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Introduction to Phase 1

Phase 1 is the beginning of your child's journey, when they train their ears to listen to sounds and to discriminate between different sounds. It  focuses on sounds we hear in everyday life and lays the essential foundations on which to build the learning that follows. It is extremely important that your child can identify individual sounds in the everyday world  e.g. a car horn, a boiling kettle, a dog barking and also tell the difference between them. This ability will help them begin hearing the separate sounds that make up words. During Phase 1 children also develop their speaking skills, talking about and describing the sounds they have heard, increasing their vocabulary and understanding of language. 


Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands:

Strand 1.Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination)

Strand 2. Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing)  

Strand 3.Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).



Aspect 1

 General sound discrimination - environmental

To raise children's awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. 

Tuning Into Sounds
Listening and Remembering Sounds
Talking about sounds 

Aspect 2

 General sound discrimination - instrumental sounds

To develop children's awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers. 

Tuning Into Sounds 
Listening and Remembering Sounds
Talking About Sounds 

Aspect 3

 General sound discrimination - body percussion

To develop children's awareness of sounds and rhythms. 

Aspect 4

Rhythm and rhyme

To develop children's appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech.

Aspect 5


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

Aspect 6

 Voice sounds

To distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting. 

Aspect 7

Oral blending and segmenting

To develop oral blending and segmenting skills.

To practise oral blending, the teacher 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, the teacher could hold up an object such as a sock and ask the children which sounds they can hear in the word sock.

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.