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Early Reading and Phonics

Teaching Early Reading & Writing

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write by blending and segmenting individual sounds. Every letter and different combination of letters make particular sounds e.g. ‘s’ makes a hissing sound like a snake.

Phonics is essential for children to become successful readers, spellers and writers in the Early Years of schooling and beyond. Our Phonics teaching begins in nursery and continues through to Year 1 and Year 2    with a further program of Phonics Intervention for children that require additional support into Key Stage 2.

At Highfield Hall Primary School we use the DfE approved Monster Phonics scheme of work for teaching and learning phonics.


Phoneme – a single unit of sound

Digraph – two letters that make one sound (e.g. sh, ch, ai)

Trigraph – three letters that make one sound (e.g. igh, ear, air, ure)

Split Diagraph – two letters make one sound but have been split apart by one letter (e.g. a – e in lake)

Grapheme – a written letter or group of letters that represent a sound

Consonants – b, c, d, f, g, h, j, j, k, l ,m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z

Vowels – a, e, i, o, u (sometimes y)

Blend – to put or merge the sounds together to make the word (e.g. the sounds in c-a-t are blended to read the word cat)

Segment – to break down the word into its individual sounds to spell (e.g. cat can be split to the sounds c-a-t)

Supporting at Home

  • Share books every night at home with your child – including reading for pleasure books
  • Play Phonic Games
  • Practise Phonics Sounds regularly
  • Practise reading and writing High Frequency Words
  • Listen to your child read their Monster Phonics book every night
  • Provide opportunities for your child to write at home e.g shopping lists


Guided Reading Sessions

All children in Reception and KS1 have a guided reading sessions three times a week. These sessions last for approximately 20minutes and follow a similar format to the daily phonics sessions to help prevent cognitive overload. The sessions follow a format of ‘Revisit and Review’ followed by ‘Practise and Apply’.

The three sessions focus on a different aspect:

  1. Fluency
  2. Prosody
  3. Early Comprehension Skills

Some children will have further time built in during the week to read one to one with an adult, if required.