Phonics is a highly effective way to teach children to read. It involves teaching children the sounds that individual letters and combinations of letters make and how to blend those sounds together to read words. Phonics instruction follows a systematic approach, beginning with the simplest sounds and advancing to the most intricate ones.

Why is phonics important?

Phonics is important because it gives children the skills they need to decode new words. This is the first step in learning to read. Once children can decode words, they can focus on their wider reading skills and develop a love of reading.

Research shows that phonics is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. Almost all children who receive high-quality phonics teaching will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. After mastering phonics, they'll be able to breeze through any text easily and confidently - and even read just for fun!

Phonics screening checks

The phonics screening check is a quick and easy assessment of children's phonics knowledge. It is carried out by teachers at the end of Year 1 to check whether children have made the expected progress in phonics.

The check involves reading a list of 40 words to a teacher. The words include a mix of real words and pseudo-words (words that are not real but can be sounded out using phonics).

Children who pass the phonics screening check demonstrate that they understand phonics and can use this knowledge to decode new words. Children who do not pass the check will be given additional support to help them improve their phonics skills.


Phonics is a proven way to teach children to read. It is important to give children the opportunity to learn phonics in a structured and supportive environment. If you have any concerns about your child's phonics skills, please talk to their teacher.

Additional tips for parents

  • Read to your child regularly.
  • Play games and activities that focus on letter sounds and blending.
  • Help your child practice reading and writing decodable words.
  • If your child is struggling with phonics, talk to their teacher. They can provide extra support and resources.

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