Preparing for the Phonics Screening Check: Top Tips

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What is the Phonics Screening Check? 

The Phonics Screening Check is statutory assessment for Year 1 children to complete in June. The test assesses their reading ability and contains 40 words for children to read aloud. The list of words is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words.  

Each pupil will it one to one with their teacher and read each word, this will take approximately 10 minutes per child. The results of the Phonics Screening Check (PSC) are provided to parents in July. If the pupil does not meet the required standard, they will get an opportunity to retake the PSC the following year whilst in Year 2.  

 Why use pseudo words?  

Pseudo words will be shown with a picture of an alien.  This helps the pupil acknowledge that this is a word that will not be in their existing vocabulary, but they will need to apply their phonics knowledge to decode the word. Pseudo words are used because they are new to all pupils and so do not favour those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory. 

 Top Tips 

We have lots of resources to support you with preparation for the test.

Please check out our top tips below – 

  • Use the daily formative and summative assessments to identify any gaps in learning. 
  • Put timetabled interventions in place for the children with gaps in phonics knowledge.  
  • Use the revision lessons to review and recap on previous learning. These commence in Year 1, term 2, week 9. 
  • Use the PSC practice paper so that the children are familiar with the format prior to PSC in June. This can be found in the assessment section on the Monster Phonics logged in area.  
  • Share Monster Phonics pure speech sounds video, flashcards, and resources with parents so they can support their child at home. 
  • Follow the latest guidance on keeping materials secure, administrating the test, scoring, and reporting the results. 


Good luck to all our Monster Phonics schools!