Blog - Nursery Talk

Back to Blog
Posted by Katie oGrady

Activities to Encourage Literacy in Children

Literacy is the generic term for reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. A staggering one person in six suffer from poor literacy in the UK which affects health, happiness and the wealth of individuals and society. Thus it is a necessity for any parent to create the right environment at home and to ensure the educational setting for their child promotes literacy.

Based on much research the Early Years Foundation Stage quotes “Children’s later writing is based on skills and understanding which they develop as babies and toddlers. Before they can write, they need to learn to use spoken language to communicate.”

At the core of Boys & Girls Nursery’s ethos, is the requirement to promote literacy in a positive and engaging atmosphere. Ofsted recently commented on our Watford nursery stating “Pre-school staff’s enthusiasm for storytelling and singing makes song and story times fun and enjoyable, and helps children fully participate through listening, speaking and signing.”

The nursery spends time on exercises that improves a child’s strength to hold mark making equipment which leads to better handwriting. The ultimate aim is to create a happy confident child with positive social skills who has been given the best possible start and the ability to flourish.

Furthermore if there are any concerns regarding a child’s speech, Boys & Girls Nursery will work with specialists to help the child and provide extra tools to aid their development.

Kelly Ridge our Area Manager visits all the nurseries daily suggesting new ideas and ways to improve. Here she lists just a small sample of activities that can be viewed in any one of our nurseries that encourage Literacy.

Writing Skills:

  • Picking up small objects develops fine motor skills, specifically the palmer grip and then pincer, moving onto tripod grips.
  • Using different tools and different materials, for example:
    Sticks in the sand
    Painting with water and paint brushes outside
  • Making these materials accessible in all areas of the room from group mark making activity sheets on the floor to a wide range of instruments in the mark making, creative and construction areas.

Reading, Speaking and Listening Skills:

  • Circle time provides the perfect opportunity for children to listen and develop their speaking skills, it can involve a child describing objects or events to making up stories and creating their own puppet shows.
  • The story corner is a quiet area allowing children to look through age appropriate books, ask questions, listen to their favourite tale and retell the story with familiar images.
  • Simply ensuring that there is plenty of written print on the wall and that everything is labelled increases familiarisation of letters.
  • Role play is a fun and creative way to promote speech and listening.
  • ‘Our Letter of the Week’ is incorporated in numerous activities and through repetition recall increases.

Kelly also gives some tips and tricks that can encourage literacy in the home:

  • Read a bedtime story every night, spend time discussing the book and ask questions to develop comprehension skills.
  • Provide interesting materials to write on and with, think outside the box – use post it notes, notebooks, white boards, pavements.
  • When eating out at a restaurant read through the menus together.
  • Look at car registration plates and bus numbers.
  • Have fun playing eye spy.
  • Use playdough to develop strength and control.
  • Making marks in messy play with bake beans – one of Kelly’s favourites!