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Above average readers fail phonics screening test!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by ginger22, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. But shouldn't it have been picked up from observing that his writing skills were way behind his reading skills? So, if he wasn't using phonic knowledge to write there was something very unusual about his reading ability. Also, if he could read without using phonic knowledge presumably he had an extensive sight vocabulary. I wonder why this did not feed into good spelling of the words he had in the sight vocabulary? Sorry, now I'm beginning to sound like the Spanish Inquisition. [​IMG]
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Oh you know the usual ... he's a summer birthday and a boy ... he's lazy ...he can read well so there's no reason why he can't write ... he just isn't trying

  3. Good grief.
  4. Oh Thumbie - give me strength! In that section Stanovich is using as an example the way folklore has the assumption that context is important for good decoding. He explains that a correspondence method demonstrates conclusively that it isn't. How can you blithely claim your impression of the results of the phonics screening have comparable validity with the method used by a generation of cognitive psychologists in which they have reached a consensus that contradicts you.
  5. Also, if he could read without using phonic knowledge presumably he had an extensive sight vocabulary. I wonder why this did not feed into good spelling of the words he had in the sight vocabulary?
    I challenge the whole idea that it is possible to read without phonic knowledge. Many children who learn to read almost spontaneously without ritual phonics lessons simply acquire their phonics knowledge perceptually (How else could it have been acquired?) The core value of an extensive sight vocabularly of a few thousand words is not that these words can be read without conscious or unconscious decoding - it is that they serve as an instantly accessible database of grapheme/phoneme corresondences for all similarly constructed words, ensuring the immediate ability to decode all of the ten or so thousands words in a child's vocabulary.

    You absolutely HAVE TO know all the grapheme/phoneme correspondences in order to read confidently - it is just not important HOW you learn therse correspondences.

  6. Quijote

    Quijote New commenter

    In 33 years of teaching I've never come across a child with such a mismatch between reading and writing. Long before this boy got to Year 6 the primary school had more than enough information to realise that there was a serious and unusual problem. Presumably he was achieving Level 4 reading in Year 3 or Year 4, but was at that stage unable to read back what he, himself, had written. And the primary school missed it??? It strikes me that this is more about an unbelievably incompetent primary school than it is about phonics, or any particular test at Year 1 or any other age.
    You are correct that I'm not an EP which is perhaps why I struggle to understand how exactly a phonics test at Year 1 would have helped. Did your two EPs both separately state that your son would not have had this difficulty if he had taken a phonics test at Year 1? Would this, in their opinion, have magically endowed a modicum of competence on his primary teachers?
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The two EPs used a phonics screening check very similar to the Y1 check which they both said was an effective and reliable diagnostic tool that could be used with very young children ...and would have picked up this mis match
  8. It's easy to forget (or be unaware) just how incompetent some (many?) primary schools were at teaching children who fell behind just a few years ago. The SEN label was often an excuse for not finding out what the problem was. I think it's getting a lot better - but that doesn't mean that there aren't still many children who would be doing far better if their needs were actually analysed, and appropriate teaching put in place. (I speak as an ex-TA who found it shocking that a child with difficulties was likely to have less teacher time than an average pupil - and an IEP with targets of learning 'x high frequency words' when they hadn't yet mastered half the alphabet etc etc etc. And I still find it bizarre than an IEP can have 3 targets for a whole term or more, compared to the zillions of targets that child's peers will go through in the same time.) But this is straying slightly off the thread.
    I don't think the test was really to pick up on able readers who are weak at decoding, although that may be a useful side-effect (or may not), but I do hope that it will highlight schools that are letting down children by not giving them a secure grounding in segmenting and blending. But I hope it won't be name and shame as that won't be helpful at all.
  9. 1. If you were using the article as a platform to discussing context in reading, why did you mention it in reference to the phonics check? In my post I was addressing your comment that,"The whole article is very relevant when looking at why a screening check based firmly on research can be dismissed by teachers using it." In this post you have neatly moved the goalposts. Not an altogether impressive method of argument, really.2. My reading of the article was that Stanovich was using the context issue as an example of an occasion in which the correspondence model was in opposition to the coherence model, in order to illustrate features of that difference and make this distinction clear to the reader. He mentions a bit about the issue but, in effect, refers the reader on to sources to find out the exact details. I would need to read those sources to know exactly what the context issue entails. So if you want to discuss context in reading, let me know and I will make sure I read the arguments and find out exactly what the evidence shows. I have read some material on this but would prefer to read the actual evidence in question if it is going to be the object if a discussion (provided I don't have to pay for it). I didn't know you were expecting me to pick up on this (see 1, above), so unsurprisingly did not mention it in my reply.3. I will say again that my reflections on this thread have been speculative about why some good readers failed to read some simple nonwords, substituting real words. I don't claim to know why that happened, but it is interesting data in a discussion about the validity of the phonics check as a tool. 4. Your invocation of 'a generation of cognitive psychologists', sounds like an invocation of the venerable prophets. " How dare one interrogate their theories?!" Well, yes, I do dare to read the articles and examine what they say. Not because I think they are not making valid points but because I find the conclusions that others, just ordinary mortals like myself and yourself, derive from their evidence is not always valid. The scientists in question, if worth their salt, would be pleased that their work was being read and reflected on by others, with an eye to what it really says rather than a pre-conception. Good science is all about questioning, and good scientists are not the pompous old whatsits you would have us believe.
  10. Oh, and perhaps you could say how what I think contradicts the theories of the cognitive psychologists. Eye movement studies show that readers check back over what they have read if they find, from context, that they have made a mistake in decoding or need a re-read to aid understanding. But really we don't need eye movement studies to tell us that, do we?
  11. A few more references: http://www.sedl.org/reading/framework/research.html
    is pretty thorough. Can't imagine anyone would have read all of the
    references, and all the references that the references refer to, but it
    seems a good place to get a feel for the range of reading research.
    This bit of the same website is good:
    It has some really useful pointers about assessing the many different aspects of learning to read.
  12. http://www.rfwest.net/Site_2/Welcome_files/Stanovich-long-contex-JECP81.pdf This is the one relevant to context effects. As far as I have read it does show that children who are poorer, younger readers rely on context more than older, better readers. This is shown by comparing the processing speeds of readers when reading a word if provided with a related word or related context before being presented with the target word with their response when provided with a non-context prompt before reading the word, or, in one experiment, a neutral prompt. What I draw from it, so far, is that perhaps children with poorer decoding skill use context to compensate, but this does not elicit the high level of skill they need to be efficient readers. That's only what I take from it. The research only shows that good readers process words just as quickly whether or not provided with context, whereas the less good readers process words more quickly if provided with context (scientists are very careful to report only what they have seen and do not take speculative leaps). It does not specify a failure rate, as far as I have read, so in effect it does not prove context to be a miscue, just a cue used by poorer readers. I'll carry on and report back. It would be interesting to have a profile of context use for one reader over time. The use of context by the younger and less able readers may be a feature of the development of reading skill. The article may elucidate this later. I'll report back.
  13. 1. Don't you even see that you are the one that brought up context. The use of context is central to your argument that good readers go beyond a reliance on decoding.
    2. Keep reading Stanovich's research
    4. What a load of baloney. Of course scientists should be questioned - that's part of the process - but not by people wholly ill informed about their research.

