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Yr 1 Phonics test - what if your child can already read?

(364 Posts)
MayaAngelCool Thu 17-May-12 20:18:30

Can we have them exempted from the test? From what I gather, such a child is likely to fail the test as it includes lots of 'fake' words written phonetically. Children who can read well are thought to be likely to try to guess what real word these words are similar to, rather than saying what they actually are, and thus fail the test.

The Pearson Phonic Test information conveniently avoids saying anything about this problem. hmm Anyone know?

icarriedawatermelon2 Thu 17-May-12 20:28:35

Not sure how you can avoid the test to be honest, really don't worry about it, its a school/govenment thing, makes no real difference to an able child.

3duracellbunnies Thu 17-May-12 20:28:57

I guess it depends on the instructions, but I thought that part of the point of it was to see whether children had just learnt to read by sight in which case they might have difficulty later on when they encounter novel words if they don't know how to sound out letters etc.

IndigoBell Thu 17-May-12 20:29:27

The fake words are presented as names of aliens.

If your child can read they should be able to read words, like proper nouns, that they haven't encountered before.

If they cant read a word like 'zog' or 'luff' then they can't actually read.

You certainly can't get them exempted. If they can read properly they will have no problem with the test.

mrz Thu 17-May-12 20:30:16

No all Y1 children must take part in the phonics screening check and no children who can read well aren't more likely to fail than a child who can't.

HumphreyCobbler Thu 17-May-12 20:30:23

if they can decode they won't fail the test.

if they fail the test then the school will know they need to teach them phonics. It is useful information to have.

mrz Thu 17-May-12 20:34:54

We use the Phonics International nonsense word test and my best reader happily read words like


which are much more complicated than the screening check words

MayaAngelCool Thu 17-May-12 20:41:27

Well that's fabulous, thanks everyone for your input. Clearly whichever newspaper I read (probably the Guardian) was just trying to place a negative spin on the story - can you believe it? SO unlike them.


Rubirosa Thu 17-May-12 20:42:39

Why would you want them exempted [confusion]

Surely the point of the test is to see if children just guess at words rather than actually read them?

OctopusSting Thu 17-May-12 20:44:08

This may put your mind at rest a bit more Maya

seeker Thu 17-May-12 20:45:04

One of my nephews mnaged to get practically to the end of primary school doing incredibly well before they found out that he couldn't actually read- he had just committed hundreds of words to memory!

This test would have caught that early.

mrz Thu 17-May-12 20:46:10

Lots of schools already do a phonics check (there is a similar one in Letters & Sounds published 2007) to identify children who need some extra input. The difference is that this check is a compulsory national check with reported results.

lockets Thu 17-May-12 20:46:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChangingForTheBetter Thu 17-May-12 20:49:28

When you say that nationally? I.e. will the school names be listed with a result ala league tables? Or reported just to the leas? Do patents find out only the school score, their child's score, both or nothing?

ChangingForTheBetter Thu 17-May-12 20:49:55


MayaAngelCool Thu 17-May-12 20:52:57

Rubirosa, I thought as a national test that the results would count for something. I wouldn't want my childs records to include a failed test where the test itself has caused the failure, IYSWIM. I think that's quite reasonable, hope that's clearer? smile

seeker - blimmin' heck that's a clever child! There's a gift there to be utilised in business one day, I'm sure of it...

Thanks Octo - very useful. I may just tell DC1 to look out for fake words.

lockets - I don't see it as loaded, not in this context.

ChasingSquirrels Thu 17-May-12 20:53:21

I can't read phonetically, I wasn't taught and have massive problems helping my DS2 with it. I have obviously committed hundreds (thousands?) of words to memory - as have the majority if us - does this mean I can't read?

lockets Thu 17-May-12 20:56:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Thu 17-May-12 20:57:39

the results are reported to parents, the LEA and the government but they won't be published

parachutesarefab Thu 17-May-12 20:59:51

DC1 will have been shown what the words look like at school, and no doubt had a practice. The little aliens indicate a 'fake' word, so they don't need to be able to spot it - just apply their phonics knowledge.

(Feeling quite impressed with school - they showed us at the last parents' evening.)

zebedeee Thu 17-May-12 21:00:12

ChasingSquirrels, out of interest, can you read mrz's list of 'words'? How would you go about it?

3duracellbunnies Thu 17-May-12 21:01:10

If you can't read phonetically as well as by memory then it would be difficult the first time you read a person's name, e.g. In an academic paper. You might have got through life fine, but being able to do both makes your reading more flexible. If such a gap in your knowledge is identified at yr1 you are in an ideal place to get extra support, if it isn't noticed until you go to Secondary school, there may be fewer specialist teachers to help you, as Secondary school teachers don't usually teach phonics.

pointythings Thu 17-May-12 21:01:11

<puts pedantic hat on>

'Luff' is a real word. It's a sailing term for something to do with your sail that disrupts the airflow onto your sail, or something.

<removes hat, slopes off>

crazygracieuk Thu 17-May-12 21:01:47

My Y1 son will definitely not pass.

He can decode some words but his phonics knowledge is insufficient to pass the test. On the sample test, he'd be fine with section 1 and get less than half of section 2.

Can I expect extra phonics for him as standard next school year?

He is blue band which is allegedly in the average range for Y1. Is the test designed for only above average children to pass?

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Thu 17-May-12 21:02:50

Chasing, can you really not read "zog" or "luff"?
Can you not read Roald Dahl books (full of made up words) to your DCs?

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