Burt Reading Test

I just wanted to post this to make a note to see how much progress Skylar makes with reading without continuing to use a reading scheme.  School informed me that she was in the bottom struggling set for numeracy and literacy, and despite me telling them she seemed to be making great progress with reading and her ‘Biff Kip and Chipper’ reading books weren’t challenging enough, they didn’t move her up any levels. I haven’t done any structured reading practice with her since she left school but her interest in reading seems to be growing naturally now that she isn’t being forced to do it. I have just done a reading age test with her, which says she has a reading age of 8 years and 4 months. (She’s 6 years and 10 months). Maybe I’ll test her again when she is 8, and if she hasn’t made any progress by 9 then we’ll try some structure with reading but I think it is all completely unnecessary. Given some of the best schools around the world don’t start formal learning until aged 7, I think I can give her a break and just let her enjoy picture books for now. I think, if she had been home educated from the start, she probably wouldn’t be reading yet. Home educated children tend to read later (obviously there are exceptions) but with much more enthusiasm. There is a good article about autonomous reading here.

If anyone would like to try the Burt reading test, I found it here.

Print out two copies. One for you, one for the reader. Read in rows from left to right. Subtly circle any word on your sheet that they get wrong, and once you have circled 10 words you stop. Then add up all the words they have read correctly and check against the chart.

I’m not a fan of this kind of testing in school, because the school simply do not have the resources to know when the child has made a developmental leap, and the results of these tests can vary depending on the child’s mood or what they had for lunch, or if they are simply an anxious child who can sense they are being tested. And they often use these results for ability streaming which I am strongly against.  But informally at home I think it’s a useful tool.


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