Useful links to support literacy learning at home
Do please ask your child's teacher if you are unsure about the suitability of any games or activities or if you need advice on the appropriate level of difficulty!
These are also worth checking out:
Hairy Letters (letter formation app, although be aware that the f and k differ from those taught in school). Very useful for reinforcing the anti-clockwise direction needed for correct letter formation.
CBeebies Playtime (Alphablocks option)
Phonics Play (as above)
Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
Here you see children in Nursery and Reception sharing books with friends, experimenting with mark making and playing reading games. There are also lots of opportunities to mark-make on a large scale in the Reception and Nursery gardens!
Please see below for more detailed information on phonics, reading and writing.
In Nursery the main focus is on teaching phonological awareness through games, rhymes and play activities.
The teaching of systematic synthetic phonics in Reception follows the Letters and Sounds programme, supported by the use of a modified version of Jolly Phonics. The approach is multi-sensory and playful, using kinaesthetic actions, songs, stories, puppets and pictures to support children's learning.
Initially children will bring home simple 'speech bubble' books from the Story World range. By focusing on skills such as pointing to the text and 'reading' from left to right, these enable children to see themselves as readers from the very beginning.
Once children know a reasonable number of sounds and can blend them to make simple words, they practise by reading texts which are entirely decodable from the Floppy's Phonics, Big Cat and Oxford Reading Tree schemes. As their knowledge and skills develop, they will progress through our Book Banded reading scheme which has books from various published schemes and is designed to give children experience of a variety of reading genres. There are fiction and non-fiction books within each level. In addition, children access Bug Club e-books at school and at home from a personalised selection made by the teacher.
All children, both in Nursery and Reception are encouraged to select books from the classroom to take home and share with parents and carers.
The Early Learning Goal for Reading at the end of the Foundation Stage states:
Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read. This goal involves the child using cues such as pictures, letter/word recognition, knowledge of the story or context and reading for meaning, in order to help them comprehend a range of fiction and non-fiction texts.
Children are given a wide range of opportunities to experiment with their emergent writing and mark making. In Nursery, children are introduced to the correct letter formation for their own names and given lots of support and encouragement to develop their fine motor skills (see link below to Physical Development - Moving and Handling). Parents are asked to make sure that when children practise writing their names at home they use the initial capital letter followed by lower case letters - if children start by writing in block capitals it can be very difficult to get out of the habit.
In Reception, letter formation is taught alongside phonics for reading. It is very important to encourage correct letter formation from the start, as this is the basis for fluent, legible joined-up handwriting in the future. Children bring home pink sound books which include information on letter formation and space to practise at home.
Just as children need to see themselves as readers, they need to see themselves as writers who write for a purpose. As children move through the Reception Year, they are given opportunities to write and mark-make in contexts which are meaningful to them, such as making 'wanted' posters in a police station role play scenario, writing a 'recipe' for a 'magic potion' or making labels for their construction models. They are also given more structured opportunities to write with the support of an adult, always on tasks which are meaningful and appropriate to their individual level of development e.g. a list for the play shop, instructions for making sandwiches or a simple retelling of a familar story.
The Early Learning Goal for writing at the end of the Foundation Stage states:
Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.