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Yr 1 report - informed me she failed phonics test.....

(293 Posts)
sugarhoops Thu 16-Jul-15 23:10:41

But she was given expected and exceeding for all report areas and her main report gave no mention of failing the test (the phonics test result was on a separate piece of paper, included in her report pack).

I have to confess, I was a little alarmed at the fail in the phonics test (29/40). I've been told by the teacher at last parents eve a month ago that DD is in the top group for phonics, one of the top readers in the class and is excellent at literacy. I was surprised to see she failed the phonics test, but then was given expected and exceeding for all her report areas, with no mention of needing further phonics support.

Can you just have an off day? My Ds passed the test a few years back and was definitely further behind with reading and phonics compared to dd at this same stage of yr 1. I'm confused, and not sure what to do to support her so that she passes in yr2 retake.

lougle Thu 16-Jul-15 23:30:36

The school needs to support her in year 2 and should be able to tell you what she needs.

lougle Thu 16-Jul-15 23:30:52

She only failed by 3,also.

maizieD Thu 16-Jul-15 23:34:03

Do you hear her reading? What does she do when she encounters an unfamiliar word?

catkind Fri 17-Jul-15 00:03:19

It's possible something went wrong with the administration of the test or a child got very confused somehow. It's possible she's good at guessing or knows so many words by sight they didn't realise she's not actually decoding as well as she should be. As either of these things may have gone wrong at school, I'd be inclined to try to check for myself at home as well as asking the school what went wrong. You could print out one of the prior years' or sample tests and try with her to see what actually goes wrong if anything.

cariadlet Fri 17-Jul-15 07:14:27

29 out of 40 is lower than you would expect for a child in the top phonics group, but not nearly low enough to be worried about.

It could be that she is a confident reader who looked at words which she thought seemed easy and guessed at them instead of sounding them out properly. Children often do that and in normal circumstances you would ask them to look again and sound the word out carefully. But in the phonics check you aren't allowed to prompt children. It can be very frustrating as a teacher if you have to record a wrong answer for a word that you know a child is capable of reading.

TeenAndTween Fri 17-Jul-15 07:47:08

Based on this test though she is only getting three quarters of words right. Some of the real words she will have known already, so actually the unfamiliar words she needed to sound out she will have been getting over a quarter wrong. That is no way to progress to a fluent reader of harder books.

I agree with those up thread who say check whether she guesses unfamiliar words, and go to see the teachers too.

VashtaNerada Fri 17-Jul-15 07:50:06

Yes, being able to 'decode' is not quite the same as reading, so she might be great at guessing words by their context but didn't realise that the test was specifically on decoding. I would talk to the teacher to find out more.

mrz Fri 17-Jul-15 07:53:44

For a good reader the whole check takes less than five minute si although the teacher can't prompt children during the check they can remind children before the check begins to look at the words carefully and read what's there. They can also tell children not to guess and that they can have as many attempts as they need.
During the check they are meant to tell the child when words are real or pseudo (four words per page).

Just out of interest did the school send home lists of "alien" words?

MrsKCastle Fri 17-Jul-15 07:58:54

Definitely go to see the teacher. First of all, check that they haven't mixed her score up with someone else! If it is the correct score, then it suggests that either they have overestimated her ability in phonics, or she has the phonics knowledge but isn't applying it when reading new words.

When you read with her, how does she approach new words? Make sure she is always using her phonics. My daughter is a good reader and perfectly able to decode new words, but if she thinks she can get away with it she will sometimes just look at the letters and guess.

sugarhoops Fri 17-Jul-15 08:07:10

Thanks so much all....I suspect she is looking at words and guessing. We went on the phonics play website this week (before I had report and knew about failed test) and she was doing the decoding /alien words game, and whilst I wasn't paying too much attention (although I will now!) I did notice that she was just reading a word and guessing it / reading it to be a real word (when it was actually a nonsense word)'. She wasn't decoding the word at all. She used to decode beautifully, I think now she's moved up the reading levels she's just reading and guessing words in their context, rather than attempting to decode. I'll chat with teacher this morning about it. Feel (stupidly) upset about it as her report was great, but appears she hasn't grasped or developed in decoding. I'd have thought she might get a 'developing' mark for literacy, but teacher said she was meeting all expectations in that area confused

chandelierswinger Fri 17-Jul-15 08:08:06

A capable reader often "corrects" the pseudo words (alien words) in the test, so they would see starp and read strap as that makes more sense to them as a reader.

I would ask her teacher whether she has any concerns about your DD or whether this should be taken with a pinch of salt, given her obvious capabilities cited in her report.

