What is phonics? There has been a huge shift in the past few year 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. At the end of Year 1 all children are tested on their phonics knowledge.

Phonics is one method of teaching children how to read and write.

It's all about sounds. 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, 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.

Synthetic phonics refers to 'synthesising', or blending, the sounds to read words. It's based on the idea that children should sound out unknown words and not rely on their context.

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

At TSSMAT, we use Monster Phonics

We follow the Monster Phonics programme in Reception and Key Stage 1. Monster Phonics is a DfE listed programme that uses a colour coded grapheme system linked to monsters. 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.

Meet the Monsters