Making Sense of the Phonics Test: The Alternative Dictionary

The initial concerns about the introduction of the Phonics screening test for year 1 children back in 2012 haven't really abated.


One of the main points raised was that the mixture of real and made-up words such as "steck", "hild", "geck", "tox" and "ulf", would be confusing for children – especially those who had a wider experience of reading a variety of texts at home. And on many occasions that has proven to be true.


Many children expect  (quite rightly don’t you think?) that what they read will make sense, so giving them alien words out of context removes the purpose of reading, which is to understand words on a page.


The Education Secretary, Michael Gove at the time and the subsequent Secretary of State, believe that the test helps schools to identify readers who are lagging behind in class, but teachers say the brightest children are failing the test because they are trying to turn the made-up words into real words by spelling "strom" as "storm" (and why wouldn't you?)


With this in mind a colleague and I (with tongue in cheek) felt an alternative phonic dictionary was necessary.


Enjoy – and please feel free to share and use in any way you wish.


(My grateful thanks to Steve Bowkett for his wonderful sense of humour.)





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