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  • Foundations for phonics contributes to the provision for ‘Communication and language’ and Literacy’ (DfE, 2022). One of the most important aspects of Foundations for phonics is developing an awareness of sound, through activities that develop focused listening and attention. Foundations for phonics sets out the provision that should be in place to ensure children are well-prepared to begin grapheme–phoneme correspondence and blending at the start of Reception. The children will take part in daily sessions that practise oral blending and tuning into sounds.


These include:

    • sharing high-quality stories and poems
    • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
    • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
    • attention to high-quality language.
  • We follow the Foundation for Phonics part of the Little Wandle programme which helps to ensure that children are well-prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception. Through the programme the children learn to:
    • blend orally
    • tune into sounds (phonemes).


Oral Blending

  • Oral segmenting is the process of breaking down words into phonemes (the smallest units of sound). Oral blending is the process of saying these sounds then blending them together into a word. It helps children identify and hear phonemes in words and blend them together to read a word. It is important that children have plenty of experience of listening to adults modelling oral blending and joining in with oral blending activities before they are introduced to grapheme–phoneme correspondence. 

Tuning in to Sounds

  • To enable children to begin to distinguish the initial sound in words, they need exposure to a range of games that develop this. These opportunities should be short games that are age appropriate to ensure children are engaged in them. Games that involve children’s names or animals, or are part of an alliterative story or poem, are good ways to develop this skill.