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Three simple tricks schools use to teach letters and numbers

Three simple tricks schools use to teach letters and numbers

Jan 24, 2021 • 7 min read
You can give your child a helping hand - in a pressure-free, relaxed way.

Create a print-rich environment

Parents are often amazed at how much their child’s spelling and vocabulary improves over the reception year. A large part of this is down to the classroom environment. Alphabet charts, high-frequency words displayed prominently, and clearly labelled boxes and drawers are like a big reference library to children learning to read and write. It’s not uncommon to see a child look up at, or walk over to, a label or chart somewhere in the room that displays the word they want to spell. Triangle might be a tricky word for them, but if they know that in the maths corner they’ll find a picture of one with the word written underneath, they know they can find out how to spell it, too.

You can use the same concept at home with alphabet posters and magnetic letters and numbers on the fridge. A 100 square and a number line will be surprisingly popular and you may find your child standing in front of them, reciting numbers and setting themselves questions.

Organise your day.

Creating a timetable gives children a sense of the passage of time. It also helps you to achieve everything you need to do. If you set aside five-minutes at lunchtime to recite numbers or sing the alphabet song, you’re more likely to do it.

But don’t stick to it rigidly. Allow interesting projects room to breathe. Don’t curtail something just because now it’s time for story time. It’s ok to forget the story sometimes, and carry on building that magical fairy kingdom from acorns and cones you picked up on your trip to the woods.

Little and often

Whether it’s reading, writing, phonics or mental maths - you don't need to spend hours a day to see progress. The compounding effects of daily practice can be huge. If you're pressed for time, this might even be 10 minutes watching phonics songs on YouTube while you get the dinner ready. Leverage your time, like any teacher would. Yes, it would be nice to teach them everything yourself, but sometimes your energy is better spent elsewhere.


I'm Alexis, father of four and founder of One Hundred Toys. I taught in London primary schools for thirteen years, specialising in the early years. Now I write about all things play here on the blog. Read more

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