Pastures Way Nursery School
Letters and Sounds Phonic Scheme
Phase one

A guide for parents and carers of children at Pastures Way Nursery School
Find out about the first steps to reading and writing…



Children learn a great deal from other people. As parents and carers you are your child’s first teachers. You have a powerful influence on your child’s early learning.

From a very early age your child will need to experience a wide range of activities and experiences with you to develop their early reading and writing skills, for example singing and saying rhymes, making and listening to music, listening to them and joining in conversations, painting and pretend play. These activities will help your child take the first important steps towards reading and writing.

At Nursery: Children learn through lots of play and activities and are encouraged to use their increasing phonics knowledge in freely chosen activities.

At Home: If you can be involved in helping your child we know it can make a big difference to your child’s learning.

Speaking and listening are the foundations for reading and writing

From a very early stage, children develop an awareness of the different sounds in our spoken language. They learn how to use their voices to make contact with you and to let people know what they need and how they are feeling. As parents and carers you best understand your child’s communications; you are the key people in helping them develop their speaking and listening skills.

Letters and Sounds – Phase One

Whilst your child is of nursery school age they will be working through phase one.

Your child will be learning to

Have fun with sounds
Listen carefully
Develop their vocabulary
Speak confidently to you, other adults and children
Tune into sounds
Listen and remember sounds
Talk about sounds
Understand that spoken words are made up of different sounds

Phase 1 consists of seven interlinking parts

Environmental sounds
Instrumental sounds
Body percussion
Rhythm and rhyme
Alliteration (words that begin with the same sound)
Voice sounds
Oral blending and segmenting

You can help your child develop in each of these by trying some of the ideas below. Remember that all these activities should be fun and interactive. Give your child lots of encouragement and cuddles as you play alongside. Smiles and praise will help develop a sense of achievement and build confidence.

This is all oral (spoken) – your child will not yet be expected to match the letter to the sound. The emphasis is on developing the ability to distinguish sounds and create sounds.

Ways to support your child at home: environmental sounds

  • Go on a listening walk – when walking down the road make a point of listening to different sounds: cars revving, people talking, birds singing, dogs barking. When you get home try and remember all the sounds you hear.
  • Make sounds using a range of props such as running a stick along a fence or tapping on a bin lid etc…
  • Invent a secret family knock for entering rooms.
  • Play sound lotto. Commercial sound lotto can be purchased from many children’s toy shops but you could also make your own from your sound walk.

Ways to support your children at home: instrumental sounds

  • Make your own musical instruments using cardboard rolls, tins, dried peas, rice, pasta, beans or stones. Shake these loudly, softly, as you are marching, skipping or stomping. Play ‘guess what’s inside the instrument?’
  • Sing favourite songs loudly and then softly or add new words or sounds.
  • Listen to a range of music with your child from rap to classical. Encourage your child to move in response to the variety of musical styles and moods.

Ways to support your child at home: body percussion

  • Learn some action rhymes
  • Play some CDs. Clap along with familiar rhymes and learn new ones.
  • Listen to the sounds your feet make when walking/running/skipping; slowly, softly, fast, stomping hard, in flip-flops, boots, high heels etc..
  • Try different types of claps; clap your hands softly, fast and make a pattern for your child to follow. Do the same clapping your thighs or stomping your feet. Tap your fingers. Click your tongue etc…

Ways to support your children at home: rhythm and rhyme

  • Get into the rhythm of our language; bounce your children on your knees to the rhythm of a song or nursery rhyme; march or clap to a chant or poem.
  • Help your child move to the rhythm of a song or rhyme.
  • Read or say poems, songs, nursery songs and rhyming stories as often as you can, try to use gestures, tap regular beats and pauses to emphasise the rhythm of the piece.
  • Add percussion to mark the beats using your hands, feet or instruments.
  • Try out rhythmic chanting such as ‘two, four, six eight, hurry up or we’ll be late’ or ‘bip bop boo, who are you?’