Foundations for Phonics
Foundations for phonics contributes to the provision for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’ (DfE, 2022). It sits alongside a stimulating language-rich provision.
Foundations for phonics sets out the provision that should be in place to ensure that our children are well prepared to begin grapheme–phoneme correspondence and blending at the start of Reception. Our provision aims to include a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences. One of the most important aspects of Foundations for phonics is developing an awareness of sound, through activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending.
Activities that develop focused listening and attention
Oral segmenting is the process of breaking down words into phonemes (the smallest units of sound). Oral blending is the process of saying these sounds then blending them together into a word. It helps our children identify and hear phonemes in words and blend them together to read a word. It is important that our children have plenty of experiences of listening to adults modelling oral blending and joining in with oral blending activities before they are introduced to grapheme–phoneme correspondence. This ensures they are ‘tuned into’ sounds when they begin Phase 2.
Within our Nursery setting, we provide short daily activities to support with the process of oral blending and help our children identify and hear phonemes in words.
Tuning into sounds
To enable our children to begin to distinguish the initial sound in words, we expose them to a range of games that develop this skill. These opportunities are presented through short games that are age appropriate, this ensuring that our children are engaged in them. We play games that involve children’s names or animals and read alliterative stories or poems.