Phonics screening check

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By Rosie Huckle

The phonics screening test was introduced in 2012 as part of a drive to improve reading standards. It is administered to all Year 1 children as a way of assessing whether their phonics decoding skills are age-appropriate, and identifying those children who need extra help.


The systematic teaching of phonics starts in Reception, and gives children a secure knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences. They can use this knowledge both to blend phonemes to make words, and as the main approach to decoding unfamiliar words they come across in their reading.

Of course, a secure grasp of phonics – assessed by the phonics check – is just part of the bigger picture of learning to read. By providing experiences of quality texts and helping children develop a wide and varied vocabulary, teachers instil a love of books and reading.

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