Fun with phonics workshop 1
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Fun with Phonics – workshop 1. Monday 14 th March 2011. Aims for the day. To understand the importance of early language skills. To develop understanding of the potential barriers to speech and language development.

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Fun with phonics workshop 1

Fun with Phonics – workshop 1

Monday 14th March 2011.


Aims for the day

Aims for the day

  • To understand the importance of early language skills.

  • To develop understanding of the potential barriers to speech and language development.

  • To understand phase 1 of the letters and sounds programme and how parents can best support their child at home with phase 1 development.


The importance of early language skills

The importance of early language skills.

Language is the most powerful tool in the development of any human being. It is undeniably the greatest asset we possess. A good grasp of language is synonymous with a sound ability to think. In other words, language and thought are inseparable.

Vygotsky 1986


Fun with phonics workshop 1

The following quotations are taken from the “I can talk” series document entitled “The cost to the nation of children’s poor communication” 2006.

“Effective oral language skills are the building blocks on which subsequent literacy and numeracy development is based. Without solid foundations in language and communication skills, children run the risk of school failure, low self-esteem and poor social skills.”

“There appears to be a ‘critical age’ for developing speech and language skills in preventing the development of associated social and academic difficulties……those whose language difficulties were resolved by 5 ½ were more likely to go on to develop good reading and spelling skills.”


Potential barriers to speech and language development

Potential barriers to speech and language development.

  • The use of dummies and/or soft teats.

  • Lack of opportunity for children to practise and rehearse their language skills.

  • Actual speech, language and communication needs e.g. autistic spectrum, hearing impairments.


Letters and sounds

Letters and sounds

Phonics development.


Letters and sounds1

Letters and sounds

  • A programme that is split into 6 separate phases, each aimed at developing children’s language, communication and understanding of the letters and sounds of the English language.

  • A good foundation in letters and sounds/phonics skills supports development throughout school of speaking and listening, reading and writing skills.

  • Phase 1 is a key area that begins as soon as a child begins school and indeed prior to that. It encapsulates the very foundations of communication and listening skills and although is developed explicitly through foundation stage before a child learns any form of letter recognition, is fundamental alongside all 5 of the remaining phases and beyond.


Fun with phonics workshop 1

  • In phase 2 children learn to recognise many letters of the alphabet and the sounds that they make. They also learn how to read words by sounding out the letters they see (blending) and to write words by splitting up the sounds in words they hear (segmenting).

  • Phase 3 teaches the trickier letters of the alphabet and unusual ways of making new sounds e.g. sh, ch, th.

  • Phase 4 concentrates on letter blends – groups of letters where the sounds are so close together it can be difficult to discriminate between them e.g. frog, best, blob, spring

  • Phase 5 looks are the vowel sounds made with groups of letters e.g. ea – beat, air – chair, igh, night

  • Phase 6 looks at bringing all the previous phases together in more complex forms and other grammatical structure e.g. changing the tense.

  • Letters and sounds is taught in this form throughout primary school depending on the needs of each child. The ideal aim for the end of foundation stage is for a child to be working within phase 3.


Phase 1 a crucial phase for early language development

Phase 1 – a crucial phase for early language development.

Phase 1 is split into 7 aspects

  • Environmental sounds

  • Instrumental sounds

  • Body percussion

  • Rhythm and rhyme

  • Alliteration

  • Voice sounds

  • Oral blending and segmenting

    The aspects do not have to be developed in order but a solid development in each will support speech, language and communication development.


Aspect 1 environmental sounds

Aspect 1 – environmental sounds

  • Listen for a minute – using a timer spend one minute in different environments listening to as many sounds as you can hear. What sounds can you hear? What is making the sound? How would you describe the sound? Is it a long sound or a short sound?

  • Drumsticks – you can use anything to be your drumstick e.g. chopsticks, branches, wooden spoons etc. In different environments use the drumsticks to tap, scrape and scratch different objects for example, wooden fences, metal pipes, wooden doors, plant pots. Try to make as many different sounds and you can.

