Year 1 Phonics Screening check
Week beginning 12th June 2023
“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.”
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.
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. Your child will read four words per page for their teacher, and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes. There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.
How can I help?
Please take time to read through the words in your child’s sounds folder regularly.
Continue to read with your child, every night if possible.
Look for the ‘special friends’ (digraphs, trigraphs or split vowel sounds) in words when you read your child’s reading book together or any other book, comic or sign.
Useful Phonics Websites
Phonics Games – A variety of different interactive games
Phonics play – there are several free games to play that will help your child with their blending and segmenting.
PhonicsPlay – Phase 3 Resources PhonicsPlay – Phase 5 Resources
What does it check?
It checks that your child can:
- Sound out and blend graphemes to read simple words.
- Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
- Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.
What are nonsense or pseudo 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. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.
The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster, and they will be told that these words do not make sense and are just the names of the monsters. 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 words amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.
Is there a pass mark?
The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will tailor support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.
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, then please speak to your child’s teacher.
Do all schools and children have to participate?
All schools and academies in England must take part in the phonics screening check unless they are an independent school. There is a process in place for reviewing children with special educational needs, so if your child’s teacher thinks there are very special reasons related to your child and their needs that make them think the phonics screening check may not be appropriate, they will decide on appropriate action and discuss this with you.