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Teaching Literacy at Woodlands Nursery

At Woodlands, we strongly promote a book loving culture. We hope to harness the imaginations and interests of the children in our care by introducing them to an array of brilliant books, playful poetry, ridiculous rhymes, fantastic facts (and of course amazing alliteration).

Empowering children with words is one of the most crucial aims of our Literacy programme at Woodlands. Our highly trained practitioners constantly model ambitious language and texts are carefully chosen to enrich children’s vocabulary. Young children LOVE to learn big words and we utilise that passion as we teach. We also take any opportunity we can to play with words, blasting away any fear children may have. Children are given the space to play and experiment with rhyming, alliteration and even invent their very own words (if Lewis Carol and Roald Dahl can do it, then so can we!)

Phonetic awareness is taught systematically, on a daily basis, providing opportunities for children gradually to build upon prior learning. Lessons are taught in both the inside and outside areas and the sessions are highly interactive. We pride ourselves at Woodlands that our phonics programme is uniquely woven into our rich reading curriculum. Ultimately, we want our children clearly to see the link between the letters and sounds that they are learning and the magnificent texts in which they are constantly immersed.

We aim to stimulate and encourage children to expand their reading and writing skills independently by providing rich and purposeful learning opportunities across the curriculum. Therefore, children are also given opportunities to extend their phonics learning through playful contexts.

They are encouraged to read for a purpose by activities such as;

  • Reading (and responding to) a pictorial musical score.
  • Reading a recipe to create a magic shrinking potion for a giant.
  • Pretending to be the teacher and reading out the register.

They are given opportunities to mark make in meaningful contexts, such as;

  • Labelling the control panel on a cardboard spaceship.
  • Creating and labelling robot remote controls.
  • Making large scale marks and roads for their favourite vehicles.

Most importantly, we share stories, facts, songs and poetry, just for fun! We are passionate about spreading the pure joy that Literacy can bring. Smiling and laughter are our two MOST crucial (and most common) Literacy outcomes. Children will also be given time to talk about books in an open-ended way allowing them to deepen their understanding. They will know that their ideas and opinions will be valued and we work hard to create a safe space in which they feel confident to share their thoughts, feelings or questions.

Here at Woodlands, we promote a growth mindset and we do not set limits on a child’s learning. Consequently, most of our cohort exceed the Literacy expectations for Nursery, giving them the opportunity to begin their Reception Year brimming with confidence. However, our highest priority is that we give them the best possible start on their learning journey by instilling a love of language, literacy and (of course) BRILLIANT BOOKS!

Natalie Kneller
Early Years Teacher