My son started in Reception this September, so as a modern 21st century mother I had already done my research and found two resources for us to use at home. Having tried them, I would recommend them to anyone with KS1 children who (a) would like to find out more about phonics and reading in school and how to support their children and (b) want some free resources to help children practice and revise.
Learning sound letters with a cute giraffe
I had already come across Mr Thorne does Phonics resources through the TES website. So it was a few months ago that I found out about a new section Geraldine the Giraffe. This is a great resource for reception children as it aims to teach them letter sounds using a fun and engaging way. Geraldine is the cutest giraffe, but a bit clumsy. She is willing to learn and really tries hard. But with her big giraffe tongue, sounding out is not that easy for her and it takes a few unsuccessful attempts before she is able to master her sounds, which add an element of fun to the experience.
Although at a first glance it may not convince the parents, I can see that my son is not only totally engaged but he learns as well. Each video presents a sound and it is only a few minutes long, just the right length to keep him engaged. As soon as he would get back home from school, we would check the Geraldine video of the new phonic sound of the day.
In each video Geraldine has to go on an object hunt and find things that begin with the specific sound. This is the highlight of the experience for my son, as he is full of anticipation for the things that Geraldine will bring back.
Reading with Biff, Chip and Kipper
Now that he has moved on and can read books I use the digital library of the Oxford Owl Tree website. They are the creators of Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy and publish the scheme books used in many primary schools. This is primarily an excellent resource for parents, as it provides tips and advice on helping and supporting young children in reading and maths.
Most of their books are also available on the website as ebooks and are accompanied by activities to encourage comprehension of the story. There is also audio so that children can listen to the stories.
I would really like to find out more about resources for supporting EYFS learning. Please feel free to share websites and books that you have come across and like