How to help - Reception

Reading and writing in Reception

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Aims of this session

To become familiar with how we start reading and writing at school.

To understand what we mean by shared and guided reading and writing.

To learn about how we teach phonics.

To clarify what home / school reading means.

To encourage a love of reading and writing for our children.

How We Get Started - Reading

Daily sharing of stories - this may be reading Big books, home time stories, reading poems and rhymes, exploring non fiction texts. Continuous access to well stocked book corners and author boxes. Daily phonics teaching - including teaching tricky words. Choosing quality texts and offering a wide variety of texts including poetry and non-fiction.Weekly storytelling sessions using a story cloak and props. Continuously making texts great fun and exciting!


Shared Reading

Using Big books: this enables us to model many strategies that are needed to enable children to decode words and make sense of the text. Using other stories - quality texts are chosen to build on enthusiasm and enjoyment.


Guided Reading

This starts off in pairs before developing into a group session.

A specific text is chosen to maximise the learning for a particular group i.e. it targets their needs.

The session is often started with some practise of phonics and key vocabulary.

The children will follow their teacher as they point to each word and use picture clues to predict words.

They will practise blending and segmenting to read.

They will also attempt to read on their own after the initial teacher led reading, using the repetition and key vocabulary in the book.

There will be time to discuss the characters/events in the story or interesting information in non-fiction books.


Independent Reading

Children have daily access to reading corners in their classroom which have a wide selection of texts which we swap around regularly. Author boxes - we have many author collections so that children can become familiar with a particular author’s style of writing. Children love to ‘play read’ to themselves or with a friend which helps to foster their enjoyment of stories and non-fiction books.



Phonics is taught systematically following Letters and Sounds and we use Jolly Phonics and Big Cat phonics to deliver the programme. Both are interactive schemes which involve the children actively in their learning. Children learn the 44 phonemes (or units of sound) through songs and actions and then learn to blend them to read and segment them to write. We play lots of games and use puppets and other resources to make the learning fun. Letters and Sounds also delivers a ‘tricky word’ programme so that each week the children build up a sight vocabulary which we practise regularly. We put these words on our ‘Word Wall’ so that the children can refer to them at all times.

Click here to see a clip to support phonics teaching at home 

Home/school Reading

Your child will bring home a graded reading book with a colour sticker to read to / with you.

Your child may try to use a finger to point to each word as they read and use picture clues to work out some words.

They may also try to segment and blend some words to read as we have practised at school.

Please write a a comment to respond to the teacher’s comment in the reading diary. This dialogue is important so that we know how your child is progressing with their reading

Shared Writing

Whole class writing enables us to model strategies that are needed to enable children to segment words for spelling. It reinforces how sounds in words are represented using letters. It begins to introduce children to sentence structure, capital letters and full stops.


Guided Writing

This starts off in pairs before developing into a small group session. Writing is based around a familiar text. Talk for writing is used to develop children’s confidence in writing and provide a clear structure. Children are encouraged to say the word slowly, hear the sounds and write the letters that represent the sounds. Alphabet/phonic mats help with identifying and forming the letters.


Independent Writing

Children begin to write using gross motor movements which become refined as the they develop their hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Opportunities to strengthen hand muscles and pincer grip are provided on a daily basis. Children have daily access to writing activities in their classroom which have a wide variety of purposes for mark-making. Marks can be made using anything from pens to fingers in shaving foam – get creative!

Many of your children have already come to school with a love of books and mark making - this makes our job much easier! Keep up the good work – please read to and with your child any time or anywhere - in bed, in the car, in the bath!




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Brighton & Hove BN1 8WW

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