Phonics, Reading and Writing

About the course

abc of learning
abacus – ball – cat – dog


I can read

This course is intended for learners of all ages and all levels. You are free to skip to any section. However if at anytime more detailed developmental exercises are required you may revisit the ‘graded development section’ We call this back to basics. The course is supported by audio material, interactive games and worksheets. More detailed material may be acquired from our Store.

The basic sections are are set out as follows:

  • Pre-writing activity and fine motor development
  • The sounds that the letters represent – phonics
  • Natural handwriting development

The FULL reading programme – HERE


Children begin ‘writing’ by drawing pictures and as they progress they practice letter formation and as they master the skills of letter formation they can start to copy individual words, captions and full sentences which they can then illustrate. By the middle of first grade children should be able to write their own captions for their pictures and construct at least one sentence.
These are some of the prompts used in our method

  • Give support by providing sentence starters or frames, e.g., ‘I want…’.
  • Give each child an A5 book to use as a personal dictionary.
  • Provide cloze procedure exercises in which children complete a sentence by adding a word and simple questions that children can answer with Yes/No or a single word.

Next children learn to understand:

  • how individual letters form a word,
  • how separate words form a sentence,
  • the importance of spaces between words and
  • the use of punctuation.

Through Shared Writing children develop an extended vocabulary and come to understand how sentences can be enriched by the use of interesting adjectives and adverbs. As children become more skilled in writing their own sentences, we introduce the concept of paragraphs.

We use the process approach to writing. The process involves children in – drafting, writing, editing and presenting text for others to read.


The handwriting development makes provision for the systematic teaching of the skills of handwriting, in short periods for approximately 15 minutes per day.

Pre-writing programme

We focus on holistic development

Before starting to teach formal handwriting, children should follow a pre-writing programme to

  • to develop visual discrimination,
  • gross and fine motor and hand-eye coordination,
  • body image etc.
  • They need to be taught the correct pencil grip,
  • how to form the letters,
  • the starting point, size, shape, and direction of movement.
  • We later guide children to – position and space letters on and between the lines.

They need to be taught

  • the correct pencil grip,
  • how to form the letters,
  • the starting point, size, shape, and direction of movement.

How do you learn to write?

We first learn to draw

Simultaneously we learn how to hold the writing/drawing instrument; pen, pencil, crayon, brush.

developmental crayon grip
AGE: 1-1½ years of age
Does this look familiar? Don’t despair it is completely normal.
Your child will use movement from their
shoulder (whole-arm movements) to
scribble and colour .

As your child grows, he/she will hold their crayons and pencils in different ways. The way in which your child holds their crayon/pencil depends on how ‘ready’ their shoulder and arm muscles are. It is important for children to go through stages of pencil grasp

The development of gross and fine motor development comes with exposure.

developing pencil grip

AGE: 2- 3 years

As your child starts to develop more control over their shoulder and arm muscles, they will move on to hold a pencil with their fingers. With the Palmer grasp. Hand and fingers facing downwards

correct pencil grip

AGE: 4-6 years

From ages 3½ – 4 years old, your child may move on to hold the pencil with 3 fingers (tripod grasp with index, Static middle finger and thumb) or four fingers (quadruped grasp with ring finger added). Using the fourth finger can provide children with a little more support to hold the pencil. This is a static grasp, as the fingers do not yet move independently and movement is usually initiated from the wrist.

The good news is that much of what a child does in the preschool years (scribbling, crafts, working with playdough) naturally develops his skills.

gross and fine motor and
hand-eye coordination

Putting pencils into little hands before they are ready may lead to immature and inefficient pencil grasps. Instead, engage your child in age-appropriate activities to help develop the upper body, shoulder, arm and wrist muscles. Activities such as jumping, crawling, scribbling on vertical blackboards, shovelling sand with a spade, playing with play-dough and doing arts and crafts are all great motor activities to lay the foundations for a good pencil grasp.

A doctor may ask how many fingers does your child use pick up small grains of rice etc.

Children are drawn to colour. Therefore it is natural for them to reach out towards colourful items. Younger children should be inducted into writing with “fat” crayons that are soft and leaves a mark easily on paper. They love to see the result of the action. As the muscles develop they can use smaller pencils.

Developing writing skills

Writing is lines and circles in facts all objects are made up of lines and circles and muscular control. So be patient and be encouraging. Don’t despair if it does not turn out according to your expectation. All children are different and they develop at their own pace.

Here is where you can find the different activities (click)


Formal Lessons four times a week of 15 minutes

Handwriting lessons include activities to strengthen fine muscles and develop fine and gross motor skills and eye-hand co-ordination. Here follows a short oversight

  • Draws with wax crayons
    • Practices holding and manipulating crayon and pencil
    • Develops directionality: left to right and top to bottom, draws straight lines, joins dots, clockwise and anti-clockwise formations
    • Makes plasticine or play dough models of letters and objects
    • Develops hand-eye co-ordination through painting, paper tearing, cutting and tracing activities
    • Draws patterns: up and down movements (zig-zags), circle patterns, vertical and horizontal patterns
    • Traces over, copies and writes own name from template where the correct starting point and writing direction of individual letters are indicated


  • Listening and Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

Let us look at Listening and Speaking

This is the beginning of literacy. Children live what they learn. The environment  make up the primary school. From the moment the child opens his or her eyes or enters the world, the learning experience commences. So try to make a good impression. It is during the first five years that the brain experiences rapid growth and lasting impressions are made. Speak only good and kind words or keep silent. Speak words of encouragement and try to maintain a calm environment.

When the eyes start focusing colour and movement has its effects. Next the motor skills develop; the spastic movement of the arms and legs and later to the point of grasping and standing. The crawling and walking starts and the journey of discovery has truly begun. Lock the cupboards and place all the dangerous items out of reach.