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Early Phonics as a Method of Teaching Explained

As research progresses, the way in which we teach phonics also adapts

Posted on

18 September 2019

Last updated on 18 September 2019

Wondering what Early Phonics is as a method of teaching? The team at The Little Dreamers Nursery explain...

Phonics is the method of teaching young children to read by correlating sounds with symbols in an alphabetic writing system. In short, the visual then later physical process that children learn in order to read and write.

As research has progressed over the years, the way in which we teach phonics has also changed. Children no longer predominantly learn the letter name (alphabet letter) instead, they learn the letter sound, which is shown in lower case.

The end result being that children will be able to sound out, blend and segment letter sounds together to form and eventually write recognisable words.

How is phonics implemented for your child in nursery?

Typically, children begin learning how to read and write when they start school (by the age of 4-5), but its importance in the early years should not be overlooked.

There are lots of ways in which we can incorporate phonics activities through play as appose to children sitting down at a table to read and write. At The Little Dreamers Nursery, we like to make learning fun, our phonics activities are based around children’s learning needs and developmental stage of development.

Before children can learn letter sounds it's essential that they practice and develop their listening and attention skills.

To practice this, we engage in short games and activities. Some of our favorites are ‘noisy neighbor’, ‘guess the musical instrument’, ‘animal sounds’ and ‘listening ears’. These games are easy to replicate at home and instructions can be found at the end of this article.

Once children are familiar with these games and are developmentally ready, they can start to learn letter sounds.

At The Little Dreamers Nursery, we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ framework. Each letter sound is taught in a specific sequence, this makes it easier for children to learn and retain the letter sound. We use a range of resources to support this.

What is Jolly Phonics, and what does it involve?

Jolly Phonics is a combination of verbal songs, that are sung to a recognisable tune. Each song has physical action for each letter sound.

By combining the letter sound with a song and corresponding action, it really helps children to remember and retain the knowledge of the letter sounds, Jolly phonics is very easily accessible on YouTube and there is a wide range of supporting resources you can find on the internet.

So, how can you support at home?

Children soak up new information very quickly, especially when they are exposed in fun and exciting ways. Allowing them to learn the Jolly Phonics songs and singing them during the day to day activities such as changing time, bath time or whilst travelling in the car is a great start.

If you have a little more time you can try some of the games highlighted below to begin...

Noisy neighbor

This game is great when you have a small group of children but also works well with only two. Sit down with your child and ask them to pretend to go to sleep. When their eyes are closed make a body sound (clapping hands, stamping feet, clicking fingers). Your child will then try and guess which body sound that you made. Once guessed correctly they can say to you “Noisy neighbor, please be quiet!” Its then your child’s turn to make a body sound and so on.

Guess the musical instrument

Hide a range of instruments under a blanket or towel and take it in turns to make a sound without the other person seeing. The aim is for the other person to guess and identify which instrument you used.

Animal sounds

Make an animal noise and encourage your child to identify or name which animal makes that sound. For younger children you can lay out two or three animal toys and they can select the correct one (flash cards work well here). For older children, instead of making the sound, you can begin to describe the animal. For example, ‘It is big, it lives in the jungle and it is orange and black’ (tiger).

Listening ears

A calm and relaxing activity where children can really tune in to the noises that are going on around them. This can be done indoors or outdoors. Encourage your child to lie or sit down and close their eyes. See if they can identify some of the environmental sounds that they hear. It may be the clock ticking, a car passing by outside or the TV playing in another room.

Have fun!

If you require any additional information or activity ideas, feel free to contact The Little Dreamers Nursery team by pressing click to contact below - we are always happy to help and support!

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At The Little Dreamers Nursery, we believe that the best environment for young children is a home environment, however, due to the demands of modern life we understand that this is not always an option for parents.

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