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Monster Phonics at Highfield Hall

Reading is the foundation that all other education is built on, and phonics is a major part of early reading. Phonics makes all the difference to children’s reading, enabling all children to decode words effectively.  Through daily lessons, children learn the skills of blending sounds for reading and segmenting words for spelling.

How is phonics taught?

We teach Phonics using a systematic phonics programme called Monster Phonics which covers the 6 phases of Letters and Sounds. Further details can be found on the Monster Phonics website


Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One

(Nursery / Start of Reception)

Activities are divided into 7 aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two


Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three


The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining sounds not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the ‘simple code’, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four


No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five

(Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the ‘complex code’. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six

(Throughout Year 2 & beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Children will continue to revisit any Phonics Phases as necessary to embed their Phonic knowledge.




Monster Phonics supports children to become confident and successful readers and embrace a love of reading. Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by:

-saying the sound(s) they represent

-high frequency words (HFW words the children see and encounter often such as “the” or “I”) and Common Exception Words (CEW)-these are words that have -sounds in them that are taught in later year groups

-blending (the skill of joining sounds together to read words. Children are taught to -say the separate sounds in a word and to then blend them together to decode the word)

-segmenting (the opposite of blending). Children are taught to segment a word into its separate sounds in order to spell it


 We believe that by doing this we are equipping the children to learn to read and write independently from an early age

Introduction to Monster Phonics

Monster Phonics uses characters, colours, songs and actions to make phonics teaching and learning exciting and memorable.  The children are excited to learn and look forward to lessons, wondering which character they will be learning with in each lesson.

Progress in phonics is constantly monitored so that learning can be tailored to the needs of individual children as we at Highfield Hall appreciate that young children learn at different rates using a range of learning styles. 


All children are assessed towards the end of year 1 using the Phonics Screening Check. This is a simply a one to one assessment with the class teacher that allows the children to demonstrate their blending skills to read a mix of real words and pseudo-words (made up words).  For more information see the link below.


Phonics links for parents:

Monster Phonics Free Worksheets

Oxford Owl year-1-phonics-screening-check

Oxford Owl Learn to Read Phonics

Online Phonics games at Phonics Play




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.

Pure Speech Sounds

What are ‘high frequency’ words?

High frequency words (HFW) are words which appear most commonly in the English language. A child may be able to sound out some of them, such as ‘at’, ‘in’ or ‘he’, but some are not decodable through phonics, such as ‘said’, ‘are’ or ‘Mr’. Research has suggested that there are just sixteen words which will make up a quarter of the words in a text, regardless of whether it has been written for an adult or a child.  


High frequency words: what they are and why they’re important

Why are ‘high frequency words’ so important?

Recognising and being able to read high frequency words give children more confidence: if a child can already recognise a quarter of the words in a text, they are more likely to want to keep reading. In comparison, if they don’t recognise those words, they will have to work much harder at sounding out words and are likely to become discouraged.  


Basically, by recognising the high frequency words, a child already has some very strong building blocks for reading under their belt.


My child has learnt their 100 HFW. What next?

After children have learned the first 100 high frequency words, they will be introduced to the next 200 high frequency words. By the end of Year 2, most children should know all of these words, as they will then be introduced to the Year 3/4 statutory spelling words.

By the end of Year 2, children are expected to know how to spell 200 High Frequency Words when they write. If they know how to spell these words, it will make writing and reading much easier for them.