  • Sound lotto – Make a simple board with pictures of familiar noise making objects from your home. Make some of the sounds for your child to identify and mark off on their board. Can they identify the object without looking at it? This activity can be adapted for different environments. There are many sound lotto games that you can buy also.


Aspect 1 environmental sounds1

Aspect 1 – environmental sounds

  • Mrs Andrews has a bag – You can use a bag or a box and adapt the title to match your name. Put a few objects that can make a noise into a bag/box e.g. crumpled paper, keys etc. Sing the song to the tune of Old MacDonald “Mrs Andrews has a bag, e, I e, I, o, and in that bag she has a….” make a sound from the bag, can your child work out what the object is without seeing it?

  • Describe and find – this can be done with pictures of a scene or if you have them a small world activity set such as a farmyard or a zoo. You give the child a few clues to identify an animal in the scene, e.g. it has 4 legs, a long tail, a mane and likes to jump over fences. The child has to identify the animal by making the sound that it makes.

  • Phonicsplay.co.uk phase 1 – sound starters and welcome to the zoo.


Aspect 2 instrumental sounds

Aspect 2 – Instrumental sounds

  • Sound makers – Making your own instruments with old containers and rice, pasta, coins, shells, pebbles etc. Use to make music as you sing along to favourite rhymes and songs. Play guessing games – what is inside this to make that noise?

  • Exploring instruments – If you have them just explore simple percussion instruments, maracas, sleigh bells, castanets etc. Explore the different sounds they make and the name of the instruments.

  • Barrier games – this can be played with purchased instruments and homemade sound makers. You need 2 sets of a small group of instruments, place one behind a screen or cover. Take turns to select an instrument and make a sound, the other person then has to find the matching instrument at make the same sound.


Aspect 2 instrumental sounds1

Aspect 2 – Instrumental sounds

  • Music man – sing the popular song and simply add your own instruments or homemade sound makers.

  • Annotating stories – when sharing a familiar story or book with your child use instruments to create the sound effects for events or feelings in the story. E.g. If it rains using shakers, bells to represent sunshine or happiness.


Aspect 3 body percussion

Aspect 3 – Body percussion

  • Rhymes and songs – when singing familiar songs and rhymes tap hand on knees to keep the beat of the song.

  • Roly Poly – use simple actions e.g. rolling hands as in “wind the bobbin up”, stamping feet, tap your fingers, clap your hands. E.g. Ro…ly…po…ly ever…so…slow…ly, roly poly faster, stamp…your…feet..ever…so…slow…ly, stamp your feet faster.

  • Copy the sound – you make a sound using your body e.g. pat your shoulder, stamp your feet, tap your cheek, the child listens and copies your sound. Try different rhythms or adjusting the speed and volume.

  • Can you play? – Can you play Hickory Dickory Dock on your knees/hands, shoulders etc. Try different familiar rhymes.


Aspect 4 rhythm and rhyme

Aspect 4 – Rhythm and Rhyme

  • Rhyming books – regularly share rhyming stories with your child and try to be really expressive to support your child in tuning in to the rhythm and rhyme. Try to get your child to say the rhyming word when they are familiar with the story by missing out the word that rhymes for your child to complete.

  • Rhymes and songs – Regularly and consistently sing familiar rhymes and songs with your child – the repetition children to vocalise sounds. Phonicsplay.co.uk Hickory Dickory Dock and if you subscribe cake bake activity.

  • Repeat the rhythm – For this you can use either body percussion, an instrument or a pair of wooden sticks. Play a simple rhythm for your child to listen to and join in with or copy. I would stick to no more than 6 beats.

  • Rhyming soup – this song goes to the tune of pop goes the weasel. The words are “I’m making lots of silly soup, I’m making soup that’s silly. I’m going to put it in the fridge, to keep it nice and chilly.” Use pictures of objects that rhyme e.g. cat, rat, bat, hat. Using a bowl and a spoon add one of the objects to the bowl and sing the song, explain that the next object to go in the soup will rhyme with the first. Keep adding the ingredients one at a time singing the song in between. When the children are good at this you can remove the pictures and ask the children what ingredients could go into the soup after suggesting the first item.


