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The new Y1 phonics screening check

(565 Posts)
SoundsWrite Sat 18-Feb-12 09:34:13

The government's new phonics screening check is to be launched in England in June.
The results of the test will be given to the parents of each individual child but each individual school's results will not be made public.
What is the view on Mumsnet? Do you think the results should be made public or not? Either way, why or why not?
You can find out more about this test by going to the DfE site:

mrz Wed 29-Feb-12 07:48:03

You may also like this quote from Boris TopDaddy

With incredible speed you are decoding clutches of letters into sounds, in order to identify the words; and those words are being virtually simultaneously converted into sense; and the reason you can do this so fast is that hard-wired into your reading brain is an understanding of how the alphabet generates the 44 sounds of the English language; and the best way to reach that instinctive understanding of how letters make sounds is a system known as synthetic phonics .
That is the system that rescued me after the appalling verdict of my grandmother. I remember going to primary school and sitting cross-legged as the class learned C-A-T, and how each sound helped to make up a word, and after a while I had cracked it; and I find it unbelievable that so many children are not given the opportunity to learn by this simple and effective means .

Bonsoir Wed 29-Feb-12 08:35:04

"It is conceptually possible for adults who have been reading for many decades Bonsoir"

Yes, mrz, because they can consciously dissociate decoding and meaning if they so choose. Adults with any luck and a bit of education have far more advanced analytical skills than children and can read on multiple levels. But you don't want to encourage a young reader to do that - you want, once they have learned to decode, to encourage fluent reading for meaning.

betterwhenthesunshines Wed 29-Feb-12 13:05:01

I have in my class an SEN child with extremely poor working memory - he can decode almost all graphemes in isolation and in short words, but he cannot decode all through a long word because of his working memory issues. He would - correctly - pass the phonics screening test, but the working memory tests he has had show that that is where the problem lies. We are addressing the problem of him decoding longer words not by working on phonics - he has that knowledge - but by focusing his working memory issues.

I have a query... my DD (7) has difficluties with blending. She can recognise (at speed) all the phonics she has been taught (up to -au- -aw- type of alternative spellings) when they are in isolation, but seems to have big problems in putting them together when she sees them in longer words. Or maybe the problem lies in isolating the different building blocks? Also can't blend unknown or nonsense CVC words without sounding out individually, although she does then get them correct.

Would you think this might be a working memory issue? In which case how could we approach that?

She has recently had Ed Psych assessment (not yet had full report) who said her cognitive reasoning, memory were all superior but her written language problems were significantly lower than expected. Not sure what to do next as her phonic knowledge seems to be good, but she can't apply it very easily IYSWIM.

teacherwith2kids Wed 29-Feb-12 15:48:53

If the Ed Psych report says that she has 'superior' memory skills, then I would doubt that it is a working memory issue as that should have been one of the areas tested. See what the full report says.

The child I teach has very obvious (in lay speak as I don't really 'speak' Ed Psych language!) difficulties with memory in other areas e.g. needs to be given individual, extremely short instructions one at a time. Uses a task board to organise e.g. getting belongings together at the end of the day, or getting ready for writing (needs a number of writing aids). Would not, for example, be able to process 'Get your coat and then go out to play' - has to have those instructions separately. Can decode all through a sentence of short decodeable words but then not be able to recall who or what the sentence is about, though can answer that question just after he has read the relevant word etc.

So it may be a specific issue of segmenting, or blending, that your child has, or it may be an issue with tracking all through the word? I would very much not want to second-guess an Ed Psych who has actually done the full battery of tests. Have you had her vision checked?

mrz Wed 29-Feb-12 15:59:14

Yes, mrz, because they can consciously dissociate decoding and meaning if they so choose

yes Bonsoir and so can children

teacherwith2kids Wed 29-Feb-12 16:09:59

Bonsoir, a child who has been given good, explicit phonics teaching will be able to dissociate the two. A child who has had a more muddled 'mixed' teaching experience where phonics teaching is minimal and children are moved very quickly onto 'look and say' reading schemes may not be able to dissociate the two so well because decoding will not have been taught so clearly. So discovering that a child cannot 'consciously engage' their phonics knowledge for decoding when they need to is useful information and feedback on their learning to read.

I find your theory that children start with a knowledge of phonic decoding, then become unable to access that knowledge, then become able to consciously re-engage it again once they reach adulthood somewhat hard to follow? I can understand that if a child does not have a secure knowledge / teaching of phonics, but learns to read through mixed methods and then comes to 're-analyse' their knowledge of reading explicitly as an adult, then they do 'become able to use phonics explicitly' in adulthood in a way they could not as a child (as a child of the 70s, that is me). However, for today's children, who should receive explicit phonics teaching, the situation is different.

betterwhenthesunshines Wed 29-Feb-12 17:07:20

Thanks - yes we have had her vision checked, she does have vision tracking problems etc that we are addressing, so I'm thinking it's more a blending thing and I'm not quite sure how I tackle that... have tried to get her to say 'fl' rather than 'fuh' 'luh' for example til I'm blue in the face and she can do it when she sees them in isolation, just not in a word like fling! also have played with coloured foam letters, word building sounds, chunking games, all good, but really hoping it will click! I was just interested in your comment about memory, but certainly she is fine with 'holding' quite complex instructions, so it's not as you describe with the child you teach.

