Year 1 Phonics Screening Check: A guide for parents

What is the phonics screening check?

The national phonics screening check a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in the phonics skills to read words and are on track to become fluent readers.

The screening check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then we will discuss this at parents evening and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child improves their reading skills. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. In our school we already identify individual children who need extra support and provide early intervention support, however we do have to comply with statutory requirements.

Any child who is not at the required level at the end of Year 1 will continue to have additional support to ensure that they are given every opportunity to develop their phonic skills and so, their ability to read.

 

When is the phonics screening check administered?

The screening check will be administered during the week of the 13th to 17th June 2016.

How is the screening check structured?

The check consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half nonsense words, the nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word.

Is it stressful to screen such young children?

The assessment will be age-appropriate, with children sitting with a teacher and reading one-to-one. It should be an enjoyable activity for children which will take no more than 10 minutes.

Does a teacher have to carry out the screening check?

Yes, it is important that our teachers carry out the check with the pupils in our school.

Why are nonsense words included in the screening check?

Nonsense words are an established assessment method, and are included in our phonics lessons. 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. This is a test of a child’s ability to decode using phonics. Children who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word.

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

We have to inform parents towards the end of the summer term in Year 1 of their child’s results. We will let you know in our end of year summary report how your child did and if there is anything that you need to do to help your child improve. 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. We will then provide extra help at the end of Year 1 and in Year 2 and children will then be able to re-take the assessment in Year 2.

How can I help my child?

In school we are continually checking your children’s phonic development within our approach to the assessment of reading. This screening forms part of our overall assessment procedure. However, 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, read to them regularly, point out words around you, e.g. in the street etc.
  • Make time for your child to read school books to you regularly – encourage them by pointing to the words and ask them about the story they are reading
  • Help your child to practice reading the words and pseudo words which will be sent home.
  • Communicate with your child’s teacher through their reading record
  • Attend our Y1 and Y2 Parent meetings

 

What shall I do if my child is struggling to decode?

Please ask your child’s teacher for specific help.

Generally speaking, remember to 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, and then run your finger under the whole word as you say it.

Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read.

Work at your child’s pace and have FUN!

Remember! We are here to help your child to do their very best and develop a fluency and love of reading.