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Guidance for Nursery Parents - Letters and Sounds Phase One

Letters and Sounds – Parental Guidance for those who have children in Nursery.


In Rhiwbeina Primary School we follow the DfES programme Letters and Sounds to deliver systematic phonics which enables your child to learn to read, write and spell.


Letters and Sounds is split into six phases and starts at phase one and finishes at phase six. Phase one begins in Nursery and it progresses through each phase until it reaches the end in Year 2.


In Nursery we have been following phase one and working our way through the different aspects (as listed below). The activities can be found on pages 4-44 within the DfES Letters and Sounds document. The document can be downloaded from the following website 


What is Phase One?

Phase one is where children are taught the skills of listening and an awareness of different sounds through seven different aspects. This phase is incredibly important and creates the foundations for all phonics learning. Please don’t underestimate the importance of these skills as whilst they appear simple, they are vital to being able to access phase two phonics. It is essential the children are secure in these before moving to phase two.


Aspect 1 – Environmental Sounds.  Children are exposed to a variety of sounds from their surrounding environment and are encouraged to replicate these.

Aspect 2 – Instrumental Sounds.  Children are encouraged to listen to a wide range of instruments and makes sounds using these.

Aspect 3 – Body Percussion.  Children are taught how to use their body to match songs and rhymes by clapping and tapping, for example.

Aspect 4 – Rhythm and Rhyme.  Children are immersed in a world of books and young children’s rhymes. Children begin to join in with repeated language patterns and rhymes.

Aspect 5 – Alliteration.  Children are made aware of the initial sounds within words and are asked to think of other words beginning with the same sound.

Aspect 6 – Voice Sounds.  Children learn to create a range of mouth movements and say different sounds.

Aspect 7 – Oral Blending and Segmenting.  This is an essential and most important step before moving onto Phase 2. Children learn which letter represents each sound. It is all done orally and is done so to allow children to hear the separate sounds within words.


What is Oral Blending and Segmenting?

Blending involves pulling together individual sounds within words.  Segmenting is breaking words down into individual sounds. 

These skills are essential in order for your child to read and write. It takes a lot of practise to master blending and segmenting both orally and with written words.  When learning to blend and segment a lot of modelling from the adult is required.  For example, when blending you as the adult would clearly say aloud the individual sounds s-a-t.  Then repeat again a little quicker, and again even quicker until the sounds become merged and a word can be heard. With segmenting you do the opposite. For example, say the cvc words such as ‘man’ aloud, then say the word very slowly as if you are stretching out and continue to do this until the individual sounds are clear.  Both blending and segmenting take a lot of practise but the great thing is that you can do it anywhere – at home or when you are out taking a walk.  


What about Jolly Phonics?

We use Jolly Phonics to help teach your child the individual letter sounds once they reach Aspect 7.  Every sound has a story, action and song. These can be found online and are a great way of helping children to learn and embed the letter sounds. Actions in particular play an important role when learning phonics.


The Jolly Phonic Songs can be found here:


Here is the list of actions:


Please note however that we do not follow the Jolly Phonics scheme, only the letter sound actions, stories and songs for introduction.


What can I do at home?

The most important thing to remember is to make whatever activities you do with your child fun, engaging and as hands-on as possible – you don’t need to sit at a table and complete worksheets to learn.  Play games that you may have at home for educational purposes focusing on using a range of language, use online resources (websites that you may like to use are listed below) and talk lots in whatever you do! Most activities in phase one rely on developing good talking and listening skills.


Don’t forget to use the Letters and Sounds document (link above) pages 4-44 which you can use to help your child’s phonic learning at home during the Corona Virus outbreak. The document looks wordy – please don’t be put off by this! When you get to the activities these are broken down into small easy-to-read paragraphs. You can also adapt these ideas or use them to develop your own, but it is a great way to get started.


Please take a look at the ways in which we teach letter sounds to our children. It is a very common mistake that parents and caregivers teach children the letter names and capital letters, when in fact it must be the letter sounds and lowercase letters. The pronunciation is also an extremely common error, with many children also adding an -uh sound onto lots of letter sounds. As teachers we review our pronunciation throughout the year to ensure we don’t slip into bad phonic habits as it is so easily done. Take a look…we are sure some of the sounds may surprise you!


Where do I start during the Corona Virus Outbreak?

Take a look at the activities we will set for you each academic week on the website. This is set by your Nursery teachers and will give you a good idea of what you could be doing with your child and they will give you any links you may need to deliver this at home where possible.


Use the Letters and Sounds document as a good resource bank.


Look online – there are lots of great interactive ideas for phase one phonics, including websites with games to help. Some of these have been listed below.  Please be careful though – American websites are plentiful but pronounce letter sounds inaccurately for the UK curriculum. Try to stick to UK sites where possible.


Websites you might like to try…


Twinkl – Twinkl are granting one month’s free access during the Corona Virus outbreak if you use the code ‘CVDTWINKLHELPS‘ when you sign up for an account. Please note that Rhiwbeina Primary School will not be liable for any costs incurred for using this site. This is not an endorsement, just a useful link to some valuable educational resources that you may like to access. Some of the Phase One resources are interactive games, others you can print off and use as games in the home.


Letters and Sounds – This website is free to access and supports the Letters and Sounds phonics program but is not the same as the phonics scheme we use. This simply provides resources to go with it.


Use games such as these available on YouTube to support with listening activities.


Phonics BLOOM has two interactive games you can use for free which supports Phase One.