Accurate spelling is an important part of the process of learning to write at primary school.
The National Curriculum places great emphasis on correct spelling. Good spelling is also a big part of the writing curriculum at school. Learning to spell well is useful if we want our children to become confident writers. If they are constantly stopping to think about how words are spelled while they write, it can interrupt their thinking about important parts of writing like word choice and sentence construction. If they’re confident spellers, they’re also much more likely to make adventurous vocabulary.
Each week, we have tasked children with learning five of the statutory spellings from their year groups. We have provided a range of activities to make it multi-sensory and engaging.
Why is it important to read at home?
Every teacher and parent knows that reading matters. It matters to our pupils’ language development along with their academic success, whilst mattering because of its tremendous power to offer us pleasure and comfort in what are immensely challenging times. Sharing a book with a child is fun! It's a time for closeness, laughing and talking together – and it can also give children a flying start in life and help them become lifelong readers.
If you’re not feeling confident about reading aloud or sharing books, don’t worry – there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy a story together. But if you’d like some tips, here are a few pointers to help you out.
- Ask your child to choose what they’d like to read. They’ll feel more interested in the story if they’ve picked it out themselves. (And don’t worry if they keep returning to the same story, either!)
- If you can, turn off the TV, radio and computer. It’s easier for both of you to enjoy the story without any other distractions.
- Sit close together. You could encourage your child to hold the book themselves and turn the pages, too.
- Take a look at the pictures. You don’t just have to read the words on the page. Maybe there’s something funny in the pictures that you can giggle about together, or perhaps your child enjoys guessing what will happen next.
- Ask questions and talk about the book. Picture books can be a great way to talk through your child’s fears and worries, or to help them deal with their emotions. Give them space to talk, and ask how they feel about the situations in the story.
- Have fun! There’s no right or wrong way to share a story – as long as you and your child are having fun. Don’t be afraid to act out situations or use funny voices… your little ones will love it!
- Encouraging Reading at Home (PDF)
What should children read at home?
You can read anything and everything! You could read books you have at home, newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes, recipes or signs when you are out and about.
Why not join the library and borrow books?
The Book Trust has many suggestions of the best ways to read with children.
This video gives some helpful advice when sharing books online
Education Endowment Fund
The Education Endowment Fund (EEF) has produced documents that offer some great advice for the best ways to support reading at home.
Watch this video from the EEF for a short guide of how to use their materials
Oxford Owl has a free eBooks collection, developed for children aged 3–11 years old.
There are also many books you can access online from Audible. You may need to register but the books are free to access.
Summer Reading Challenge
The summer holidays is the perfect time to join the summer reading challenge.
Authors and Storytelling
There are so many videos or authors and storytellers telling stories. Here is our pick of the best:
Here are some videos to get you started
There are lots of games and activities that you can do to support your children with phonics.
Watch this video to learn how to say the sounds
Out and about
When you are out and about you could:
- Listen to what sounds you can hear on a listening walk. Can the children identify the sounds? You could even make some big listening hears to make it more fun!
- Printable Ears (PDF)
- Syllable clapping: Think of a simple word your child would know (for example: apple, fork, baby). Introduce the game to your child by saying something like: “let’s play a word game. I am thinking of the word ‘apple’. We are going to clap the number of syllables the word ‘apple’.” Show how to clap one time as you say each syllable: /ap/ (clap) /ple/ (clap). Now try it with words with different numbers of syllables. Examples: One syllable words: fork, knife, spoon, car, straw, door . Two syllable words: table, baby, cracker, napkin, pizza. Three syllable words: banana, strawberry, lemonade. Can you spot things that have one syllable, two syllables, three syllables or more?
- I spy... Go on a treasure hunt to find objects that begin with different letters.
- Simon says...Practicing blending is important. You can do this by playing Simon says but DO NOT say the whole word. For example, Simon Says put your hands on your -l-i-p or kn-ee. Children have to orally blend to follow the instruction.
- Rhyming games: Learning to hear sounds and how they sound similar can help children with phonics. What objects can you find around the house to rhyme? Go on a hunt. You could also help your child to label them too.
- Here are some ideas:
- car, jar, star
- sock, rock, lock, clock
- cap, map
- pan, can, fan
- bag, tag, flag
- bell, shell
- duck, truck
- rice, dice
Watch these videos for some activities you could do at home:
The basis of good writing is good talk. When you are ‘out and about’ encourage your child to talk about what has been seen, heard, smelt, tasted and touched. Encourage children to share their experiences in as much detail as possible.
Writing is a skill that all children need practice on. Just like reading, the more opportunities children have to write for meaning the better writers they will become.
Let children see you being a model writer! Let them see you writing notes, cards or letters to friends or relatives, a shopping list, an article for a magazine or maybe a story or poem for them to enjoy. Let your children see that you are not perfect! Making changes and editing what you write is a natural part of writing.
Keep writing meaningful and Fun!
Here are some ideas of what you could write during the holidays:
- Shopping lists
- Postcards/diary entries
- Song Lyrics
- Story for a family member
- Write to an author or publisher
- Book Review
- Channel their passions – RSPCA, WWF, ActionAid etc. all have ideas for getting children involved in raising awareness of campaigns.
- Look out for writing competitions such as the 500 Word Challenge.
There are some fantastic websites to support creative writing
- Pobble 365 has an interesting picture a day with a story starter to inspire children
- Authorfy has many writing challenges
- Oxford Owl has tips and suggestions
Here you can watch Author Gill Lewis provide tips for nature writing: