Market Drayton Infant & Nursery School

‘An excellent, happy school, where we enjoy learning’

Phase 1

Phase 1 develops children's abilities to listen to, make, explore and talk about sounds. This phase is split into 7 aspects that are explored and developed through games. The first six aspects can be dipped into in any order. Aspect 7 should come later.

1.  Sound discrimination in the environment around them. 

The aim of this is to raise children's awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. Activities could include going on a listening walk, drumming on different items outside and comparing the sounds and making shakers.

2. Sound discrimination in instrumental sounds. 

This aims to develop children's awareness of sounds made by a range of instruments and noise makers. Activities include comparing and matching sound makers, playing instruments during a story and making loud and quiet sounds.

3. Sound discrimination using body percussion.

The aim of this is to develop children's awareness of sounds and rhythms. Activities include singing songs and action rhymes and listening to music.

4. Rhythm and Rhyme

This  aims to develop children's appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech. Activities include rhyming stories, rhyming bingo and clapping out the syllables in words.

5.  Alliteration - words starting with the same sound

The focus is on initial sounds of words,  activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.

6. Voice Sounds

The aim is to notice the difference between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting. Activities include Metal Mike, where children feed pictures of objects into a toy robot's mouth and the teacher sounds out the name of the object in a robot voice - /c/-/u/-/p/ cup, with the children joining in.

7. Oral segmenting and blending

The main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.

To practise oral blending, you could say some sounds, such as /c/-/u/-/p/ and see whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects. For segmenting practise, you could hold up an object such as a cup and ask the children which sounds they can hear in the word cup.


The activities introduced in Phase 1 are intended to continue throughout the following phases, as lots of practice is needed before children will become confident in their phonic knowledge and skills.