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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.

Mumsyblouse Thu 13-Jun-13 20:52:39

This is not a comprehensive dyslexia test anyway, some children are poor at decoding phonics, some are poor at seeing the whole word once decoded, my daughter is great at reading these types of phonics words and passed the test, but struggles enormously with then trying to blend these or dealing with irregular words, she's stuck in phonics and cannot spell either. It's a very simplistic way of finding out a proportion of children having difficulty and I'm still to be convinced phonics suits every child although the research is quite persuasive that it gets good results for a cohort.

Joiningthegang Thu 13-Jun-13 20:53:20

My ds did this last year
Total non issue - he didn't mention it, school didn't mention it .
He didn't pass - no one cares

Joiningthegang Thu 13-Jun-13 20:54:37

When I say "no one cares" I meant that in a good way!

Auntlinny Thu 13-Jun-13 20:55:24

This is a long established element of the joy Alcock spelling scheme. It s nothing new and is such a tiny part of assessment that it is not worth getting irate about. For some children it shows a significant knowledge gap and can be useful for this alone.

jamdonut Thu 13-Jun-13 20:56:15

FWIW I can actually remember ,back in the early 70's,(having just started Junior school) being asked to read a VERY long list of words to the teacher,and being able to read the word 'pneumatic',which impressed her very much.wink

BlackholesAndRevelations Thu 13-Jun-13 20:57:55

Erm. Most children learn to read through learning how to segment phonemes and blend them to make a word. Teaching phonics is a pleasure as children start to crack the code; the feeling of pride and achievement is huge. Ime there is a small minority of children with specific learning difficulties who learn whole words.

So..... "phonics is my pet hate"? Why?

Futterby- do you even know what phonics is?

As for the test, it is no bad thing to test the phonemes they know/don't know, and their ability to blend. As teachers we assess all day every day otherwise we wouldn't be able to move any child's learning on. What'd the difference here?

As an educated adult, how many words do you come across that require the use of your phonic knowledge to decode? How many words do you read correctly but have to look up the meaning?

I know it's a government thing but honestly, teachers are up against so much resistance from parents. I just wish they appreciated how much effort, time, dedication and care goes into teaching their precious kids.

BlackholesAndRevelations Thu 13-Jun-13 21:01:07

Oh and yes the nonsense words are alien names! Children love it.

caroldecker Thu 13-Jun-13 21:06:04

It is also not just a way of identifying children who have an issue with phonics/reading. It also identifies teachers who are failing to teach it well as they will have a larger than expected 'failure' rate. This means heads can identify additional teacher training needs

Feenie Thu 13-Jun-13 21:06:44

It's a test educational psychologists have used for years, and is well-established.

As many others have explained so well before me, it just replicates children's experiences in tackling unknown words and checks that they have the necessary skills to do so.

Your school should be using non-words anyway as part of day to day teaching, and should also be assessing regularly. It's not a big deal, it's part of normal assessment that the school should be doing anyway.

Hulababy Thu 13-Jun-13 21:07:01

* It is not a new thing. It happened last year. There are many sample resources out there. Teachers know what they are doing.

* In my experience good readers all passed the test - they did at my school anyway, and at other schools I know of. To be a good reader you need to read the letters put in front of you (usually using phonics knowledge) - not try and guess what it might be.

* It is very obvious to the child if it is a real word or a pseudo word. They are told and pseudo words have a big colourful image next to them too, and they are reminded throughout not to try to make pseudo words into real words. Children will have experienced this kind of thing previous to the test.

* It is not a reading test. It is a phonics test. It tests how well the school is teaching phonics to their children.

* The pseudo words are not new to children. They will all have been using them since they first started phonics in reception. There are lots of games out there which many teachers use. Several well known books use pseudo words and good readers cope fine with them - Roald Dahl books anyone?

