Literacy in Reception
Literacy in Reception
Literacy is one of four Specific Areas of Learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. It focuses on developing each child’s ability to understand and use language, both spoken and written. In this article, Catrin Goode, one of our Joint Heads of Early Years, writes about how children develop their reading and writing skills and explains how we can support this development at home and at school.
Chris Wright, Head of the Junior School, November 2018
Reading and Writing in Reception
Here at HCJS we aim to provide a breadth of exciting opportunities to ignite the children’s interest, enjoyment and engagement in language in and out of the classroom. In Reception, the fire is kindled as children start to draw on their experiences of language and develop the skills to become independent readers and writers. It is such a joy to witness the sense of wonder on children’s faces as they discover a world of print opening up before them.
Illustrated books are a fantastic resource to help children develop confidence and grow imagination. Talking about pictures aids in enjoyment as the children discover vital clues to help decipher meaning beyond the words.
In class and at home we can help by:
- asking children to repeat phrases,
- joining in rhymes and,
- asking children questions about the text.
What’s more, children enjoy anticipating endings as they love to be proved right!
It is important to support reading as opportunities arise, be it reading labels at the supermarket, spotting road signs or ordering from a menu in a café. Each day in class, we demonstrate that print carries meaning, and that we read from top to bottom and from left to right. This is done individually, in small groups and in whole class situations.
The magic begins when children can hear and say initial sounds, segment the sounds in simple words and link sounds to letters. Our approach ensures that children remember their sounds in a fun, active way and gives them the confidence to blend orally.
When our Reception children have a secure knowledge of their sounds, have had plenty of opportunities to blend and have completed pre-reading activities, they begin their special journey of taking reading books home. Sharing home, library and school reading books can become wonderful times to bond over much loved tales and discover new stories together.
There are many physical and sensory stages that children have to experience before they are ready to want to start to write.
The early stages of writing are mark making, for example when children pick up sticks and form symbols and signs that do not yet convey meaning. As the children develop, they learn to draw attention to their markings and talk about what they represent.
When ready, children need opportunities to understand that what they say can be written down.
Modelling writing, shopping lists, or birthday cards is an invaluable tool for parents to show children that written words have a purpose. Role play offers the chance for children to draw up lists, write letters and make cards “just like Mummy and Daddy”.
We encourage the children to record sounds in a variety of ways to foster their interest and enthusiasm and to develop their fine motor skills. Children are encouraged to write their names as often as possible as well as having a go and writing cvc (consonant – vowel – consonant) words for themselves.
At this stage, when children pick up a pencil more readily, it is our job to support and encourage the development (known as scaffolding) of writing skills as appropriate opportunities arise. Examples of these opportunities are shown in our photographs: children completing tick lists on clipboards outdoors, doodling on fallen leaves and decorating boxes for imaginative play.
To continue with our earlier analogy, the flame can then be fanned as children start to want to write short sentences by themselves using their sounding out and handwriting skills.
It is a joy to work with Reception aged children as they begin to master the skill of language. We hope that through a solid foundation of teaching within our Early Years department, the flame that has been set alight in literacy learning will burn brightly for a lifetime of enjoyment.
Thank you for reading, and do please feel free to comment below.
Catrin Goode, Joint Head of Early Years, November 2018