The government strongly recommend the use of synthetic phonics when teaching early literacy skills to children. Synthetic phonics is simply the ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds that are then blended together into a word. At Nine Acres Primary School, we have adopted the Read Write Inc. programme to give children the best possible start to their learning in Literacy. This programme is designed to stimulate and challenge children’s thinking and create enthusiastic, life-long readers and writers.
INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS
What is the phonics screening check?
The national phonics screening test was introduced in 2012 to all Y1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It aims to identify the children who need extra help so that they can be given support by school to improve their reading skills. At Nine Acres Primary we already identify children and provide early intervention support, however we must comply with the statutory requirement.
Who is it for?
Year 1 pupils take the phonics screening check during a specified week in June each year. This year it will begin on 11th June 2018.
How is the check structured?
It comprises a list of 40 words and non-words, which a child will read one-to-one with a teacher. Half the words cover phonic skills which are usually covered in Reception, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills.
Is it stressful to test such young children?
The assessment will be age-appropriate, with children sitting with a teacher they know and will read with them on a one-to-one basis. It should be an enjoyable activity for children which takes no more than a few minutes.
Does a teacher have to carry out the screening check?
Yes, a teacher will carry out the check with the pupils in our school. This year the screening check will be carried out by our Head teacher, Mrs Broome and Mrs Shaw, our key stage one leader.
Why have you included non-words in the screening check?
Non-words are an established assessment method in many schools, and are included in many phonics programmes. They are included because they will be new to all pupils, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Pupils who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word.
How long does the check take?
Every child is different but in most cases the check should take less than 10 minutes per child.
How will the results from the phonics screening check be used?
Schools have to inform parents towards the end of the summer term in Year 1 of their child’s results. Parents will receive a letter to tell them about how their child did during the screening.
What happens if a child struggles with the screening check?
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 extra help. Schools are expected to provide extra help and children will then be able to re-take the assessment in Year 2. At Nine Acres, parents will continue to be kept well informed of their child’s progress in all aspects of reading including phonic development.
How can I help my child?
At Nine Acres, we often check phonic development within our approach to the assessment of reading. This screening forms part of our overall assessment procedure. However, there are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading skill development.
- Let your child see you enjoying reading yourself – they are influenced by you and what you value!
- Immerse your child in a love of reading: share books and magazines with your child, take them to the library to choose books, read to them regularly, point out texts around you e.g. in the street etc.
- Make time for your child to read school books to you regularly – encourage them by pointing to the words and ask them about the story they are reading.
- Help your child to practice reading key words and sounds when these are sent home.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher, they want to know how you and your child are getting on with reading!
- Remember! We are here to help your child to their very best.