The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
The phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.
It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that schools can track children until they are able to decode. This us undertaken in all state schools in Year 1 and for children in year 2 who did not meet the year 1 standard. They are administered internally by teachers.
The phonics screening check is a short and simple assessment of phonic decoding. It consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half non-words, which Year 1 children read to a teacher. Administering the assessment usually takes between four and nine minutes per child.
Non-words (made up words) are included because they will be new to all children, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Children who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word. The non-words are presented alongside a picture of an imaginary creature, and children can be told the non-word is the name of that type of creature. This helps children to understand the non-word should not be matched to their existing vocabulary.
Examples of words include star, shelf.
Examples of non-words include dov, vead.
The threshold has been 32 words out of 40 (80%) since the test began in 2012 and is likely to remain as this