No. The order of introduction of letters and sounds, GPCs, is not the same in all the current phonic programmes.
However, they all introduce the 19 most commonly occurring letters of the alphabet first.
These are. 'a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, t, u', although the introduction of the first few letters varies from programme to programme.
Some programmes introduce 's, a, t, p, i, n' first. Other programmes use 's, a, t, m, i, d' first.
The Jelly and Bean books use 'c, a, t, m, h, o, n' first so that the words 'cat, mat, hat, on, a' may be used.
All the programmes introduce the rest of the letters of the alphabet and the consonant digraphs, 'th, sh, ch, ng, ck' in the Reception Year (EYFS)
All programmes aim to teach one vowel grapheme for each of the vowel phonemes in the Reception Year (EYFS).
Letters and Sounds (2007) aims to teach the following vowel graphemes in Phase 3 for the Reception Year (EYFS):
'ai' as in 'sail'
'ee' as in 'sheep'
'igh' as in 'night'
'oa' as in 'toad'
'oo' as on 'moon'
'oo' as in 'look'
'ar' as in 'bark'
'er' as in' bigger'
'or' as in 'fork'
'ur' as in 'curl'
'oi' as in 'soil'
'ow' as in 'down'
'air' as in 'hair'
'ear' as in 'year'
'ure' as in 'cure'
Other programmes introduce different vowel GPCs first.
'ay' (day) instead of 'ai'(sail)
'ow' (blow) instead of 'oa' (toad)
'ie' (pie) instead of 'igh' (night)
'oy' (toy) instead of 'oi' (soil)
'ir' (bird) instead of 'ur' (curl)
'ou' (out) instead of 'ow' (down)
and some programmes leave the trigraph GPCs until Year 1.
The Early Learning Goal, ELG, which refers to this phonic knowledge for children in the Reception Year, EYFS, states that:
'Children at the expected level of development will:
- say a sound for each letter of the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs.'
Assuming that children are taught 'th, sh, ch, ng, ck' first, then they are expected to know at least 5 of the 15 vowel GPCs by the end of EYFS.
The National Curriculum (2014) gives a list of all the GPCs to be taught in Year 1 that may be used in the Phonic Screening Check..
The letter 'y' has at least four different roles in the English language, three of these as vowels and one as a consonant. Young children meet these different roles in the very common words 'mummy, my, yes, gym' before they first attend school.
Jelly and Bean books deal with the role used in 'mummy' first. Here the sound at the end of the word 'mummy' is /i/ (or sometimes /ee/, depending on accent and region). Now, 'i' is a shy little letter and does not like to be at the end of a word, so big tough 'y' helps him out and takes his place. This rule is known as the 'Shy i, Toughy y Rule' and it gives children a good way to remember that we use 'y' at the ends of words like 'happy, daddy, sorry' and 'mummy'. Children need to know this rule early so that they can write birthday cards to 'mummy' and 'daddy'.
The second role of 'y' is in words like 'my, by, cry, sky, fly', where it is pronounced as the 'long vowel'. It is first introduced in the word 'my' in book 10 of the A Series.
The third role of 'y', as a consonant, can be found at the beginning of words like, e.g. 'you, yes, yell, yellow'. It is first introduced in book 15 of the A Extra Series.
The fourth role of 'y' can be found in the middle of words like 'gym, crystal, gypsy'. In words like these 'y' is pronounced the same as the 'short i' /i/.
The letter 'y' is also found in the vowel graphemes (GPCs) 'ay, ey, oy' (day, they, donkey, toy).
In synthetic phonics 'C' refers to a consonant phoneme rather than a consonant letter. It may be represented by a letter, a consonant digraph, or another spelling of a consonant phoneme.
V refers to a vowel phoneme, rather than only the 5 vowel letters 'a, e, i, o, u'. It may be represented by a single letter 'a, e, i, o, u' or another vowel grapheme which contains 2, 3 or 4 letters, e.g. 'ai, ay, er, ow, ear, igh, ough' as well as the split digraphs 'a-e, i-e', etc.
This means that 'sheep' is classed as a CVC word in terms of phonemes but not a CVC word in terms of single letters. The first consonant phoneme /sh/ has the GPC 'sh', the vowel phoneme /ee/ has the GPC 'ee' and the last consonant phoneme /p/ has the GPC 'p'. In terms of phonemes 'sheep' is written as /sh/ /ee/ /p/.
'Sleep' is a CCVC word because its GPCs correspond to /s/ /l/ /ee/ /p/, where the letters 's' and 'l' represent two different phonemes blended together.
'Brick' is a CCVC word because its GPCS are /b/ /r/ /i/ /k/, where 'ck' is a GPC of the /k/ phoneme.
'Paint' is a CVCC words because its GPCs are /p/ /ai/ /n/ /t/.
'Town' is a CVC words because its GPCs correspond to /t/ /ow/ /n/.
'Tower' is a CVV word. Its GPCs correspond to /t/ /ow/ /er/.
'Night' is a CVC word. Its GPCs correspond to /n/ /igh/ /t/.
'Caught' is a CVC word. Its GPCs correspond to /k/ /or/ /t/, where 'c' is the GPC of the /k/ phoneme and 'augh' is the GPC of the /or/ phoneme.
'Earth' is a VC word. Its GPCs correspond to /ur/ /th/, where 'ear' is a GPC of the /ur/ phoneme.
'Though' is a CV word. Its GPCs correspond to /th/ and /oe/, where 'ough' is a GPC of the /oe/ phoneme.
'Know' is a CV word. Its GPCs correpond to /n/ /oe/, where 'kn' is the GPC of the /n/ phoneme and 'ow' is the GPC of the /oe/ phoneme.
'Lamb' is a CVC word. Its GPCs correspond to /l/ /a/ /m/, where 'mb' is seen as a GPC of the /m/ phoneme.
'Gave' is a CVC word. Its GPCs are /g/ /ai/ /v/, where 'a-e' is a GPC of the /ai/ phoneme.
'Have' is a CVC Word. Its GPCs correspond to /h/ /a/ /v/, where 've' is a GPC for the /v/ phoneme.
This means that when words are segmented into phonemes, C and V do not always refer to single letters and that 'sheep' is not a CCVVC word (as it would be if the C and V represented single letters). It is a CVC word.
Jelly and Bean books are divided into colour bands. The factors taken into consideration to define these bands are:
1. The number of words on each page and in each book,
2. The letter/sound correspondences, GPCs, and the high-frequency words, HFWs, of Letters and Sounds 2007,
3. The complexity of the vocabulary and the structure of the sentences.
Words containing adjacent consonants are used from the start and are not avoided in the early book bands.
Pink Band: This band has 25-50 words per book. The phonic content is the same as Phase 2 of Letters and Sounds 2007 with 'x' and 'w' added.
Red Band: This band has 45-90 words per book. The phonic content is that of Phase 3 of Letters and Sounds 2007, with the addition of the GPCs ‘ay, ea’ and ‘y’ (used as a vowel). Each series fulfils a different purpose.
Yellow Band: This band has 70-110 words per book. It consolidates the consonant digraphs and some of the vowel graphemes already introduced, but not ‘oa, ar, ur, oi, igh, air, ear’. These are left until the later book bands.
Blue Band: This band has up to 150 words per book. It uses GPCs from Phonic Phase 5 of Letters and Sounds 2007.
Green Band: This band has 150-200 words per book. It introduces text written in the past tense.
Orange Band: This band has 200-250 words per book. It ensures that all the GPC spellings listed as statutory for Year 1 in the National Curriculum are used.
The words in all the Jelly and Bean stories are analysed to form the following categories:
Phase 2**: - simple words containing the 19 most common letters of the alphabet, ‘c, a, t, h, m, n, o, b, g, i, d, l, f, r, e, u, s, p, k’ and ‘ck, ff, ll, ss’, where the vowel is 'a, e, i, o, u’.
Phase 3***: - words containing the rest of the letters of the alphabet, ‘j, q, v, w, x, z, zz, y’ (‘y’ as a consonant only) and the consonant digraphs ‘ng, qu, th, ch, sh’.
Phase 4****: - words containing adjacent consonants blended together at their beginning and/or end, where the medial vowel is 'a, e, i, o, u’.
Vowels#: - words containing vowel digraphs, trigraphs and alternative pronunciations (long vowels) of single letters. These are grouped together by the sound of the phoneme.
HFW or ‘tricky’ words: - these are the ‘tricky’ words shown in the lists of 100 high-frequency words and 200 medium-frequency words in Letters and Sounds 2007.
Soft c: - words containing the letter ‘c’ pronounced /s/.
Soft g: - words containing the letters ‘dge, ge, g’ pronounced /j/.
y-endings: - words ending in ‘y’ pronounced /i/ or /ee/, depending on accent.
Others: - words that do not fit any of these categories.
The analysed vocabulary can be found in our teaching guides and on the back page of the storybooks.
** Phase 2 is the original Phonic Phase 2 of Letters and Sounds 2007.
*** Phase 3 is the first two sub-sections (letters and consonant digraphs) of the original Phonic Phase 3 of Letters and Sounds 2007.
**** Phase 4 is the original adjacent consonants phase of Letters and Sounds 2007, but words containing vowel GPC spellings of Phonic Phases 3 and 5 are excluded.
# Vowels are any words containing vowel grapheme GPCs from Phonic Phase 3 and Phonic Phase 5 of the original Letters and Sounds 2007.