-13 23:05:25

eccentrica Fri 14-Jun-13 14:25:30

>>>>> Muddled I've read your post three times and I find it almost incomprehensible. "if they got a little stuck I would say, for example, "the 'gh' is a new one, the g and h in this word make a <does action for /f/ sound>" which would make them work out the sound with a little help and they would then add it to their list of sounds to try for those letters." ??? Feel sorry for little kids learning this way. <<<<<

I feel sorry for any kids taught reading by you. Phonics is fabulous. It's one of those things that is so obvious, but until you have it explained to you you don't realise. It's a lightbulb moment when you just get how it works.

>>> More importantly I find it very concerning that all the parents on this thread whose kids are learning to read through phonics are supplementing this with additional reading lessons at home. <<<<

The only kids who are getting supplemental reading lessons at home seem to be those who are being failed by their school's method(s) and the parents are trying to compensate - using phonics! I suspect that most schools are like my kids' school in that the building bricks are provided by the school but the school push for practice with parents at home. Of course though, the children who read every day at home with parents will progress more quickly than those who don't.

>>>> Clearly phonics is not working very well for the majority of children. What happens to all of those whose parents don't have the spare time or inclination to make up for what they're not learning in school? <<<<

Phonics is fabulous in that the school can provide the children with the tools to be proficient and capable readers regardless of what support they get from home, it doesn't rely on teaching from parents and children can progress despite a lack of support from home. It just may be more slowly than those with support due to the lack of practice.

M0naLisa Sun 16-Jun-13 23:49:35

My son has just done this as part of home work. He got two words mixed up into the wrong boxes but changed them when we told him. I do think its daft.

For example one of the fake words were bash. Now I said to ds that's fake but in the wrong box and he said 'its not cos I say to ds2 touch my stuff and il bash you' wink lol

diddl Mon 17-Jun-13 07:01:23

Bash is a fake word?

Since when?

smokinaces Mon 17-Jun-13 08:34:11

I'm on this thread. Both my boys are learning through phonics. We have no extra lessons here. Ds1 is second top reader in his year. Imo phonics works very well.

So no, not all parents are supplementing with extra lessons at home.

And bash not a real word??

diddl Mon 17-Jun-13 08:57:57

"fake but in the wrong box"

So bash was down as a real word?

I think it is a real word & that your son's usage was correct, Mona

smokinaces Mon 17-Jun-13 11:00:56

Pozzled Mon 17-Jun-13 13:04:55

Yes, bash is real. And anyway, the children don't have to decide whether or not a word is real. This is used sometimes when practicing phonics, but it forms no part of the actual check.

Hulababy Mon 17-Jun-13 18:52:02

First class at my school did this year's screening today.

Very positive results so far. 84% pass rate from today's class which included a number of children with learning delays/difficulties.

Every child who is a good reader have passed.

None today struggled with the idea of real words and non real words.

Those who struggled and have not yet achieved the required level were not a surprise to the teacher.

Hope that helps anyone who is worrying.

goldenlula Mon 17-Jun-13 19:25:57

Ds1 did his today. Does anyone know the pass mark? He knows what he scored and if the pass ark is th same as last year he has passed, if it is much higher he has failed again, despite doing very wll this year compare to last year.

Hulababy Mon 17-Jun-13 20:22:32


But your ds should not know it was a test (it is not a test, it is a screening check) and definitely shouldn't know what he scored! I am shocked that he has been told this as it is not meant to happen that way.

goldenlula Mon 17-Jun-13 20:38:56

He would see it as a test as they were taken out of the class and asked to read a list of words, that would be a 'test' in his eyes. Whether he took a sneaky look at what his teacher wrote down as his score or it maybe that he knew he got 'x' number wrong and he knew there was 40 words, so he did he maths! He was not bothered by it, infant he was quite pleased with his efforts!

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