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In Nursery, phonics is taught daily through multisensory play based activities. Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for when children begin the Essential Letters and Sounds programme in Reception. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.


Phase 1 consists of seven interlinking aspects:

Environmental sounds

Instrumental sounds

Body percussion

Rhythm and rhyme

Alliteration (words that begin with the same sound)

Voice sounds

Oral blending and segmenting 


You can help your child develop in each of these by trying some of the ideas below. Remember that all these activities should be fun and interactive. Give your child lots of encouragement as you play together. Smiles and praise will help develop a sense of achievement and build confidence. The emphasis is on developing the ability to distinguish sounds and create sounds.


• Encourage your child to listen to sounds in the world around them, and copying the sounds (e.g. ‘can you make a car sound? What sound does a dog make?’)


• Use instruments and their own bodies and voices to make and copy sounds


• Listen out for rhythm and rhyme (e.g. spotting the rhyming words in a nursery rhyme)


• Listening to the sounds in spoken words and splitting a word into its separate sounds (e.g. ‘d-o-g’ makes ‘dog’)


• Use their hobbies and interests! If they’re into animals, see how many different animal noises they can make. Can they copy a sound you make, and tell you what the animal is? Or if they love trucks, cars and diggers, encourage them to make the appropriate noises when they are playing.


• When you’re out and about, listen out for sounds – birdsong, traffic noises, etc. Can your child tell you what made the sound? Can they copy it?


• Sing songs and say rhymes together. Can your child clap when they hear a rhyming word?


• Clap or tap a rhythm. Can your child copy it? Can they clap their own rhythm for you to copy?


•Sound lotto or bingo games


• If you’re ever concerned about your child’s early phonics skills, please talk to one of the nursery staff.