The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with the class teacher. Non-words (or made up words, or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.
The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn't think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!).
Scoring and communicating the results.
Your child will be scored against a national standard, and the main result will be whether or not they fall below or within this standard.
What can you do to help prepare your child for the Phonics Screening Check?
You can help your child prepare for their Phonics Screening Check by going over the phonics they’ve learned in Reception and Year 1. Read new books and stories with them where they will be introduced to new words that they’ll have to sound out, and review the phonics sounds and rules. In past years we have found that some children have been less confident with the pseudo words. As a result this year we have focused on developing strategies to enable the children to approach these words successfully. These are:
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