    I can take no more. Keep reading and reading and reading and I'll know you have been when any criticisms you make address the research that exists and aren't based on ill informed supposition.
  14. Anyone that wants a very quick summary of Stanovich's (and in fact most cognitive pschologists) views on context, you can go back to item 39 of this thread where maizie summarises it with a quote.
  15. I haven't found the full article online yet although it is probably accessible but this abstract from another of Stanovich's papers make the conclusions of he research clear enough...

    If you go down Stanovich's list of papers on his web page you find some cracking articles. I really enjoyed the one on reading nd intelligence.
  16. It's called 'Patterns of word and non word processing in skilled and less skilled readers.'
    Sorry cant work out my iPad...
  17. 1. Wrong. You cannot measure the effect of context in the phonics check, can you, as all the words are context-free? Good readers go beyond the reliance on decoding because they recognise words, not because they use context. I argued that children might misread nonwords as real words because they expected them to be real words, nothing to do with context. Readers use context when words are difficult for them to decode (and having just finished Stanovich's article about context effect, I can tell you he would support this). It is a developmental stage in learning to read, as his longitudinal study showed. 2. I will, I suggest you re-read it. Why did you choose to ignore 3? 4. I am not ill-informed about anyone's research, as I have never described anyone's research, until now, unless you mean the eye-movement studies. If I was ill-informed about that perhaps you can put me right instead of just asserting something without backing it up. On the whole it isn't me who is relying on research support, it is yourself. If you mean I'm ill-informed about Stanovich's research into context, as I described it in the last post, you are just plain wrong. I've only just finished reading it, and I'm not a poor reader. I suggest it is you that is ill-informed.What's this not being able to take any more business? Oh, you are trying to discredit my arguments by pretending they are not worth answering. The only way to meet argument is with counter-argument, sneering at it does not answer it. I have had the courtesy to answer your arguments, you won't come out of this well if you don't answer mine.
  18. This is the quote Maizie includes in post 39:"What is new - and the important lesson in the Perfetti et al results- is that the presence of prediction abilities does not necessarily imply that these abilities are used to facilitate ongpoing word recognition. In fact the ...results suggest just the opposite.  Though the better readers possessed superior prediction abilities they were also superior decoders, and the data appear to indicate that the latter is the critical causal mechanism sustaining fluent reading.  The context-free decoding of the better readers is so high that they are less in need of contextual support.  They have more knowledge of contextual dependencies , but are simultaneously less reliant on this knowledge, because they possess other processing advantages that are more important for word recognition - namely, context free decoding skill. (pp 172 - 173)"I have no argument with this. Fluent readers recognise words instantly and therefore do not need to predict words, although they are good at this. Less able readers do use context, simply because they are do not recognise words instantly. The Stanovich study I quoted above shows this. If you don't believe me read it, here is the reference again:
    http://www.rfwest.net/Site_2/Welcome_files/Stanovich-long-contex-JECP81.pdf In fact, maizie's quote is taken from this very article, before Stanovich starts to describe his hypothesis that the context effect correlates with development and describes his experiment to test this out.
  19. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Oh just ignore Zigmania, Thumbie and enjoy the Stanovich.
  20. Thanks mystery. [​IMG]I think I am pre-programmed to challenge, though, especially if I get a whiff of humbug.

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