Involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.
We use every opportunity for children to identify letter sounds in every day words including their name and those of their friends. We talk about letters in terms of the sound they make rather than their name. This helps them to develop a strategy for reading later on. Children are encouraged to recognise their own name by sight. Their own name is presented to them in several places, some with their photograph and some without. We read stories daily, and children are asked questions about the story, what they liked about it, what happened at the beginning, the middle and the end, so that they experience reading is enjoyable.
We refer to writing as mark making in Early Years, and this takes many forms. Children will use their fingers in corn flour, or sticks in sand, or paint brushed outside with water. We have a table with pencils and paper as a permanent provision, but we encourage mark making in every area of the setting. Therefore there are note books and pencils in the home corner, dry wipe boards and easels around the room, and chalk outside. Children often show interest when staff are writing, and ask questions, and will often come to “help”. Children enjoy reading their own learning journals and often staff can evaluate and add to the observations following on from what the child has talked about whilst looking through their book.