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Ruswarp Church of England Primary School Think for Yourself and Act for Others

Year 1 Phonics Screening Information

What is the phonics screening check?

The national phonics screening test was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. The check is very similar to tasks the children already complete during phonics lessons. The focus of the check is to provide evidence of children’s decoding and blending skills, not to test their vocabulary. It aims to identify the children who need extra help with certain sounds or blends so that they can be given support by school to improve their reading skills.


Who is it for?

All Year 1 pupils in the country will take the phonics screening check in 2018 during the week beginning Monday 11th June. If your child is absent during this time, they can take the screening check up to 22nd June 2018.


How is the check structured?

It comprises a list of 40 words and non-words (which the children know as ‘alien’ or ‘monster’ words) and your child will read one-to-one with myself. Half of the words test phonic skills which are usually covered in the Reception year, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills.


Why are non-words included in the screening check?

Non-words are an established assessment method in many schools, and are included in many phonics programmes. They are included because they will be new to all pupils, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Pupils who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word.


How long does the check take?

Every child is different but in most cases the check should take no longer than 15 minutes per child.


How will the results from the phonics screening check be used?

Schools have to inform parents towards the end of the summer term in Year 1 of their child’s results. At Ruswarp the results will be sent home as soon as they are finalised.


What happens if a child struggles with the screening check?

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 extra help. In the Learners’ and Explorers’ classes we often check phonic development within our approach to the assessment of reading. This screening forms part of our overall assessment procedure.


How can I help my child?

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


Let your child see you enjoying reading yourself – they are influenced by you and what you value!

Immerse your child in a love of reading: share books and magazines with your child, take them to the library to choose books and read to them regularly.

Encourage your child by pointing to the words and ask them about the story they are reading.

Help your child to practise reading key words and sounds when these are sent home.

Make up nonsense (alien) words for names of toys or things around the home.

Play games online:


Please find electronic versions of the words used in the ‘live’ screening during the Summers of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 for your assistance in helping your child, this information is also freely available on the government website.