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GSO Test

Phonics Screening Check

What is Phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and to identify the sounds that different combination of letters make such as ‘sh’ and ‘oo’. Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate phonemes (sounds). They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word.

What is the Phonics Screening Check?

In June, the children in Year 1 will sit their Phonics screening test.

This will involve the children using the sounds they have learnt in phonics lessons to decode and read a range of real words and 'alien' words (made up words).

The work we are doing in our Phonics lessons  throughout the year will be preparing the children for their Phonics Screening Test.

How do children complete the Phonics Screening Check?

The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds 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. Miss Conneely 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 were their name (and so your child doesn't think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!).

You can download the Department for Education's official Year 1 Phonics screening check past paper from 2012201320142015201620172018 and 2019 to get an idea of what your child will be asked to do.


Does my child have to take the check?

Yes – all students in Year 1 in England must take the Screening Check.

Will I find out my child's result?

You will be informed of your child's progress in phonics and how they have done in the screening check on their end of year report.

What happens if my child does not pass?

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 help. The school will provide extra help to support your children and children will then be able to re‐take the assessment in year 2.

How can I help my child prepare?

  • Let your child see you enjoy reading yourself.

  • Encourage your child to read at home and enjoy reading.

  • Make time for your child to read their school book to you every day.

  • With all books, encourage your child to sound out and blend new words.

  • There are many phonic games for children to access on the computer. Such as:- 

    Reading eggs



  • Click here to access the revision lesson playlist on Youtube. 
  • Ensure that we modelling reading to your child  that each phoneme is articulated clearly and precisely. Each sound needs to be said sharply and clipped: “D” not “DER” “M” not “MER” for accuracy in blending.