Phonics Phase 1 Listening Skills

Phonics Phases

The majority of schools in the UK use schemes that follow phonics phases. This blog post will give you information on Phase 1 – Listening Skills. To learn more about phonics phases check out this blog post.

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Phase 1 – Listening Skills

Listening, vocabulary and speaking skills are developed in phonics phase 1. This is crucial to being able to read and write. Without these precursory skills learning phonemes can be very tricky.

Children need to be able to differentiate between the different phonemes (sounds). Firstly, to do that they need to be able to listen for different sounds in the environment and distinguish them from others.

Phase 1 Games

The Letters and Sounds document gives lots of ideas of games and activities to play to be able to hone these skills. I’ll share a couple of games that my daughter Floss loves.

Animal Noises

Using animal figures or pictures, make a noise of an animal and get your child to pick the corresponding animal. To practise speaking skills you can swap and get them to do an animal noise for you to match.

Listening game with Lanka Kade animals - phase 1 phonics - phases

A great online resource from is Welcome to the Zoo. A noise is made and you have to pick the correct animal from 4 pictures on a bingo card.

Using sound books is a great way to practise phase 1 skills and help children to differentiate between different sounds. I’m in love with an Usborne series of books Touchy-feely sounds books.

Guess the Sound

Use real instruments or different objects from around the home that make different noises. I use a large cardboard box, but you can use anything that puts up a small barrier.

Range of musical instruments - phase 1 phonics game - phases

If the items are only small you could use a little bag. To begin use a couple of different instruments only until they get the idea of the game. Play one of the instruments or make the noise using the household item. Then show them the two options and see if they can work out which one made the sound. As before let them swap with you so that they can make the noise for you too.

To make it a little trickier you could then introduce three to choose from. Phonics Play again have a great little phase 1 game that gives you a sound to work out what it is. Great for getting children to use their vocabulary to talk about what they can hear.

A set of musical instruments are between £20-£30. You can find some options below. However, household objects work just as well. Pots and pans, the noise of pages flicking in a book, the bristles on a hair brush etc.

Many of the games played in phase 1 can seem overly simplistic, but these games are essential to develop the fundamental building blocks needed to become fluent readers and writers.

Click here to return to the phonics and reading homepage to find out more about phonics.

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