What does literacy look like in the Early Years Foundation Stage?

To look at it simply, literacy is split into two sections, reading and writing. However, literacy branches out into all areas of our Early Years curriculum. We build on our storytelling skills while we develop narratives around our role play and we are developing the skills we need for writing long before we put pen to paper with Talk 4 Write and dough disco. So what kind of things can you do at home to help build on these important skill


Early reading is very important to us here at Westfield. Reading in the Early Years is about much more than looking at words and sentences. It is about learning to love stories and understanding the value of different forms of text from instructions to poetry. This builds a child's vocabulary and their language skills. Looking at how stories are created gives children the ability to use language to structure questions and share ideas. Reading gives children the starters to begin to play with the sounds of language through nursery rhymes and songs. It builds their knowledge of the world around them and they begin to see the connections between letter sounds. Sharing books also strengthens the bond between parent and child whilst promoting a lifelong love of reading. 

Here at Westfield Primary Community School we follow the Little Wandles phonics scheme. Phonics is a method for teaching people how to read and write an alphabetic language. Little Wandles phonics scheme is taught throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1 and begins as soon as they join us in nursery. 

Phase 1 phonics is the first stage of the phonics teaching programme. The children do not learn any letters or the sounds in Phase 1. The purpose of Phase 1 is to develop children's listening and communication skills to prepare them for reading and writing in the next phase. If children do not fully develop these skills it can mean that they may struggle to hear the individual sounds in words, which can mean children find it much harder to spell and blend sounds for reading when they go to Reception. Phase 1 phonics lays the foundation for further Phase 2 stages.

Phase 1 phonics skills that are developed at this stage include:

  • Environmental sounds
  • Instrumental sounds
  • Body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping)
  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Alliteration
  • Voice sounds
  • Oral blending and segmenting (e.g. hearing that d-o-g makes ‘dog’)

Phase 2 phonics is the second stage of the phonics teaching programme and begins being taught at the beginning of Reception. Here is a link to the Little Wandles parents page:


Writing begins with mark making and develops gradually throughout the early years of education. The marks children make always have a deeper meaning; this is noted when they talk through the circles and lines they draw on paper. Mark making is heavily encouraged in all areas of provision both inside and outside the classroom. We ensure all children have access to mark making opportunities to help develop their future writing skills.