Y1 Phonics Screening Information
INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS
What is phonics?
There has been a big shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in school. This is having a huge impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading.
Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
We are using Jolly Phonics in Reception and the Letters and Sounds document in Year 1 and 2 to support the children with their reading and phonetic awareness.
What is the phonics screening check?
The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is 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 who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.
The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments” that take about four to nine minutes to complete.
Our results for 2018* showed that 94% of pupils at the end of Year 1 gained the required grade in the phonics tests whereas nationally it was 81%. All children who do not reach the required level have additional support to ensure that they are given every opportunity to develop their phonic skills and hence their ability to read.
*The phonics screening checks were not carried out in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When does the Year 1 phonics screening check take place?
All Year 1 pupils will take the phonics screening check during the week commencing June 2021.
How is the check structured?
It comprises a list of 40 words and non-words, which the children know as ‘alien’ or ‘monster’ words. Your child will read one-to-one with their teacher. They will be asked to ‘sound out’ the word and blend the sounds together to read the word. The words will be presented as a booklet with up to 4 words per page. Non-words will be presented with a colourful picture of an alien. The children will be asked what the aliens name is by reading the pseudo word. This will make the check a bit more fun and provides the children with a context for these non-words. 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.
Half the words cover phonic skills which are usually covered in Reception, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills.
Does a teacher have to carry out the screening check?
Yes, it is important that a teacher carries out the check with the pupils in our school.
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 Audley Primary School the results form part of the end of year reporting. All of the children are individuals and develop at different stages. The results of the screening check will assist teachers to identify which children will need further support with decoding.
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. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term. At Audley Primary School 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.
- 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 practise reading key words and sounds when these are sent.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher through their Home/School reading.
- Make up nonsense (alien) words for names of toys or things around them.