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Phonics Screening

Phonics Screening


You know the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is coming up, but what is it?

How is it scored?

And, perhaps most importantly, how can you help your child prepare for it?

What is the phonics screening?

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 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 up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.

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 which are referred to as pseudo words.

What are non-sense/alien or pseudo words? Why are they included?


These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words. Alien 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 asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.

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.

How to help my child with phonics?

This website will help with phonics and Read Write Inc. 

Games to play at home: