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About Early years foundation

Literacy

Building literacy skills in children is essential as part of their early education. It helps them learn to identify, understand, comprehend and communicate using a variety of texts and materials related to the English language. Boost your children’s learning experience with the help of our excellent videos, rhyming, storytelling, and exciting activities.

Reception year

Resources to inspire reading, listening, and handwriting

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Children will be taught letter sounds with a variety of songs, games and age-appropriate activities, for example: a 'lucky dip' or words flashcards where they have to say the sound of a letter they have picked or matching an object to the letter that makes its initial sound. It is vital that they are confident with all their letter sounds before they move onto the next stage, which is putting sounds of letters together to make short words.

Here some tips to make reading fun:

  • Read-alouds to introduce children to new vocabulary and highlight some new words.

  • Use facial expressions, movements and another body language, e.g. "Peter scrambled under the curtain"

  • "See, show and say" pointing a picture, character or object. Showing where is the character e.g. "Can you show me where is he?" and Saying, to encourage the child to talk about the book by asking questions about the story.

  • Stories and nursery rhymes audiobooks.

It gives the opportunity to the children to show of their receptive skills and response it successfully!.

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Writing

Reception children need to learn how to form the letters they are learning about.  

They need to start by understanding how a letter is formed and start making these motions themselves. For example: a child learning to form the letter ‘s’ may be given an adult demonstration of how to do this, and then encouraged to copy. They may also practise using various different media, such as pens on a whiteboard, chalk on a blackboard and pencil on paper. A lot of care and attention is spent on showing children how to correctly hold a pencil. Children will also be taught how to write carefully on lines.

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Handwriting

Handwriting is a crucial life skill, but how can you help your child write neatly and legibly? We can provide a lot of information and tips from handwriting experts, as well as fun and practical steps you can take to help your child put theory into practice.

Here some fun writing techniques:

a. Get your child to write their name or their favourite words in the air.

b. Doodle art. Get a large piece of paper and a bunch of coloured pens. Take your first colour and draw a continuous line looping in and out of the line to form swirls. Break off and continue again with another colour. Do this several times until your sheet is covered in swirls. Colour in the swirls. This will help children with pencil grip and with neatness.

c. Letters are split into upper case e.g. A, B, C and lower case a, b, c. They are named upper and lower case. A common way to practise the different letters is by using lines on a paper so children can practise writing the letters and getting their positions correct.  

Handwriting is an essential skill, but we all have to learn it, and it’s a very complex task.

As a subscriber to Serioulsy Cool English, you will get full access to our handwriting learning journey course of over 150 worksheets that will take your child from the first stages of writing – known as patterning – right through to being able to write in a fluent, joined-up style.

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Fabulous Phonics with Willow the puppy

Willow has a question for you:
Ever heard of a phoneme? What about a grapheme or a digraph?

In phonics children learn that sounds or phonemes can be made using certain letters or graphemes.  

Graphemes or letters which make sounds can be made by using more than one letter so whilst you may have some one-letter grapheme such as P or C or S, you can also have two letters graphemes such as tch and igh and even four letter graphemes such as eigh (sound) or ough which can make a variety of sounds. 

When your child attempts to spell a word you might hear them being encouraged to sound it out, this means that they need to break down the world into small sounds and write the graphemes that they know will make that sound. For example if a child would like to write the world shell they know it can be split up into sh e ll and they will go ahead and write down the letters that they know make that sound. 

As children progress through year one and through their understanding of phonics they begin to learn that sounds can be made using the letters d ay  or  r ai n  or  even d a t e  followed by another letter.

Learning about different ways of making these sounds links really closely with spelling. As children will start to learn about which letters and which graphemes should be used in different words, however it is also true that English contains some words which do not follow phonics rules these are known as common exception words and they are taught throughout primary school. 

Our Willow the puppy, will take you through some quick activities, and videos you can watch in order to keep the learning of spellings more fun and interesting. 

Here we go! 

So what is phonics all about?

The English language has a fascinating history of invasion or migration of many peoples from different countries over many centuries. This has resulted in a rich spoken language but a very complex alphabetic code for the writing system whereby the 26 letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case shapes) represent the 44 or so smallest sounds (phonemes) identifiable in English speech in three complicated ways resulting in nearly two hundred main spelling alternatives (letter/s-sound correspondences):

1. One sound (phoneme) can be represented by one, two, three or four letters: e.g. /a/ a, /f/ ph, /ch/ tch, /oa/ ough

2. One sound can be represented by multiple spelling alternatives (graphemes): e.g. /oa/: o, oa, ow, oe, o-e, eau, ough

3. One grapheme (letter or letter group) can represent multiple sounds: e.g. ‘ough’: /oa/ though, /or/ thought, long /oo/ through, /ou/ plough, /u/ thorough


The English Alphabetic Code should be taught explicitly and systematically for reading, spelling and handwriting. In addition, teach any letter/s-sound correspondences incidentally as required for individuals, groups and whole classes – within the phonics lessons, to support wider experience with literature, and to support reading and writing in the wider curriculum

Watch this fun animation to find out about phonics and understand the key aspects of learning to read using phonics.

Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (graphemes, or letter groups). Phonics is the learning-to-read method used in primary schools in the UK today. 

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