In reading you can’t get out a pen and mark it like many other subjects. A teacher assesses a child’s reading ability using a lot of different information to come to a conclusion. This grid is based on the simple model of reading that was highlighted ten years ago in the Rose Review that started the move to synthetic phonics that is still the compulsory teaching method used in schools now. However, phonics is not the only part of this, because reading has two main part, reading each individual word using sounds and understanding what all those words mean when put together.
All children start in the orange area, they can’t read yet. But we want them in the green area, able to read the words and understand them.
Some children will find phonics easier and learn to read word by word but are not understanding the meaning of all the words together (moving to the top left bubble). But some children will understand the overall meaning but are not correctly reading each separate word and are missing or guessing words rather than working them out (moving to the bottom right bubble). The important thing is to recognise where your child is and help develop the skills they still need to reach the green bubble, through phonics or questioning and discussion.
Ultimately children are all different. We need to use everything we can to help them get to that green area and master all the elements of being a successful reader.
The sorts of assessments that teachers will use to decide a child’s ability are:
- a phonics assessment. How well do they recognise and blend sounds – click here for more information on phonics.
- reading a book individually with your child, maybe included a running record. If you want to see what this involves click here.
- information from reading in a Guided Reading group. This is a regular group that reads with the teacher. Children are grouped according to their level and will work together on skills they still need.
Often it may seem that your child is reading a book that is “too easy” because they read each word without difficulty. Discuss the reasons with the teacher to find out what skills their teacher wants them to work on.