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Phonics test - sudden concerns and how to help

(161 Posts)
Dentvincent Thu 23-May-13 17:59:02

My DD came home today with a note to say she wasn't making expected progress in phonics. She is Y1 and is due the Phonics test in June - which I have only really heard about on mumsnet until this note. It was a bit of a surprise as it has not been mentioned at all till now. She is on orange book band and pretty much always gets all her spelling right. In fact I thought she was doing really well. They have given me some websites to look at with her which I've done tonight. She seems to be great on all the real words - but I think 'knows' them now as they look pretty simple and so isn't using her phonic knowledge. The a made up word comes up and she just tries to make a real word out of. How can I help her best and should I be a bit annoyed that someone hasn't mentioned it before. She is in the top but one group in the year and at every meeting they have said she is flying

Thanks for help

Dentvincent Wed 29-May-13 19:30:14

Thanks for all advice/tips. Had phone call from teacher today(!) to check we were ok with letter home - seemingly there may have been complaints re the wording. DD scored 30/40 so they want to ensure she passes but don't want her to be concerned. I think they've probably made it a bit obvious that they are coaching certain pupils that are borderline but my DD now thinks she is 'rubbish at phonics.' probably if she had another couple of practices/better instruction she may have been ok. We have now gone back to basics and are reading normally with her and letting her read her books but then looking at words seperately and practising sounding out vocally rather than trying to read the word straight off. I think this has helped her understand the concept of what this screening is looking for. In other words this is not a reading test but a phonics test - which is what it is of course - but I'm not sure she had 'got' this. Not that I think kids should be aware they are being assessed anyway The teacher also said DD used her memory a lot and was a visual reader using other techniques to aid her reading. I said we were aware of this but obviously if her phonic skill is better this will only improve her reading/writing/spelling further do she can use a number of skills. At least she's enjoying phonics again! And she's read lots of dr Seuss this week and Roald dahls dirty beasts which has lots of fake words

sazale Tue 28-May-13 21:32:27

Thanks mrz. He can do cvc words and us currently working on vc words.

mrz Tue 28-May-13 09:12:03

It depends if the school use the check effectively or they see it as "something pointless the government make us do".

The check can identify what a child knows - so in your son's case if he can blend cvc words (like cat or vop) vc words (like am or ip) ccvc words (stop or brin) cvcc words (like sand or dunt) - which would help plan for his next steps

sazale Tue 28-May-13 08:17:11

Mrz, my son is still on phase 2 phonics so should he be disapplied?

He's also been sent home with practice sheets.

He's behind due to having phonological processing difficulties and I also believe rubbish teaching in Foundation. The school got told to improve by OFSTED earlier this year with a particular slating of the foundation unit and the whole school phonics teaching. He is currently on P6 for reading.

christinarossetti Mon 27-May-13 19:59:23

Me too. The screening test should be absolutely no problem to children who have been taught synthetic phonics correctly, and the plethora of threads on MN about it lately seems to indicate that this correct teaching isn't happening as often as it should.

mrz Mon 27-May-13 17:59:18

It makes me sad to see that parents are more clued up about phonics than many teachers

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 17:53:03

Like my ds's school, who only 'taught' phonics three times a week. (Paid it lip service, more like). Massive panic on now because only 40% met the mark required last year.

BabiesAreLikeBuses Mon 27-May-13 17:38:36

My dts go to the school i work at (sep sites for ks1and2) we have been saying for years that kids at y5/6 struggle with spelling as phonic knowledge poor and been reassured for last 5 yrs that synthetic phonics used. This yr in reception it is the first year that word packs have been dropped and only synthetic phonics done. I am sure it is because the pass level of the test last year was low. They have had years in which kids have been let down, this year it has been taught very well and i can see that my kids have better spelling knowledge than the ten year olds i teach. It shouldn't have taken a screening check to force the situation...

mrz Mon 27-May-13 17:31:02

In all honesty I can't see it ever "settling down"

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 17:23:06

mrz Oh dear...Well I suppose there must have been some pretty strong mindsets out there.

I certainly feel sorry for the parents and children now. At least now the check is here there is no hiding from schools...but still more pressure is put on parents to make up the gap and with the best will in the world not all can.

When do you think it will settle down, mrz?

mrz Mon 27-May-13 17:18:08

daftdame schools have had EIGHT YEARS to get phonic teaching right

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 17:10:14

mrz I agree with you there and I hope this issue is smoothed out.

I suppose you will get this kind of thing happening when there are new statutory requirements, which make schools more accountable. I just feel sorry for the parents and children who are involved the initial bedding down period.

mrz Mon 27-May-13 17:04:08

From what the OP has said I would think it is very likely that her child has not been taught adequately and having realised that the teacher/school is panicking.

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 16:59:57

mrz me too, but I don't think in the OP's case the teacher indicated that the test highlighted material not fully covered in school. Neither was it indicated that the school were going to take responsibility and provide the extra teaching. Instead they asked the parent to do the extra work with the child.

mrz Mon 27-May-13 16:53:53

I would be less happy if my child had received inadequate teaching and it wasn't recognised and my child left to fall behind.

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 16:49:39

mrz Whilst the extra phonics is certainly worthwhile, as a parent I would not be very happy if this was due to inadequate teaching. There are only so many hours in a school day, as I'm sure you will appreciate.

As I have said before, whole school results are not published, so how are the schools accountable to the parents?

mrz Mon 27-May-13 16:44:12

The check is there to identify which children need extra phonics input in Y2.

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 16:41:42

Sorry mrz didn't mean to be flippant, just trying to get my head round what you were saying. Posting can be a bit like a stream of consciousness if you're not very careful.

I do think phonics ought to be taught, just think its a shame when children are on the receiving end of poor / inadequate teaching and then have more pressure put on them (re. OP and note home) at the last minute regarding the check.

Where the check does the job it has been designed to do, fantastic. However if children are not being taught properly, no comment should be made concerning any potential ability, as the check merely demonstrates their attainment.

mrz Mon 27-May-13 16:35:06

obb and Bob has nice alien colourful animations but isn't terribly effective for young children because it does use real words that may not be in their vocabulary

Galena Mon 27-May-13 16:33:34

She loves nonsense words - she's perfectly happy to make up nonsense words of her own and giggle about them (luckily she thinks words like 'shit' and 'fuck' are nonsense words she's made up to rhyme with 'bit' and 'duck' respectively). She just hates getting things wrong, despite our constant reassurance that getting things wrong is ok, so she didn't want to commit to the non-words being fake, just in case they were real words she hadn't met yet!


mrz Mon 27-May-13 16:30:52

I'm pleased it makes sense to you daftdame because it doesn't make sense to me that schools continue to fail to teach phonics.

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 16:19:06

mrz ah, makes sense now. Thanks.

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 16:17:32

Galena Maybe try some books with nonsense words to share with her, Dr Seuss, Flanimals so she gets used to nonsense words being OK.

mrz Mon 27-May-13 16:16:36

he doesn't have any phonic knowledge

daftdame Mon 27-May-13 16:15:19

mrz So he could read amazingly well but had difficulties applying phonic knowledge?

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