Phonics & Handwriting

Phonics and handwriting 


At Strathmore, we teach phonics through a scheme called Monster Phonics.  We believe that for all children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a synthetic and structured phonics programme.  


Monster Phonics uses grapheme-phoneme correspondence as the first and foremost approach. Teaching is supported by using colour and monster sound cues to make the grapheme-phoneme correspondence explicit and easier to learn. Directly linking each grapheme and sounds within words makes learning easier and fun. Once a grapheme has been taught, the colour is removed. Not only does this accelerate the learning of phonics, high-frequency words (including common exception words) are also easier to learn.


Phonics is taught daily for children working at Phases 1-5. Each session will follow the same format of introduce, revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. This ensures that children learn new sounds whilst applying taught sounds to their reading of new words. Children work on decoding, segmenting and blending in every lesson. Children are exposed to and use the correct subject specific technical vocabulary (such as phoneme, digraph, trigraph). These children have an additional 3 reading practise sessions per week, to help build fluency in decoding. 


How we teach phonics

  • In nursery, children follow the Monster Phonics Foundation Programme. This focus is on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes. 
  • In Reception and Y1, children follow the progression within the Monster Phonics programme
  • Phonics starts in Reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start.
  • By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4. 
  • By the end of year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5
  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending - increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible
  • Y1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
  • In Year 2, phonic lessons are taught daily to children and incorporate other elements of English, including homophones, prefixes and suffixes.


Reading Practice Sessions

  • Children across Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 apply their phonics knowledge by using a fully matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
  • These sessions are 20 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group. 
  • We use Monster Phonic scheme books for our reading sessions.  The children then take the same book home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family. 
  • To support develop a love of reading, the children will also take home a 'grapple' book to share with their families. 


How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • There are regular assessments and review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher's ongoing formative assessment).
  • Interventions are used to support pupils to 'keep up' with the programme, addressing misconceptions and supporting their development in phonics. 
  • The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term. 
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 will re-sit this in Year 2. 
  • Children who are in Year 2 and above and need 'catch up' sessions are assessed through teacher's ongoing formative assessment as well as half-termly summative assessments. 


Parent Support

Here is a link to the 'For Parents' section of the Monster Phonics website:

The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their phonemes (sounds) and writing their graphemes (letters). When your child starts at Strathmore, you will be given a log in to access the parent section of the Monster Phonics website. 


We hold annual Phonics Workshops to encourage all parents and carers to support their children with phonics at home.  Please click below to see the workshop slides, if you have any questions, please as to speak to your child's class teacher.