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Sound Discrimination - Listening Skills

Phase 1 Letters and Sounds

All the elements of Phase 1 in Letters and Sounds are listed below.  They are all focused on developing your child's sound discrimination and listening skills (so hearing, not reading). 

We enjoy lots of different practical activities to develop these skills in Nursery. We have included a few examples to give you some ideas for other activities you could enjoy.

Environmental Sounds - I can listen to, identify and join in with making sounds.

Sounds we hear everyday all around us. Stand in your garden with your child and close your eyes. What can you hear? Now do the same in the park or near the shops. Are the sounds you hear different? Are there any sounds that you can't identify?

Join in with these listening games linked below, what sounds can you hear? 

Instrumental Sounds - I can distinguish between 2 or 3 instruments.

If you don't have percussion instruments (shakers, bells, whistles) in the house then you can improvise using plastic bottles with sand or rice in them, cooking pans upside down with wooden spoons as drumsticks, pan lids as cymbals...

Play one of a small selection of instruments hidden from view of your child.  Can they play the correct instrument back to you? Make it trickier by playing two instruments.

Investigate musical instruments, what they look like and their sounds. Listen to different genres of music and discuss the sounds you can hear.

Programme 6: Music (see link above) listens to the sounds of some common instruments.

Body Percussion - I can use my body to make sounds (tap feet, click fingers)

Challenge your child to copy simple patterns that you perform first - stamp! stamp! clap! stamp! stamp! clap!

Rhyme - I can continue a rhyming string (cat, mat, bat...)

The ability to recognise and produce rhyming words is an important phonological skill.  Research indicates that there is a correlation between phonological awareness and reading ability.  So it is important to spend time messing around with rhymes together.

Alliteration - I can complete a short alliterative sentence (e.g. Such a silly...snake)

Oral Blending and Segmenting - I can identify the initial sound when an adult point to the picture.

Remember, this is all done through listening and talking about pictures/objects, not written words. 

I-Spy Challenge

Begin playing I-Spy by naming each picture in turn - 'Can you see a bee?'

Support your child in asking you some 'Can you spot a...?' questions.

Then, when they are confident, try making it slightly harder - 'Can you spy an insect that makes honey?'

Again, support and model ideas to help your child in describing their chosen picture.

Begin to introduce listening for the initial sound of each object, but ensure you help your child enough that they always succeed.

Listening to Stories

We all know how important it is to read to our children every day.  Encourage your child's listening skills and developing imagination by listening to these stories from CBeebies and BBC Teach...