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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:21 am 
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I'm having a new crisis....this time with DS2 . He is a reluctant reader, only reading if I read with him and then getting him to read every other page.Anyway, he told me this morning he had taken a reading test, which I assumed to be the reading age test....on asking it was confirmed to be the Burt Test and his reading age is apparently 8 yrs 8 months although his chronological age is 9 yrs 0 mths.

I feel really upset...like crying actually. This has never been flagged up before, and although I don't remember his exact previous levels, he has always scored above his actual age....so why has he dropped now ? Can someone explain what the reading age means....it's significance etc ? I know I can start doing lots of reading with him at home .....I suppose I'm just worried that perhaps he is a bit dim......I had been feeling he was doing so well , his spelling has improved , he has wanted to work through the VR books and getting them all correct...so it's a shock Do you think it is just connected to not reading regularly ? The school now want DS to start the reading recovery.....I know he's only in yr 4, but I feel now the 11 plus may be an unobtainable dream for him. :(


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:48 am 
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Hi Scarlet,

The Burt Reading test is quite old and in the public domain, so if you google it, you can have a look at the content and mark scheme. It is a straightforward reading test with no comprehension involved. These days most schools use more sophisticated reading tests.

The sorts of words at this level are

emergency, events, steadiness, nourishment, fringe
formulate, scarcely, universal, commenced, overwhelmed

Just keep up with the reading and it'll improve. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:04 am 
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Hi Mitasol....thanks for that.Yes, I did look at the Burt test, I noticed it was dated 1974 so perhaps I had to read the words when I was at primary too !

I decided to ring up our HT re his previous tests etc, rather then just worrying ( and spending the day on here !) and she seemed on the ball re DS...she explained his comprehension was good and the test didn't tally with his national curriculum level, so will get out her special box of books for reluctant boy readers and although she said he didn't need the Reading Recovery, as there is now a space due to DD not needing it,so if I wanted he could do it ( which I do )............I think it helped that I was booing down the phone ! :oops: She also felt he was scanning the pages when he read perhaps looking forward to harder words which wasn't helping.It is practice, though isn't it ! :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:10 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:52 pm
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Don't panic, Scarlett!
You can do the Burt test yourself online (and yes, it's ancient! You probably did it yourself at school.) Get your son to do it again at home with you and you may discover he does a lot better in a more relaxed environment.
And 4 months in reading age isn't really very much - it could just have been a bad day.
Get him reading a bit more over the holiday - and talking about what he's reading. It's reading with understanding that matters in the 11+ not the simple word recognition that Burt tests.
Go with your gut instinct. You know whether your kids can read. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:14 am 
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scarlett wrote:
Hi Mitasol....thanks for that.Yes, I did look at the Burt test, I noticed it was dated 1974 so perhaps I had to read the words when I was at primary too !

I decided to ring up our HT re his previous tests etc, rather then just worrying ( and spending the day on here !) and she seemed on the ball re DS...she explained his comprehension was good and the test didn't tally with his national curriculum level, so will get out her special box of books for reluctant boy readers and although she said he didn't need the Reading Recovery, as there is now a space due to DD not needing it,so if I wanted he could do it ( which I do )............I think it helped that I was booing down the phone ! :oops: She also felt he was scanning the pages when he read perhaps looking forward to harder words which wasn't helping.It is practice, though isn't it ! :)

And what is wrong with spending the day on here? I look forward to a Scarlett related reading crisis with my morning coffee.
Hurrumph ...

[glad you got it sorted out really - well done you. :D ]


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:22 am
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Aaaah, thanks PPmum....and I look forward to my 11 plus friends helping me out ! :) Feel better now and have my legs sticking out the back door in the sun...so at least I'll have nice brown " socks !"

DS can read the words and understand a story, so it's not all bad.....just the fluency really. Will have to read every day with him and get him interested again in reading.He was on a reading scheme at pre school and had read all their books by the age of 4, so I don't know what's happened ! :(

