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Mill Hill Primary School

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Teaching Phonics at Mill Hill Primary School


We are following the dfe accredited scheme Monster Phonics.

How do we teach phonics at Mill Hill Primary School?
Phonics is taught daily in whole class sessions in Years R, year 1 and year 2.   The sessions are fast paced and lively to hold the children’s interest.  The sessions begin at 8.55am when the children are fresh and ready to learn as we believe these sessions are fundamental in developing children as readers.

What is the Monster Phonics Approach?

Monster Phonics is a highly-engaging, structured, synthetic phonics programme. It facilitates learning by allowing children to learn new graphemes by using monsters to group graphemes for recall and to provide an easy and fun memory cue for children. It also uses colour-coding to highlight the grapheme when teaching a new grapheme. Once taught and secure, the colour is removed. Monster Phonics matches the Reception EYFS framework and KS1 Spelling Curriculum. It progresses from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills, and ensures that prior knowledge is built upon. The main principles of systematic synthetic phonics teaching are followed, allowing children to become confident and successful readers, spellers and writers from a very early stage in their school life. Each monster has a back story, and these are used in all areas of the phonics programme, story and song hooks, teaching PowerPoints, worksheets and activity resources, online downloadable apps, and the inclusive reading scheme and eBooks. The ten colours and corresponding monsters derived from Monster Phonics identifying the areas of phonics that present the biggest obstacles to learning, and each of these areas are outlined below: The Alternative Graphemes for Long Vowel Phonemes The long A phoneme is made by the red character called Angry Red A. The graphemes that make the long A phoneme are coloured red. The long E phoneme is made by the green character called Green Froggy. The graphemes that make the long E phoneme are coloured green. The long I phoneme is made by the yellow I character called Yellow I. The graphemes that make the long I sound are coloured yellow. The long O phoneme is made by the pink character called Miss Oh No. The graphemes that make the long O sound are coloured pink. The long U phoneme is made by the purple character called U-Hoo. The graphemes that make the long U sound are coloured purple. The long oo phoneme is made by the blue character called Cool Blue. The graphemes that make the long oo sound are coloured blue. The long ow phoneme is made by the brown character called Brown Owl. The graphemes that make the long ow sound are coloured brown. Silent letters are represented by the Silent Ghosts which make no sound. They are coloured white. The Tricky Letters are graphemes that have a different phoneme from what has been taught previously. They do not show regular grapheme-phoneme correspondence. At the heart of Monster Phonics are the multisensory activities focused on the specific Learning Objective. These enables all types of learners to have more access to the teaching and learning, again enhancing the amount of success that takes place within the area of phonics.


How is a phonics session taught?

Assessment and Intervention in Phonics


Daily formative assessments for all year groups

The first and most frequently used assessment will be undertaken daily by the adult delivering the phonics session. It is suggested that children who have not met the daily objective, as stated in the planning document for the lesson, are noted, and any gaps are addressed with a short recap at some point before the next discrete phonics session. 


Summative assessments
In addition to daily formative assessments, Monster Phonics also has a series of timetabled assessments. These are clearly laid out in an assessment section on the website, and are also available in the appendices. Within the online assessment area, there is an overview for each year group—Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Every scheduled assessment will have a combination of the graphemes, decodable words, CEWs and HFWs that have been taught. These are listed by term and assessment period in the relevant overviews. All flashcards for reading are ready made and fully printable in plain black text. In addition to this, each year group has a set of dictations that can be used with the children during the summative assessments.





Phonics and Reading

We use decodable books alongside a library choice book in Key Stage 1 and for those children still requiring phonics. 

Decodable books encourage children to read using systematic synthetic phonics as the prime approach. When children read decodable books, they are more likely to try to use phonics to decode to read. Studies show that this improves the accuracy of a child’s reading and limits the use of less effective reading strategies, such as reliance on pictures or context. The Progression of Monster Phonics Decodable Books The progression of the Monster Phonics books is matched to that of the teaching programme. This means that the books introduce new grapheme phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the same order as the teaching programme, and that the progression within the books is cumulative so children can practise the phonics that they have already learned earlier in their lessons. Each high-frequency word (decodable and common exception word) is also taught in the programme before the children read it in a book. Each book focuses on a key grapheme. Monster Phonics uses colour to help children learn the link between sound and spelling. This significantly improves progress, supporting memory and confidence.


How can you help your child? 
Please help your child practice any letter sounds that are sent home.  It is always helpful to keep practicing sounds they learned previously as well as any new sounds. The children should try and blend the sounds into words as soon as possible.  Your child will have access to an e-book every week. Please log into the book at least 3 times a week and record all reading opportunities in the reading record.

Please make sure your child arrives promptly to school each day.  Phonics is the first session of the day and a child who misses this session will find it much more difficult to reach a good level of reading.  Also, if a child arrives late, the adults will be busy teaching and will have less time to welcome the child as this could disrupt the learning for others.

Parent meeting - Monster Phonics