Phonics at Good Shepherd
From the first week of your child starting at Good Shepherd, Reading becomes a key part of their everyday school life as a cornerstone of all learning. The foundation of reading is phonics.
We have ‘StoryTime Phonics’ as our Phonics system, teaching phonics in phases. These phases develop the child’s knowledge and understanding of sounds (phonemes) and letters (graphemes). ‘StoryTime Phonics’ uses books by celebrated authors as a gateway to introducing each phoneme. We are proud of the fact that the teaching of phonics is prioritised so that children follow the introductory phonics lessons by the end of the first week of Reception.
We have a rigorous and regular assessment procedure for phonics as this enables teaching to be diagnostic and based on the sounds that children are not confident with. This also enables children to be grouped to ensure they receive the specific instruction and teaching that will best help them make progress.
As a school we have performed very well with the Phonics Screening Check (consistently above the national average) and remain focused on our longer term target of achieving 100% pass rate.
Early Phonics teaching in Nursery focuses on developing a child’s listening skills. Here at Good Shepherd, we use the introductory lessons from StoryTime Phonics to embed these key reading and wider learning skills.
In Phase 1 Phonics, children are taught about:
This phase helps develop children’s listening, vocabulary and speaking skills.
In Phase 2, children begin to learn the sounds that letters make (phonemes). Children focus on learning the 19 most common single letter sounds.
First starting with: s, a, t, i, p and n. Then m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll and ss.
By the end of Phase 2, children should be able to read some vowel-consonant (VC) and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, and to spell them out. They also learn some high frequency ‘tricky words’ like ‘the’ and ‘go.’.
Phase 3 introduces children to the remaining phonemes., mainly made up of two letters such as ch, ar, ow and ee.
Alongside this, children are taught to recognise more tricky words, including ‘me,’ ‘was,’ ‘my,’ ‘you’ and ‘they’. They learn the names of the letters, as well as the sounds they make.
By the end, our children will be able to say the sound made by most, or all, Phase 2 and 3 graphemes, blend and read CVC words made from these graphemes, read 12 new tricky words and write letters correctly when given an example to copy.
Phase 5 is when children are introduced to alternative spellings for sounds. Children will learn new graphemes (different ways of spelling each sound) and alternative pronunciations of these. An example being the grapheme ‘ow’ makes a different sound in ‘snow’ and cow’.
Children will also learn about split digraphs such as the a-e in ‘name’.
It is during this phase that the children will begin to choose the right graphemes when spelling and will learn more tricky words including ‘people’, ‘water’ and ‘friend’. They also learn ne new phones: /zh/, as in treasure.
“I have been in touch with the leaders since Good Shepherd School implemented StoryTime Phonics in 2019. We have spoken on numerous occasions and they have shared the flip chart resources the staff prepared during the first lockdown. The school so obviously put the importance of reading at the forefront of their thinking, but not just this, they want to make sure children enjoy reading, understanding the difference this can make. The flip chart resources are very impressive and the school were happy to share their hard work with anyone.
It has been invaluable for me to speak with Will and the other leaders about the reading journey at Good Shepherd and I hope to continue our collaboration as we update and improve our resources.”
Beverley Smalley, Education Consultant, TTS