The Phonics Screening will consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.
The 40 words and non-words (we call these alien words) are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn’t think the word is a mistake because it doesn’t make sense!).
Recommended Phonics Activities
Mr. Thorne Does Phonics
If you are unsure how to correctly pronounce any of the sounds go to Mr. Thorne Does Phonics where you can watch videos of Mr. Thorne or his friend Geraldine the Giraffe teach the sound and discuss words including it. He also has apps for Android and Apple available.
This is a very popular website we use regularly in our phonics lessons. The children will be familiar with the website and its games. Some of our favourite games are:
Some of the games are available for free, others require a subscription (only £12 for a year).
Twinkl Phonics App
This app includes lots of different sections covering phonic sounds, letter formation, high frequency words and games such as buried treasure and matching games.
This is not a website we have used in class but it involves interactive videos that children can watch and then are able to make up words with the given letters. It allows them to practise sound recognition and blending.
Revisit pages in your child’s phonics book to practice reading and spelling a good range of words. Don’t forget to look for the high frequency and tricky words!
More websites with phonics games on: