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Helping Your Child to Learn

Debbie Hepplewhite (creator of our reading scheme ‘Floppy’s Phonics’) has made her Teach Your Child to Read materials free at the moment. They are really easy to follow and mirror her No Nonsense Phonics intervention scheme which we also use in school.

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Sharing Stories and Learning to Read at Home 

At Spring Bank we value parents’ involvement in their child’s reading. It is important for you to read regularly with your child, so that they may practise regularly the skills we teach them at school.

Here are some tips which may be helpful:

1. Choose a quiet time

Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough.

2. Make reading enjoyable

Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest, then do something else. Try a different time of day that might better suit you both e.g. before bedtime or after breakfast.

3. Sounding out

Help your child to use sounding out to read unknown words – do not allow them to guess using pictures. Encourage them to keep the sounds clipped short, without an ‘uhh’ at the end, as this helps with blending the sounds together.

e.g. ‘mmm – u- mmm’ makes ‘mum’, but ‘muh-u-muh’ makes ‘muhumuh’, which doesn’t make much sense!

Or ‘c – ah – t’ makes ‘cat’, but ‘cuh-ah-tuh’ only makes ‘cuhahtuh’ – nonsense!

If your child has forgotten a sound, it’s fine to remind them. If they need help to sound out the word, do it together and make a note of this in your child’s reading record.

4. Be positive

If your child makes a mistake, don’t say ‘No. That’s wrong,’ but instead say ‘Let’s read it together’ and point to the words and the sounds as you say them. Boost your child’s confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.

5. Visit the Library

Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.

6. Regular practice

Try to read with your child on most school days. ‘Little and often’ is much better than longer sessions.

7. Communicate

Your child has a school reading record. Try to write in it regularly with positive comments and any sounds/words that they found tricky. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.

8. Understanding

There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately! Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.

9. Favourite stories

Allow your child to re-read favourite stories, or hear you re-read them. Knowing a familiar book will help them notice more about the words on the page and they will start to recognise the patterns in new words and stories.

10. Get caught reading!

Make sure that your child has the opportunity to watch you enjoy reading. Pull out those newspapers, magazines or novels before they are in bed!

Here are some questions you might like to ask your children:

Parent reading questions

Useful websites and apps

Tablet friendly ebooks to read at home

Hear the sounds – Debbie Hepplewhite (creator of Floppy’s Phonics)

Excellent phonics app for the iPad by SoundsWrite – first three units are free, unlock all content for £1.99


BBC Solar System – Explore the solar system through video clips

BBC Pods Mission- Have fun with science: discover bones,electricity, solids and liquids

C4 Learning Science – Science essentials website. Explore life, Material World and Get Physical

Exploratorium Science Explorer – Explore fun science experiments

Food Chains – Discover different food chains

HowStuffWorks Science – Search all things science. Discover how different types of science work

KS2 BBC Science  – Learn about living things, materials and physical processes

Natural History Museum Kids – The fantastic Natural History Museum for kids.

The Blobz guide to electronic circuits – Learn about electronic circuits


Children’s GPS Terms

BBC Geography Games

BBC Learn Landscapes Map Skills – Learn about maps and landscapes game

BBC What is Weather? – Find out about weather

Geography Image Bank – Large collection of geography images

Google Earth – Explore the Earth

Map Zone Games – Geography games

Maps that teach – Interactive maps

National Geographic for kids

Geographical Terms – A glossary of geographical terms and useful geography tips


BBC School Radio and Podcasting

Kid Smart E-Safety

E-Safety Think You Know Ages 5-7

E-Safety Think You Know Ages 8-10

Find Icons

Find free photos on

Royalty Free Music Clips

Find Sounds

Free Classroom Clip Art

Learn to type with BBC Dance Mat Typing

Learn to type with these games

Practising Mouse Control

Scratch-Create interactive stories and games

Spreadsheet recognition


Maths in Reception

Children come into school with a wide range of well developed maths skills, from basic matching and sequencing of objects and numbers to addition and subtraction. The Reception team are able to quickly work with these skills and develop them further in all areas of the curriculum, not just in the traditional maths lesson. You can help at home in many ways, from simple counting to solving problems. There are hundreds of apps and websites for early years children to work on their skills at home too, for example:


SumDog & MyMaths – Both will work on tablets if you download Puffin Academy

Alien Addition – Practise addition using invading spaceships

Are you a Math Magician? – Practise multiplication,addition,subtraction and division

BBC Camel Times Table – Practise times tables

BBC Starship Maths – Various Maths games

AAA Maths – Comprehensive set of interactive maths activities

BBC Number Time – Numbers games

KS1 BBC Maths – KS1 Games and activities

KS2 BBC Maths – KS2 Games and activities

Maths Zone – Lots of KS1 & KS2 resources

Mental Gym – Maths workout

Numeracy Games – Large selection of maths games

Primary Maths Games Arena

C4 Puzzle Maths – Take a maths challenge

Ancient Egyptian Maths – Excellent resource for exploring number values

Cool Math – An amusement park of math and more. Games designed for fun

Math Playground – Play with numbers games


Artefacts Library

Ancient Egypt

BBC History for Kids

BBC All about the Romans

BBC Famous people through history

BBC Children of Victorian Britain

BBC A history Timeline

History for Kids at Kids Past


Abstract Editor Bomomo

Art Attack

Art Gallery for Kids BMAG – BM&AG Kids Online gallery

Art Games

Brushter – Create abstract art

Picasso – Create your own Mr Picasso head

Arcimboldo – Create your own fruit face

Imaginary city – Create your own imaginary city at Tate Kids Online

Collage Machine – Create a collage

Wallover – Create an abstract wallover

Still life painting – Create your own still life painting

Create a portrait

Motion Painting Machine

Doodle Studio by Kerproof  – Online doodle studio

What is Perspective? – Find out how the great artists worked with perspective

I am an artist

Free Image Bank – Various free art images

Material World – Learn about materials from which works of art are made

Tate Kids

Explore colour game

The Junior Cartoonist

Create your own comic and cartoons

National Gallery of Art -Kids

Sea Saws Interactive

3D Twirler- Design & texturize 3D shapes


BBC Musical Mysteries – Help Robbie solve the musical mysteries

FindSounds – Search the web for sounds for your podcasts or movies

Sing Up Song Bank – Songs, Music and Lyrics

The Street – Learn about instruments and musicians in different countries

Virtual Keyboard – Play the virtual keyboard

Virtual Orchestra – sfskids – Explore and investigate instruments in an orchestra

Virtual Xylophone – Play the virtual xylophone

The Science of Music – What is music?

Quincy and The Magic Instruments – Learn about different instruments and the sounds they make