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Phonics test year two

(30 Posts)
littlemiss06 Thu 16-May-13 09:37:03

My little girl failed the phonics test in year one and have a feeling she could possibily fail again in year two, they have had a practice test and my child has been picked to miss a playtime to practice nonsense words, is it just me that thinks they shouldn't be practising? Shouldn't it just be see how she actually does on the day? Shouldn't it reflect her ability to work out these words by herself rather than them being learnt or are the words not set and likely to be different when it actually comes to the test? It some how just doesn't feel right that she's missing playtimes to practice

learnandsay Thu 16-May-13 09:43:32

I've seen this type of question before and many respondents were against the idea of practising, objecting to the fact that if the child needs to practise then she hasn't been taught properly in the first place.

I take your implied point which is if she's practising then it defeats the object of the test and spoils her playtime into the bargain.

ReallyTired Thu 16-May-13 09:45:40

Children with special needs need their playtime as much as any child. Otherwise practicing her phonics will feel like a punishment to her. She is still little and needs a chance to play like any other child.

I think you need to speak to her teacher and see what her IEP says about supporting her reading. My son was on the special needs register for handwriting and used to have half an hour one to one with a TA three times a week.

The phonics test is not a reading test per say. It is a test of a child's ablity to decode nonsense words that she has never seen before. Practicing non sense words will help improve her general reading skills.

I think the school has good intentions, but they need to re think when they give her the extra help. Prehaps you can give her extra reading/ nonsense words practice at home.

Next year your daughter will be in juniors and if she can't read then she will not be able to cope with the work.

meditrina Thu 16-May-13 09:47:19

No, she shouldn't be practising nonsense words.

The use of such words is part of the diagnostic aspect of such a test. She should have been receiving additional support throughout the year since the previous screening. Repeating the screening should show whether that support has been effective and she now has the specific skill of decoding. If she has not, then she needs ongoing support and the school needs to look at whether they need to adjust the support given in year 2 to those pupils which this text identifies as still in need.

ReallyTired Thu 16-May-13 09:56:36

If practicing nonsense words helps a child's attack skills then surely its reasonable to practice reading nonsense words provided that they are different nonsense words to the test.

mrz Thu 16-May-13 11:32:14

Applying blending and segmenting skills should be a normal part of the daily routine. There shouldn't be any need to practice for the test.

learnandsay Thu 16-May-13 11:39:28

It hasn't been said outright, but has been alluded to upthread, but say for argument's sake, a child had SEN and had not been adequately taught (or excused from the test) isn't it possible/probable that the teacher/school would start panicking at the last minute and cancel playtime in favour of coaching for the upcoming test?

I'm not saying that that's the case here, because I don't know the actual circumstances. But it could happen that way.

MrsMelons Thu 16-May-13 12:37:03

surely the point is to ensure children are being taught correctly all year, not cramming at the end. This does not help your child - just the school when reporting their results.

Giving a few practice tests to help her understand what she will be doing on the day may be ok if it is confidence she lacks. When I take exams I always do practice papers as it is good for understanding but really at this level there is unlikely to be a need for it.

Missing playtimes is unfair, its not actually something she has done wrong so it sounds like a punishment. They should have been teaching her properly this year to ensure she was gaining the correct skills for blending etc.

My DS (Y2) asked to stay in to practice some maths (have no idea why - he doesn't like maths) and he was told he couldn't as it was important for him to have a break.

DewDr0p Thu 16-May-13 15:51:19

Perhaps the practising is just to familiarise them with the idea of the nonsense words and reading them out of context? I would doubt very much that they are using the actual words from the real test - they clearly shouldn't be!

I know that was a concern of our Head and teacher friends of mine about this test. Normally a child will use the context of the word, the pictures etc to help them decode a word.

Why does it have to be at playtime though? Surely this should be done during Literacy if at all?

maizieD Thu 16-May-13 16:15:22

Context and pictures have nothing to do with decoding a word. The 'code' is the representation of the individual sounds in words by a letter or letters. it is doing children a disservice to give them the impression that words can be 'read' by guessing from pictures or context. And shows that some teachers are ignorant of how the reading process works.

mrz Thu 16-May-13 16:21:55

DewDrop they don't know the words from the actual test ... but obviously your Head and friend are still teaching mixed methods which doesn't bode well

mrz Thu 16-May-13 16:24:56

no good they will claim good readers are failed by the test (it's so much easier than admitting it is down to poor teaching)

mrz Thu 16-May-13 16:26:03

no doubt they will claim

Feenie Thu 16-May-13 16:47:21

* Normally a child will use the context of the word, the pictures etc to help them decode a word.*

Rubbish. That's not decoding - that's guessing.

Mashabell Thu 16-May-13 16:52:46

Testing children's reading ability with nonsense words is a complete waste of time, and making them practise for it even more so. Sadly, tests always cause some teaching to them.

It would be perfectly possible to test children's knowledge of the main sounds of the main English graphemes (single letters or combinations like ai and sh), as the phonics tests supposedly do, with ordinary, regularly spelt words, using a combination of short ones and longer less familiar (e.g. combination).

Using nonsense words is an attempt to ensure that no child will have seen them before, and so will have to use decoding rather than memory to work them out. But the tests cause practice. And practising to read nonsense words is a totally daft way of divorcing decoding from real learning to read English, which is very largely about remembering as well as decoding, because many English graphemes, unlike in any other alphabetically written language, have more than one sound (e.g. sound – soup, man – many, on – only).

Those tests are a stupid waste of time and money.
Masha Bell

Feenie Thu 16-May-13 16:59:52

Do you have some kind of klaxon which goes off at any hint of a phonics thread, Masha? confused

Testing children's reading ability with nonsense words is a complete waste of time
Tell that to countless educational psychologists, Masha. wink

Now then - tell us how many children you have taught to read again?

learnandsay Thu 16-May-13 17:01:15

I'm not sure how widespread such coaching is this year. We're only talking about one child.

I think last year the practice was rife. But last year the test was seemingly sprung on unprepared teachers. This year they've known it was coming for a whole year.

learnandsay Thu 16-May-13 17:04:55

Testing the children's reading of nonsense words is probably neither here nor there as long as the testing is done in moderation. But spending lots of time practising the reading of nonsensical words is pretty stupid.

zebedeee Thu 16-May-13 17:05:29

It is the skill of cross-referencing sources of information, which means that the child is a reader not merely a 'decoder' (chilled is red-er not a de-cod-er).

mrz Thu 16-May-13 17:12:20

Last year's phonics check was not sprung on unprepared teachers. They had known about it since 2010
"That means supporting the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics and introducing a simple reading check at age six to guarantee that children have mastered the basic skills of early reading and also ensure we can identify those with learning difficulties."

and had access to the pilot results from Sept 2011.

mrz Thu 16-May-13 17:14:06

It means that the child reads what is written rather than guesses and confuses a decoding check with a reading tests zebedeee

ProudAS Fri 17-May-13 20:06:28

With the non words different pronunciations are acceptable so long as they are consistent with the English language. For example fow could rhyme with either cow or crow.

DewDr0p Sat 18-May-13 07:54:54

but obviously your Head and friend are still teaching mixed methods which doesn't bode well

Not quite sure how you made this leap. It's an outstanding school with well above average results overall and brilliant support for those who need extra help.

If I encounter say the word read in a sentence I use the context to work out whether it's read pn with an ee sound or with an e sound. Blow me, didn't realise I'd been getting it wrong all these years hmm

scaevola Sat 18-May-13 08:05:47

You'll have used phonics however to know that rapidly that it can only be /e/ or /ee/ and of course you know which one is right because it sounds right.

It's much quicker to learn to break the code by relating sound to squiggle; than it is to have to learn to bark out every word by sight and guess without the tools to pronounce and compare to reference vocabulary.

DewDr0p Sat 18-May-13 08:16:35

Preaching to the converted scaevola grin I think phonics is great, just not so keen on this test.

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