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Phonics test results show more children on track to become fluent readers

03/10/2017 Joanna

An increased focus on phonics in education is helping more students to become fluent readers, according to new government data.

Figures from the Department for Education have shown that 81 per cent of pupils met the expected standard during their Phonics Screening Check test at the end of year 1, up from 58 per cent in 2012.

The Phonics Screening Check is taken by all year 1 pupils across the country every June, with the test requiring them to read as many of 40 simple words as they can to their teacher. This allows teachers to assess their grasp of phonics, the discipline that teaches pupils to read by breaking words down into their component sounds.

These figures indicate that 155,000 more six-year-old children are on track to become fluent readers compared to 2012, moving a step closer to the ultimate goal of making sure that all pupils are reading fluently and accurately by the age of six.

Meanwhile, it was shown that 92 per cent of those who did not reach the required standard in year 1 and took the Phonics Check again in year 2 were able to pass it the second time around.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: "There is more to do for the youngest children which is why ... we will strengthen the teaching of literacy and numeracy in the early years. We are determined that all children, whatever their background, should have the rich vocabulary needed to fulfil their potential at school."

The government has also highlighted key stage 1 data showing that 76 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard in reading this year, with 68 per cent of pupils doing the same for writing and 75 per cent of pupils doing so in maths.

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