What does phonics look like in preschool?
Preschool is one of the most important times for children’s learning. They’ll be soaking up ideas and information like sponges – so it’s a great time to start them off on their reading journey.
We will be helping children to develop the listening skills they’ll need to become successful readers later. They will be using songs, nursery rhymes and play to discover lots of sounds and get used to hearing and repeating them. This stage is often called Phase 1 of phonics.
At this point, children will be:
- Listening to sounds in the world around them, and copying the sounds (e.g. ‘can you make a car sound? What sound does a dog make?’)
- Using instruments and their own bodies and voices to make and copy sounds.
- Listening out for rhythm and rhyme (e.g. spotting the rhyming words in a nursery rhyme).
- Listening to the sounds in spoken words and splitting a word into its separate sounds (e.g. ‘d-o-g’ makes ‘dog’).
It might not seem very much like reading, because they’re not focusing on written letters and words – but it’s crucial preparation for the next stage.
Phonics fun with preschool children
- Use their hobbies and interests! If they’re into animals, see how many different animal noises they can make. Can they copy a sound you make, and tell you what the animal is? Or if they love trucks, cars and diggers, encourage them to make the appropriate noises when they are playing.
- When you’re out and about, listen out for sounds – birdsong, traffic noises, etc. Can your child tell you what made the sound? Can they copy it?
- Sing songs and say rhymes together. Can your child clap when they hear a rhyming word?
- Clap or tap a rhythm. Can your child copy it? Can they clap their own rhythm for you to copy?