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Hope somebody can help me as feel a bit daft asking this!! Am moving from nursery to reception after half term and a bit confused about teaching writing. Current school has had a lot of changes and seems a little old fashioned in the way Yr R children have writing - overwriting, copying, and less independent phonic strategies. In my last school the children used mainly phonic strategies for all writing which worked well, but don't know whether i should be combining the two. We use jolly phonics scheme. hope i don't sound worryingly confused at the end of a busy day!!!

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Hi eliza,

Welcome to the forum and what an interesting first post. I am in a preschool and don't use Jolly phonics, so will leave the reception teachers to help here. Pressures in schools are different, it appears, to nursery's and preschools.

I would like to say however that reception should be following the Foundation Stage Curriculum (as I'm sure you know) and I believe the ethos of this is "active" learning. The children need to develop their hand/eye co-ordination and gross motor skills prior to "specific" forming of letters, and like you, I disagree with over writing, copying etc. Writing needs to "make sense" to the child, to be relevant to them and within their context of play to ensure enthusiasm, which I think is pre-requisite to any learning of any specific skills.

 

Peggy

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at the moment we are doing a lot of fine motor skills work to help with their writing ie pegs around a basket, finger writing in shaving foam, pincer grip work and lots of patttern work in various materials, my children are not ready for much more.

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Hi Eliza,

I think this writing issue is a hot topic! We too are in need of some fresh ideas for writing which have particular boy appeal. We have a cohort of 63% boys this year and surprise surprise CLL is an issue - we are hammering away at fine motor skills in every conceivable way but would love some new ideas to engage and motivate the boys to write or at least pick up a pencil ! HELP! :o

June

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Welcome from me too, Eliza :D

 

I don't think there is one "right" way to teach writing. Obviously the children need to develop their fine motor control first and to develop a feel for letter formation through gross motor activities too (a lot of peope have been singing the praises of a scheme called write dance).

Initially I do get my children to trace over and to copy writing - but it is writing they have asked me to scribe and therefore has meaning for them. As they become more competent with their letter formation and letter sound knowledge I encourage completely independent strategies. We use Jolly Phonics for this and find it absolutely brilliant.

 

We too have a predominance of boys this year (66%) - maybe there was something in the water!? Boys do tend to be more reluctant to write than girls but if you are creative enough there are ways! Lots of opportunities for writing in role play - shopping lists, phone messages, menus etc plus provision of small books, drywipe boards, envelopes, cards, postcards etc etc. Even putting out paper with a simple picture of a dinosaur, Sponge Bob etc can help. I'm sure others will have loads more ideas.

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Hi Eliza,

welcome to the forum. I'm also in reception and always trying to figure out ways to encourage children to have a go at writing. I've found that clipboards are popular with boys, as is writing number plates for vehicles outside. In the role play area I keep an eye on their play and try to add in writing opportunities eg some were dressing up as policemen so I suggested they might need notebooks to help them with their job.

I aim for everyone to write their name at least once a day and they have name cards to check that they have remembered all the letters.

We do lots of gross motor development - ribbons, crepe paper streamers outside are good fun

Fine motor activities include lacing - which my boys seem to love, pegs on number cards, threading etc.

I also try to develop hand strength through work with plasticine, clay, dough

At the end of the day it is hard to get them to make the step up to independent writing. I find that lots of children don't want to have a go because they know that what they write will not be correct, despite all the support, and they want you to write for them so that they can copy. Phonic knowledge makes a big difference, but its still a big step for them. If anyone has any ideas on this I'd love to hear them.

Debbie

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A website- something like 'DLTK kids activities'(put it into google) does writing paper which you can print off with pictures on it eg Thomas, blues clues, autumn theme, xmas etc and my kids enjoy play writing on this. We do lots of independent writing where we get the kids to do some 'have a go' writing and just make it up and they love this. They also do certificates/book marks etc for kids to write on and give to each other. We've recently had an early years adviser in and she steered us away from jolly phonics and recommends the PIPs program from NLS - breaks up pre-phonic skills and has nice games. We do both now tho. Also get loads of diff tools for writing area - silver pens, biros, pen and ink etc. Kids love drawing/writing on OHT paper with pens as well.

Another thing which works well is making message pockets - just card pockets with kids names on stapled to a board and they can then 'send' each other post and pictures (including you as well, and they love your replies).

 

Welcome from me too, Eliza  :D

 

I don't think there is one "right" way to teach writing. Obviously the children need to develop their fine motor control first and to develop a feel for letter formation through gross motor activities too (a lot of peope have been singing the praises of a scheme called write dance).

Initially I do get my children to trace over and to copy writing - but it is writing they have asked me to scribe and therefore has meaning for them. As they become more competent with their letter formation and letter sound knowledge I encourage completely independent strategies. We use Jolly Phonics for this and find it absolutely brilliant.

 

We too have a predominance of boys this year (66%) - maybe there was something in the water!?  Boys do tend to be more reluctant to write than girls but if you are creative enough there are ways! Lots of opportunities for writing in role play - shopping lists, phone messages, menus etc plus provision of small books, drywipe boards, envelopes, cards, postcards etc etc. Even putting out paper with a simple picture of a dinosaur, Sponge Bob etc can help. I'm sure others will have loads more ideas.

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hi Eliza and welcome!

 

I dont think Ive got anything different to add. You need to develop fine motor skills (and gross motor) as you know and I think letter formation skills with phonic knowledge empower the children to write so your Jolly Phonics programme is great for that.

 

The handwriting scheme within the school should provide you with ideas for letter formation and appropriate writing patterns etc. White board pens and boards and/or laminated sheets are great as the pen moves so easily across these surfaces and the non permance of the medium tends to appeal! (And can be photocopied for your records and or evidence---children enjoy doing that with you too although in most schools Ive been in recently the photocopier seems to have become locked in the office re workload agreement!)

 

I found the provision of clipboards enspired some of my boys to write. There are writing frames available from Soundstart (I think) that look good but as we were discouraged from using lots of paper I have never invested in these.

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