GLF Schools

GLF Schools


Welcome to our Reception page.

Here you will find information, newsletters and relevant documents relating to the Early Years Foundation Stage and the provision we offer at The Vale. 

Below you will find our "WOW cards". Please download and fill these in when you feel your child has done something significant at home. We love hearing about their achievements and display these on a WOW wall in the classroom. We value your contributions and ask parents to complete a ‘My child can…’ form to add to their Learning Journals. These can be updated as regularly as you like.

Below you will also find the EYFS level descriptions on each of the areas of learning. These are broken into age bands, each highlighting what the children should be able to do at the relevant age. These are the objectives we will be teaching them throughout the year. The bold statement at the bottom is the expectation of what children will be able to do at the end of Reception.

You will also find a document entitled, "Characteristics of Effective Learning." As well as teaching the children knowledge, we also aim to help them develop different skills and learning behaviours. This document will give you more information about that.

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to come and speak to us or email us using the address below.

We look forward to working in partnership with you.

Ms Buckley & Mrs Broadway






Introduction to Phonics for Parents

At The Vale, we teach phonics using the ‘Read Write Inc Phonics’ programme, a very popular and successful literacy programme.

This document covers the different aspects of learning to read and write your child will be introduced to while they are in Reception Class. If you are new to Phonics, please do not be alarmed by the detail set out below. Concentrate on familiarising yourself with how the individual speed sounds are taught. When we are beginning to read words in class, we will send home word-lists for you to practise with your child. When your child is ready, they will begin to bring home reading books to read to you. Alongside learning to read, children will also be learning how to form the letters correctly and then move on to spell individual words, eventually putting together simple sentences. Practise sheets will be sent home for you to support your child in writing letters correctly.  If at any point in the year you need clarification, please contact The Reception Team at:


Reading letters by their ‘sounds’

Children will begin by learning the Set 1 Speed Sounds: these are sounds written with one letter:

m  a  s  d  t  I  n  p  g  o  c  k  u  b  f  e  l  h  r  j  v  y  w  z  x

and sounds written with two letters (your child will call these special friends):

sh  th  ch  qu  ng  nk  ck

Your child will be taught to say the sound for the letter and not the letter name, so ‘m’ as in ‘mat’ not ‘em’; ‘s’ as in ‘sun’ not ‘es’.

Before you get going with supporting your child, visit Youtube using the link below to practise saying the sounds clearly.  The more clearly you say the sounds, the more quickly your child will learn them.


Tip:  We say ‘mmmm’ not ‘muh’ and ‘lllll’ not ‘luh’ when teaching sounds.  This really helps children when they learn to blend sounds together to read words.

In school, we will be learning 4 new sounds a week.  Each week, we will send home the relevant Speed Sound Practice Sheets and copies of the picture/speed sound cards which can be stuck into the green book in your phonics wallet. 

You’ll see that each sound is drawn in the shape of a picture. For example:

  • ‘s’ is in the shape of a snake
  • ‘d’ is in the shape of a dinosaur
  • ‘a’ is in the shape of an apple
  • ‘m’ is in the shape of two mountains

Using the Green Book

When you receive your Speed Sound Cards, cut them out and stick into the book; (the first set will be done for you.)

  1. Ask your child to say the names of the picture cards e.g. mmmmountain or a-a-a-apple, getting quicker each time.
  2. Help your child to say the sound hidden in each picture e.g. ‘s’ is behind the snake.Repeat until your child can do them quickly.
  3. Help your child to say the sounds on the letter cards, getting quicker each time.If he/she forgets, turn back to the picture card.When your child can say the sounds without looking at the picture card, increase the speed.

Helping your child to read words

“Fred Talk, Read the Word”

Once your child can read some Set 1 Speed Sounds confidently, he/she can learn to read words. First, your child is introduced to a toy frog called Fred.  Fred can only say the sounds in a word and needs your child to help him read the word.  So, when you hear your child say ‘Fred Talk’, you’ll know this means sounding out the word.  You can play Fred Talk at home: say only the sounds in a word, repeat if needed, and see if your child can work out the word. e.g. m-a-t, mat.

You can help your child to read words suggested on the Word Lists that will be sent home each week:

  1. Point to and say the sounds, and then say the word.Ask your child to copy you.
  2. Repeat with some other words, until your child can do it without your help.


  1. If you have some letter-flashcards or letter-magnets (lower-case only!), you can make up a word that your child can read quickly, e.g. c-a-t

Point to and say the sounds, and then say the word e.g. c-a-t, cat.  Ask your child to copy you.  Muddle up the cards/magnets.  Ask your child to make the word again, and then point to and say the sounds.  Repeat with more 3-sound words and, when appropriate, include some that use sounds containing more than one letter, e.g. ch-a-t, chat, sh-i-p, ship, th-i-s, this.

  1. Put out three cards/magnets.This time, ask your child to say the sounds.Help him/her to blend the sounds into the words, until your child can do it without your help.
  2. Repeat with some 4-sound words, e.g. b-l-i-p, f-r-o-g, g-r-i-n, s-t-o-p, j-u-m-p.

Reading Banded Books

Once your child has progressed to blending words with confidence, he/she will begin to read Pink Band books.  (Banded books sent home will come from various reading schemes.)  Children in Reception normally progress through Pink, Red and Yellow Bands.

