Year 1 Phonics
Read, Write Inc Phonics
Your child is learning to read with Read Write Inc. Phonics (RWI for short), a very popular and successful literacy programme.
They will learn to read in a very simple way by:
1. Reading letters by their ‘sounds’
2. Blending these sounds into words
3. Reading the words in a story.
How will your child learn to read?
First, your child will learn to read:
- Set 1 Speed Sounds: these are sounds written with one letter: m a s d t i n p g o c k u b f e l h r j v y w z x
- and sounds written with two letters (your child will call these ‘special friends’): sh th ch qu ng nk ck
- Words containing these sounds, by sound-blending, e.g. m–a–t mat, c–a–t cat, g–o–t got, f–i–sh ﬁsh, s–p–o–t spot, b–e–s–t best, s–p–l–a–sh splash
- Blending Books and Red, Green and Purple level books
Second, they will learn to read:
- Set 2 Speed Sounds: ay ee igh ow oo oo ar or air ir ou oy
- Words containing these sounds
- Pink, Orange and Yellow level books
Third, they will learn to read:
- Set 3 Speed Sounds: ea oi a-e i-e o-e u-e aw are ur er ow ai oa ew ire ear ure
- Words containing these sounds
- Blue and Grey Storybooks.
What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
What is in the phonics screening check?
There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher.
What does it check?
It checks that your child can:
- Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
- Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
- Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.
What are nonsense or pseudo words and why are they included?
These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.
The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.
How will my child be scored? Is there a pass mark?
The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.
For the last few years, the threshold mark (or pass standard) set by the government has been 32 correct answers out of 40.