Phonics Screening Check
What is the phonic screening check?
In the summer term of Year 1, the children complete a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short, light-touch assessment introduced by the Government for the first time in 2012 to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.
The screening comprises a list of 40 real and nonsense-words (pseudo words), which your child read one-to-one with a teacher. Pseudo words allow the assessment to focus purely on decoding phonic knowledge. As pseudo-words are new to all children, they do not favour those with a good vocab knowledge or large sight word memory. The words in the screening incorporate phonics skills acquired by the children in both Year One and Reception. It is conducted in a quiet room without distractions.
Section 1 of the test comprises 12 pseudo-words and 8 real words. It focuses on GPCs that are usually introduced first to children learning to decode using phonics.
Section 2 of the test comprises 8 pseudo-words and 12 real words. It focuses on GPCs that are introduced later, and graphemes that correspond to more than one phoneme.
Nonsense / Pusedo words
These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.
The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.