Learning to read can be tricky. Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Once a child understands what sound is linked to a letter they can then begin to blend them together in order to read or spell a word.
With a little creativity teaching and learning phonics can be fun, by keeping the whole process fun it will help the child to become engaged more. Phonics can be educational and fun.
There are lots of ways to keep phonics fun and different including
Sorting baskets – each basket represents a sound. Place objects into the correct basket
What is Fishing for Phonics?
Fishing for phonics can be done in many ways:
You can hide items or letters in a water tray and children can use a net to fish them out.
Print out letters or pictures and place a paperclip on them. The child can use a piece of string with a magnet attached to the end.
Or you can use the Fishing Game
Place the sounds or words that the child is working on on the underneath of a fish.
And just as you would play the game normally, using a rod, catch the fish. When you catch a fish the child has to say the word or sound that they have caught. If they get it wrong, correct them and then place it back in the game to be caught again.
If they are catching words, then ask the child to put the word into a sentence. This helps them to retain the information of what they have learnt.
This game also teaches children about turn taking and helps to develop their fine motor skills.
This game can be differentiated depending on what the learning objective is. It can also be used to teach number bonds or times tables.
Could you imagine learning to drive before the age of 17?
At Young Driver, a center that gives children from the age of 10 an opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience driving with a qualified instructor. Children can learn to drive at one of the 60 UK centers where they are taught in a specially designed training area. The training area includes; sharp bends, mini round-about, parking spaces, traffic lights, and junctions.
Young Driver follow the Driving Standards Agency curriculum, which means that what 10 – 17s learn at YOUNG DRIVER is exactly the same as they will learn on the road at 17. The children are given a Drive Diary to record their progress and this is one of the most important parts of the programme – moving forward is the aim!
Their personalised Drive Diary charts individual progress and current level of driving and is completed by the instructor after each driving session. The instructor talks them through it and explains where they could do with some more help or whether they can progress to the next step. The Drive Diary can be given over to their driving instructor when they begin their official lessons at the age of 17 and the instructor will then know what their experience level is.
My son, who is 14 years old, was lucky enough to be invited along to the Bluewater Center to experience for himself what it is like to drive a car. The center itself, is situated within the blue car park at Bluewater shopping center. There is a section of car park outside that is specifically designed for a beginners’ zone, that has a full road system with traffic signs, road markings, junctions and parking zones. In this way it encourages responsible driving.
As soon as we had arrived, he was called up by his instructor and taken along to the car that he would be driving. Before he could turn the key he underwent a safety check and was taught how to use the mirrors, signal and when to manoeuvre. He had full control over the steering wheel and pedals, however the instructor had pedals that would over power his if an accident were to happen. He started off slowly, to get used to the feel of the steering and clutch. Not long on the road and he was soon snaking in-between cones and maneuvering the car into a figure of eight in the parking lot. Whilst, he was driving he was continuously given advise and constructive criticism from the instructor. He spent 60 minutes out on the road, building up his confidence and learning some important skills of control and responsibility. He now knows how to drive safely and properly, putting him leaps and bounds ahead of other 17 year olds.
His instructor was fantastic, professional and made him feel safe at all times.
Since his experience, he has become more road aware and is definitely more confident and prepared for when he can hit the road.
We made a video of his experience
My son certainly left with a big smile on his face and is now eager to get behind the wheel.
I would highly recommend the experience for any young child who wants to get ahead of their peers and become a much safer driver. A very valuable and worthwhile experience.
30 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £34.95
60 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £64.95
To find out more about the experience or to make a booking, head on over to their website www.youngdriver.com
We was given this experience for the purpose of this review.
Having my own children and especially working within a school has made me realise that keeping children on task at such a young age can be difficult, it is hard to keep children engaged especially those with a short attention span. Taking lessons outdoors can engage children keeping them motivated. The experience of an outdoor lesson becomes more memorable and at an early age children learn through play.
The Forestry commission have launched a free downloadable Gruffalo Pack for teachers, full of activities based around the popular Julia Donaldson story The Gruffalo. Aimed at Early Years, Foundation stage and Key Stage 1, the activities are designed to be taken outdoors, aiming to encourage children to explore the nature world in the forest. All the activities have been designed to be used outdoors, in your local woods, park or school grounds.
“Following Forestry Commission, England’s research, 83% of teachers said they’d would like to participate in more outdoor learning if it was more accessible. FCE looked at what prohibited teachers from teaching in the woodlands/ forest and how they could overcome these barriers to increase the ability of schools to teach outdoors when they wish to do so. The result, The Gruffalo’s teachers pack”
The Gruffalo Teacher’s Pack aims to teach learners about forests and how they are looked after for the benefits of people and wildlife. It has 4 sections:
1. Introduction: Scene setting
• This section will enable learners to get to know the Gruffalo story, the characters and the forest environment.
