How To Prepare For The Phonics Screening Check

Written by Dan

Last updated

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by the upcoming Phonics Screening Check? Wondering how to prepare your child for this important milestone? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Understanding and preparing for the Phonics Screening Check can seem daunting, but with the proper guidance, it doesn’t have to be.

As your trusted resource, we’re here to break down the process, step by step, to help you navigate this journey confidently and efficiently.

In this guide, we’ll explore what the Phonics Screening Check is, why it’s essential, and most crucially, provide practical strategies and tips on effectively preparing for it.

We will give you the knowledge and tools to support your child’s learning journey, transforming potential stress into a positive, empowering experience.

phonics screening check

Understanding the Phonics Screening Check

What exactly is the Phonics Screening Check ? It’s a key question that deserves a detailed answer.

This check is a short, light-touch assessment designed to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

It identifies the children who need extra help to receive the support they need to improve their reading skills.

But why is it significant? The Phonics Screening Check is more than just a test – it’s a valuable tool in our education system.

By assessing children’s phonics abilities, educators can identify those who may be struggling early on.

This means that interventions can be implemented sooner rather than later, potentially making a massive difference in a child’s educational journey.

It’s about ensuring every child has the foundational skills they need to develop into confident, proficient readers.

So, while it may seem like a simple check, its implications are far-reaching. The Phonics Screening Check is about giving every child the best start in their education.

As we delve deeper into strategies for preparation, remember that this check is not about passing or failing, but about identifying needs and providing support. After all, isn’t that what education is all about?


Why Preparation is Key

Have you ever heard the saying, “Preparation is the key to success?” When it comes to the Phonics Screening Check, this couldn’t be truer. But why is that? Let’s break it down.

Effective preparation can make a significant difference in a child’s experience with the Phonics Screening Check.

Without adequate preparation, children might feel overwhelmed and anxious about the check.

However, when they are well-prepared, they approach the check with confidence and ease, viewing it as an opportunity to showcase their learning rather than as a daunting test.

And let’s not forget – preparation isn’t just about acing the check. It’s about reinforcing phonics knowledge, enhancing reading skills, and building a strong foundation for future learning.

In essence, adequate preparation is about empowering children to reach their full potential.

But what kind of challenges might we face, and how can preparation help overcome them? Here are a few examples:

  1. Challenge: Difficulty with certain phonics sounds. Some children may struggle with specific phonics sounds. Through targeted preparation, you can identify these areas of difficulty and focus on them, ensuring that your child becomes comfortable with all the phonics sounds.
  2. Challenge: Test anxiety. The thought of a formal check can cause anxiety for some children. Regular, relaxed preparation can help familiarize your child with the check format, reducing anxiety and helping them feel more confident.
  3. Challenge: Lack of interest or motivation. For some children, phonics might not be the most exciting topic. Creative, engaging preparation activities can help spark interest and motivate children to learn.

Strategies for the Phonics Screening Check

Preparing for the Phonics Screening Check doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, with the right strategies in place, it can be an engaging and rewarding process for both you and your child.

Let’s explore some effective strategies that can help make this preparation journey smoother and more enjoyable.

1. Regular Practice

The first strategy is as simple as it sounds – regular practice. This means setting aside a little time each day for focused phonics work.

And remember, consistency is key here. Regular, short sessions are often more effective than sporadic, longer ones.

Implementation: Start by setting a fixed time for phonics practice each day, preferably when your child is fresh and alert.

Use a mix of activities to keep things interesting – this could include reading phonics books, playing phonics games, or using phonics apps.

Real-life example: Sarah, a mother of a 5-year-old, found that regular 15-minute phonics sessions after dinner worked best for her son. They would read a phonics book together, and her son began looking forward to this special reading time.

2. Use of Phonics Resources

There are plenty of phonics resources available that can make your preparation more effective and fun. These include phonics books, flashcards, worksheets, and online resources.

Implementation: Incorporate these resources into your daily practice sessions. For example, you might start a session with flashcards, move on to a worksheet, and then finish with an online game.

Real-life example: John, a father of a 6-year-old, noticed his daughter’s increased engagement when he introduced phonics flashcards into their practice sessions. The visual and interactive nature of the flashcards made learning more enjoyable for her.

3. Mock Checks

Conducting mock checks can be a great way to familiarize your child with the format of the Phonics Screening Check and reduce any potential anxiety.

Implementation: Once your child is comfortable with a range of phonics sounds, you can conduct mock checks. Remember to keep the tone light and stress-free – this is just another fun activity, not a test!

Real-life example: Laura, a teacher, found that her students were much more relaxed about the real check after a few rounds of mock checks. They knew what to expect and were excited rather than nervous.

