Questions about the Phonics Screening Check?

What is the Phonics Screening Check?

The phonics screening check is given to all children at the end of Year One. It consists of 40 words of which 20 are non-words and 20 are ‘real’ words. Children are asked to read and the words to check they can accurately decode.

What is a non-word?

‘Spet’, ‘flub’ and ‘sprent’ are all non words. They don’t make any sense but we bet you can read them! It is the most accurate way to check a child can decode (break a word into its sounds (phonemes) and blend (or glue) them together to read).

But why don’t they use real words?

By using non words it ensures a child knows how to use their decoding skills and not any other strategies, like remembering the shape of the word or guessing from the picture. It is the most reliable way to accurately assess that a child has mastered the essential Synthetic Phonics skill of decoding.

What is counted as a correct answer?

The department for Education created this video to help teachers understand what is an acceptable answer or not. You should apply this same logic when your child is taking our test.

What can I do to help my child?

Practice decoding! Use resources like Phonics Hero, that you can trust to be 100% decodable.