Reading and writing around the house:
There are lots of reading and writing opportunities to be found around the home, from reading the back of cereal packets and shampoo bottles, to writing out shopping lists, recipes or instructions on how to use a machine such as the TV. Try a daily challenge such as writing out the day’s activities, writing and decorating the menu for the weekly meals or start a gratitude journal noting one thing that you’re grateful for at the end of the day. Why not write one thing you love about each family member on a sticky note and stick it somewhere they can find it?
Digital book group:
Start a home book group, choosing a new book each week/fortnight (depending on length and difficulty) and use the Sing Up template to review the book. Discuss characters, favourite parts and new words. Maybe write an alternative ending to the story. What about video calling a friend/ family member to ask what they thought of the book, read bits of it together, or share your new version with them?
Improve fine motor skills:
Whether children are learning to form letters or attempting cursive script, exercises to strengthen muscle tone and help fine (and gross motor skills) are a great idea. Fine motor skill activities improve dexterity. Try threading, posting and slotting tasks such as: making pasta necklaces, poking straws into holes, dough disco, weaving around cardboard, threading beads on spaghetti, and picking up peas/dried beans with tweezers. Use different materials to write with. Outdoors, you could use chalk on the ground, twigs in the sand or paint brushes and water on concrete or a brick wall (it dries without leaving marks). Indoors, create a tray with material such as sand, paint, jelly and shaving foam and encourage children to form letters and words with their fingers.
Make a poster:
The verses of the song are full of tips to help children with their writing. Ask them to create a poster which reminds them of the things they need to remember, such as;
Remember ascenders such as ‘l’ and ‘t’ need to be taller than ‘o’ and ‘a’ and descenders such as ‘g’ and ‘y’ need to go below the line.
Rap it to remember it:
Learn the song and get everyone in your home singing it together. Rehearse the first rap section, ensuring clear diction; ‘pinch the pencil with your thumb and pointy finger and rest it gently on your middle finger’. Rap it over a few times until it’s familiar.
Make it active:
Create an action for each of the writing rules. These include:
Practise the actions with the song. Can you teach the chorus to someone in your family?