Tools and Resources for Preparation

In the journey of preparing for the Phonics Screening Check, you’re not alone. There are numerous tools and resources available that can make this journey more manageable and effective.

But with so many options out there, which ones should you choose? And how can you make the most of them? Let’s explore.

1. Phonics Books

Phonics books are a staple in any preparation toolkit. They’re designed to reinforce phonics knowledge in a fun and engaging way.

Recommended Resources: Consider exploring Oxford Reading Tree’s Songbirds, a series of phonics books by Julia Donaldson. Another excellent resource is Usborne’s Very First Reading series.

How to Use: Incorporate these books into your daily reading time. Please encourage your child to sound out the words, reinforcing their phonics knowledge.

2. Online Games and Apps

In today’s digital age, online games and apps can be a great way to make learning fun. They offer interactive, engaging ways to practice phonics skills.

Recommended Resources: Check out Phonics Play, a website full of interactive phonics games. For apps, consider Teach Your Monster to Read, a game that covers everything from letters and sounds to reading full sentences.

How to Use: Use these games and apps as a reward or a change of pace during your practice sessions. They’re also perfect for keeping your child engaged during downtime or travels.

3. Flashcards and Worksheets

Flashcards and worksheets offer a more hands-on approach to learning phonics. They’re perfect for quick practice sessions and can easily incorporate into your daily routine.

Recommended Resources: Websites like Twinkl offer a wide range of printable phonics flashcards and worksheets.

How to Use: Use flashcards for quick revision sessions. Worksheets can be used for more focused practice, allowing your child to apply their knowledge.

Turning Stress into a Positive Learning Experience

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the potential stress associated with the Phonics Screening Check. It’s normal for both parents and children to feel a certain level of anxiety.

After all, it’s a formal check of your child’s learning, and you want them to do their best. But what if we told you that this stress doesn’t have to be a negative thing?

What if it could be transformed into a positive, empowering learning experience? Sounds interesting, right? Let’s dive deeper.

Firstly, it’s essential to remember that stress, in moderation, isn’t necessarily harmful. In fact, it can act as a powerful motivator, pushing us to prepare more effectively and perform better. The key is to manage it well and channel it constructively.

Here are a few tips on how to do just that:

1. Keep Perspective: Remind your child (and yourself!) that the Phonics Screening Check is just a tool to assess learning – it’s not a judgement of your child’s abilities or worth. Maintaining this perspective can help alleviate unnecessary stress.

2. Create a Positive Environment: Make preparation time fun and enjoyable. Use games, interactive activities, and rewards to foster a positive attitude towards learning. This can help reduce stress and increase engagement.

3. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Teach your child simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing or mindfulness exercises. These can help them manage any stress they may feel during the check.

4. Foster Confidence: Regular practice, positive reinforcement, and celebrating small wins can boost your child’s confidence, reducing anxiety and transforming the check into an empowering experience.

5. Seek Support: If you or your child are feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek support. This could be from teachers, fellow parents, or educational professionals. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey.

Turning stress into a positive learning experience is all about perspective, positivity, and support.

With these strategies, you can not only help your child navigate the Phonics Screening Check with less anxiety, but also equip them with valuable skills to handle stress in their future learning endeavours. And isn’t that an empowering thought?


As we reach the end of this comprehensive guide, let’s take a moment to revisit the key points we’ve covered.

Understanding the Phonics Screening Check and preparing for it effectively is not just about passing an assessment – it’s about equipping your child with foundational literacy skills that will serve them well beyond their early education years.

Remember the importance of regular practice? The consistent, daily engagement with phonics can make a world of difference in your child’s learning journey.

And what about the wealth of resources at your disposal? From phonics books to online games and flashcards, these tools are designed to make the learning process interactive, enjoyable, and effective.

And let’s not forget the potential stress associated with the check. This might seem like a daunting hurdle, but remember, it can be transformed into a positive, empowering experience.

With the right perspective, a positive environment, relaxation techniques, and a boost of confidence, the Phonics Screening Check can become a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block.

Now, as you approach the Phonics Screening Check, remember, you’re not alone in this journey.

You’re armed with knowledge, strategies, and resources. So, approach the process with confidence, knowing that each step you take is setting the stage for your child’s reading success.

Has the process seemed overwhelming at times? Perhaps. But remember, every great journey begins with a single step.

So, take that step today, knowing that you’re not just preparing your child for a check – you’re fostering a lifelong love of reading. Now isn’t that an empowering thought?

So here’s to turning challenges into opportunities, stress into learning experiences, and preparation into empowerment. Here’s to your child’s reading success.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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