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Letters and sounds

"If a child can't differentiate between a drum and a tambourine they won't be ready for differentiating letter sounds".

​At Pre-School we follow the government’s letters and sounds six phase strategy.  We help to promote children’s awareness of letters and sounds, through regularly planned activities that support children in developing the skills required to listen attentively, enlarge their vocabulary, speak confidently and reproduce the small units of sounds or ‘phonemes’ that make up words.  These activities take place both in small focussed group with a key person and also as part of our everyday play.


Phase one recognises the central importance of developing speaking and listening skills as a priority.  Therefore providing a language rich environment will support children’s language learning through phase one and beyond. 


Children learn to tune into different sounds within the environment, through activities such as drumming with sticks in the Pre-school garden, listening games and instruments.


‘ If a child can’t differentiate between a drum and a tambourine they won’t be ready for differentiating letter sounds’


Singing rhymes, sharing stories such as ‘Pass the Jam Jim’ and clapping out the syllables in our names, helps children to identify rhythm and alliteration in words.  By making a silly soup where children add toys that all begin with the same letter into one bowl, we not only have lots of fun, but children learn to identify initial sounds.  For children who are ready we plan activities help them to segment and blend sounds in words through meaningful activities such as writing a shopping list.


When we model letter sounds (phonemes) to young children we make the sound as short and crisp as possible for example ‘S’ not ‘ ‘Suh’ as it creates problems later when children attempt to spell phonetically.  Please watch this short clip demonstrating  the correct way to pronounce letter sounds so you can support this at home.




Information about the government's advice on letters and sounds can be found via the following link:

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