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Phonics Screening Check - A Guide for Parents

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and to identify the sounds that different combination of letters make such as ‘sh’ and ‘oo’. Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate phonemes (sounds). They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word.



What is the Phonics Screening Check?

The National phonics screening check is a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils and is a check of your child's phonics knowledge.


Who is it for?

All year 1 pupils and some year 2 pupils will take the phonics screening check in 2019 during the week beginning Monday 10th June 2019.


What is in the phonics screening check?

  • It is a list of 40 'real' and 'nonsense' words.

  • It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learnt through reception and year 1.

  • Your child will read one‐one with their current teacher so it is a familiar face.

  • The test will last roughly 10‐15 minutes.

  • They will be asked to ‘sound out’ a word and blend the sounds together. The check is very similar to tasks the children already complete during phonics lessons.


What are Nonsense words and why are they included?

These are words that are phonetically decodable but not actual words with a meaning e.g. brip, snorb. These words are included in the check specifically to assess whether you child can decode a word using phonic skills and not their memory. The nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. The children will be asked what the aliens name is by reading the word.


Will I find out my child's result?

You will be informed of your child's progress in phonics and how he or she has done in the screening check on their end of year report.


What happens if my child does not pass?

The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of year 1 and who therefore need help. The school will provide extra help to support your children and children will then be able to re‐take the assessment in year 2.


How can I help my child?

There are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading development:

  • Let your child see you enjoy reading yourself.

  • Encourage your child to read at home and enjoy reading.

  • Make time for your child to read their school book to you every day.

  • With all books, encourage your child to sound out and blend new words.

  • There are many phonic games for children to access on the computer. Such as:-




We hope this information is useful. Remember, we are here to help your child achieve their very best. If you have any questions please ask your child's class teacher. We are all happy to help.



Ms Sheila Kirrane
Head of School (Infants)

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