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Spelling tests in Y1

(17 Posts)
longrob Mon 20-May-13 12:25:37

I'm a little puzzled by the latest list of words my DC's class has to learn. They have a new list each week which is sent home on a Friday and then tested the following Friday. This week's list is

Aren't some of these quite tricky for a 5/6 year old child ? DC has done quite well in previous weeks - we just do a 5-10 min practice every morning during breakfast, but the ones from previous weeks are already forgotten !! I'm just not really sure how useful these tests are at this age....

AbbyR1973 Mon 20-May-13 12:36:47

Is it to back up their phonics learning perhaps all these have a 'zh' sound with various spellings of it.

Kooza Mon 20-May-13 12:39:52

These are very similar to some spellings my DD has brought home in YR1. She's in the top set for English though.

Bunnyjo Mon 20-May-13 12:48:04

DD, also Yr1, had spellings practically identical to those last term and they were related to the /zh/ phoneme.

longrob Mon 20-May-13 13:11:44

Yes, they are related to /zh/ - but I just don't see the point of learning these, when they are forgotten a week later. It doesn't seem that the spellings are reinforced with (for example) written work that uses them. It just seems like testing for testing's sake....I'm pretty sure I never had spelling tests when I was in Y1 !! In fact I don't remember having any spelling tests in primary school at all....

Elibean Mon 20-May-13 13:22:51

Personally, I'm not a fan of spelling tests - especially in KS1, especially in Y1.

dd1 has always had top marks for her tests (they only began in Y2, iirc) and has forgotten them within the week. They are not effective, and tbh I sometimes wonder if they're just done by some schools/classes to keep parents happy.

My dd2, currently Y1, is a far better speller than her big KS2 sister, and has never had a spelling test in her life. She just has a good visual memory. They both read well, so no difference there either.

DeWe Mon 20-May-13 13:42:44

Ds has just started spellings at home to learn. He's year 1. They don't make a big thing of it at all. They have about 6 words in their book to write (look, cover write) three times.
Personally that wouldn't work for me as I can happily memorise almost anything for 5 seconds while I write it. but I won't remember it an hour later. But that seems to be the current fad.

But the "test" consists of them using the whiteboards (which they love) and isn't at all pressurised. I think they rub off each spelling after they've got it right, so they can't even compare who's got them all right.

He hates writing, but he seems not to mind this-he even reminded me this morning he needed to do it.

longrob Mon 20-May-13 13:56:12

At our school they get graded out of 8 each week and last week's grade is written in the top corner of the new sheet for the following week.

Not being an expert on how children learn, I can only speculate, but common sense tells me that it would be better to let such young children just enjoy their reading as much as possible and forget about formal spelling altogether until later.....

CecilyP Mon 20-May-13 14:22:35

I think it is reasonable to teach phonics/spelling patterns and give examples of words that contain these patterns. What is less reasonable is to send DCs away with a list of these words to learn for a test. Especially the words that are unlikely to feature in the DCs own writing for a few years to come. Like you, I have never experienced a spelling test either and don't think I have missed anything.

itsnothingoriginal Mon 20-May-13 14:27:34

I agree completely pointless exercise and v tricky spellings for a y1 child.

Our school used to have a policy of not correcting the children's spellings until y3 until recently it seems. DD, also y1 told me last week she was upset because the TA had told her 'she wasn't trying hard enough' with her spellings. She already dislikes her handwriting group lessons so that's not going to help matters hmm

No doubt spellings are something the repulsive Gove now wants to beat into our children at an earlier age...

BabyGiraffes Mon 20-May-13 14:43:59

I find the yr1 spelling tests totally pointless. dd1 gets 12 a week and although I understand the reasons behind learning different spelling patterns, I wish the words were age appropriate. At some point dd1 came home with words like flume, fuse and ruse. She's 5 and has no idea what those words mean so is unlikely to remember how to spell them fgs.

Elibean Mon 20-May-13 15:01:13

Really? OMG grin

The idea of 5-6 year olds being drilled in spelling words they never use/don't understand sort of sums up recent Government policy in education, tbh.

Utterly daft.

PiHigh Mon 20-May-13 15:10:00

* BabyGiraffes* Wrt the age appropriate thing, DD1's teacher managed to include the following on one of her spelling tests this year:

Guessing she didn't read it through in the way I did! grin

BabyGiraffes Mon 20-May-13 15:32:46

PiHigh Hilarious. I would not have been able to resist highlighting those for the teacher with a hmm smiley next to it!

Mashabell Mon 20-May-13 15:41:36

The problem with learning to spell English is the inconsistent and illogical way many of its words are spelt (blue shoe flew through too...). At least 3,700 common words contain such unpredictable quirks which have to be memorised word by word - in addition to learning the main patterns like 'cool, pool, school..'.

Highly motivated children with good visual memories manage to imprint them on their brains mainly through copious reading, almost without trying. Others never quite get there, despite their best efforts. (My daughter was like the first, my son the second group, and as a secondary teacher of English I found really good spellers to be rare, even in a Girls Grammar.)

For most children, memorising all those thousands of words with stupid spellings is tedious and takes a long time, but if they are made to work at it from a fairly young age, they are more likely to learn them by 16 or thereabouts. I would end this time-wasting misery by modernising English spelling, but I doubt that many of you would support that idea.

With more sensible spelling systems learning to read and write takes far less time and effort. That's why the Finns can let their children have a more playful childhood, starting formal schooling at 7 and then going on to beat rest of the word in educational attainment.
Masha Bell

nellieellie Mon 20-May-13 17:02:13

I think the emphasis on formal learning at this age is regrettable in the English education system. i have 2 August children, one is yr 1 and 1 older. My DD is able to learn spellings quickly but mostly through visual memory and copious reading/ being read to. The rote teaching of phonic sounds just seems to me to complicate things. I never had any difficulty spelling as a child, but when I am helping my children with the phonic "rules" I frequently have to think twice as only know what they are in context of the word. As Mashabell refers, the inconsistencies in the english language are such that over reliance on phonic "rules" can become confusing. At this age a love of books and reading has to be the most important thing. For some 5 yr olds, there is research that suggests they are not developmentally ready for formal reading and writing, and therefore to constantly "test" them on things they cannot do is counterproductive, undermines confidence and teaches that literacy is something to be feared and avoided, not embraced.

mrz Mon 20-May-13 18:32:58

I agree that sending home lists to be memorised for the next week is an ineffective way to teach but the actual spellings are pretty straightforward for a Y1 child

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