Free Phase 1 Letters and Sounds Activities

letters and sounds

Before any work on phonics can begin young children need to develop important speaking and listening skills. The letters and sounds document provides activities which will support with this development. It is divided into 7 aspects which are as follows:

  • General Sound Discrimination – Environmental – These activities are focused upon developing children’s listening skills which are extremely important to develop learning and progression in all curriculum areas. Children will be asked to identify and discriminate between sounds in their immediate and wider environment by listening carefully and focusing in on what they hear.
  • General Sound Discrimination – Instrumental Sounds – There is a big focus on the sounds instruments make in this section and distinguishing between them.
  • General Sound Discrimination – Body Percussion – This section focuses on sounds and rhythm and so children will encounter songs and stories. They will also need to learn how to adjust the volume of the sounds that they make as they develop an awareness of quiet and loud sounds.
  • Rhythm and Rhyme – This section introduces the children to rhythm and rhyme through a variety of games and activities. Some children may find it very difficult to hear rhyming words and so it might be a good idea to develop other skills at the same time rathe than just focus on rhyming until they’ve got it.
  • Alliteration – In this section, children will be supported in listening for the initial sounds in words, which again, can be very tricky.
  • Voice Sounds – Here, the focus will be on the sounds that we can make. This will include sounds with our mouths along with an introduction to blending and segmenting.
  • Oral Blending and Segmenting – These are the skills that underpin reading and writing and require lots of practise. Blending is the process of putting sounds together to hear what a word says and segmenting is the opposite process of breaking the words into their individual elements. Blending is used when we read and segmenting is used when we write. When learning to blend, children will find it easier with words such as ‘sheep’, ‘shark’, ‘moon’, etc. rather than words like ‘cat’, ‘pot’, ‘sit’, etc. where the words are much shorter and more difficult to hear.

The first six letters and sounds activities should be dipped into, not necessarily in any particular order. The last one, which is by far the hardest should be introduced once the children are confident in all of the other areas.

At the same time, children need to be developing their pre-reading skills in order to build the foundations for future reading.

Letters and Sounds Session

Children should join in with letters and sounds activities on a daily basis for short 20 minute sessions. It is nice to begin the session with a hello song. My favourite one is:

Hello everybody, hello everybody, hello everybody, Let’s have some fun today, hey!

There are a number of alternatives you could use or adapt. I have included them in my free phase 1 phonics pack.

All of the activities that you do in the session should be fun and interactive. I have included some phase 1 planning that isn’t mine but some that I found a number of years ago.

The planning takes each of the aspects over a week and then suggests a range of activities that build on and reinforce the concept being covered. You may find that the aspects need further reinforcement. I have added some additional activities in the free phase 1 phonics pack that will allow you to do this.

End the letters and sounds session with a goodbye song:

Goodbye everybody, goodbye everybody, goodbye everybody, We’ve had some fun today, yay!

Letters and Sounds Resources

Resources for letters and sounds are simple enough to find and make but I’ve also included some links to free resources that you can also use.

Odd one out cards

Big ears for a listening walk

Interactive Phase 1 games

Phonics Play

Phonics Bloom


Sound Lotto

Visit my other blogs for information on Phonics Progression and Teaching Children Digraphs. Once your children have a good grasp of phonics then visit my blog – 5 steps to writing success and get the free alphabet chart below.