What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check?
The Phonics Screening Check is taken individually by all children in England, in June of Year 1. It is designed to give teachers, parents and carers information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.
The check consists of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read, one-to-one, with a teacher. Non-words (or 'nonsense' words or 'alien' words) are a collection of letters that will follow the phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds in order 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 was their name (and so your child doesn't think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!).