Phonics Learning. How can you help?

Phonics is taught in schools up until Year 2. For the majority of children this is a very good way of learning how to read, write and spell. But it is not for all children. Formally it starts in Reception but aspects of it start before that, in pre-school and nursery.

Phonics is something you can do at a very early age - you can help them with their phonics journey but singing songs together and sounding out words in a fun way.

Children benefit by exposure to books from an early age. They need to see that books are fun and not just for kids. Not just books - comics, shopping list, cereal boxes, games on the computer, adverts in fact all written text.

Try to provide lots of opportunities for your child to engage with text.

Enjoying and sharing books leads to children seeing them as a source of pleasure and interest and motivates them to value reading.

Now to start with the phonics.

Phase one is where it all starts.

Don't Panic - most of the stuff in phase one you are already doing everyday - this just lets you understand why your doing it and how important it is.

Phase One activities are arranged under the following seven aspects.

■ Aspect 1: General sound discrimination – environmental sounds

■ Aspect 2: General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds

■ Aspect 3: General sound discrimination – body percussion

■ Aspect 4: Rhythm and rhyme

■ Aspect 5: Alliteration ■ Aspect 6: Voice sounds

■ Aspect 7: Oral blending and segmenting

Here on the website you will find a whole page of phase one phonics. Check it out ...

Progression in phonics is taught through phases.

Phase 1 is all about listening and sounds.

Let's have a look at some things you can do at home, even when your child is very little that are within phase 1.

PHASE 1 - Aspect 1

Aspect 1 involves general sound discrimination out and about in the environment. This is a very easy one and it's always good to get out with your little one.

Just have fun on your listening walk and the other ideas set out below.

Listening Walk

Take a lovely walk out. True, it might not be so lovely if its raining - but your hear things differently when its raining so its worth a go.

Ask questions like 'What can you hear?' Talk about the different sounds. Have a chat about how important it is to listen.

After you get back from your listening walk talk about the sounds they can remember. Make a list - in words and pictures if you like,

A Listening Moment

This can be done inside or out. Talk again about good listening. Use a timer or you phone to set it to go off in roughly 1 minute. Focus and listen. When the timer goes off, talk about what you heard.

There are lot's more activities for phase 1 -- Aspects 1 t o 7 that you can do at home.

Pop along to the phonics page on the website to find out lots more information about phonics and how learning phonics helps your child. Or click on the link below.

Phonics - All you need to know


  • Encourage children to use language for thinking by asking open questions such as What does it feel like?

  • Children enjoy experimenting with the sounds different objects can make.

  • Explore with children the sounds different animals make, including imaginary ones such as dragons.

  • Playing with musical instruments outdoors encourages children to experiment with the sounds they can hear.

  • Listen to the children as they re-enact familiar stories.

  • Talk with children as they paint and comment on the movements and shapes they are making.

  • Children need to build a stock of rhymes through hearing them repeated over and over again.

  • Enjoying and sharing books leads to children seeing them as a source of pleasure and interest.

  • Children enjoy listening to rhymes and inventing their own.

  • For children learning English as an additional language (EAL), songs and rhymes help them to tune into the rhythm and sound of English.

  • Make sure the book collection includes books with lots of alliterative rhymes and jingles.

  • As children explore the texture of shaving foam, pasta shapes or foamy water, introduce words that may be new to them such as smooth frothy crunchy.

  • When children act out familiar stories, encourage them to use sound effects like swish swish through the grass, squelch squelch in the mud, splishy sploshy through the rain.

  • As children play with the balls, bounce a ball alongside them making the sound ‘b’ b’ b’

A lot of the information on this page comes from "Letters and Sounds: Phase One Teaching Programme The National Strategy" but much of it comes from working in Reception class and my time spent being a childminder.

Don't forget to check out the phonic pages on this website - there you will find more information and some great links to websites to help you with your phonics journey.

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