Unsuitable Girl

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unsuitable education minister

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Our education minister at the moment, one Michael Gove, has shown again and again his unsuitability for the task. 

But the latest example has serious implications.  His much lauded phonics testing forchildren in the early stages of Key Stage 1,  aged around six, has been shown in one school  to have had  the strange outcome of having poor pass rates for children who can actually read.

The phonics programme has been assiduously and enthusiastically pursued by all staff in Key Stage 1, and they all thought it was great, everyone doing the same but the flaw which showed in the test was that the children refused to read the 'none words', I kid you not...the children are more sensible than the guy who OKed this thing...

Imagine expecting children who have learned to read, to 'read' none words...i e nonsense words which have no meaning!  So the test results will show that the children have 'failed' the phonics test implying that these children cannot read. What Gove does not understand is that reading is not only about phonics, reading involves a global knowledge of syntax, semantics, story structure,interest, vocabulary and the ability to listen and speak. He seems to be under some sort of illusion that as long as children can 'sound out' words, that's them reading.  No it's not enough.  These children in the school I know come from homes where they are read to, go to the local library, as yet uncut, and have been learning phonics from babyhood probably, almost by osmosis, through nursery rhymes and songs.

Mr Gove if you'd asked Early Years practitioners i e teachers of KS 1, they woud have told you 'one size fits all' tests are not appropriate for young children.  They are all at different stages in the journey towards fluent reading. 

Test by all means but please make it appropriate for the stage the children are at and do not insult them , the children by asking them to read 'none words' simply in the mistaken idea that English is unlocked by 'sounding out'...try sounding out cough, rough, Gove , dove move...see

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