2. Programme 1 – Explore and discover the forest
• EYFS – Understanding the world; Mathematics;
• Geography KS1 – geographical vocabulary; geographical skills; place knowledge
• EYFS – Understanding the world; Communication and language
• Science Year 1 – animals, humans, senses
Each section is full of ideas and tips and set out as a lesson plan that you can follow. Each section has a conclusion at the end, what you have investigated and what you have learned about living things. Covering areas of EYFS, curriculum linked. In each programme there are ideas on what you can talk about and also hands on activities. They are easy to follow and full of information, you will also receive the activity sheets to go along with each activity.
The benefits of outdoor learning
Taking lessons outdoors engages and motivates children
Makes the learning more real by putting the subject into a context that they can grasp
Nurtures creativity and the imagination
The experience becomes more memorable, it becomes a hands on lesson
All children benefit from the lesson regardless of language, SEN and level of learning
Aids personal and social development
Being outside, children become more aware of the environment around them.
Widens their vocabulary and becomes more confident
Engages children with a short attention span
After reading the story to children in school and my own children, we took to the outdoors to make a story map of the Gruffalo. We followed the hands on activity from programme 1, to explore and discover the forest. The curriculum links for this part are mathematics and understanding of the world and it covers KS1 geography. We had to find a flat area and by using 4 big sticks make a frame. Using natural materials that were found from within the surroundings, we recreated the map.
The stone is the mouse. Turn left and you reach the Fox’s underground home, go straight up and you come to the Owl’s tree, turn right and then you at the Snake’s logpile house and then comeback down to the Gruffalos cave.
We used twigs that had fallen to the ground, moss from the floor, leaves, bark from the trees and stones.
The children loved running around and working together to create their map. They were engaged and worked as a team, discussing what they should look for and what should represent the items in the story. As they were creating the map they retold the story how they remembered it, becoming familiar with the scenes and the forest around them.
After we had made the map we then went on the look out for any signs of the gruffalo and the other characters.
Learning about the forest and the environment becomes so much easier if you could explore it.
My little one is 4 years old and currently learning his phonic sounds, he is doing really well and is beginning to master his individual sounds and blending them together to read simple cvc, cvcvv words. We are now moving on to learning digraphs and vowel digraphs, which are two letters that make one sound, eg. sh, ch, th, ph, ai, ow, ee.
Making a game out learning is fun and can really engage the child .
We have made a simple little game up, using padlocks and keys.
Place a picture on the padlock and then add the beginning sound onto the key. So it could be a picture of an ant and then add the initial sound on the key, which would be a. As my child is learning jolly phonics in school I used the pictures from the jolly phonics sound card. This way they can not only recognise the sound but also the picture. Using name tags I wrote the sound on and attached it to the key. The pictures need to be fairly small to fit onto the padlocks.
This game is fun to play and easy to make. Children can play for hours unlocking the padlock, not only learning and recognising sounds but also working on their fine motor skills.
You can use the padlock idea for number bonds, equations and words.
Learning to read can be tricky, but making it fun can help children learn.
Phonics involves children learning the sounds of the letters and not just the name, how to segment and blend them together to make words, for example s – a – t blended together reads sat. Phonics consists of identifying sounds that are in spoken words and recognising the common spelling of each phoneme (the smallest unit of sound) Tricky isn’t it! And that is just the beginning of learning Phonics.
Learning the initial sounds and building cv, cvc words together is the beginning of learning to read.
I made up our own little word building game using different length duplo bricks.
You will need:
Duplo bricks, 2,4 and 6 pronged long
A marker pen
Sticky labels preferably white
Use the smaller bricks for the individual sounds and the bigger bricks for the words that you want your child to learn to read and write. Following the Letters and Sounds phases, It’s always good to start with the sounds s,a,t,i,p,n and cv (consonant and vowel) words first. It will help the child to blend smaller words and once they have the hang of it add-on another letter.
Cut the sticky label to the size of the brick. Write on the individual sounds to the words that you want them to build and then on the longer bricks write down the words.
As your child is building the word get them to sound out the letter, once they have recognised them and found the sounds that make up the word they then build the word. When the word is built they can then try to blend the sounds together and read out the word
Get your child to point to each sound when reading
Once your child has mastered the cv words you can then go onto cvc words, like sat, pin, pat and sit. You can then add in the digraph (2 letters that make 1 sound), trigraph (3 letters that make 1 sound) and blends
This is a fun activity that encourages children fine motor skills as well as letter recognition and blending words.
Thank you for reading 🙂