6 common ways fluent readers lose marks on the reading SATs paper
![alt text](/filestore/BlogImage/aa627838-1123-4c2b-9c5a-28ae0496e464/92d18a37-96dc-4e83-a2aa-d6559e732fc5SATsmistakesreadingblogimage.jpg "Reading SATs") Darryl Keane has worked in education for well over a decade. During his time as a teacher, Darryl was an examiner for Pearson, marking hundreds of SATs papers from children all over the country. We asked him what the most common mistakes and misconceptions are on the Reading SATs paper. ## 1. Timing Although sometimes an issue in other papers, the one-hour time limit for the reading paper is always challenging. Many children struggle to answer all of the questions on the reading paper and these children miss out on a substantial proportion of the available marks. Children need to build reading stamina and fluency to be able to quickly read, understand and then respond accurately to questions about each text. Our longer reading Question Sets [Mission to Mars](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Guided-Read-Science-Fiction-Mission-to-Mars) and [Danger from the Nile](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Guided-Read-Historical-Fiction-Danger-from-the-Nile) help to build stamina to allow children to maximise their marks. You can also create your own ‘reading papers’ using our [question collection feature ](https://www.lbq.org/HelpVideos)to create a challenging collection of different texts and questions. ## 2. Not using the text to answer questions Many children will attempt to answer questions from memory and need specific opportunities to practise using scanning and skimming skills to locate particular sections of text. Difficulties can also arise when children are given line or paragraph references, but the children then base their answers on different sections of the texts. Children often lose marks if they ‘find and copy’ only partial phrases or include slight variations from the actual text. For example, writing ‘babies’ instead of ‘young’ demonstrates a good understanding of the text but can cause lost marks. All of our ‘Short Reads’ retrieval sets include opportunities for children to find and copy particular phrases and they are given immediate feedback to guide them towards a particular phrase or section of text. For example in [Ancient Egyptian Inventions](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Short-Reads-Non-fiction-Ancient-Egyptian-Inventions-2-Retrieval). ![alt text](/filestore/BlogImage/aa627838-1123-4c2b-9c5a-28ae0496e464/43bc825e-bdf2-413e-ae22-c8353836a1d4InventionsQuestion.JPG "Inventions") ##3. Not reading the question! An ironic issue for the reading paper. An obvious - yet all too common - mistake which isn’t just applicable to the reading paper. Due to time pressure, children often skim-read questions and miss key instructional words such as ‘not’. Particularly problematic questions are those which require children to ‘tick all...’ or ‘tick two...’ statements. Our Question Sets provide many of these types of questions, for example, in [Is There Life on Other Planets?](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Short-Reads-Non-fiction-Is-There-Life-on-Other-Planets-2-Retrieval) ![alt text](/filestore/BlogImage/aa627838-1123-4c2b-9c5a-28ae0496e464/3c51434b-9128-4440-bcc4-5ebc58badacePlanetscapture.JPG "Planets") ## 4. Not giving enough evidence or repeating points in extended answers Children often lose potential marks by not giving enough evidence to justify viewpoints. Children may also waste valuable time repeating points that they have already made in a slightly different way. Using direct quotes from the text is a skill that can help children use precise evidence to support their answers. All of our ‘Short Reads’ Question Sets give children opportunities to develop this skill, providing model answers so that children can instantly self-check their own extended answers. ## 5. Being confident to express their own opinions When children encounter a ‘Why do you think...?’ type question, they often lack the confidence to put forward their own viewpoint or commit to an opinion. Looking at the mark schemes can help with this so that children can see there are often several plausible answers. Our Question Sets often include these type of questions so that children can develop the confidence to offer a viewpoint, giving evidence to justify their opinion. For example, in this question from[ Ice Dragon](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Short-Reads-Fiction-Ice-Dragon-3-Inference). ## 6. Inference Even though children naturally use inference skills in everyday life, when it comes to inferring from texts children often struggle to pick up maximum points. Inference usually accounts for as many marks as retrieval questions (if not more), so mastering this skill is a priority. All of our ‘Short Reads’ texts include dedicated inference question sets. For example: [The Ice Dragon](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Short-Reads-Fiction-Ice-Dragon-3-Inference) [Kali Learns to Swim ](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Short-Reads-Fiction-Kali-Learns-to-Swim-3-Inference) [Daft Dog’s Day Out](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Short-Reads-Fiction-Daft-Dogs-Day-Out-3-Inference) [The Aliens of Ashworth Primary](https://www.lbq.org/Questions/UserQuestionSetPreview/Short-Reads-Fiction-The-Aliens-of-Ashworth-Primary-3-Inference) If you would like access to all the Question Sets mentioned in this article and over 1,000 other Question Sets covering curriculum aligned topics in maths, science and English, [register for a free account today](http://www.lbq.org/TryLbQ/).