Phonics Shed programme is been based around 2007 Letters and Sounds,
with support, guidance, resources and training required to meet the
Department for Education Validation of systematic synthetic phonics
programmes criteria released on 1st April 2021.
Phonics Shed is a multisensory SSP programme which enables children to become fluent readers and writers by providing strategies to decode words by teaching links between letters and the sounds they can make (grapheme-phoneme correspondence or GPC). All GPCs used in the phonics screening assessment, and more, are covered by the scheme in time for the check at the end of Year One. The scheme has also been designed to meet all word reading expectations for Key Stage One (KS1) and to support many other expectations from across the KS1 English National Curriculum (NC). It also aligns with many of the relevant Early Learning Goals (ELGs) the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for September 2021. More information on curriculum links can be found
Every GPC has its own character with an accompanying story and action. Many of the characters also have their own songs based on common nursery rhymes and additional comparison stories, which compare known alternative graphemes and/or phonemes that are similar to the character’s GPC. These characters are also included in many of our Phonics Shed decodable reading scheme books (see Further Details section below for more information).
Phonics Shed uses the blending and segmenting approach to teach children to decode words. Children are taught to blend sounds together to make words by using the ‘Sound it, Squash it, Say it’ technique. Then to segment words into sounds they are taught to ‘Say it, Stretch it, Sound it’. Visual cues to support these methods are included as part of the packs (see below for more details).
Some words that cannot yet be decoded are linked with some GPCs, usually based on the grapheme being taught. These are called Common Exception Words (CEWs) and are covered earlier than they become decodable to give children access to a wider range of texts sooner. They are taught in a specific sequence which is based on the GPCs being taught and the frequency of the CEW. Most CEWs become decodable later in the programme. CEWs are clearly indicated, and methods are given to aid with teaching them.
The scheme is split into four chapters, each of which has various subsections, and follows a similar progression to ‘Letters and Sounds (2007)’; including Phase 1 (Chapter 1) but not Phase 4, as these skills have been integrated into the other chapters. Each subsection, known as a Set or Element, has a minimum of two weeks of detailed planning and resources attached to it, as well as suggestions of how to extend the skills beyond phonics sessions. A full overview of the scheme’s progression can be found
and example planning and resources can be seen
How does Phonics Shed meet the criteria?
Constitute a complete SSP programme providing fidelity to its
teaching framework for the duration of the programme. We have a consistent scheme that goes from sound recognition right up to spelling and beyond!
Present systematic, synthetic phonic work as the prime approach to
Phonics Shed is a complete systematic synthetic phonics scheme.
Enable children to start learning phonic knowledge and skills
early in reception, and provide a structured route for most
children to meet or exceed the expected standard in the year one
(Y1) Phonics Screening Check and all national curriculum
expectations for word reading through decoding by the end of key
Actually, we start before and with Spelling Shed run right
through to Year 6.
Be designed for daily teaching sessions and teach the main
grapheme-phoneme correspondences of English (the alphabetic
principle) in a clearly defined, incremental sequence.
We organise graphemes into sets with daily lessons fully
planned with comprehensive and adaptable resources.
Begin by introducing a defined group of grapheme-phoneme
correspondences that enable children to read and spell many words
Explicit word lists are provided with many common words
included as early as possible.
Progress from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills,
cumulatively covering all the major grapheme-phoneme
correspondences in English.
We broadly follow Letters and Sounds but not exactly as we
recognised there were gaps (as noted by the DfE).
- 7. Teach children to read printed words by identifying and blending
(synthesising) individual phonemes, from left to right all through
the word. For example, we have a resource called Say it, Stretch it,
Sound it and the reverse Sound it, Squash it, Say it.
Teach children to apply the skill of segmenting spoken words into
their constituent phonemes for spelling and that this is the
reverse of blending phonemes to read words.
For example, via Spelling Shed, we have a resource called: Say
it, Stretch it, Sound it and the reverse Sound it, Squash it, Say
Provide opportunity for children to practise and apply known
phoneme-grapheme correspondences for spelling through dictation of
sounds, words and sentences.
Via Spelling Shed and additional games and multi-sensory tasks
suggested in our teaching and learning sequence.
Ensure that children are taught to decode and spell common
exception words (sometimes called ‘tricky’ words), appropriate to
their level of progress in the programme.
We include a full progression of common exception words and
other high frequency words, in our teaching sequences, as well as
our offline and online resources and games.
Provide resources that support the teaching of lower-case and
capital letters correctly, with clear start and finish points. The
programme should move children on by teaching them to write words
made up of learned GPCs, followed by simple sentences composed
from such words as well as any common exception words (‘tricky
Lower-case and capital letter formation rhymes are included on
flashcards and this teaching carries through to simple sentences
which is included in our planning.
Be built around direct teaching sessions, with extensive
teacher-child interaction and involve a multi-sensory approach.
The programme should include guidance on how direct teaching
sessions can be adapted for online delivery (live or
We are intentionally multi-sensory and narrative-driven with a
story book, a character, a song and an action for each GPC. All
resources are digitally available to make remote (e.g. Zoom or
Teams) teaching simple.
Provide resources to enable teachers to deliver the programme
effectively including sufficient decodable reading material to
ensure that, as children move through the early stages of
acquiring phonic knowledge and skills, they can practise by
reading texts closely matched to their level of phonic attainment,
that do not require them to use alternative strategies to read
We have created a decodable reading book set of ~120 books to
run alongside our scheme, as well as online games and multisensory
tasks to run in parallel with children’s phonics attainment over
Include guidance and resources to ensure children practise and
apply the core phonics they have been taught.
Full digital phonics game set embedded in Spelling Shed as a
Enable children’s progress to be assessed and highlight the ways
in which the programme meets the needs of those who are at risk of
falling behind, including the lowest attaining 20% of
Our digital games assess and digital teacher flashcard
assessment tool feeds an intuitive data grid to provide all of this,
with the option to set online tasks or follow up with one-to-one or
small group interventions.
Provide full guidance for teachers to support the effective
delivery of the programme and appropriate, programme-specific
training either directly, through appointed agents or remotely;
with assurances that there is sufficient capacity to do so and
that those delivering this training will have appropriately high
levels of expertise and relevant experience.
Full guidance included in the pack. Training videos are
available digitally and Zoom/in-person training will be available