Aspect 4 rhythm and rhyme1

Aspect 4 – Rhythm and Rhyme

  • Rhyming pairs and bingo – these games can easily be purchased from shops but you can also make your own all you need are 2 sets of pictures of rhyming objects. Make your own bingo board with one of the sets of objects, pull out a picture and if your child has a picture that rhymes they can mark it off on their board. Also place rhyming pictures upside down on a table, take turns to turn over 2 pictures, if they rhyme they can keep that pair, the winner is the one with the most pairs at the end of the game.

  • Playing with words – Collect a set of familiar objects with various syllable patterns e.g tel-e-phone, cam-e-ra, pen-cil, wood-en-spoon, Talk about each object and what we use them for. Practise saying the word and clapping the syllables in it. E.g. tel-e-phone = 3 claps. When the child is confident clap out a word without saying it and see if they can identify the object.

  • Odd one out – put out 2 pictures of objects that rhyme and 1 that does not. Ask the child to find the odd one out, the one that does not rhyme.


Aspect 5 alliteration

Aspect 5 - Alliteration

  • I spy – a good old familiar game that encourages children to notice the first sound of words.

  • Treasure hunt – for this game you need 2 sets of objects, each set must have objects that begin with the same sound e.g. one set has “c” and the other has “s”. Hide the objects around the house and ask your child to hunt for all the objects beginning with either “c” or “s”. When they have collected them all keep saying out loud the names of the objects e.g we have found a car, cat, card, cup.

  • Sound box – Make a special box and each week choose a new sound and throughout the week anything you collect that begins with that sound place in the box. At the end of the week look at what you have collected.

  • Silly soup – As describes earlier but using sets of words with the same initial sound.


Aspect 6 voice sounds

Aspect 6 – Voice sounds

  • Mouth movements – using a mirror explore making different sounds for example blowing, sucking, tongue wiggling. Also explore the shape of the mouth when making different letter sounds like m, r, f etc. (At this stage they do not necessarily need to know the letter shape)

  • Voice sounds – explore making their voice do different things e.g. make your voice go down a slide wheeeee! Hiss like a snake, sssssss, keep everyone quiet ssshhhhhh, moo like a cow mooooooo, be like a steam train ch, ch, ch, ch, be like a clock tick tock, tick, tock

  • Trumpets – Make a simple cone shape from paper, card or plastic and explore making different sounds through the trumpet.


Aspect 6 voice sounds1

Aspect 6 – Voice sounds

  • Chain game – for this you need more than 2 people so get the family involved. One person makes a sound (variety of pitches, volumes, textures) and passes the sound to the next person, who passes it on again, continue until everyone has made the sound.

  • Character voices – When sharing stories with repetitive phrases (The 3 Bears, The 3 Billy goats gruff, Chicken Licken) encourage your child to use a different voice for each character to join in with the repeated phrases.


Aspect 7 oral blending and segmenting

Aspect 7 – Oral blending and segmenting.

  • Oral blending – when giving your child instructions try to get in the habit of splitting up the sounds in the last word (1 syllable only) for example – put in your c-oa-t, coat, brush your t-ee-th, teeth.

  • Toy talk – have a small toy and explain to your child that this toy can only sound out words. Play I spy using the toy, I have Terry Tiger so my version would go - Terry spies something that sounds like c-a-t, c-u-p, ch-air. The children have to identify the object by blending the sounds together to hear the whole word. You can use the toy to help the children learn how to segment sounds also. Try asking your child to tell the toy the name of an object but they have to split up the sounds so he can understand e.g. Terry this is a c-u-p, cup.


Aspect 7 oral blending and segmenting1

Aspect 7 – Oral blending and segmenting.

  • Try using lots of objects that are familiar to the children and have only 3 sounds in them. (there may be more than 3 letters e.g. sheep sh-ee-p,)

  • You need the child to practise hearing a word that you say and being able to tell you all 3 sounds in the correct order, encourage them to identify the sound at the beginning, the sound in the middle and the sound at the end.

  • They also need to be able to hear a whole word and tell you what the sounds are in it by splitting them up. Lots of children struggle with getting all the sounds in the correct order but if you are offering them lots of opportunities to explore these activities it is sure to support their development.


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