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John Bamford Primary

What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.

There has been a huge shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in UK schools. This is having a big impact and helping many children learn to read and spell. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. 

Phonics is all about learning the sounds that letters can make. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words.

Some are represented by one letter, like 't', and some by two or more letters, like 'ck' in duck and 'air' in chair.

Children are taught the sounds first, then how to match them to letters, and finally how to use the letter sounds for reading and spelling.


Phonics at our school

At The John Bamford, we use the multisensory systematic synthetic phonics programme Monster Phonics. Monster phonics creates a love for reading! Monster Phonics uses a colour coded grapheme system linked to monster characters.

Introduction to Monster Phonics - YouTube


The resources are mapped against the Letters and Sounds phases 2-6 and the KS1 Spelling Curriculum. The colour-coded grapheme system is unique to Monster Phonics; each coloured grapheme is paired with a monster character that makes the same sound to give audio-visual prompts that help children ‘see’ each sound within a word and pronounce it correctly.



We follow the Monster Phonics programme in EYFS and Key Stage 1. The children have a daily phonics lesson, full of exciting, purposeful, multisensory phonics teaching and learning experiences. The Monster Phonics intervention programme, resources and teaching strategies are also used across Key Stage Two. 

The Hook…







Year One Phonics Screening Check

At the end of Year 1 all children will take part in the DfE Phonics Screening Check  which checks their  phonics decoding knowledge. Monster Phonics helps to prepare the children for the screening check throughout the year. 

Click on the link below to have a look at an example test. Some words are made up (Alien) and others are real.

Phonics Example Test

National curriculum assessments: practice materials - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Phonics at home

Parents are invited to workshops in school to support the teaching of phonics at home and Monster Phonics also have some great information and resources on their website and Facebook pages.

Monster Phonics Actions

This video teaches the actions for each of the long vowel sounds, the tricky letters, the silent letters and the phonetic letters.



Monster Phonics also have two apps which you can install and use to help learn the high frequency words!


Monster Phonics Reading Scheme

Monster Phonics provides a complete, fully decodable reading scheme that follows the order of teaching. The Monster Phonics books are used from Reception to Year Two during Guided Reading sessions and are matched to children’s secure phonic knowledge. Parents are then encouraged to access the text that their child has read in class through the ebooks resource. Within the books the key/ focus grapheme is colour coded, there are word boxes to develop reading fluency and comprehension questions.

Please take a look at the Monster Phonics’ website to see how our curriculum is taught to your child(ren).  There are plenty of free downloadable resources.


Examples of the Monster Phonics reading can be accessed via the below link.



In addition to the Monster Phonics books, children also take home a Big Cat book from our Reading Scheme. The Big Cat books have been aligned to the order of teaching of our Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme and are designed to best-fit the children’s phonic ability. This book is marked ‘Sharing Book’ and is intended to be shared for 10 minutes each night at home.


Here are the details for access to the Monster Phonics resources at home. Login using the details below and then you can create yourself an ebook account. 

 Monster Phonics Parent Letter

Updated: 10/09/2021 1.05 MB  

 Parent login details

Updated: 10/09/2021 231 K