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At Ranskill we teach our children to read through a phonics first approach to reading and by providing a rich literary environment.  The children will have a daily phonics lesson following the phases outlined in the Governments Letters and Sounds document supported by songs, rhymes and actions from Jolly Phonics.  

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It starts in Nursery by building children's speaking and listening skills.  There are six overlapping phases taught throughout Nursery, Reception and into Key Stage One.  In Nursery children start with Phase One. 


Throughout Phase One of Letters and Sounds children will:

  •  develop their language structures;
  •  increase their vocabulary;
  •  begin to distinguish between sounds in words;
  •  speak clearly and audibly;
  •  become familiar with rhyme, rhythm and alliteration;
  •  listen attentively;
  •  explore and experiment with sounds and words;


Activities to support learning in Phase One include:

  •  storytelling;
  •  singing songs;
  •  listening to rhymes and repeating patterns and refrains;
  •  playing alliterative games;
  •  using creative language in role play, drama and dance;
  •  identifying sounds in names, words in the environment etc.


The activities in this phase will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them, such as the sounds of their toys and to sounds in spoken language. Teachers teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs. They read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know – their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books.


As the children move through Phase One and become skilled listeners and can identify the initial sounds in words we move on to show the children how to sound talk whole words – c-a-t = cat. The separate sounds (phonemes) are spoken aloud, in order, all through the word, and are then merged together into the whole word. The merging together is called blending and is a vital skill for reading.

Children will also learn to do this the other way around – cat = c-a-t. The whole word is spoken aloud and then broken up into its sounds (phonemes) in order, all through the word. This is called segmenting and is a vital skill for spelling.

This is all oral (spoken). Your child will not be expected to match the letter to the sound at this stage. The emphasis is on helping children to hear the separate sounds in words and to create spoken sounds.


Below you will find the seven aspects of Phase One with some simple activities that you can try at home.


This links shows you the Jolly Phonics action and pronunciation for each sound.


This link sings the Jolly Phonic songs linked to Phase Two.