During June each year, children in Year 1 and some children in Year 2 in the UK will take a reading exercise which is a statutory assessment called the phonics screening. This test consists of 40 words; 20 real words and 20 'nonsense' or 'alien' words which children use their phonics to read. The children do not need to be able to spell the words they simple have to read them.
The Phonic Check comprises of a list of 40 words and nonsense words. It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learnt through reception and year 1. Your child will read one‐one with a teacher. Your child will read up to 4 words per page and they will probably do the check in 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
The assessment will be age appropriate and the adults involved will all be familiar. The children at Chilvers are familiar with the set up as we are constantly reviewing children’s progress in the same way. It should be an enjoyable activity for children which takes no more than 15 minutes. There will be a few practise words at the beginning to make sure your child understands the activity.
Nonsense words are words that are phonetically decodable but not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. These words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your 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. This will make the check a bit more fun and provides the children with a context for the nonsense word. Crucially it does not provide any clues, so your child has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.
You will be informed of your child's progress in phonics and how he or she has done in the screening check, towards the end of the summer term in their annual school report. All of the children are individuals and develop at different stages. The screening check ensures that teachers understand which children need support with decoding.
Below is some more information about how the check is taken and how you can support your child at home in preparation.
On this page you will find information and resources to help your children