Phonics & Reading


Phonics curriculum

At Loughton Manor we use a Phonics scheme called Monster Phonics. It's used as the main tool to enable our children to learn to read and write. Monster Phonics has been validated by the Department for Education (DfE). 

To discover more about how the scheme works, please follow this link to the Monster Phonics Parent Letter.

It’s important that we take an approach that is rigorous, systematic, used with fidelity (any resources used match the Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence (GPC) progression of the approach), and achieves strong results for all pupils.

Validation status indicates that a programme has been self-assessed by its publisher and judged by a panel with relevant expertise and that both consider it to meet all of the DfE criteria for an effective systematic synthetic phonics programme.

A complete systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme is one that provides:

  • all that is essential to teach SSP to children in reception and key stage 1 years of mainstream primary schools

  • sufficient support for children in reception and key stage 1 to become fluent readers

  • a structured route for most children to meet or exceed the expected standard in the year one phonics screening check

  • all national curriculum expectations for word reading through decoding by the end of key stage 1


I’m Becky, and this is Bertie – and we love coming into school to hear the children read!


Bertie is a Cavapoo – a cross between a Cavalier King Charles and a Poodle – and he was born in 2020. He is very soft, very friendly and rather small; and he loves being with children, and listening to them read.


We come into school every week, and listen to some of the children reading books to us. The children have all sorts of different reading abilities: some of them only come for a few weeks, and some of them are with us for longer – but we always notice big changes in them over their time coming to see us.


How did we come to do it?


It’s all done through a special charity, Canine Concern. They connect dog owners with a variety of organisations in the community who love to welcome doggy visitors, because it benefits those communities so much – whether they are schools, care homes, hospitals, or a whole range of other places where a dog can bring lots of joy, calm and support.


My two not-so-little boys used to go to Loughton Manor, and when they left in 2021 I missed being part of this fabulous school’s community very much. So when I saw a request for a Canine Concern dog to visit school and listen to some reading every week, I couldn’t wait to volunteer!


We applied via the charity, and met our local Canine Concern rep, Penny. She talked to us about what’s involved, and most importantly, she had to be sure that the job would suit Bertie well, and not cause him any anxiety - as well as making sure that we would both be being suitable for the school. Luckily, she was happy to recommend us and we started our visits in September 2021.


What happens?


Some of the children lack confidence in their reading, and to begin with they’re happiest to show us the pictures and talk about them – but very soon they build up to reading some words to us, and that grows each time we visit. Every child we’ve met has advanced to reading us a full story in one session, by the time they finish coming to see us!


Some of them are a little bit hesitant about Bertie when they meet him, but they gradually grow more comfortable in his company - letting him sit next to them while they read, and giving him a pat here and there. Bertie is very calm and adapts his behaviour to each child. He learns very quickly which ones love to fuss him, and who prefers to sit quietly, and he remembers that each week.


All of the children love giving Bertie one of his tasty treats at the end of each book – and that’s one of his favourite bits too!


We don’t just sit and listen to books, either. We were delighted to join the whole of Year 2 on their first school trip after a long lockdown: a walk to Central Library! Bertie absolutely loved being out and about on the lead with all the children, and I was very proud to accompany him on his mission to help them discover some new books. 


Loughton Manor is such a nurturing environment, and children are supported in their learning and development in so many different ways, all day long. We are very proud and privileged to be part of that beautiful tapestry of their education, and their precious time at this wonderful infant school.

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