The independent review of early reading
conducted by Jim Rose (final report 2006) confirmed that ‘high quality phonic
work’ should be the prime means for teaching children how to read and spell
words. The review also highlighted the
importance of developing from the earliest stages children’s speaking and
listening skills, ensuring that beginner readers are ready to get off to a good
start in phonic work by the age of five.
Such work should happen discreetly within a broad and rich language
The nursery has chosen to follow the
Primary National Strategy’s new phonics resource Letters and Sounds, written in response to the review, as a tool to
support staff with this area of the curriculum.
As we are supporting children in the initial stages of phonics our main
focus will be on phase one of the document which concentrates on the
development of speaking and listening skills as being crucially important in
their own right in paving the way for high quality phonic work. Most children will be ready, by the age of
five, to begin on the more structured phonics programme, equipping them with
the skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of seven.
Staff will plan weekly activities for the
children which will promote areas such as general sound discrimination, rhythm
and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting. By using a multi-sensory approach, children
are encouraged to learn from a variety of stimuli through visual, auditory and
kinaesthetic activities, making the process easy and enjoyable for the children
to understand and apply.
As the activities focus on speaking and
listening, this also helps staff to strengthen the provision for children
learning English as an additional language.
and Sharing Books
Children benefit hugely by being introduced
to books from an early age. Lots of
opportunities are provided for the children to engage with books that fire
their imagination and interest. They are
able to peruse books freely as well as sharing them with an adult. This motivates them to value reading and
develop a life-long love of books. The
children are welcome to borrow any of our books to share with parents at
home. We also encourage parents to come
into the nursery and share a favourite book of their child’s with all the
children (if you feel brave enough!).
This is especially valuable when read in a different home language as it
values the child’s own language and the other children can listen to new sounds
while still following a familiar story through the pictures.
Before a child can acquire the fine motor
skills needed for pencil control, they need to develop their gross motor skills
by having the opportunity for making large movements. Every time a child repeats these large
movements, be it making circle patterns in the sand or up and down brush
strokes with the paint brush, they are creating pathways in the brain which
later help with the development of their pencil control.
Research has shown that it is very
detrimental to encourage children to overwrite (e.g. joining the dots) before
they have gained the necessary gross motor skills. This would be similar to an adult trying to
write with their opposite hand, the
muscles in the hand become strained and posture is tense. We would also be
setting the children, who are not yet ready, up to fail. Children who have been encouraged to practice
this too early have much poorer handwriting later on. We therefore favour the approach of letting
the children do their own mark making (emergent writing) and allowing them to
develop letter formations in a more relaxed way, at their own pace. We provide lots of opportunities for mark making
throughout the nursery, not just at the writing table. We encourage and praise the children’s
efforts, whatever their ‘name’ or words look like, which spurs them on to try
This policy was reviewed in May 2017.