Weird New Reading Test for Six-Year-Olds

What do these words even mean?

An article published in the Telegraph yesterday reported on a controversial new reading test for children in year one learning to read. It involves being tested on made up words such as those found in the picture above. Is this a good idea?

I think not. Aside from the fact that these words don’t even exist in the English language, they will just end up confusing the children who need the most help with reading, and trip up those who are good readers as they try to change the entire word into something that makes sense. No good ever comes out of trying to trick a child. Ever.

Plans for these tests should have been shelved a long time ago, but on the good side, a debate about how to teach reading has once more been put on the education agenda.

I still need to become more informed on the best way of teaching reading whether it be through phonics or another method. Language acquisition was one of the areas I covered extensively and with interest in my first degree and it is in this area of Linguistics that the answer may lie. One day I hope somebody does find out, because reading is one of the most beautiful gifts in life and furthermore, bad spelling is just criminal.

What is the best way of teaching a child to read?

Broadcast belle Fact: Reading readiness is acquired during infancy through various cognitive and linguistic processes, where babies even babble in different languages.

 

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6 thoughts on “Weird New Reading Test for Six-Year-Olds

  1. Hi BB,
    My daughter did some homework like that, ‘alien words’ I didn’t get it at all, she thought that it was really funny, but could read and write her own name and three letter words aged three years’ old. I know that this is unusual. I don’t think that adding a dollop of how not to do things is a good idea at all.
    Games like I spy or tell a story one word each are however a good idea, and even the children that are struggling can join in.
    On your point about language aquisition – children won’t do well in exams or tests however easy or hard and regardless of subject if they can’t read because they won’t be able to comprehend the question – what can be more important.

    • Hiya whatspinktoday,
      Those ‘alien words’ are a conspiracy. I’m just not sure of what yet.

      What a ridiculous idea, telling children to spell words that don’t even exist. What if they strat asking ‘what does that mean?’ You know what children are like. Very inquisitive. I agree with you: what could be more crazy than negative teaching? Teach a child the correct way of doing something, not the way in which you must not do something.

      I should try my luck at getting into education reform. The person who put this idea forward obviously has a job in education policy so I must have a shot. Shocking idea.

  2. Hi BB,
    There is another twist to the dreaded ‘alien words’ tests. On Monday I checked my daughter’s school bag (her book bag) and there was a generic photo copied letter in there informing the parent/carer that she had failed her face-to-face phonics decoding test at the school: ‘alien words’. I mentioned it to my husband on Tuesday who [like me] thought it ridiculous. On Tuesday I found another letter in her book bag apologising for Monday’s letter which had been sent out en-masse, in error, and should have been personalised to individual children and their parent/carer with specific test results included. Whilst I was explaining this my daughter overheard part of it and got very angry. “I remember that test I was watching my teacher, I only got one word wrong, there was one cross only I got all the others right and there were over twenty.”
    What a dog’s dinner Eh BB…

    • So sorry I took so long to reply whatspinktoday. When I read your comment I thought again to myself, isn’t this whole alien words debacle just a bad idea? It’s even sending the teachers bonkers by the looks of things in your daughter’s school! I hope she wasn’t too angry, and got over the initial annoyance. I wonder what she makes of all this alien words commotion? Do the children realise that the words are fake and just a way of teaching them to read? Who knows.

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