Letters and Sounds

Letters and Sounds was published by the Department for Education in 2007. This guidance helped to embed and unify synthetic phonics teaching in primary schools across England with a detailed and logical curriculum. It remains as the programme of study for phonics in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

In 2014, the government published the new Spelling Curriculum for Key Stage One and beyond. It is important to understand where Letters and Sounds finishes and where the KS1 spelling curriculum starts, as there is some overlap and change in teaching order between the two.

Some schools still only follow Letters and Sounds, so it is necessary to understand all phases of this programme and how these relate to the new spelling curriculum.

The KS1 Spelling Curriculum

Schools can follow the KS1 Spelling Curriculum at the start of Year One, in place of Letters & Sounds phases 5 and 6. Children who are ready may start it earlier. This KS1 Spelling Curriculum includes some Phase 3 graphemes (ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er) and Phase 5 and 6 graphemes. Alternatively, schools may wish to continue to follow Letter and Sounds phase 5 and 6 at this stage.

Browse the Letters & Sounds phased phonics teaching structure for schools. 

Tricky and high-frequency words are taught alongside phonics at each phase of Letters and Sounds, as well as in the KS1 Spelling Curriculum. Read more about tricky and high-frequency words.

The Monster Phonics Programme

The Monster Phonics programme provides complete lessons and resources to teach the Letters and Sounds programme in Reception and the Spelling Curriculum in KS1.  Monster Phonics uses scientific linguistic research to colour-code for sounds. This helps children to understand and recall complex phonics and spellings more easily. Find out more about how Monster Phonics works.

Monster Phonics makes phonics teaching as logical and easy to follow as possible. Accordingly, the programme aligns the Letters and Sounds and the KS1 Spelling Curriculum to provide a seamless curriculum for all schools to follow. We have ensured that all areas of teaching are covered and that schools wishing to continue with Letters and Sounds in KS1 can continue to do so. Monster Phonics is also a simple and effective programme for schools wanting to make the change to the KS1 Spelling Curriculum. Here is some information on the benefits of the KS1 Spelling Curriculum.