How to listen to your child read

  • Do not read the book aloud before your child reads it to you.
  • If there is a list of sounds and words, (often found within the front cover or on the back of the book), rehearse these first.
  • When your child reads the story, ask him/her to sound out (Fred Talk) the words that he or she can’t read automatically.Don’t allow your child to struggle too much.Praise your child for their effort and when he or she succeeds.
  • Read back each sentence or page to keep the plot moving.(Your child’s energy is going into reading the words not the story.)
  • Do not ask your child to guess the word by using the pictures.
  • Do it all with patience and love!

We have storytime every day at school so children develop a love of stories.  We hope that you will do the same by reading a bedtime story to your child every night.  We have wonderful books in school for you to borrow; the children can swap and self-select one of these books from The Blue Box each morning.

Red Words

“Tricky!  You can’t Fred a Red!”

Red words are common words which do not fit the usual spelling patterns, e.g

  • said: the sound ‘e’ is written with the grapheme ai.
  • son: the sound ‘u’ is written with the grapheme o.
  • your:  the sound ‘or’ is written with the grapheme our.

Once children have progressed to banded reading books, we will send home lists of red words that the children will need to learn by sight.

To be able to read sentences, it is important for the children to recognise these words so they are not stopping to sound them out.


At the beginning of the year, we follow the Penpals writing programme to support the children in developing fine-motor skills and forming basic shapes e.g. circles, straight lines, loops etc.  The children are taught how to hold the pencil correctly in a tripod grip.

The children progress from here to begin to form letters, understanding that they can be grouped into shape-groups e.g. curly-caterpillar letters like c, o and a.  Alongside Penpals, the children will be learning to form each letter correctly as they progress through the RWI programme using the mnemonic sound-picture cards e.g. a – round the apple, down the leaf.

Speed Sound Practice Sheets will be sent home in the Phonics Wallet for you to practise the correct formation of each letter.


Segmenting is a skill used for spelling. To be able to spell the word ‘sit’, it is necessary to segment the word into its sounds, s-i-t.  In school, we will be teaching the children to hear the sounds in each word and count them on their Fred Fingers.  Usually children begin by hearing either the initial sound or end sound in a word; eventually they will be able to hear the middle-sounds too.  Spelling can be practised using letter flashcards or magnets.  Put a small selection of sounds in front of your child.  Ask them how many sounds they can hear in a word, and pinch each sound onto their Fred Fingers e.g. mat, m-a-t, 3 sounds. Ask them to find those sounds from the selection and place them to make the word – m-a-t, mat.

Before writing a word, children need time to think about it, say it out loud several times, segment it (Fred Fingers) and then write it.

Reading and Writing at Home

Blending (reading) and segmenting (writing) should be fun and children will enjoy it if they feel confident about what they are doing.  Notice what your child can do as well as supporting them to make progress. 

For children to make good progress, they need to read regularly throughout the week at a time that suits your family.

When you read with your child at home or practise their phonics, please write in their reading record so that we can see how they are doing at home.

Thank you for your support,
The Reception Team

Handwriting Mnemonics

The Vale Primary Handwriting –
RWI letter order - mnemonics  




Down Maisie, then up and over two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.


Around the apple, down the leaf.


Slither down the snake.


Around the dinosaur’s bottom, up his neck and down to his feet.


Down the tower, across the tower.


Down the insect’s body, dot for the head.


Down Nobby, then up and over his net.


Down the pirate’s plait, then up and around his face.


Around the girl’s face, then down her hair and give it a curl.


All around the orange.


Curl around the caterpillar.


Down to the kangaroo’s feet, then up and around his back, and give him a tail.


Down and under the umbrella, up to the top, then down to the puddle.


Down the laces, then up and around the toe and back to the heel.


Down the stem and draw the leaves.


Slice into the egg, go over the top, and scoop out the egg.


Down the long leg.


Down the horse’s head to his hooves, then up and over his back.


Down to the robot’s feet, then up and over his arm.


Down his body, curl and dot.


Down a wing, up a wing.


Down a horn, up a horn, then under the yak’s head.


Down, up, down, up the worm.


Zig, zag, zig down the zip


Around the queen’s head, up to her crown, down her hair and give it a flick.


Down the arm and leg, cross up the other side.

Set 1 Word Lists

Click the link below to download our Set 1 word list:

Word list

Tricky Red Words for Pink Books

Click the link below to download the Tricky Red Words for Pink Books document:

Tricky Words - Pink Books

YR Online Resources

Listed below are a selection of online resources that you may wish to access from home:

Teach your Monster to Read: Online reading resource

Children have been given individual logins to access this resource.

Mathletics: Online mathematics resource

Children’s log ins are at the back of their Reading Record.

Phonics Play: Phonics games and activities

For tablets and phones: New Phonicsplay

Phases 2 & 3 (excluding vowel digraphs for now)

Alphablocks: Phonics games and resources

Top Marks: Online games (including Maths)

Early Years Section

Numberblocks: Maths resources

Nrich: Maths games and activities

Maths Mastery: Maths learning packs

Click on Early Years and KS1-2 resources for resource packs

Maths with Parents: Support with Maths

The Body Coach (Joe Wicks Kids workouts): Movement break ideas