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Phase 1

Phase One

Phases 1-6 are progressive and children should move through the phases at an appropriate pace.


  • Children at nursery age will work within Phase One. Phase One falls largely within the Communication & Language area of learning in the Early Years Foundation stage. In particular it will support linking sounds and letters in the order in which they occur in words, and naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet.
  • The activities in Phase One are mainly adult-led with the intention of teaching young children important basic elements of the Letters and Sounds programme such as oral segmenting and blending familiar words
  • Phase One activities are arranged under the following seven aspects:

Aspect 1: General sound discrimination- environmental sounds

Aspect 2: General sound discrimination- Instrumental sounds

Aspect 3: General sound discrimination- body percussion

Aspect 4: Rhythm and rhyme

Aspect 5: Alliteration

Aspect 6: Voice sounds

Aspect 7: Oral blending and segmenting


  • Each aspect is divided into three strands

-Tuning into sounds (auditory discrimination)

-Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing)

-Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension)


  • Activities within the seven aspects are designed to help children:

Listen attentively

Enlarge their vocabulary

Speak confidently to adults and other children

Discriminate phonemes

Reproduce audibly the phonemes they hear, in order, all through the word.

Use sound-talk to segment words into phonemes.


Children entering school will have experienced a wealth of listening activities, including songs, stories and rhymes. They will be able to distinguish between speech sounds and many will be able to blend and segment words orally.