We teach children to "stretch out" or "segment" words. We often pretend to have elastic bands around our hands: we say the word with our hands together, then pull them apart one step at a time, saying the sounds we can hear. For example "cat, c-a-t". We count the sounds we can hear. We then find matching letters and place them in order to write words. We start by using magnetic letters, letter cards or letters on the big screen. Once children's physical skills have developed, we progress to hand writing words too. We always encourage children to "have a go": to hear and write as many sounds as they can in a word before we then praise and model correct spellings.
We practise different patterns to help us with our letter formation. As well as using pens and pencils, we use our fingers in messy play so we can feel the shapes we make.