Category Archives: Literacy

Elmer’s Adventures

Recently, the children have been enjoying exploring the  Elmer stories and today they created Elmer stories of their own.

This involved them telling their story to Clare and then she wrote it down for them.  They also drew the pictures and gave their story a title.

Emeli created the story ‘Elmer in the Jungle’.  This story is about a leopard who becomes Elmer’s friend.

Ben and Ayana linked their stories to rainbows after they saw rainbows in the sky on Friday.

Look out for our very own book of Elmer adventures which will soon be on the bookshelf in our story corner.

Button’s Big Adventure

Lizzie Finnigan, a local author and a parent here at Cart Mill Family Centre visited us today to share her new book ‘Button’s Big Adventure’..

The interactive story telling session was enjoyed by all staff, children and other visiting parents.

Lizzie talked to the children about the front cover and the pictures inside the book. The children very quickly were able to share what they thought the story would be about. Ash said the story was about a little button that went on a big adventure.

The story is filled with word patterns and the children really enjoyed joining in and repeating the pattern.

“I went twirling and whirling up and down and round before I was found…”

The children recalled some of the story and Lewis remembered the kite and the girl with the daffodil coat. The children enjoyed the discussion about their favourite parts in the book; most children chose the mermaid. To finish off Lizzie demonstrated a dance to go with the repeated pattern of words in the story.  The children copied the dance while listening to the story.

The children then chose a yellow button to add to the picture of their favourite part that they got to decorate.




The boys and girls were discussing their experiences of fireworks today.

Georgia said ” I heard them last night, they look like colourful”.

Erin – “Fireworks shoot in the sky and they do a big bang then you see the colours”

Marissa said “I did fireworks, they were loud and one was like a water fountain”

The discussion led the childrento explore the different patterns and sounds of fireworks. Connor said “They boom”, Amber said “Bang” and Emeli said “sshhh”.

The children played a game using a dice and they took turns to roll it to see which pattern they got. They  then explored materials for writing and drew the pattern and/or copied the sound word.


A bit about Phonological Awareness

This week we are delighted to have Katie and Kay from the Phonological Awareness team working in the centre with the children.

Phonological awareness is the foundation on which phonics and spelling is built. It is a prerequisite skill children need to learn. It is the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds in a word. This awareness provides a powerful predictor of early learning skills and achievement.

The stages of Phonological Awareness are:

Listening , Spoken Language, Initial Sounds, Syllables, Onset & Rime, and Phonemic Awareness.


Katie and Kay will be with us for another week, if you have any questions for them please let us know. In the meantime, here is a little exercise you can try out at home.

Mystery Bag ?

Hide small toys. Ball, cars, dolls, animals in a bag etc. Put your hand in the bag and say “one, two, three, what do you see?”

Take an object out of the bag and your child should tell you what it is and then put it back in the bag.

This can also be played as a guessing game. Child can feel object or you can describe the object for the child to guess.

Try it, and let us know how it goes.





The Smartest Giant in Town

The children have been interested in listening to the story “The Smartest Giant in Town” this week. To extend and deepen their interest Clare gathered the items that the giant wore for the children to explore. The children discussed feelings and how being kind and helpful is a nice thing to do, even in nursery. Aine said if she saw someone upset in nursewry she would ask them “What’s the matter?” She also said the book was about “a giant who helps sad animals”. James thought giants ate people however, he said the giant in the story wouldn’t as he cheered the animals up. Each child recalled an animal that the giant helped in the story and they were able to select the item that was given to them to make things better.

Pippa recalled that the dog got a belt to put across the mud. When we discussed the mice using his shoe as a house, Amber said she couldn’t live in it as it was quite small. Some of the children have had fun dressing up as the giant and laughed as they tried to walk in the big boots and socks.

We’re going on a bear hunt

This term we are working on developing our listening skills as part of our big focus on phonological awareness.

Today the children watched and  listened to the author Michael Rosen tells his story without using the book.

The children enthusiastically watched his body language as he told the familiar story.  They copied Michael’s movements and become more confident as the story progressed.

Damon said “We copy the man to get to see the bear.”

It was wonderful to watch this experience and how the children expressed themselves using a variety of gestures, movements and emotions.

Ellie reflected afterwards saying “We’re not going on a bear hunt again because the bear came.”


Garden Literacy

The children have spent some time exploring literacy in the outdoor area.

The children found the initial letter of their name within the wooden shapes and in magazines and stones around the garden. Some children managed to spell out their name and find other letters that are in their name. Abby and Ellie went on to write their name and draw a picture of themselves, their mum or Peppa pig. Ellie chose to draw a picture of Peppa Pig.

Some children decided to make marks on the ground to represent writing, others managed to write some letters and their name.  Lots of fun…


The children have been exploring musicality this week. This has involved staff providing opportunities and experiences to develop their auditory skills.

The children have become familiar with “monster steps” and “fairy dance”, big steps, little steps and let’s move our head, throughout the week.

“I like the fairy dancing and monster one. I like all of the music. We need to listen to which music is coming on then dance.” Child’s quote.

The children have also been playing “guess who is calling you?” where they need to listen carefully and find the friend who calls their name.

Much to the children’s delight the musical bear has made several visits with a range of instruments. He encourages the children to take turns and recognise the names and sounds of instruments.

Adam said, “stomp stomp” during monster music and, “twirl twirl” during the fairy music.  Everyone loves the music and it gets the adults as well as the children moving along to the beat.


Stephanie was practicing some nursery rhymes with the children to help develop their phonological awareness. While playing pat-a-cake, Ben decided he would like to bake a cake. Stephanie and Ben then asked some boys and girls if they would like to help bake the cake. The children collected the resources they would need to bake the cake.

The children used lots of mathematical language as they measured the correct amounts of the various ingredients into the bowl. The children shared and managed to take turns to stir the ingredients into a gloopy paste. They poured the mixture into cake cases and put them into the oven to bake. While the children waited they sang pat-a-cake again…more than once.