Feenie Wed 29-Feb-12 17:35:32

'Fling' has 4 phonemes: f-l-i-ng

Just a thought, and sorry if you do this already, but are you clipping the sounds short, with no 'uh' at the end? Because blending is very hard if you don't.

fuh-luh-i-ng blend to make fuhling, not fling. Make sure you say 'fff', not 'fuh.

IndigoBell Wed 29-Feb-12 18:15:39

Does she have slow processing?

LilyBolero Wed 29-Feb-12 19:10:53

betterwhenthesunshines DS1 never 'got' blending while learning to read, despite intensive phonics, he found new words v hard to work out, but learnt through memory, so by the end of Y1 he was a v good reader. Round about Y3 he suddenly 'got' blending, and could use it, but obviously the need was much less. Not the same thing as your issue, I don't think, but just the way his mind works - he is still ultra visual in his learning, eg in music he much prefers a piece of music in front of him, rather than playing by ear at all.

SoundsWrite Wed 29-Feb-12 20:57:44

For parents whose children have trouble blending, Feenie's advice is good. It is very important to say sounds precisely, as she says. But, if you want your child to get it every time, choose single-syllable words that have the structure CVC to start off with. Then move on to CVCC, CCVC and then to longer words (CCCVC, 'scrap', for example).
If you use words that begin with continuants - sounds that you can hang on to for a long time ('f', 'l', 'm', 'n', 'r', 's', 'w', 'z') - and ask your child to say the sounds as you run your finger under the sounds in the word, you can hear the word. For example, if you run your finger under the sounds in 'sat' (sssssaaaaat), you can hear 'sat'. It's easy! And, there's no memory work involved because you can hear the word immediately. After that, try longer words like 'milk' ('mmmmmiiiiiiiiillllllllllk) and ou will hear 'milk'. Then try 'flag' (fffffllllllaaaaag). Blending like this is a piece of cake.
However, once your child has read the word successfully, get them to say the sounds again, this time separately, and read the word. If you then put down some lines, one for each sound, you can get the child to write the word, saying the sounds separately as they do and then reading back the word.
Try it! It works!

LilyBolero Wed 29-Feb-12 23:49:20

I think it was writing that helped ds1, in breaking words down to work out the phonetic spelling, that somehow (eventually) got through to his brain being able to put them back together. So he never managed blending CVC words, but by Y3 or so, was able to use phonics.

Ds2 had speech therapy, and I'm sure this helped with blending, as we did a lot of breaking words down into sounds that he found difficult - so we'd look at a snowman, he'd say 'no-man', I'd say, 'yes, snowman, ssssss-nnnnnn-owman' so he was much more keyed into the ideas of words being made up of individual sounds, and his pronunciation of harder sounds like 'th' is much better than ds1's because we had to practise them so much.

nooka Thu 01-Mar-12 02:03:59

One of the things I found hardest with my son was that I couldn't help him with the reading. I learned to read very young (before I started school) and I'd say my approach is really more about absorbing chunks of text (I am a very fast reader, with a very big written vocabulary, caused by essentially being the youngest in a family of bookworms and having a somewhat lonely childhood) and I've never really paid much attention to how anything sounds. So the whole sounding it out stuff was something I was very unfamiliar with. I really tried to her ds so for example we got a phonetic dictionary, but then I discovered neither of us were very good at working out how many syllables the words had.

When ds has his tutoring I had to go too (part of the approach), and I was fascinated to discover more about how reading actually works. It worries me a bit how many schools use volunteers to help with reading, when most parents will probably have as little idea as I had how to read. My dh is a helper here in Canada, and the support materials for the program are all mixed method sad

artandcraftmum Wed 02-Jan-13 21:08:06

This test is very important i have a phonologic processing disorder only spotted at 23 by a uni lectuer who wasnt native to this country !
The test is vita lin spotting dyslexia or maybe even help spot a child on the borders of aspergers syndrome. It will also give a clear indication to poor teaching or lack of understanding on the childs behalf.

artandcraftmum Wed 02-Jan-13 21:13:39

just to add i have s phonic sound level of a 7 year old and got through uni etc. however i spent till 12 at night doing my homework at school, i wish parents wolud speak up more about doubts on their childrens ablities , i loved school but i only found out as an adult the amount of time i took on my work was not the norm. i regul;artly got told by a science teacher i had poor spell i spell simular sounding words wrong , my english teacher however regularlly said which books had i copied the work from. So the phonics test is important as it helps children voice their itelligence without being put in lower streams because of phonological difficulties. Hence the test is vital for your child to be treated equallly regardless of phonics difficulties.

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