Phonics Instruction Phase One:
Listening, Vocabulary and Speaking Skills
Phonics instruction traditionally begins in PreK(US)/Nursery(UK) or the start of Kindergarten(US)/Reception (UK). Phase One focuses on developing children’s listening, vocabulary, and speaking skills. This phase also focuses on developing phonemic awareness, the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonemic awareness is the foundation for later phonics work.
In Phase One, children learn about environmental and instrumental sounds; body percussion (snapping, clapping, stomping); rhythm and rhyme; alliteration; and oral blending and segmenting.
The goal of Phase 1 is to help children identify and understand different sounds. During this phase, children also begin oral segmenting and blending, a technique that allows them to break down or “decode” words. It is important that children finish Phase One with strong phonemic awareness, as this skill is crucial to later phonics success.
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Phonics is the method that helps children build systematic connections between letters and sounds. Phonics has a better impact on children’s reading ability than any other type of reading program. It has also been shown to improve spelling, particularly among kindergarteners and first graders.
To find out more, read our Deep Dive into Phonics report. This report provides an easy-to-understand overview of phonics and phonemic awareness - why they are important and how they are taught in the classroom - and explains all the relevant terminology. It's perfect for sharing with colleagues, friends, and to Google Classroom!