Ensure Progression in Phonics with this Free Booklet

Progression in Phonics

Progression in phonics happens as a result of children learning a number of skills, each one building on the next with the final goal being that children are able to read. I have identified 7 steps that children need to achieve before they get to this final stage of reading. In each step, children need to listen to increasingly smaller units of sound. In this blog, I aim to go through each one and suggest activities which can support each stage.

Progression in Phonics 1 – Listening Skills

Listening is a very tricky skill that children need to learn. Hearing is the process of receiving sound waves through the ear while listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from what is being heard. That concentration can be developed in a number of ways:

  • Read and discuss stories
  • Conversations and Questioning
  • Give instructions for children to follow, increasing in complexity
  • Play listening games (see below)

Listening Games

  • Close your eyes and listen to what sounds you can hear
  • Go on a sound walk and listen for sounds in the environment
  • Find a hidden ticking clock by listening to the sound and follow where it is coming from
  • Sound lotto
  • Play online listening games

Progression in Phonics 2 – Rhymes

Rhyming again, isn’t an easy skill for children to develop. Children will need to hear lots of different rhyming words in lots of different ways to tune their ears to rhyme. The following activities will support in developing this skill:

  • Sing nursery rhymes
  • Read rhyming stories, emphasising the rhyme, eventually missing out the rhyming words for the children to complete
  • Play rhyming pairs, where children need to match picture cards
  • Say a rhyme and the child suggests the rhyming words e.g. ‘This cat wears a …’, ‘That big bear has brown …’
  • Play online rhyming games

Progression in Phonics 3 – Words

Children need to recognise that language is made up of component parts i.e. words, and see them as separate parts. The following activities will support with this.

  • Point out the print when reading a story
  • Write out a sentence e.g. I went to the park. Circle each word as you read it
  • Put down a block for every word that you say in a sentence. Count how many words you used. Let some of the children have a turn once they are familiar with the activity.
  • Play missing word games e.g. I went to the shop and bought a …

Progression in Phonics 4 – Syllables

Even smaller than the words themselves are the units which make up a word – syllables. Once children can do a number of the activities above, they will be ready to tune into these smaller parts. The activities below will help with this.

  • Use an instrument to beat the children’s names.
  • Choose picture cards or objects and clap the syllables.

Progression in Phonics 5 – Phonemes

At this stage, the children are ready to learn to listen for letter sounds. There are 26 letter sounds to learn and they combine in various ways to make 44 phonemes and so it is important that the children have a solid foundation in the previous skills

  • Play ‘I spy with my little eye’.
  • Have a bag of three objects two of which have the same sound. Children say each object and find the ones with the same sound.
  • Split words into their component phonemes. Children put the sounds back together to hear what word you are saying e.g. Touch your t – oe – s

Progression in Phonics 6 – Sound and Letter Relationships

This next stage involves the children making links between sounds and letters – they understand that certain letters make certain sounds. Activities that will help children to understand the correspondence between the two are as follows:

  • Systematic, synthetic phonics programme
  • Sound cards
  • Magnetic letters and boards
  • Interactive games

Progression in Phonics 7 – Blending and Segmenting

Segmenting is the process of breaking words down into their component parts and is a particular important skill for writing as children hear what sounds they need to write a word.

Blending is the opposite of segmenting as it takes each sound and puts them back together to make a word. Once children can do this skill, they will be able to read. Learning to blend can be tricky and can sometimes take lots of time and practice.

Free Progression in Phonics Booklet

Progression in Phonics

The phonics progression booklet can be used in a number of ways. It can either be used to assess where children are at in terms of their phonics development in order to determine appropriate activities to further this development or it can be shared with parents so that they can best support their children’s progression in phonics.

Visit my other blogs for more information on phonics and writing.