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Spelling and Phonics

07 November 2017

Range of fun activities to support your child's Literacy skills and promote engagement and motivation when learning at home

  • How We Learn What We Learn

At a recent Parent Workshop on Phonics and Spelling, I mentioned a range of games and activities that you can do to promote the engagement and motivation when learning at home.   Reading is the single most important thing that you can do as a parent to support your child's Literacy skills but here a range of fun activities that you can use to further develop the specific skills they are working on:

Letter Formation
At this level, the more sensory the activity is the more likely a child is to become familiar and confident with the application and mastery of new learning.  Generally we start with bigger shapes until the children are familiar with the formation and we move to smaller shapes once they are confident to form the letter independently. Here are some activities for you to try at home:

  • Get your child to make the letters with their body.
  • Use shaving foam on a baking tray and ask your child to make the letter with their finger.
  • Give your child a piece of string or ribbon to make the letter.
  • Use a whiteboard marker on a window.
  • Use chalk on an outside surface or blackboard.
  • Use bath crayons at bath time to practise letter formation.
  • When your child is out and about ask them to look for the letters that you have been working on signs.
  • When you are reading a book ask your child to be a letter spotter and look for a specific sound.

Word Level
Once your child has become familiar with letter formation and sounds, they will begin to blend sounds into words. At this level try to engage your child with a number of games:

  • Hide the words around the house. Children get to keep the words they can read and these can be displayed on the fridge until the next game.
  • Use magnetic letters to form words.
  • Play a memory game with the words- the children can turn over matching words/sounds/initial sounds.
  • Play the game named ‘Out to sea’. Place the words on the floor.  If the child can read the word they can jump to the next word.  Try to avoid falling off the words as there are sharks about!
  • If your child is having particular trouble with remembering a specific word you may ask them to rainbow write it.  They write out the word on a piece of A4 paper and trace it over with all the colour pencils they have making a rainbow word.  This can also be done at the letter formation level.
  • Ask your child to create board game for the family to play with any word that they find tricky. 

 What is important to remember when doing any activity with your child is that it is ok for your child to feel challenged but when that challenge turns into frustration be sure to take a break and come back to the activity when everyone is calm and ready to try again.

A final list of dos:

  • Do try to keep activities fun and engaging. 
  • Do offer lots of praise for good attempts as well as positive attitudes towards learning.
  • Do stop an activity if your child it tired and not responding well.
  • Do ask your child to think of games that they would like to play.
  • Do set aside time each week to do fun learning activities with your child.  This can be when you are out and about or at home.

Kiara Gray
Deputy Head of Lower Primary