This week, children across England will be participating in mandatory reading checks. The Year One children, (ages five and six) have been learning to read using the phonics system. The tests are to measure how well the pupils are learning to read using the sounds of each letter and putting them together to form words.
The test will take between 5-10 minutes, and will ask pupils to read 20 real words and 20 made up words, such as ‘terg’ and ‘spron’.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the National Association of Head Teachers and the National Union of Teachers issued a joint statement, saying:
“The use of made-up words will confuse children for whom English is a second language and those with special educational needs as well as frustrating those who can read already. There are already enormous pressures on teachers to teach to the test, so how long will it be before children are being taught to read made-up words?”
The Government’s phonics-only approach to teaching reading is controversial. Most teachers advocate a balanced mix of methods, including flash cards and the ‘look and say’ method, because not every child learns the same way or at the same speed.
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