Thanks again. Such a relief to be able to come on here and get advice and find people who have similar issues too.I can't keep boring my friends....they all make the right sympathetic noises whilst secretly thinking ohhhhhh , how awful ! Scarlett's son hasn't a reading age of 25 like mine !!!!! :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:58 pm 
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I would just put in one word of caution if your DS is scoring lower on individual word reading tests than on comprehension tests. It could easily have been just a bad day, but do watch that his decoding is up with his comprehension. Some children are bright enough to compensate for decoding problems by using the context to work out what a word is - or, more dangerously, to make a (wrong) assumption about what a word is. But you can only succeed in this to a certain level, and you end up with children who reach a stage where there reading falters, or whose reading is consistently slightly inaccurate. Listen to your DS reading words (of an appropriate level of difficulty) out of context, and establish if he is reading the sounds correctly, in the right order and is not missing out or adding in any sounds. If he is doing this, then he has a decoding problem and I would recommend (as was recommended to me in the past) Reading Reflex by the McGuinnesses (Google it). Incidentally, if your DS is only going to do VR for his 11+, then accurate reading of words out of context is critical.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:31 am 
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Hi Scarlett
I'm sure it's all fine, and either a fluke of that test on that day for some reason or other, or something that will be easily put right with a bit of extra reading. I've rambled on a bit below with some other potential solutions, but my gut feeling is you will be posting in two weeks time saying you find some great books he loved reading during the Easter Hols, and you're pretty sure his reading age is now about 15.

I'm probably being unfair about the school, but if your school is like mine, I think that if you did not read much at home, and once you were past the initial beginning to read phase, you could go to school all day every day and not boost your reading age. Reading in any shape or form does not seem to figure much at DD's school, and if you had been placed in a lower group for whatever reason, the written material that would be put in front of you would be of a fairly low level.

It sounds from what you say that he was an early reader, so hopefully it isn't some kind of "de-coding" problem. But if it was and you wanted to give it some kind of quick fix then you could try a book called Toe by Toe and carefully pick some exercises from it yourself. It's not intended to be used that way, (one is supposed to work through it from beginning to end) but if for example you think your DS2 is guessing wildly on more complex multi-syllabic words some of the nonsense word exercises in there will help.

It is a very thorough book that is designed to get all ages learning to read from scratch up to a very high level. It is what is used in some schools when children hit some kind of reading problem. But it is not Reading Recovery. Toe by Toe is phonics based, not multicueing. There's a lot of controversy about whether Reading Recovery (and I don't know if your school uses the word Reading Recovery loosely or not, but the true Reading Recovery is not phonics based) is a good programme or not. If your son hates Toe by Toe and the reading age was just a fluke, I would use it very sparingly. But if he quite likes it, Toe by Toe can boost reading ages very significantly in a short space of time, without your child ever having to read a book!!

You can read loads of reviews of it on A*****.

The other method of getting a quick boost in reading age is as you say by reading. If you read posts in TES primary forum by a former headteacher and educational researcher called Eddie Carron you will see that he has developed a free CD which has on it a lot of interesting reading matter. He calls it an Electronic Library. He has done this as part of a research project for schools as he is convinced that if schools use his method 97.5% of children could be level 5 readers by the end of KS2. He might be able to send you the disc, or someone else on there who has downloaded the disc might be able to send you their old one. He recognises that some children are motivated by the reading being computer based. Once children are enjoying reading on the computer and have improved their reading ages he reckons they will be far more motivated to use a real library.

Another thing I have seen stunning results with is a boy who got very interested in reading and massively increased his reading age in year 5/6 through following books which were also on CD. He did it with ?Artemis Fowl? . In the first book of the series he could barely read them. But then by following on CD he just massively improved. He then got to a point in the series where it was not available on CD, and as he was desperate to read the next books he did so without the CD. It can be difficult buying books on CD as sometimes they have been abridged which is useless for following from the unabridged books. It gets expensive with much longer books too. But hopefully it's a stepping stone and one you need only use for a brief period.

Does the school do annual reading age tests, or do they just do a few random things when the fancy takes them? I got a print-out of part of my DD1's school assessments at the last parents' evening. Reading age was on there at the beginning of year 2, but not in year R or year 1. So I don't know if it was a random one-off, or part of a new and regular system, or just something they do from time to time for the children of nightmare parents :roll:


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:19 am 
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Location: East Kent
I wouldn't worry too much about the result. Reading ages have quite wide confidence levels, on some the actual RA can be 4 months either way.

if you work it out as a quotient by dividing reading age ( 8.67 months) by chronological age ( 9.0) and multiplying by 100

you get 96 where 'average' is 85 to 115 ( 2 standard deviations) so he is within the spread of an average reader.

As you say he is a reluctant reader I would concentrate on that. Audio Books as mentioned are excellent.
What are his interests? Non fiction books, newspapers articles, magazines etc related to his hobbies/interests ( even reviews of x box games) are all good reading material.

My son loved joke books.

edited to add

Burt is ancient! If I remember correctly one of the words is phthisis...I had to look it up !


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:17 am 
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Ooh that's a good one for Scrabble. I presume some schools adminster ancient tests because they are cheap / free?


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