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West Wycombe School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Phonics Shed



At West Wycombe School we use a systematic, synthetic phonics programme called Phonics Shed. 


Phonics Shed is a narrative driven multi-sensory phonics scheme that is divided into 4 different chapters, with each chapter building on the skills and learning of previous learning.


All children begin their phonic learning in Reception. They continue to develop their learning and apply their increasing phonic knowledge throughout Year 1.

At the end of Year 1 the children, pupils will take part in the Phonics Screening Check (PSC). Introduced by the Department of Education in 2011 to assess their phonic knowledge. 


In Year 2, phonics teaching continues for all children, to provide them with the best foundations for future spelling rules they will encounter is KS2 and beyond. Where there is a need, children in Key Stage Two may also take part in phonics teaching and learning.


Please see the resources at the bottom of the page for more information on the scheme and resources you may find useful at home. 


What is phonics?


Phonics is designed to help teach children to read and spell by teaching the skills of segmenting and blending, the alphabetic code and an understanding of how this is used in reading and spelling. Simply put, it is sounding out a word and blending the sounds back together to read the whole word. When writing, it is hearing the sounds in a word and writing them down to spell it correctly. 


What is the Phonics Screening Check?


There is a National Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 (in June) where the children have to read 20 real words and 20 ‘alien’ words containing sounds from Phase Two to Five. This is conducted in a very child-friendly way by the class teachers. At the end of Year 1, you will be informed if your child has met the threshold score for the check. If they have not met the threshold, they will be given additional support in Year 2 to enable them to meet it. During the pandemic years, some of these National Phonics Screening checks have been postponed until the second half of the Autumn term in Year 2.


Year 1 will take the Phonics Screening check during the summer term (assuming no school closures due to Covid) the week commencing Monday 10th June 2024. We politely request that parents ensure children in Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have to retake the Check are in school during the administration of the phonics Screening Check.


How can I help my child?


As a parent, your involvement in supporting your child’s learning will be a vital factor in determining their success in learning to read. Daily reading for 10 minutes of your child's decodable reading book is part of our homework policy. Magnetic letters are a fun multi-sensory way to recognise and select learnt graphemes and develop reading and spelling skills with them. Games such as I-Spy (using the letter sound) are also effective. 


Home Readers


Decodable books have been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.


Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together and revisit any words they found challenging.


Reading for pleasure/ Sharing book


In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen from the school library for you to enjoy together.

Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book.


Early Reading & Phonics Intent


At West Wycombe School, we have high expectations for all of our pupils regardless of their background, needs or abilities. We aim for every child to be a successful reader. 


In EYFS and KS1, all children read aloud daily during phonics or guided/individual reading and throughout other subjects. The lowest 20% read more often with a teacher or LSA. 


Enabling our young readers to start successfully in life will allow our Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6 teachers to build upon fluency and focus their teaching on vocabulary and comprehension.



The National Curriculum for English (2014) aims to ensure that all pupils:

• read easily, fluently and with good understanding

• develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

• acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.

We recognise that reading underpins children’s access to the curriculum and it clearly impacts on their achievement. This is why we are so passionate about it. There is considerable research to show that children who enjoy reading and choose to read benefit not only academically, but also socially and emotionally.


The foundations for reading and writing at West Wycombe School are taught daily in Phonics Shed lessons; there are also planned opportunities throughout the curriculum to extend phonics teaching and learning beyond ‘dedicated time’. Consequently, learning is applied, reinforced and relevant connections are identified for the children throughout our school day.



Pupil Voice


Isaiah from Year 1 class claims, "I can't wait for phonics tomorrow!"

Maisie from Year 1 class claims, "Phonics is more fun now, I love it so much!"



Page last updated: 20/11/23