DfE · Sounds-Write · Y1 phonics screening check

New Y1 phonics screening check – child’s play!

At the end of last week the Standards and Testing agency of the DfE sent out to schools its ‘Y1 phonics screening check’, and I have to say that it is great news for Sounds-Write.

It is proposed that the test will consist in a sample list of forty words. The structure will be as follows:
Section 1                                           Section 2
Page 1: Four pseudo words    Page 6: Four pseudo words
Page 2: Four pseudo words    Page 7: Four pseudo words
Page 3: Four pseudo words    Page 8: Four real words
Page 4: Four real words         Page 9: Four real words
Page 5: Four real words         Page 10: Four real words.
In Section one, the structure of the words tested will include CVC, VCC, CCVC and CVCC. It will comprise the following sound-spelling correspondences:
a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n. o, p, q(u), r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, plus some consonant two-letters spellings, such as, ch, ck, ff, ll, ng, sh, ss, th and  zz; as well as what it describes as ‘consistent vowel digraphs’ or two letter spellings in common parlance: for example, ar, ee, oi oo and  or.
In Section two, the structure of the words tested is made a a little more difficult and will include CCVCC, CCCVC, and CCCVCC, and some two-syllable words. It will also add ‘some additional consonant digraphs’, such as ph and wh and more vowel digraphs, for which it gives the following examples: a-e, ai, au, aw, ay, ea, e-e, er, ew, i-e, ie, ir, oa, o-e, ou, ow, oy, ue, u-e, ur, and some three-letter spellings, such as air and igh.
Why is this music to the ears of any teacher teaching Sounds-Write? Because, by the Easter of YR, the children will have been taught formally all of the single letter spelling and all of the two-letter consonant spellings. In addition, even by Easter of YR, they will have practised blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation in words with more complex consonant clusters, such as CCVCC/CCCVC/CCCVCC words.
What’s more, Sounds-Write-taught children will, from Christmas onwards, be working with nonsense (pseudo) words and coping with them with such facility as to make the test child’s play.
By the end of Y1, all of the rest of what is comprised in the test and much more will have been covered, the ‘much more’ being the rigour with which Sounds-Write teaches the skills and an explicit understanding of how the writing system works in relation to the sounds of the language.

So, Sounds-Write’s response to the test: bring it on!