Skip to content ↓


Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

The phonics screening check will take place in June for all Year 1 pupils. Please get in as much practise as you can with your child. All activities on this page are very useful in helping you to gain an understanding of the level of words that will be included in the test. Please concentrate mainly on phase 3 and 5 graphemes.  The test will be pitched at phase 5 so your child should be aiming to be able to decode most words from the phase 5 set. 

Suggestions for computer-based activities:

This website is very good as there are individual videos for each sound in each phase. The videos are grouped by phase nearer the bottom of the page. 

Suggestions for non-computer-based activities:

  • Get children to make their own phase 3 and 5 flashcards for daily practise. 
  • Children could cut out any graphemes they find in magazines or newspapers and use them to spell words. 
  • Play splat. Choose graphemes/words (about 5 or 6) to write on a piece of paper and then call out one of the words. The first one to 'splat' the correct word or grapheme wins a point. Change words/graphemes after a certain time. 
  • Write down some words (use phase 3/5 words attached to this page), get children to read and then cut up words into graphemes (e.g. snail would be cut up like so 's-n-ai-l' to include digraph. Then get children to reassemble word correctly. they may then like to think of rhyming words and have a go at spelling these. This could lead to a discussion about how different graphemes can represent the same sound (e.g. a_e in whale).
  • Use books. There are plenty of games that can be played using books. This may include 'digraph detective' in which children should scan a page to see if they can find any digraphs or a specified digraph. You might select a sentence from a book and play 'sentence substitution'. For this game you may choose a sentence such as 'The man walked slowly down the road'. Then you would have a set of words written on small pieces of paper such as 'talked, slept, cartwheeled, toad, clown' (it can really be any set of words) and the children would take one word out of the original sentence and replace it with a new word. The aim of the game is obviously to ensure that children are recognising grpahemes in words but they really enjoy making their sentences as silly as possible-they don't have to make sense. 
  • Nonsense words are very important at this stage. Have graphemes (including single letter sounds) written on small pieces of paper and put in a bag, then get children to take out maybe three/four graphemes and make their own nonsense words e.g. 'z-ai-p-er'. They could then think about which other graphemes they could use to spell the same word e.g. 'z-ay-p-u'. The children would benefit from having the sound mats available for use in this type of activity. 
  • Bingo. Children should divide paper into 6 sections and write a grapheme in each. You may then choose flashcards (either home-made or printed) for the children to cross off their board. Give bonus point if they can say the sound before you do. The same game can be adapted to play with real or nonsense words. 
  • Grapheme hunt. Graphemes can be written on a piece of paper and then stuck up around the house or in the garden. You then say a phoneme and children run to the corresponding grapheme. They may then think of their own words containing that grapheme and bonus points could be given if they use that grapheme in a sentence (written or oral). 

NB. Children who don’t achieve the standard in the Year 1 test are required to repeat the test towards the end of Year 2.

The Hampton Hargate approach to teaching phonics is each class in Foundation and Key Stage One have a daily, pacey, focused, rigorous and sequential ‘Letters and Sounds’ session which develops reading and spelling through phonics. The consistent, cohesive approach makes every minute of the lesson count. These daily teaching sessions early on in the child’s acquisition of reading skills, are key to the success of children unlocking the entire primary curriculum. 

Key Points -

Teachers are very clear in the articulation of phonemes to ensure accurate progression through the phonics.

Mnemonics are used to help children to memorise letters and words. 


We support this further in KS2 with weekly SPAG lessons in Year 3 upwards. We continue to support children with ‘Letters and Sounds’ (synthetic phonics) through Key Stage Two where needed. We reinforce this also with children who have struggled to progress with synthetic phonics and move on to onset and rime phonics (supported spelling) and additional interventions.


For further information or ideas, please speak with your child’s class teacher.