All six-year-olds in English state schools are to have compulsory reading tests, the government has announced.
Following a pilot study of 300 primary schools, the tests are to be rolled out to all schools from next summer.
The assessments are designed to establish how well children are able to read using phonetics to decode unfamiliar words, with the aim of identifying those who are struggling to develop their reading skills.
The test, which is opposed by unions and the UK Literacy Association (UKLA), has been criticised for including fake words among the 40 words children are asked to work through in a one-to-one session with a teacher that takes between four and nine minutes.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: "The evidence from the pilot is clear; thousands of six-year-olds, who would otherwise slip through the net, will get the extra reading help they need."
Yet some have argued that the non-words will confuse children and though the test results will not be published nationally, could lead to teaching to the test instead of teaching children to read using alternative methods.
Posted by Tim Colman