Nursery children have spent the past few weeks settling in and developing relationships with their teachers and peers. They have been settling in to routines and the teachers have done lots of work to ensure the children feel safe, secure and are most importantly happy.
Our topic is Dinosaurs and we have been reading lots of stories such as Dinosaur Roar, 10 Little Dinosaurs and the children absolutely loved Dinosaurs Love Underpants. The children used a range of materials to make new underpants for the dinosaurs which they thought was hilarious!
We have been doing lots of singing every day learning dinosaur rhymes as well as nursery rhymes and we now have a rhyme of the week which goes home to encourage lots of singing at home!
Thank you to the parents, carers and grandparents that recently attended our nursery reading sessions. Reading with your child every day is vital to encourage language development and a love for reading!
Top tips to get ready for reading
1. Share Nursery Rhymes
One of the most valuable things you can do to get your child ready for reading at nursery is to share traditional nursery rhymes together. There’s a wealth of nursery rhymes to choose from and they all offer a variety of pre-reading skills.
Nursery rhymes are fantastic because they:
Familiarise children with the features of a story e.g. character, setting, plot, structure (a beginning, middle and end).
Explore rich and unusual vocabulary (e.g. ‘tuffett’ and ‘curds and whey’ in Little Miss Muffett).
- Create a strong foundation for early phonics through rhythm and rhyme.
- Can be a sociable activity and encourage early communication – adults and other children can join in the words and actions together.
- Spark a child’s imagination showing that words and pictures can be fun.
2. Explore Signs and Logos
As children begin to explore the world around them, they start to make associations between signs and logos they see and the idea that they hold meaning. Your child’s teacher will be exploring environmental print like this at nursery to encourage pre-reading skills.
Look for and talk about logos, labels and signs at home or out and about: on cereal packets, toy boxes, shops, posters, street signs and so on. You can even have fun cutting out logos and seeing how many your child begins to recognise or talk about even though they can’t decode text yet e.g. “Lego” or “Weetabix”.
3. Play I Spy Sounds
Helping your child to get ready for reading at nursery can be great fun! A game that everyone enjoys is “I Spy”. When children first start this game, they will need lots of extra support as they start to make connections between sounds and objects – a strong basis for learning to read later on. It’s useful to scaffold each game with a topic, such as “Animals on the Farm” to give your child a context.
- First, hide some farm animal toys or pictures in a box or bag.
- Next, choose one and without letting your child see it say: “I spy with my little eye, I can hear with my little ear, something beginning with c – and it goes “Moo! Moo! What is it?”
- Give your child lots of praise if they say the right answer and plenty of encouragement if they don’t. If they do struggle you could choose two animal toys and ask what noises the animals make before asking the question again.
- One day, you won’t need to do the animal sound and your child will learn c is the initial letter sound in cow
4. Understand First Phonics
When you talk about letters with your child, such as playing games like “I Spy”, try not to use the alphabet names, such as in the ABC Alphabet Song. At nursery your child will be encouraged to use the letter sounds introduced in phonics (e.g. /a/ for apple and /sh/ for sheep). This will give your child a great foundation for learning to read with phonics at school.
5. Talk Together
Speaking and listening is critical in laying the foundations for early reading and writing. How we engage and communicate with our children in the first few years of life directly impacts their reading. Research shows that the more words a child knows at an early age, the more proficient they are at reading challenging texts later on.
Conversations in the home encourage thinking skills, concentration and patience. These are great building blocks in the learning to read process.
6. Share Books Together
Children who read for pleasure are more likely to succeed academically. Children will be sharing stories and books at Nursery on a daily basis. You can help your child get ready for reading at nursery by encouraging an enjoyment of reading at home too. Aside from online and high street book shops, libraries are a perfect way for children to experience the joy and independence of choosing their own books to read.
7. You Are a Reader
Why should a child choose to read if they don’t notice significant adults in their lives reading? Make sure your children see you reading and perhaps talk about why you’re reading (if it comes up naturally). And what is the point of reading if a child doesn’t understand why reading is important. Think about how you read in everyday life and how you can show your child that it is important: reading instruction manuals, reading the news, finding out information, making a cake, online searching, reading a novel for pleasure, and so on.
8. Your Child’s Name
One of the first words your child will recognise and read is his/her name. Initially, at nursery, your child is likely to have a peg with their name on it. This is often accompanied by a photo of their face or a familiar picture so they don’t worry when they can’t yet read the word. It won’t be long until your child begins to recognise the first capital letter and soon all the letters in their name.
9. Creative and Imaginative Play
Play is critical in early child development. In terms of getting ready for reading at nursery, role play is one of the most important activities a child can do.
When children play at taking on the role of another person or character, they begin to re-enact real-life scenarios or elements of a story. You will notice that your child starts to mimic phrases that they have learnt with a variety of expressions. As your child role-plays in this way, they will learn the power of language. All these things are a fantastic foundation for learning to read.
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