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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

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 :-)

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

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.

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.

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.

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...)

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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?

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?

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!

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.

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 10:21:46

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 10:20:03

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 10:04:22

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.

maizieD Fri 10-May-13 09:53:59

What needs to be learnt (and encouraged) is how to use this skill appropriately.

I didn't mention that use of 'skimming' as I didn't think anyone would be teaching it to 6y olds!

Surely fluent and accurate reading has to be well established first?

daftdame Fri 10-May-13 09:41:44

Regarding 'skimming' I agree with the above posts in that is no good to skim when it means you either misread unfamiliar words or are just skimming in order to race through a book at record speed.

However it is important to remember skimming does have its uses. Finding the appropriate section in a reference book, finding the part of a story that answers a comprehension question, looking up a word in a bibliography are just some examples.

What needs to be learnt (and encouraged) is how to use this skill appropriately.

stealthsquiggle Thu 09-May-13 20:15:36

DD's teacher definitely doesn't allow skimming - in fact, she and we are worried about DD's tendency to do it. I guess some of the DC who are zipping ahead through the reading books may be being allowed to do that at home - I hadn't really considered it, just beat myself up that we don't find more time to read at home (its no good doing at bedtime, DD is too tired to concentrate on anything challenging)

learnandsay Thu 09-May-13 20:09:11

I don't let my daughter miss or misread words either. In her school reading books she rarely gets words that she can't manage. But in her home reading she gets quite a few difficult words. If she sounds the words out slowly most of the time she gets them right, things like: effectively, quizzical, anxiously and so on. A few times I've volunteered to help her with words, assuming that she wouldn't be able to read them on her own. But she has managed. But, left to her own devices, she will read some of the longer more difficult words horribly wrongly. But if she's told to re-read it until she either gets it right or makes a reasonable job of it, she does.

maizieD Thu 09-May-13 19:27:21


Some parents may well encourage it if that is what the school is promoting as a good reading strategy. sad Fortunately a lot of parents can see that it is not 'good' grin

Buzzardbird Thu 09-May-13 19:12:26

Violet, she loves those games and does well on them. Perhaps from what others have said this 'skimming' has been allowed at school?

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