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.
Who is it for?
We will be able to administer the check during the week of the 15th to 19th June 2015. If a child is absent during that week, the school can administer the check up until Friday 26th June 2015.
How is the 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 which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have.
Often more able children struggle with the concept of the “alien word” you may wish to describe the nonsense word to them as the alien’s name to make it more approachable and to avoid them trying to mold the word into one from their know vocabulary.
Is it stressful to test 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 a teacher carries 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 of many schools, and are included in many phonics programmes. 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 long does the check take?
Every child is different but in most cases the check should take approximately 10 minutes per child but there is no time limit.
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. If your child does not reach the required level, we will tell you what provision we are going to be making at the end of Year 1 and beginning of Year 2 to help this be addressed and also how you can support us in developing this key skill.
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. Additional support is already in place for those children who will require support for the phonics screening.
If your child requires extra help then we will inform you of this. As parents you will continue to be kept well informed of your child’s progress in all aspects of reading including phonic development in Year 2. This will be specifically commented on during Parent Consultation Evenings.
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 texts 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
Use phonics play www.phonicsplay.co.uk
. This is a website which is packed with interactive phonics games to help children to learn to hear sounds and blend sounds. We use this in school and some aspects of it are free to use at home.
Help your child to practice reading the pseudo words which will be sent home.
Communicate with your child’s teacher through their reading record.
What shall I do if my child is struggling to decode?
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, 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.