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How do I help my daughter prepare for the yr 1 phonics check?

(244 Posts)
Churmy123 Tue 30-Apr-13 14:00:24

My dd is 5 (6 at the end of July) and is in year 1. She enjoys school, is well behaved and as far as I know doing well and progressing as she should be. The feedback from her teacher has always been positive. At the last parents evening I was told that she has a flair for creative writing and her writing skills and handwriting are at a year 3/4 level. She also said my dd was one of the 'better' readers and in on turqoise books. At home she is currently confidently reading Enid Blytons Famous Five books. Yesterday after school the teacher called me in to discuss my dds phonics skills. They had done a 'mock' test (last years test I believe) and my dd had only scored 29 out of 40 (32 being the 'pass' mark). She asked if I could do some extra work with my dd at home to try and get her up to the 32 mark before the 'test' in June. She gave me some sheets with words on to work through with my dd and also recommended the 'phonics play' website. We did some of this at home last night and my dd appeared to find it easy and didn't struggle with any of the words. Do I just continue doing this at home? Or could it be that she was having an 'off' day on the day of the 'mock' check? Or is it the 'alien' words that are confusing her? I'm a little confused!!!
Thanks. x

wonderingagain Fri 10-May-13 10:04:22

Buzz - what did the head teacher suggest you do in terms of 'coaching'?

Everyone knows this is simply an assessment and is there purely to identify problems to ensure early support is in place if necessary? And to compare levels across schools for a similar reason?

I can't believe that anyone would tell their parents to coach them other than to make sure the child feels confident and has a rough idea of what to expect.

learnandsay Fri 10-May-13 10:20:03

I can believe it. There's got to be a big feeling in places that the school has to do well.

wonderingagain Fri 10-May-13 10:21:46

It's more in the schools interests to get low marks at the first assessment and higher marks later to show they have made progress, surely?

learnandsay Fri 10-May-13 10:31:34

I'm not following you. I thought the phonics check was a yes or no kind of situation where each child either reaches the pass mark of 32 or does not. Those who don't retake it the following year. But I see no room to benefit from anybody getting low marks. To me it just looks as if that would give everybody who sees your school's scores a platform to launch into a list of what they regard as your mistakes.

wonderingagain Fri 10-May-13 10:34:11

The school's value added rate would increase if they had xx number of children with low phonics levels but then high attainment in SATS.

daftdame Fri 10-May-13 11:03:11

MaisieD I think it could be entirely appropriate.

If a child is old enough to skim they are old enough to learn what this skill is useful for.

Also children are asked comprehension questions at that age, mine was. Do you expect a child to answer entirely based on recall? (good if they can but what if they can't?). If they have the skill let them use it!

maizieD Fri 10-May-13 11:19:03

The school's value added rate would increase if they had xx number of children with low phonics levels but then high attainment in SATS.

I didn't know that the Phonics Check was in any way connected with National Curriculum Tests for target setting or school monitoring purposes. Can you link me to the official document which details this?

maizieD Fri 10-May-13 11:22:11

If a child is old enough to skim they are old enough to learn what this skill is useful for.

I'm questioning whether 6 is old enough.

Can you give me an example of a text for a 6y old which is so long and complex that they would need to skim read it in order to answer a comprehension question?

learnandsay Fri 10-May-13 11:29:34

Isn't skimming, rather like speed-reading, a special skill designed to get the gist of a piece of material for the purpose of summarising it? I don't think you'd expect either skill holder to answer comprehension questions would you? Aren't they designed to find out whether or not the reader has a detailed knowledge of the text, (which is the opposite of skimming and speed-reading.)

ClayDavis Fri 10-May-13 11:36:51

As far as I know, it isn't used to work out value added at all so there would be no benefit to the school in having low scores and high SATS results.

catinhat Fri 10-May-13 11:37:33

Nickname grief - you've said it all.

If it wasn't for the fact that my dds' school needs as many good results as possible (it struggles with sats averages because of a special needs unit it has on site) I be withdrawing my children from all sats.

Especially this phonics test.

Sats are to judge schools.

daftdame Fri 10-May-13 11:47:02

maizieD I speaking from personal experience. MY DC at 6yrs was able to and fluently accurately.

The texts started to get long enough in reception (where skimming was useful for comprehension), could read on school entry, anything (although not every book was appropriate in terms of prior knowledge.)

If anyone reads a book which is long enough, to not have instant recall on a text, skimming is useful. Also as I've said when someone is navigating their way round a book eg through subheadings to find relevant piece of information skimming is useful.

daftdame Fri 10-May-13 11:48:05

^ That should be I'm and able to read fluently and accurately.

maizieD Fri 10-May-13 12:59:32

If anyone reads a book which is long enough, to not have instant recall on a text, skimming is useful.


I am trying very hard to visualise a situation in a classroom where an average 6y old (not your exceptional offspring) is required to read a long book all in one go and then answer comprehension questions on it.

Are you suggesting that the child skim reads the book at first reading or does the child read the book properly first then skim read for the answers to the comprehension questions?

What sort of book are we talking about; fiction or non-fiction? What is the purpose of reading the book;for pleasure or to extract information?
(Though from what I've read of EY & KS1 'literacy' reading for pleasure is the last thing that would come to mind when the children are constantly being badgered about character, motivation, what might happen next etc...)

freetrait Fri 10-May-13 13:35:06

Perhaps an average 6 year old reader will not skim read, or should be concentrating on accuracy. But some 6 year olds, perhaps those with a significantly higher reading age, may well be able to do both. And maybe there is nothing wrong with doing it if you can also read slowly and carefully when required.

Elibean Fri 10-May-13 14:33:09

dd2's BF (aged 6) definitely skim reads at times. She is an exceptionally bright child with a high reading age, and devours full length novels - when I have read with her, it seems to me that her brain is going so fast she has trouble slowing down.

That said, if asked she can slow down and read and comprehend perfectly well. Her phonics are spot on. She just gets bored and tears off like a rocket when she forgets to slow down. She is 6, and high energy.

Naturally, as she gets older and needs to analyze texts more and more, she will need to read without skimming. Thing is, she is perfectly capable of it - and is getting better and better at slowing down because she is asked to by teachers and parent helpers.

But in her case, skimming is definitely not = to poor reader. Poor reading maybe, but not poor reader.

daftdame Fri 10-May-13 14:37:32

maizieD my child would have done either in terms of skim reading on the first read (depending on whether wanted to read book or rush through it). I had to specifically encourage slowing down where appropriate and then skimming where appropriate but this was mastered after encouragement.

The inappropriate skimming was more of a problem with scheme books that were not chosen (reading for pleasure moot point).

Unless teachers are expecting this phenomena it is difficult to say how often this is likely to happen. It was within my experience though and so is valid because it is possible.

mrz Fri 10-May-13 16:34:29

"The school's value added rate would increase if they had xx number of children with low phonics levels but then high attainment in SATS."

No it wouldn't ... the phonics check is not being used for value added

Churmy123 Wed 10-Jul-13 14:50:03

Well the phonics check has been done! My dd didn't mention it so I don't think it caused her any stress! Her class teacher was off sick the week the check was administered so they did it with the head teacher. I certainly don't think she even realised she was being 'tested' or 'checked'. Parents were told the results this week and she got 39 out of 40. So thankfully won't have to do it again in year two. And also she hasn't been affectged by the whole experience and is still enjoying reading and is currently ploughing through her famous five books and more annoyingly the rainbow magic books :-)

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