At Cooperative Education East (CEE) we have made the exciting move to follow the Monster Phonics DfE approved phonics scheme. Monster Phonics is a rigorous, systematic synthetic programme which will help us to develop fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills. By combining the technical skills needed to read alongside an enjoyment of and in reading we want children to possess a love of reading.
We know that children learn best when parents/carers and teachers follow the same methods. Working in the same way is vital for reinforcing learning. For this reason, we share information with our parents about the structure of our phonics lessons, the content taught and ways parents and carers can support their children at home.
Our Approach and Structure
At the start of EYFS children access the Phase 1 module of ‘Letters and Sounds’. This is a vital starting point allowing children to practice the listening skills needed for segmenting and bending in their reading and writing.
Monster Phonics have created a parent webinar highlighting how engaging and multi-sensory Monster Phonics can be. You can access from your parent log in. Alternatively, you can view a prerecorded session, please follow the link.
Year One: Phonics Screening Check Information for Parents
The phonics screening check is taken by children in Year 1 on a 1:1 basis. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. Along with all of our planned assessment procedures it will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.
There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.
There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.
As part of our Monster Phonics teaching the children take part in practice checks periodically so they are familiar with the experience.
It checks that your child can:
- Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
- Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
- Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.
The check contains nonsense or pseudo words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.
The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.
The school will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority, but the results won’t be published in a league table as with SATs. If you have any concerns, do talk to your teacher about this in a parents’ meeting or after school.
All schools and academies in England must take part in the phonics screening check unless they are an independent school. There is a process in place for reviewing children with special educational needs, so if your child’s teacher thinks there are very special reasons related to your child and their needs that make them think the phonics screening check may not be appropriate, they will decide on appropriate action and discuss this with you.
Things to help your child:
- Say each sound in the word from left to right.
- Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, i.e. /b/ in bat, or letter group, i.e. /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound, then run your finger under the whole word as you say it.
- Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read.
- Work at your child’s pace.
- Always be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement.
- Talk to your child’s class teacher.