Phonics fever: Preparing for the screening check.

Whether I agree with the phonics screening check or not, many Year 1 teachers are now beginning to prepare themselves and the children for the week beginning June 11th.  There are a few handy tips, reminders and resources that I have discovered across the years…

Firstly, read the Phonics screening check: administration guidance 2018, which was published in April.  It makes clear exactly what you need to know (I always used to annotate and highlight the bits I felt were key) and will ensure you have no fear of maladministration.

Click to access 2018_phonics_screening_check_administration_guidance.pdf

I always re-watch the video to make sure I consistently apply the correct scoring rules.  There is always a possibility that someone from the LA could visit to check the test is administered correctly and that the papers are held securely.

The test must be administered by a teacher not a TA or HLTA (* edited to say!! unless you are confident that they are well versed and trained in phonics!) and preferably with a member of staff the the children know well and are comfortable with.

A point often overlooked is that blank sound button cards can be used if sound buttons are used in regular classroom practice.  This can really instill confidence and give extra support to a wobbly child.

Twinkl have free sound button word cards for phase 4 and phase 5 words – start using them now!

Coloured overlays can be used or coloured card for children with Irlens Syndrome or other literacy difficulties. Remember that rest breaks can be used at different points throughout the test, depending on the individuals needs, and can really help with children who lack stamina or might find the who situation a little overwhelming.

There are some great resources out there to help with preparation including morning starters from Twinkl:

There are phonics screening bingo cards:

Phonics play has lots of activities that can help children prepare through interactive games:

I also love the blog and ideas on ABC does:

Where and if possible make the test as fuss free and ‘enjoyable’ as possible and don’t forget to using brilliant and beautiful books so children remember that reading is a wonderfully engaging and pleasurable experience!!




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