Phonics Screening check

The check is designed to give teachers 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.

Information about the phonics screening check


The phonics screening check contains 40 words divided into two sections of 20 words. Both sections contain a mixture of real words and pseudo-words.

Pseduo-words are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning.

Pseudo-words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using their phonics skills.

All pseudo-words in the check are accompanied by a picture of an imaginary creature. Children are taught that when a word has a creature next to it, it is a pseudo-word. This is to ensure that they are not trying to match the pseudo-word to a word in their vocabulary.

What is the Phonics Screening Check | A Guide for Parents

What is the Phonics Screening Check? A Guide for Parents The phonics screening check or phonics screening test is a statutory check which was introduced by the government in 2012 and administered to children in Year 1 towards the end of the summer term.

Do I need to do anything to prepare my child for the check?


Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading and books. Parents, carers and family members play a very important part in helping with this and as a school we really appreciate all your support.

You can highlight any tricky or less familiar sounds when you read with your child. If you are unsure of these please speak to your child's teacher. Sometimes focus sounds may be recorded within your child's reading record as a weekly target.

With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right rather than looking at the pictures to guess. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help them to follow the story.

Your child’s teacher will also be able to suggest books with the right level of phonics for your child, or games and activities that can support their reading skills. These books are often called ‘decodable readers’ because the story is written with words made up of the letters your child has learnt. Your child will be able to work out new words from their letters and sounds, rather than just guessing.


Sometimes your child will have sound cards or words within their reading folder, you can practice by reading these words and sounds regularly.