Letters and Sounds Information
A typical letters and sounds session at Busy Bees:
The Butterfly Group join Bev for a letters and sounds session once in the morning and again in the afternoon, every day. These sessions are a fun way to focus on phonics, including activities from letters and sounds as well as using the basis of Read Write Inc.
In the green area in Busy Bees, mats are set out in a circle and a name is placed on each. The children are encouraged to join the circle in a calm manner by finding their name and then sitting down on the mat with their legs crossed. Once everyone is sitting down, I collect the names into the bag and sit down modelling with my legs crossed and hands on my knees and reminding the children it is time to listen. It would really help if you would practise name recognition at home with your child.
We focus on a sound a week and use the Read Write Inc cards to model the sound and air write the letter by using the rhyme on the reverse side of the card. Bev encourages the children to listen and concentrate by turning the card and depending on which side they see, they either say the sound or the item for that sound.
Afterwards. we explore what Fred the frog has in his bag that begins with the sound of the week. This leads to the memory game, when Bev covers the items and children see if they spot what has disappeared. During this game the children are encouraged to think and put their hand up when they have decided what has disappeared. A child is then chosen to give their answer. This is a good way to encourage problem solving, turn taking and listening to others in the group.
We have a story that is linked to the sound of the week and then the session concludes by the children showing their peers what item they have brought in to show. This is a particularly important part of letters and sounds; the children take great pride and it helps to embed the understanding of the sound of the week as well as promoting communication and language skills.
Sessions may also include: -
Using the white boards, large scale paper and the interactive board to practise forming the letters.
We play different games such as I spy and listening games and sing songs that link with the sound.
Clapping and tapping out syllables of names.
Pass the whisper – encourages listening
Blending and rhyming activities (during the Spring and Summer term)
Each week, Bev informs parents of the sound of the week through Tapestry and encourages them to support their child to look for items around the house that begin with that sound. This reinforces the knowledge at home too and also supports the child to participate at Busy Bees. It is useful if parents talk about the sound at home, encouraging children to notice it in print and practise forming the sound.
We have a letters and sounds notice board which displays the sound of the week, the correct way to form it, a challenge to try at home, a story and some examples of words that begin with the sound.
Our aim is to provide opportunities for the children to practise skills in preparation for school. This involves sitting and listening, enjoying stories and rhymes, recognising their name when written as well as writing it. Please note that when writing their names, children are encouraged to begin with a capital and continue their name in lower case - for example, Chloe rather than CHLOE. We support children to familiarise themselves with the letters and sounds, forming letters and beginning to have the ability to tune into sounds to rhyme, blend and link items by alliteration. All of these skills will be continued in Reception in a similar way so by having the opportunity to introduce them at Busy Bees sets them up for later learning.
Below is a copy of the letters and the rhyme we use. Please use the examples to help encourage your children at home, especially if they are showing an interest in letters and sounds and mark making.
a – apple – around the apple and down the leaf
b – boot – down the laces to the heel, up and around the toe
c - caterpillar – curl around the caterpillar
d – dinosaur – around his bottom, up his long neck and down to his feet
e – egg – lift off the top and scoop out the egg
f – flower – down the stem and draw the leaves
g – girl – round her face, down her hair and give her a curl
h – horse – down the head to the hooves up and over his back
i – insect – down the body and dot for the head
j – jack-in-a-box – down his body curl and dot
k- kangaroo - down the kangaroo’s body, tail and leg
l – leg – down the long leg
m – Maisie mountain – Maisie, mountain, mountain
n – net – down Nobby, over his net
o – orange – all around the orange
p – pirate – down the plait and over the pirate’s face
qu – queen – round her head, up past her earrings and down her hair
r – robot – down his back, then curl over his arm
s – snake – slither down the snake
t – tower – down the tower, across the tower
u – umbrella – down and under, up to the top and draw the puddle
v – vulture – down a wing, up a wing
w – worm – down, up, down, up
x – exercise – down the arm and leg and repeat the other side
y- yak – down a horn, up a horn and under his head
z – zip – zig- zag- zig
Below is a great website which informs you of the correct phonic pronunciation to use: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/advice-for-parents/reading-at-home/phonics-made-easy/
How can you help at home?
