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Year 1 Phonic Check

(111 Posts)
BaconAndAvocado Sun 28-Apr-13 19:28:43

To,all you KS1 experts out there, how and when is this test carried out and what bearing does it have on a child's education?

Ds2 is a good reader thoughI worry about him being asked to read "nonsense words". If he thinks they're not real he won't attempt to read them!

christinarossetti Tue 30-Apr-13 14:47:30

But the 'format' of the test is decoding words!

One would hope that this isn't unfamiliar to 5 and 6 year olds in UK schools.

daftdame Tue 30-Apr-13 15:06:23

christinarossetti - It could just be that 'there's not much bang for your buck' IYSWIM in that the words are out of obvious context. Unusually words in the natural environment have a clear visual context.

Also how much 1 to 1 time would a child be used to with the person doing the testing? Doing the same activity? They may be familiar with them / used to them teaching in a class environment but usually read to a different TA or parent helper. Obviously it depends on how individual schools organise teaching etc.

However it is possible for the child to pick up that this activity is somehow different - by any different behaviour the teacher shows for example. I would not expect the test to be taken as the only or sure-proof indicator of a child's ability in decoding.

BaconAndAvocado Tue 30-Apr-13 15:44:30

Thanks daftdame. I have often seen that book but never really picked it up to have a good look. It sounds perfect!

MrsMelons Tue 30-Apr-13 16:22:33

christina the test was taken for the 1st time last year so schools knew about it way before that and yes they should have been teaching phonics properly before that but many weren't.

What I meant was that since last year the teaching of phonics should have improved if it wasn't being taught correctly so coaching should be unnecessary IMO. A few practice tests to familiarise the children is different.

MrsMelons Tue 30-Apr-13 16:23:43

I have heard some awful tales on MN about teachers not teaching phonics!

learnandsay Tue 30-Apr-13 16:26:27

Mumsnet is the place to hear awful tales about not learning phonics.

MrsMelons Tue 30-Apr-13 16:27:18


daftdame Tue 30-Apr-13 17:00:18

That's OK BaconAndAvocado.

Amazon has a preview here if you are interested.

Hulababy Tue 30-Apr-13 17:12:13

Pseudo or made up words are not new to children.

WE generally all read them as children - Roald Dahl anyone? Loads in those books - snozcumber, etc???

And as already said, when children are reading they come across words they don't know. They have to be able to decode those words in order to read them. Some of those words, even when sounded out, may be unfamiliar words they don't know the meaning of - so is this really any different to decoding pseudo words?

I really do think parents, and some teachers, make a far bigger deal of out pseudo words than the children ever do!

daftdame Tue 30-Apr-13 17:28:37

No dispute there from me Hulababy.

However 'nonsense' words placed within a vivid context may help a child which a parent suspects may not see the point of reading anything nonsensical.

learnandsay Tue 30-Apr-13 17:34:04

I'd imagine that anybody regardless of age would volunteer to read a passage much faster if they didn't think they were going to find it difficult. If you think you're going to struggle with it and it doesn't make any sense then why would you volunteer to read it? (Child or adult.)

mrz Tue 30-Apr-13 17:51:42

"I was troubled by your assertion that it is usual for children to be better behaved for their teachers than their parents."

Then perhaps you should read what I actually said daftdame

daftdame Tue 30-Apr-13 17:52:39

The good thing about sharing books with your children that contain nonsense words is that it encourages a child to think imaginatively as to what the words could mean. This makes the activity more exciting, which can't be a bad thing.

They will be able to directly reference details from fiction (including illustrations) in order to imagine the 'aliens', and what their language may be like so the activity seems more game like.

daftdame Tue 30-Apr-13 17:53:51

???? I did mrz. But I'm pleased you weren't asserting that grin.

mrz Tue 30-Apr-13 17:56:44

There isn't a "test format" learnandsay the child sits with the teacher and decodes some words it takes about 4 mins.

learnandsay Tue 30-Apr-13 18:01:14

Even if that was all there was to it that in itself is a format. But there is more like the division of real/alien words and pictures of aliens, composition of the words themselves and so on. It's all formatting.

Hulababy Tue 30-Apr-13 18:02:55

We did this test with 90 children last year and we honestly did not have any issues with any child refusing to try and read them, or even not wanting to.

We had 3 or 4 who could not read many, achieving just 2-4 in the test, due to their individual learning difficulties. But they had a go, and happily.

They all got an shiny, puffy alien sticker afterwards too, which went down very well!

The lower end just had a go.
The top end read them no issue.
The middle groups had a go, gave them a try and either read them or didn't manage them.

Seriously out of 90 children - not one wouldn't have a go, and not one got confused by the idea. They didn't even try to turn them into real words - as they had all come across pseudo words previously.

And tbh we had no surprises either, well not negatively. We had a handful who did better than we thought, but all the ones we thought would pass did so. All the good readers passed easily.

We have a group who will be redoing it in June, in Y2. Most will pass. 3 or 4 probably not, despite more intensive phonics and additional support - because of their learning barriers. But they have all improved on their phonics and reading, so are making good progress for them, just slower. They will get there.

mrz Tue 30-Apr-13 18:04:12

You obviously didn't daftdame

Never found it a problem most 5 & 6 year olds really want to please teacher even if they are stubborn little darlings at home."

no mention of behaviour and no suggestion that ALL children will want to please teacher more than mum or dad!

Limelight Tue 30-Apr-13 18:04:25

My DS is in Yr1. His very sensible teacher said to us at his review meeting that she wasn't giving it too much thought, we certainly shouldn't, and it would make absolutely no difference to how well or not well she thought DS was doing.

She did point out that the flaw in the test is that kids who are quite able readers (have sort of moved past thinking about phonics first if you see what I mean) will reorder the made-up words into something which makes sense to them. The example she gave was a kid reading 'oot' as 'too'.

learnandsay Tue 30-Apr-13 18:08:00

Limelight, if the teacher prepped the kids up a bit and reminded them in "mock" tests to look out for the little aliens beside the alien words wouldn't that iron out the misreading of oot?

fuzzpig Tue 30-Apr-13 18:08:41

Useful thread. DD is in yr1 and haven't heard anything from school about the screening yet.

daftdame Tue 30-Apr-13 18:12:41

mrz - Well I misread the subtext. Sorry.

I'm the first to admit I make assumptions, without assumptions we can't get through life. Sometimes they are wrong (for which freely apologise).

mrz Tue 30-Apr-13 18:13:39

Even if that was all there was to it that in itself is a format. and children never ever read to their teacher as part of their normal daily routine I suppose?

mrz Tue 30-Apr-13 18:14:20

and that is definitely ALL there is to it!

learnandsay Tue 30-Apr-13 18:15:32

Not lists of isolated words, the nonsensical half of which have a significant alien picture beside them, no.

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