* The children shouldn't know it is a test. It is a few minutes 1:1 time with the teacher reading some real words and some silly alien words. It takes about 4 minutes per child. Children are very used to teachers doing little assessments with them and this should be no different. If it is more of a big deal in your child's school, this is something you should bring up with them direct. It is not how the phonics screening test is supposed to take place.

* Children who do not achieve the expected level in Y1 will redo the test in Y2, same time as Y1s do it. Again - no big deal made of it.

* Children shouldn't be told if they "pass" or "fail" though a child's mark will be given to parents and them told if they reached the expected level or not. It will not be general knowledge to pupils or other parents how well your child achieves

* If a child does not reach the expected level the school should address this and the child be given more support with their phonics.

* Also remember - many new words are "alien" to a child reading. They need to learn strategies, through phonic awareness, in order to establish what those words are.

It really is NOT a big deal, honestly. We had 91 children do it last year and it was fine. Not one child was upset or stressed about it. They all enjoyed their 1:1 time with a teacher, and loved getting an alien sticker afterwards smile

Euphemia Thu 13-Jun-13 21:07:50

As ever, because someone doesn't understand something they assume it must be rubbish. hmm

Feenie Thu 13-Jun-13 21:08:04

Good point, Carol - yes, schools such as my ds's who only taught phonics 3 times a week (badly) because of 'timetabling issues'. hmm

Kithulu Thu 13-Jun-13 21:12:29

There is a really lovely phonic's game that the children play on the interactive white board. They have to differentiate 'fake' and real words. Yr 1 play it regularly and they love it.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 13-Jun-13 21:13:58

Thank god some sensible people came onto this thread.

I just don't get the hostility towards phonics. People who know about teaching reading are positive about it. It is, in my experience, those who are wholly ignorant about it who are the most hostile.

bobthebear Thu 13-Jun-13 21:16:58

kithulu that sounds like the phonicsplay website

Playing with phonics is a good thing imo

HumphreyCobbler Thu 13-Jun-13 21:18:20

To the op - if your ds can read 'fake' words he will also be able to read unfamiliar words he has never heard or said before. That is the point of the test, to check their knowledge. To enable them to read. Which what all of us want.

morganster Thu 13-Jun-13 21:23:04

I thought it was useful really. It is after all how phonics work - I'm nearly 50 and I still break down words I don't know into sounds. It identifies those that need more help. My dc wasn't aware if they'd passed or failed. Or even that it was a test. They are often given lists of words to plough through for assessment purposes.

Kithulu Thu 13-Jun-13 21:23:43

game here you have to feed the real words to the blue alien and the fake words to the green one. Kids love the reactions of the aliens and take it in turns to use the touch sensitive white board. All good stuff.

BlackholesAndRevelations Thu 13-Jun-13 21:23:46

Yes- as mentioned many times, phonicsplay and letters-and-sounds have a range of games we play on our whiteboards which involve distinguishing real from made up words. Again, children love them. (look them up if you have a 4-7 year old child! grin)

Matsikula Thu 13-Jun-13 21:24:44

i think the reason lots of parents hate phonics is because it makes them feel excluded from their own children's education. It's the same with maths - what on earth is a number bond?

Unlike teachers we haven't spend years studying this stuff, so yes, of course we are a little resistant to the concepts. My son is starting pre-school soon and the whole Oxford Reading Tree business is filling me with dread.

BlackholesAndRevelations Thu 13-Jun-13 21:25:03

Cross posted with kithulu!

BlackholesAndRevelations Thu 13-Jun-13 21:26:55

Matsikula- why resistant? Why not interested? Keen to help your child? Eager to attend the numerous parent workshops run by schools to help parents feel involved in what we do at school?

Feenie Thu 13-Jun-13 21:28:52

The 'whole Oxford Reading Tree business' may well be sight reading. ORT has phonic strands, but some schools still don't use it.

Kithulu Thu 13-Jun-13 21:30:14

On a side issue...Mr Gove will probably come and screw this up soon as well, so don't worry too much. bitter

ParadiseChick Thu 13-Jun-13 21:32:17

It makes a lot of sense.

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