A child’s environment is a powerful learning tool. It is important to have a balance of opportunities that allow children to initiate their own play as well as developing their speaking and listening skills. Children require opportunities to learn vital speaking and listening skills, which in turn will support their development of early phonic skills. The way in which we interact and talk with children is a huge part to developing their speaking and listening. At Busy Bees we listen carefully to the children and encourage them to talk extensively about what they hear, see and are doing as well as modelling vocabulary to extend their knowledge and vocabulary.
Teaching phonics begins as soon as your child attends Busy Bees, it is not just for the Butterfly Group. In order to learn phonics children need the ability to listen and tune into sounds. During a session at Busy Bees all children are given plenty of opportunities to practise these skills. We spend much time sharing stories and singing songs. Children benefit hugely by exposure to books from an early age, both independently looking at books as well as sharing a story with adults and peers. Books not only promote communication skills but also help to develop imagination and interest in print. Through stories children learn to enjoy and become motivated to value reading later in life.
Phase one of letters and sounds includes seven aspects, they are: -
• General Sound Discrimination – Environmental Sounds
• General Sound Discrimination – Instrumental Sounds
• General Sound discrimination – Body Percussion
• Rhythm and Rhyme
• Voice sounds
• Oral blending and segmentation
These aspects are promoted through daily activities both indoors and outdoors at Busy Bees
Activities and ideas that we use to support the above include: -
• Listening activities indoors and outdoors
• Songs and rhymes
• Favourite stories with repeated phrases
• What’s in the box game – can the children guess the item from listening only
• Musical instruments – matching the sounds, tapping banging, stop and go games. Making loud and quiet sounds.
• Body percussion – create sounds using our bodies, clicking fingers, clapping, stamping feet, follow a rhythm.
• I spy games
• Listening and matching items which start with the same sound (alliteration)
• Mirror play – watching the way our mouth moves whilst creating different sounds,
• Modelling sounds through play – whoosh, whee, chchch,
• Observing print in the environment – can they find the letter for their name etc.
• Group activities such as circle time and small group time, provide opportunities for the children to listen, take turns and share ideas.
• Writing opportunities not just at the mark making table
• Looking at CVC words to start blending sounds to make words.
• Magnetic letters and boards.
Selection of songs to sing:-
• Miss Polly had a Dolly
• Little Peter Rabbit
• Peter hammers with one hammer
• Bumping up and down on a little …… tractor
• Ring o Roses
• Here we go round the mulberry bush
• Humpty Dumpty
• Hickory dickory dock
• Old King Cole
• Sing a song of six pence
• 5 little ducks
• 5 little monkeys swinging from the tree
• 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed
• Doctor Foster
• Incy Wincy spider
• Hey Diddle Diddle
• Row row row your boat
• 5 little speckled frogs
• Baa baa black sheep
• One, two buckle my shoe
• Pirate song – (When I was one)
• It’s raining it’s pouring
• Rain rain go away
• Frere Jacques
• London's burning
• Grand old duke of York
• 5 little men in a flying saucer
• 1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive
• Zoom zoom zoom
• 5 currant buns
• I’m a little teapot
• If you’re happy and you know it
• Jack and Jill
• Old MacDonald had a farm
• Oranges and lemons
• Polly put the kettle on
• Ten green bottles
• This old man
• Wind the bobbin
• Two little dickie birds
• Little Miss Muffet
• 10 little fingers
• Simon says
• Down at the station
• Ants go marching
• 5 fat sausages
• One potato, two potato
• Little green frog
• Boa constrictor
• Open, shut them
Early phonics development starts with what we see and hear around us. Some of the activities we enjoy at Busy Bees which you could try at home include:
* Listening walks
* Songs and rhymes
* Favourite stories with repeated phrases
* What’s in the box game – can your child guess the item from listening only
* Musical instruments – matching the sounds, tapping banging
* Body percussion – create sounds using our bodies, clicking fingers, clapping, stamping feet, follow a rhythm.
* I spy games
* Listening and matching items which start with the same sound (alliteration)
* Mirror play – watching your mouth create different sounds,
* Experiment to create voice – at the park whoosh, whee, chchch, boing
* Observing signs when out and about – can they find the letter for their name etc.