Further Information about the Phases of Phonics
There are 6 phases in the teaching of phonics. designed for up to the age of around seven. As our website focuses primarily on younger children (nursery, pre-school and Reception), this guide will focus on Phases 1-3 with activities based on Phases 2 and 3. However, as our activities are designed to be adaptable, they are also excellent to use in the higher phases as well.
Phase 1 concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonics work which starts in Phase 2.
Typical activities in Phase 1 include:-
- Action Songs
- Body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping)
- Playing instruments
- Rhythm and rhyme
- Alliteration (when words start with the same sound eg. ‘six silly snakes’)
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. To practise oral blending, say some sounds eg. ‘c-u-p’ and see whether your child can pick out a cup from a group of objects.
At this stage it is great if your child is familiar with the alphabet, even though it may not hold any meaning. For example, Jacob could sing the whole ‘A B C D’ song but hadn’t made the connection that the ‘A’ which he was singing about was the letter ‘A’ as in his books.
Before I started any of my activities (which are designed for Phase 2 and beyond), I wanted Jacob to have more awareness of the meaning of letters. We read lots of alphabet books and did puzzles, looking at the letters and their shapes. I also had an alphabet poster on the fridge which Jacob would enjoy looking at.
The purpose of this phase is to move children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmenting with letters.
In Phase 2, children learn 19 single letter sounds, 4 digraphs, 6 tricky words and 31 high frequency words (which include the tricky words). Although there is a recommended order to teach these, many children start by learning the letters in their name first.
There are many toys designed to promote the learning of letter sounds but for Jacob, the most valuable one was the Leapfrog “Fridge Phonics” bus:-