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Icknield Walk First School

Achievement – Celebration – Teamwork

‘An Ofsted outstanding school’

Home Learning

Supporting your child with early reading and writing

Although children are taught to read at school, home environments can have a huge impact on children’s reading journey by continuing to practice at home. There are two types of reading books that children will take home:

· A reading practice book: this book will be at the correct phonic level for your child. Your child should be able to read this book independently and fluently.

· A sharing book: Your child will not be able to read the words in this book. These books are for you and your child to share together.

Reading Practice book:

Practice reading books are carefully matched to the each child’s current reading levels. Your child should be able to read these books with only a little help. These books are not too easy for your child, because they are learning to develop their fluency and confidence in reading. The children will have books that make them feel like they are readers.

We ask parents and carers to listen to their children reading these books and to give lots of encouragement. Parents and carers are asked to give their children lots of praise and to celebrate their children’s successes! If the children can’t read yet, we ask parents and carers to read the books to their children. After the book is finished, parents and carers will talk to the children about the book. This is to help the children understand the text they have read.

Sharing book:

In order to encourage children to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing books are books they have chosen to enjoy with an adult and to read together. We remind parents and carers that they shouldn’t expect their children to read these books independently, but to read it to or with them. Parents and carers are encouraged to discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters or to explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that they have fun!


Phonics is the relationship between letters and the sounds letters make. Phonics is used as the prime approach to teaching early reading. The teaching of phonics begins in developing children’s listening skills and ability to hear sounds. They are then taught the visual recognition of letters and the sounds these and combinations of letters make. They are taught how to blend the sounds through a word to read and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. The children are taught to use these phonic skills as a prime approach to reading but are also taught words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.

The teaching of phonics begins in the Foundation Stage, developing children’s phonological awareness and then continues to be developed through Reception and KS1 as daily, discrete and systematic lessons. These sessions are taught in both ability groups and as a whole class. In KS2 the teaching of spelling builds on the children’s phonic skills. Children’s learning is carefully tracked by the class teacher to ensure future lessons are planned appropriately.

For more information on how to pronounce each of the sounds, please follow this link below:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTe5_Em0BHQ[/embedyt]




Motor skills help develop children’s strength and co-ordination. It is important that children develop strength in their shoulders, arms, wrists, hands and fingers in order to be able to control writing materials. In school, they have access to a range of activities and resources to help this. Examples include, waving ribbons, using the climbing frame, threading beads, using play dough, fastening zips and buttons. Colouring in and using scissors are also important activities.

The first stage of writing is ‘mark making’ using a variety of materials. This may include play writing – cards, invitations, shopping lists. Big letter writing can be fun with a paintbrush outside. It’s important that children understand that marks on a page convey meaning and that they can tell someone what they have written even when it has not been with recognisable letters.

It is important that children are taught to hold their pencil correctly from an early age to help prevent bad habits forming. A correct ‘tripod’ grip enables letters for be formed correctly. Watch this short clip to show you how to do this.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDwpb9V5Uz8 [/embedyt]

Formal letter formation is taught in reception but if children show an interest in writing before this, we would teach them the correct formation. You can help with this at home. Please follow the link to find out how to form letters correctly.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYYSBProJH4[/embedyt]

We only use a capital letter at the front of names. In Reception, when children are beginning to learn to write, they are encouraged to ‘sound out’ a word and write the letters they can hear. This begins for example, with the first and last letter of a word. They then go on to being able to write the middle sounds of simple words before applying further phonic knowledge as they are taught it.

For example, writing ‘ct’ for ‘cat.

There are some words ‘tricky words’ that are taught as a whole as they cannot be sounded out. For example, ‘the’. Children learn these words by the ‘look, say, cover, write, check’ method.

Spelling and Grammar is taught both via discrete lessons and throughout other curriculum work in KS1 and KS2.

More detail of our Writing Curriculum can be found on the school website with each year group’s long term plans.

Presentations from parent information sessions