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Early Phonics

Since Read Write Inc starts it's programme with the letter sounds (phonemes), we teach Phase one of 'Letters and Sounds' in Nursery.  Phase One phonics concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Set 1 of Read Write Inc (RWI). 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.

Nursery children work on all seven aspects in Phase 1.

Aspect 1 - General sound discrimination - environmental
The aim of this aspect is to raise children's awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. 

Some activities that you could try are:

  • going on a listening walk;
  • drumming on different items outside and comparing the sounds;
  • playing a sounds lotto game.

Aspect 2 - General sound discrimination - instrumental sounds
This aspect aims to develop children's awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers.

Some activities you could try are:

  • playing instruments alongside a story or nursery rhyme;
  • playing musical instruments;
  • making loud and quiet sounds.

Aspect 3 - General sound discrimination - body percussion
The aim of this aspect is to develop children's awareness of sounds and rhythms.

Activities include:

  • singing songs;
  •  listening to music;
  • singing action songs.

Aspect 4 - Rhythm and rhyme
This aspect aims to develop children's appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech.

Activities include:

  • read rhyming stories e.g. The Gruffalo;
  • sing nursery rhymes;
  • rhyming bingo;
  • clapping out the syllables in words e.g. straw-be-rry, a-pple;
  • finding the odd word out in a group e.g. hat, bat, cat, bag.

Aspect 5 - Alliteration
The focus is on initial sounds of words.

  • Activities include:
  • I-Spy type games;
  • Matching objects which begin with the same sound.

Aspect 6 - Voice sounds
The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting.

Activities include Metal Mike, where children feed pictures of objects into a toy robot's mouth and the teacher sounds out the name of the object in a robot voice - /c/-/u/-/p/ cup, with the children joining in.

Aspect 7 - Oral blending and segmenting
In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.
To practise oral blending, the teacher could say some sounds, such as /c/-/u/-/p/ and see whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects. For segmenting practise, the teacher could hold up an object such as a sock and ask the children which sounds they can hear in the word sock.