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RWI Phonics

At Wallsend St Peter's we teach phonics using Read Write Inc (RWI).


In June every Y1 child takes the statutory phonics screening check. The check takes place during a two-week window. The check is very similar to tasks that the children already complete during phonics sessions. The purpose of the check is to provide evidence of the child's decoding and blending skills, not to test their vocabulary.


What does the check look like?

The check consists of 40 words and non-words that you child will be asked to read one-to-one with a member of school staff. Non-words (or made-up 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 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 does not think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!)


Scoring and communicating the results

Your child will be scored against a national standard, and the main result will be whether or not they fall below or within this standard. The threshold mark is communicated to schools at the end of June, after the test has been taken and you will be told the outcome of the screen for your child in their annual report. If your child's score falls below the standard they will be given extra phonics help and will have to retake the phonics screening check in Y2.


What you can do to help prepare your child for the phonics screening check

You can help your child to prepare for the check by going over the phonics they've learned in Reception and Year 1. Read new books and stories with them where they will be introduced to new words that they'll have to sound out, and review the sounds and rules. In past years we have found that children have been less confident with the non-words. As a result we use strategies to enable the children to approach these words successfully. These are:

  • What do you know in the word?
  • Say each sound within the word
  • Blend the sounds together
  • Say as a word