Phunky Phonics & Silly Sentences

Poihipi & Te Huka Team phonics programme provides a great opportunity for teachers to target the individual learning needs of students in our classes.

For 20 minutes, four days a week the  students move from their class to meet with other students to participate in phonics learning. 

Each teacher focuses on a specific Yolanda Soryl phonics stage where the students are currently working at. Every lesson follows a clear progression through the stages of hear, read, write and revise.

Stage 1 students learn to listen to and discriminate sounds and hear alliteration, rhythm, sound breaks and rhyme. Mrs Griffin uses “Mr Tongue’s House” book as a game to promote awareness of the “sound makers” and the movements involved in speech sound production. 

Mr Tongue book presented by Mrs Griffin (video here)

I like doing the Mr Tongue book. It's hard to think of words that start with the same sound. (Hope)

I like doing the 'Supersonic Speed Race' but it's hard when Mrs Griffin goes really fast. (Donovan)

I like doing the actions for Handwriting Heroes and singing the songs. Finding the letters on the alphabet card is hard. (Reegan)

Phonics-Main Lesson-Fiona (video here)

Stage 2 students learn to hear, read and write the first 29 phoneme/graphemes.

We have been learning about the letter sounds the “a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, ch, sh, th” at the start of words i.e. d is for dog, c is for cat. We write the letter sounds on the whiteboard and use the sounds to make words and put these into sentences. (Lisette & Brody)





Stage 3 students learn to hear and write the final phoneme.

I am learning to listen for the final sound. The final sound of dog is g. We can listen for the final sound and we use our robot arms to stretch our words. (Logan)

We learn about sounds at the end of words like sh, ch, th and ing. We write the final sounds of words on the whiteboards. Silly sentences are very funny and I like to write them. We draw a sun on the right hand side so we know which way to face some of our letters like d,b,g,p,g,q. We also get to play “hangman” to help us see how letters are joined together to make words. (Liam, Matthew, Deklyn, Shyre, Aria.W)




Stage 4 students learn to blend and segment CVC words and hear, read and write the medial phoneme - a, e, i, o, u.

We are learning the middle sounds a,e,i,o,u. The middle sound “i” is in CVC words like pig, big, dig, fig, jig. I like the silly sentences because I like writing funny things. (Aria)

Silly sentences are fun to write because they say funny things. (Miley)

Learning to hear and write letter sounds also helps me stretch words I don’t know in my reading. (Molly)







Stage 5 students learn to recognise and write the consonant digraphs/trigraphs sh, ll, ss, ng, ck, dge, tch, ff, wh, ph, kn, c, qu and blend and segment words with more than three phonemes.

I liked writing the silly sentences because I learnt to write words with the digraph “ck” like clock, rock, duck, sock, block. (Kyesha)

The trickiest thing we have learnt are trigraphs like “dge” and “tch”. Now we are moving to Stage 6 and learning to write and read many more words that will help us with our reading and writing. (Lilee)





Stage 6 students learn to recognise and write  the long vowel phonemes - ee, oo, ay, igh, ow, oo, ow, ar, ir, oy, air, or, g.

First we are learning how to write the digraphs “ee” and these are words like see, bee, Leela, sweep, street, sleep. Sometimes it is tricky to remember which words have “ee” or “ea”. (Thea, Leela, Frankie)

A highlight for daily phonics sessions would have to be the “Silly Sentences”. These sentences can be used for dictation at the writing step. For students to perceive themselves as “good writers” they will need to already have some known writing vocabulary such as “I, the, my, a, to”.

Silly sentences are used to:

  • Add fun to the writing

  • Go from word level to sentence level

  • Revise previously taught phonemes

  • Revise capital letters, full stops and question marks





Keywords: sounds, blend, segment, digraph, trigraph, hear, read, write & revise, initial, final, middle sounds, Structured Literacy

TeHuka PoihipiTeamPhonicsStageFive15