Fwiw, I hate the phrasing of the reporting of this test: failed at 5/6? angry

sugarhoops Fri 17-Jul-15 08:08:26

Plus I'd definitely have helped her at home if I'd known she was having difficulties in that area sad

sugarhoops Fri 17-Jul-15 08:11:04

Thanks chandlerswing - that is definitely what she does.... She was making nonsense words into correct words on the phonics play site, I watched her do it. i have to confess, I found the whole alien words thing strange when DS came home talking about it 2 yrs ago. I wonder if we've never grasped it as a family!

chandelierswinger Fri 17-Jul-15 08:11:41

X-post. I think your point about how your DD is reading is quite telling; she's moved beyond the need to decode every word and is reading using a range of strategies. This is s GREAT thing as a reader; DD should be applauded.

The "check" should be administered at an appropriate time for each child, rather than in June when lots of children have gone beyond phonics as their first approach to words reading!!

MrsKCastle Fri 17-Jul-15 08:14:37

Your daughter is exactly the kind of child that the phonics check is for though- someone who reads well by sight but could struggle later on if it wasn't picked up. Don't feel bad for not realising, the school should have picked it up. The important thing is that now you know, you (and the school) can work on it. Please don't take it 'with a pinch of salt' even if the school have that attitude - it does need to be addressed.

sugarhoops Fri 17-Jul-15 08:17:17

Plus what maizied asked up thread.... When DD reads and comes across a word she genuinely doesn't know, she will decode. If she sees a word with one letter switched eg the strap / srtap example above, she will just read it as strap. Not sure what the phonics test has now proven confused. Will report back later after chat with teacher today. Thanks all flowers

MrsKCastle Fri 17-Jul-15 08:20:06

X-post with Chandelierswinger.

I completely disagree- children do not move beyond the need for phonics, they need to use phonics constantly throughout their education.

They should use a range of strategies to establish the meaning of a text, but phonics should be the route to decoding new words.

Northernlurker Fri 17-Jul-15 08:20:15

I also think it's ridiculous that the school are forced to describe this child as having 'failed'. As for having to 'retake' hmm I know the phonics test is important and of course the school needs to ensure that your dd is at the level need to secure her future literacy development but the way it's described by schools drives me crazy!
OP - please try not to take this to heart. You haven't let dd down in any way and she hasn't failed. The purpose of the test is to confirm her phonics knowledge and school will need to support her continuing development in this area. All you can do I think is to encourage her to decode not guess and you'd do that anyway whether she'd got the 'pass' mark or not.

ltk Fri 17-Jul-15 08:22:24

You can still help her. It didn't all end with that test. She is very young and the school seems generally pleased with her progress. Over the summer, go to the library and pick out some books together. Have her read to you, and pay close attention to how she decodes. If you find her guessing, gently explain that she needs to sound out what is written, and how the word she guessed wrongly does not make as much sense in the story. So if she guessed 'fog' and the word was 'frog' , talk about how that changes the story and she is missing out! We read for comprehension and she is not comprehending if she is making up the words as she goes. This just takes practice, and if you keep at it she will improve. Do not despair! Help her decode when needed and model.sounding out for her. She will catch on.

MissShunImpossible Fri 17-Jul-15 08:29:29

I agree with PPs above - she's trying out different strategies, which is a good thing. I wouldn't see her as having failed anything, more that she was tested at a bad moment for her.

Keep supporting her as she reads (as I'm sure you would anyway) and where she struggles use phonics to explain, where appropriate. Maybe get her some of those books which are just for phonics (I remember buying a set from the works for about a fiver for DD2, one would be totally "the toad on the road is carrying a load", another "I had a pea for my tea sitting next to the sea"... though they were better at making up stories than I am!!! But they really did underline particular digraphs etc.

But don't worry! Keep doing what you're doing, it'll all come together.

chandelierswinger Fri 17-Jul-15 09:13:41

Absolute tosh that every child needs phonics! How on earth did we learn to read before the Gov decided this was the way to teach reading? There is so much more to reading than decoding through synthetic phonics.

Ebb Fri 17-Jul-15 09:20:46

My DS failed his phonics test in year 1, as did quite a few who did the test in the afternoon compared to those who did it in the morning. He was a capable reader and good at sounding out words but the 'alien' words are random. The teacher wasn't at all concerned and he passed in year 2 when they redid it. It's yet another thing to guilt trip parents. We read every day with the children and they enjoy books.

AuntieStella Fri 17-Jul-15 09:28:38

"Absolute tosh that every child needs phonics! How on earth did we learn to read before the Gov decided this was the way to teach reading?"

Well, for hundreds of years, phonics. Then a brief fad in the twentieth century for other methods, which have been shown time after time to be less effective, but were very fashionable then. The legacy of that brief blip has been surprisingly hard to eradicate.

chandelierswinger Fri 17-Jul-15 09:36:48

Not synthetic phonics. Not always. Not in isolation.

One more thing to make parents feel inadequate...

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