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Explore Words


This pathway includes rhyming words to talk about with your little one, step-by-step instructions to practice sequencing and lots of literacy and alphabet learning activities.


Curriculum Background

From the Fourth Pathway onwards (Explore Words), the app looks at what are called the ‘specific’ areas of the Early Years Curriculum, the first of which is Literacy.

The ‘specific’ areas of the curriculum link to the school subjects your child will study as they get older, with literacy being a key skill for all curriculum areas. The Literacy strand of the app links closely to the learning that your child will do in phonics and English lessons when they get to school. Remember, though: reading and writing are vital for many areas of school learning. Research has shown close links between early literacy learning, building a wide vocabulary and successful educational outcomes.

What’s in the pathway?

  • There are six books to read, listen to and talk about:
    1. The Pathway begins with the “Alphabet Song”, a useful song to sing along to with your child, so that they learn the names of the letters as well as their sounds. If your child attends a nursery, they may have sung this song already and be familiar with the tune.
    2. The second book looks at “Opposites”, an ideal opportunity to build your child’s descriptive vocabulary.
    3. In the third book, a “Rhyme Crime” offers a great opportunity to find lots of rhyming words together. Encourage your child to listen carefully to the sound of the words, tuning into them and talking about what they hear. This helps build your child’s phonological awareness (hearing letter sounds, identifying when words sound similar, and noticing the difference between one word and the next).
    4. The next story in this Pathway is “The King and His Wish”, a simple story which includes lots of repetition to embed the new vocabulary.
    5. Book five in this Pathway is “Lemon”, in which an alien grows some fruits. This text is ideal to explore sequencing with your child, looking at what happens first, next, then and finally, as the alien explains how the lemon tree grows.
    6. To finish off this pathway, we have “One Potato, Two Potatoes”, a book about growing vegetables. This book is ideal for exploring sequences of actions and how to give instructions.
  •  The interactive books in this Pathway are interspersed with lots of literacy learning activities. As well as learning to name the letters of the alphabet, your child continues with their journey through the letter sounds, moving on to hearing and writing ‘e’, ‘f’ and ‘g’.
  • There are also plenty of dancing, painting and spelling activities, to get your child busy learning and explore more of the words which feature in the books.

Please note: Within the app we focus on the first few letters of the alphabet, to get your child used to the idea that letters make sounds, and that it is fun to learn their letter shapes. When your child starts school, they will learn to read and write all the letters of the alphabet, but in a different order, linked to the school’s phonics/reading scheme. Most phonics schemes start with the letters ‘s, a, t, p, i, n’.

Activities for you to do at home


  • The most important thing you can do with your child to support literacy learning is to read with them at bedtime every night. Don’t worry if it’s only a short story, it’s the regularity and getting into the habit that is important, not how long you spend doing it. Your little one needs to see you reading too, to understand how ‘readers’ act, and to learn that it is fun to read. It doesn’t matter if it’s a magazine or a newspaper, not a book – all reading counts!
  • Find some rhyming words, together with your child. Choose a simple word to start with, such as ‘cat’. Now see how many rhymes you can find together – ‘bat’, ‘hat’, ‘mat’, and so on. Emphasise the idea that rhyming words are words that sound the same.
  • It’s often the oldest and the simplest games that are the best for learning. When you are out and about, play a game of ‘I Spy’, to support your child in hearing the sounds at the start of words. Say the sound, as well as the letter name, so that your child understands the sound of the words they are looking for.
  • Listen to the Reading with your child episode of our podcast, The Little Pod, below with Children’s publisher Katie Haworth and Picture Book author Naomi Jones for advice and support in reading with your child as they get ready to start school and beyond. For more episodes on other topics, check out the full series of The Little Pod
image of children clustered around a tablet reading

Supporting Reading skills

Including advice from Julia Donaldson, check out our support page for reading with 3-4s.