Phase 1 – Letters and Sounds
‘Phase One’ activities concentrate on developing children’s speaking and listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting. These activities are used as part of a broad and rich language curriculum that has speaking and listening at its centre, links language with physical and practical experiences, and provides an environment rich in print and abundant in opportunities to engage with books. Phase one activities pave the way for children to make a good start in reading and writing.
Phase One also draws on and promotes other areas of learning described in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), particularly Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Exploring and using media and materials, where, for example, music plays a key part in developing children’s language.
The activities in Phase One are mainly adult-led with the intention of teaching young children important basic elements such as oral segmenting and blending of familiar words. However, we feel it is equally important to sustain and draw upon worthwhile, freely chosen activities in a language-rich provision that serves the best interests of the children by fully recognising their propensity for play and its importance in their development.
It follows that our high quality play activities offer lots of opportunities to enrich children’s language across all areas of learning:
A main focus in our Nursery classroom is language comprehension – understanding what people say.
Staff encourage this by:
- Choosing core stories (in addition to stories, nursery rhymes and songs that are part of the Nursery day)
- Connecting stories to role play
- Encouraging partner work – this is especially important for children who are reluctant to speak out loud on the carpet
Before teaching sounds explicitly, there are lots of ways to enhance the children’s ability to blend and hear sounds in words e.g. ‘I am going to say someone’s name, Shhhhhhhh’; the children call out ‘Shaynie!’ etc.
Phase Two – Read, Write Inc
If and when children are ready, staff will begin to teach the sounds.
- The Read Write Inc. pictures are displayed and teach children the names of the mnemonics – dinosaur, net, mountain, etc.
- Single letter sounds are taught in small groups first
- Very able Nursery children are taught to ‘blend’ sounds to make words
- Children are encouraged to practise letter formation in the air and are taught to hold a pencil and sit in the correct writing position.
- Staff ensure that these short teaching sessions are interactive and fun