Phonics Screening Check
"The Year 1 phonics screening check is not a formal test, but a way for teachers to ensure that children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills to read words and that they are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning."
1. What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill. The check will consist of 40 words, 20 real and 20 non-real words.
2 .What is in the phonics screening check?
There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. The check usually takes about 10 minutes.
3. What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?
It is a compulsory, school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child’s level of skills.
There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.
4. What does it check?
It checks that your child can:
- Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
- Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
- Read a selection of nonsense words (also known as 'alien words')
5. What are nonsense words and why are they included?
These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. These words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.
The nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.
6. What happens to the results?
The school will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority, but the results won’t be published in a league table as with SATs. If you have any concerns, do talk to your teacher about this in a parents’ meeting or after school.
7. What should I do if my child is struggling to decode a word?
- Say each sound in the word from left to right.
- Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, i.e. /b/ in bat, or letter group, i.e. /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound, then run your finger under the whole word as you say it. We also use sound buttons to make it clear which letters are working together.
- Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read.
- Work at your child’s pace.
- Always be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement.
Phonics play - there are several free games to play that will help your child with their blending and segmenting.
Phonics Games - A variety of different interactive games