How Monster Phonics Works
Who is it for?
DfE-listed ,Monster Phonics is designed as a whole-class scheme for children in Reception and Key Stage 1 and as an intervention in Key Stages 1 and 2, with all resources mapped against the Letters & Sounds phases 1 to 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.
Lesson plans and comprehensive resources
Lesson plans and resources are available for every grapheme in Reception and the KS1 National Curriculum. All resources easy to find and print or download. These include PowerPoints, animations, songs, stories, phonics flashcards, worksheets and differentiated multisensory activities. Stories, songs and activities are carefully woven into the lessons which are highly engaging. Colour-coded flashcards, word charts and PowerPoints make the teaching of the Commons Exception and High-Frequency Words far easier. The interim and end of year assessment materials are simple and straightforward.
Meet the Monsters
- Angry Red A Xa, a-e, ay, ai, ei, eigh, ea, ey
Angry Red A
There are 8 graphemes that make the long A sound. We colour them red.
Angry Red A is a memory cue for the long A sound because he makes this sound.
Angry Red A is a kind but crazy monster. He sometimes breaks objects without thinking. He loves driving his racing car and has a monster taxi service. On Fridays, his cave becomes the Rave Cave for the weekly monster disco.
- Green Froggy Xe, y, ee, ea, ie, ey, ei, i, e-e, i-e
There are 9 graphemes that make the long E sound. We colour them green.
Green Froggy is a memory cue for the long E sound because she makes this sound.
‘Green Froggy is happy to dr eam under the tree’
‘Green Froggy is a teacher at the teapot school house. She loves to drink tea and coffee and always looks forward to the weekend’
- Yellow I Xi, i-e, y, igh, ie, y-e
There are 5 graphemes that make the long I sound. We colour them yellow.
The Yellow I monster is a memory cue for the long I sound because he makes this sound.
Yellow I watches over the other monsters from his lighthouse. When there is trouble the lighthouse blinks and he jumps into action. Yellow I is a spy who goes on secret missions and loves gadgets like iPads and iPhones. He can fly when he wears his secret cloak.
- Miss Oh No Xo, o-e, oa, ow, oe
Miss Oh No
There are 5 graphemes that make the long O sound. We colour them pink.
Miss Oh No is a memory cue for the long O sound because she says ‘Oh No!’ when she bumps into things.
Miss Oh No loves to dance more than anything else in the world. She is a disco dance teacher giving lessons after school to all the monsters. She is enthusiastic but sometimes lacks coordination! Miss Oh No lives inside a pink-coated doughnut-shaped house.
- U-Hoo Xu, u-e, ew, ue, eu
There are 5 graphemes that make the long U sound. We colour them purple.
U-Hoo is a memory cue for the long U sound because he makes this sound.
U-Hoo lives in the outer universe. He calls ‘Yoo-hoo!’ and waves his U-shaped arms to his friends below him. He visits Monster Phonics Land by sliding down a purple tube that magically appears. U-hoo is a musician, playing the drums in the monsters band.
- Cool Blue Xu, o, u-e, oo, ew, ue, ou, ui, o-e, eu
There are 10 graphemes that make the long oo sound. We colour them pink.
Cool Blue is a memory cue for the long O sound because he makes this sound.
Cool Blue is a cool DJ and he also looks after the zoo. He adores animals especially kangaroos and cockatoos. Cool Blue lives in a blue moon house. His favourite DJ event is the Friday Monsters Disco. He also sings the ‘Ooh’ vocals in the monsters’ band.
- Brown Owl Xow, ou
There are 2 graphemes that make the ow sound. We colour them brown.
Brown Owl is a memory cue for the ow sound.
Brown Owl is a Mountain Rescue Owl. She lives in a brown treehouse at the top of Monster Mountain with Bounder, her St Bernard. If a monster is lost, she’ll save them. She loves comics and talks like a comic book… POW! WOW! OW! She excels at school.
- Ghosts X
The sound cue for silent letters is “Put your fingers to your lips. Ghost letters make no sound.” We colour them white. The ghosts help children to remember to write these letters in words, even though they have no sound.
The ghosts enjoy hiding and jumping out to scare the monsters. They make no sound! This is great for pretending that they are not there. They live in Tricky Witch’s house and help to look after the Black Cats. They feed them and play chase games.
- Tricky Witch X
Tricky letters show no grapheme-phoneme correspondence. They make a different sound to the one that has been taught. We colour them gold. For example, the ‘a’ in ‘want’ makes an ‘o’ sound. For Tricky letters, the cue is “Tricky Witch has cast a spell to change the sounds you know so well. Can I catch you out”?
Tricky Witch is naughty and casts ‘tricky’ spells in Monster Phonics Land often causing chaos. She lives in the haunted house with the ghosts and the black cats. Her nieces, the Little Witches come to visit. Tricky Witch loves jewellery and gold bling!
- The Black Cats X
The Black Cats
The black cats make the phonetic sounds. These are the 26 letters of the alphabetic, 9 consonant digraphs and or and ur. They do not need as sound cue as they are phonetic.
The black cats are happy and playful. They like to line up in a row to make phonetic words. The cats don’t understand Tricky Witch’s magic or how the ghosts can disappear but they are learning how to read simple words using their letter sounds.
Accelerated learning creates confident children
Engaging, multisensory lessons make learning fun
Easy to teach the National Curriculum
Significantly improves results for every child
The Monster Phonics Approach is based on Linguistic Research
Monster Phonics was developed by Ingrid Connors, a primary teacher, phonics specialist and audiological scientist. Ingrid’s experiences within education and her scientific background led her to focus research on the linguistic obstacles to literacy and specifically how these can be overcome through the systematic teaching of phonics.
The outcomes of this research form the foundations of Monster Phonics:
- There are linguistic characteristics specific to the English language that making learning to read and spell more difficult – these are long vowels, silent letters and ‘tricky’ letters. This is largely the result of historical changes to our language.
- Showing children the sound of each grapheme through very simple colour-coding makes learning to read and spell easier.
- Engagement is key to learning – a phonics programme that is successful for all children must achieve a high level of interest and engagement. Multisensory teaching improves engagement.
The improvement in phonics screening scores, and increased reading and spelling progression seen in schools that use Monster Phonics is proof that the system based on scientific research enhances the learning process.
Monster Phonics was voted as one of the top twenty ideas in world education at the BETT show in 2015 and was a BETT finalist in 2017.