Early phonics teaching in pre-school and nursery (FS1) focuses on developing children’s listening skills. Early years environments do a lot of aural work, training children in awareness of sounds.

In Phase 1 phonics (FS1), children are taught about:

  • Environmental sounds
  • Instrumental sounds
  • Body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping)
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Alliteration
  • Voice sounds
  • Oral blending and segmenting (e.g. hearing that d-o-g makes ‘dog’)

Typical activities for Phase 1 phonics include ‘listening’ walks, playing and identifying instruments, action songs, learning rhymes and playing games like I Spy. This phase is intended to develop children’s listening, vocabulary and speaking skills.

In Phase 2 (generally begins in FS2), children begin to learn the sounds that letters make (phonemes). There are 44 sounds in all. Some are made with two letters, but in Phase 2, children focus on learning the 19 most common single letter sounds.

We follow the Letters and Sounds scheme ( http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/ ) but use the Read Write Inc. letter formation rhymes (http://www.thebellbird.cambs.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Letter-formation-chart.pdf ) I did change a few (I will attach the rhymes we use below).

By the end of Phase 2 children should be able to read some vowel-consonant (VC) and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, and to spell them out – c-a-t – cat. They also learn some high frequency ‘tricky words’ like ‘the’ and ‘go.’

Phase 3 (FS2) introduces children to the remaining, more difficult and/or less commonly used phonemes. There are around 25 of these, depending on which scheme is followed, mainly made up of two letters that make one sound (digraphs) such as /ch/, /ar/, /ow/ and /ee/ and three letters which make one sound (trigraphs) such as /igh/, /ear/ and /ure/. We need these sounds to be able to read and form useful words.

Alongside this, children are taught to recognise more tricky words, including ‘me,’ ‘was,’ ‘my,’ ‘you’ and ‘they’. They learn the names of the letters, as well as the sounds they make. Activities might include learning mnemonics (memory aids) for tricky words, practising writing letters on mini whiteboards/paper, using word cards and singing songs like the Alphabet Song.

By the end of Phase 3 (often completed in FS2 by Easter) , they should be able to say the sound made by most, or all, Phase 2 and 3 graphemes, blend and read CVC words made from these graphemes, read 12 new tricky words and write letters correctly when given an example to copy.

By now, children should be confident with each phoneme. From here on, phonics teaching is about consolidating and refining their knowledge, introducing more spelling patterns and tricky words, and increasing vocabulary.

Phase 4 phonics does not teach any new sounds, children will, among other things:

  • Practise reading and spelling CVCC words (‘bump’, ‘nest’, ‘belt,’ ‘milk’, etc)
  • Practise reading and spelling high frequency words
  • Practise reading and writing sentences
  • Learn more tricky words, including ‘have,’ ‘like,’ ‘some,’ ‘little’

Children should now be blending confidently to work out new words. They should be starting to be able to read words straight off, rather than having to sound them out. They should also be able to write every letter, mostly correctly and starting to write sentences using many of the taught sounds, tricky words and high frequency words.

To know and understand the correct pronunciation of the letters and sounds, here are a few links to some great videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCraBbapvgSgtvV9_pJ9O0OQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwJx1NSineE

FS2 Phase 3 Phonics sound pratise – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8Q0BaUaqrI

Tricky word songshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvMyssfAUx0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R087lYrRpgY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NOzgR1ANc4

I know this is a lot of reading but hoping it helps a little, just covers FS1 and FS2 so have a look at what is applicable to your child. Feel free to email if you have any questions or need any help.

Understanding Phonics📝Lots of reading but might be helpful and some useful links.

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