NAPLAN 3 for Little Albany

Time flies. Little Albany is no longer little. She is already 7 years old and is doing her second year in primary school. A visit to Angie's lately got us into the conversation of NAPLAN preparation, some test thing her son completed a few months ago. Apparently, they give little kids their first test at year 3. That means, Albany would be doing one in the middle of next year.

So what do I do?

I have never thought of preparing her for any sort of exams so far. Am I irresponsible as a parent? Perhaps. At times, I still mistaken her as the same baby who stuck to me like glue. I carried her in my arms the other day and went to a wall with some photographs of me and her taken between her birth and her first birthday. We went through it together and realised she was so tiny back then and the girl I was struggling to hold in my arms had grown so much.

I got curious and printed a set of NAPLAN3 papers. Ok. There were 4 categories:

  • Reading
  • Language convention
  • Numeracy
  • Writing

Since she was having a 2 week holiday, I decided it was a good idea to let her try out that set of sample exam. I was a little curious how she would fare, especially on the writing component, as I had never gotten her to write anything at that point. Needless to say, she wasn't enjoying the experience. She cried halfway through her first test, the reading component. I asked and she said because she didn't know how to do a few particular questions. I did the usual parent thing, telling her it was alright and explained to her I wanted to know where she stood and there was no consequence whatsoever to the results of her test.

The next day, we did language convention - cried

And the next, we did numeracy - cried

We had a 2 weeks break. What I really didn't want to see was her crying over a piece of blank paper during her writing test and then tell me she didn't know what to write. That would be a really tough nut to crack. I went through all 3 components on the day of completion and explained to her where her mistakes were and various methods we could use to arrive at the correct answer. I would only know how effective my teaching was when we attempt the second test. At least she still appeared interested and paid attention. So that was a positive sign.

When we finally get to the writing component I was nervous. Face it, this isn't an easy area for parents to impart wisdom onto. It would be inevitable I have to dive into it eventually. However, I secretly hope I wouldn't have to start from base zero - a blank paper. 

To encourage her, I told Albany that I would write a story based on the same topic together with her. We would then exchange our stories and learn from each other. She seemed a little excited about that idea so I congratulated myself on the good idea. 

So her test began.

That was the writing topic of the day.

Imagine my surprise when she began writing shortly after. I was lying on the sofa taking a few glances every now and then.

"Why aren't you writing, daaadddddy?" Albany soon called out.

"Erm, I'll write soon. Daddy is fast you know?" I replied.

I joined her 10 minutes later at the table. I noticed she had already wrote a page of stuff. I was very curious but I told myself to wait until the test was over. So I sat down and tried to do my side of the deal. 

1 minute passed. Nothing in my head. I started to scratch my hair and looked around.

Another minute passed. Still nothing. That was bad. I realised I hadn't been writing anything. Anything at all. Not even a thrashy blog post. How long was it I wrote my last fiction, children story? It must have been decades.

I tried writing my first sentence. It was a simple short sentence. I looked at it and shrugged. At least it was something. I could probably build on that and try creating something. Hopefully it would be interesting enough for Albany to read later. So both of us scribbled furiously till the end of the test.

Albany's first ever attempt writing a story:

And my first attempt since ... forever,

We exchanged our stories and read. Albany said she loved my story.

However that night, we heard her wail loudly in bed. Upon checking, she said she had a nightmare. When I asked her for details, she said she dreamt of my story and cried at the "frightening part."

I apologised to her and told her I would use Anthony's name in future instead. She said, "But I don't want him to disappear too." I hugged her and explained to her it was just a story. That was a stark reminder how the words of parents affect kids in more profound ways that we notice. I told myself to be mindful and use that knowledge positively.

Till our next story exchange day...


  1. Hi asingaporeanson,

    Years on, it's nice to see you blogging truly as ever, and both your children growing up vivaciously.

  2. may i suggest astronomy. nothing quite like the wonders of physics firing up one's interest in math and science. -R

  3. hello! saw the news about the inferno in Australia and thought about you. It has been awhile since your last update. I hope you and your family are well. (:

  4. Nick

    you ok? been pretty quiet.