We aim to foster a life-long love of stories and books. Books are available throughout the Nursery. We have indoor and outdoor book corners, with a Literacy Shed outside. Children learn to understand and enjoy stories, books and rhymes. It is important for children to be able to tell stories from just the pictures at first and then learn to recognise that print carries meaning. Children who skip the first part may become less fluent readers. The ‘stories of three’ (Bears, Billy Goats and Little Pigs), are used constantly and supported with props for re-enacting. We use core stories for Pie Corbett-style story telling which highlights connective words with signs. Once children are familiar with a key story, they use the format to create their own alternatives and adults scribe for them. This technique continues throughout the other schools on the campus. The Little Red Hen is one of the stories we use in the Spring Term. Click the link to see Pie Corbett telling the story.
Adults model story-telling using small world toys or props and scribe children’s spontaneous storytelling, showing their stories are valued.
Children need to develop their large motor skills, as well as their fine-motor skills to be able to write in a comfortable and natural way. Through climbing, music, movement, dance, lifting, carrying and digging they build strong muscles to enable them to sit and write comfortably. Children build an understanding of the relationship between the spoken and written word. They begin by making marks and drawing. This is the way children’s random marks, lines and drawings develop and form the basis of recognisable letters. Children have opportunities to mark-make outside on a large scale. For example, on the floor using chalks or water or on large-scale paper on writing slopes and ‘A’ frames. There are boards for chalking scores and clipboards in every area indoors and on the Investigation Station outdoors.
We follow the Letters & Sounds Programme. First, the children have opportunities to isolate and identify sounds in the environment and to develop their listening and attention skills. Next, they can begin to hear, identify and repeat letter sounds. Focusing on letter sounds, rather than the letter names, is a more useful pre-reading skill. Adults model initial sounds and look for learning opportunities during free-flow activities. Children develop the ability to distinguish between sounds and become familiar with rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. They develop understanding of the correspondence between spoken and written sounds and learn to link sounds and letters.