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At the moment, Father Christmas will be topping children’s list of people to write to, but earlier in the year it was Arsenal Football Club and the Duchess of Cambridge for some, finds Annette Rawstrone

A defunct alphabet that was used in schools in the 1960s and 70s provides important lessons for current approaches to the literacy teaching of young children, discovers Caroline Vollans

A home learning early literacy project in Merseyside has improved communication and language development for those children and parents in need of extra support. By Laura Gregory

Rather than obsess over whether activities are free-flow, child-led and so on, teachers should consider if they constitute effective learning and empower the child as a learner, says Jan Dubiel

The approach to teaching literacy and maths in Reception is a key concern of teachers and EYFS leaders, explains Jan Dubiel, one of the authors of the recently published Hundred Review

Children’s favourite books can be used to encourage imaginative play outdoors, finds Julie Mountain

How one nursery school has boosted boys’ writing. By Elizabeth Leer

How a ‘Focus Stories’ approach and skilful adult ‘scaffolding’, rather than instruction, can boost young children’s engagement with books. By Lucy Rodriguez Leon and Tamsin Harvey

Nurseries and schools are building a love of reading with Lovemybooks, says co-founder Sue McGonigle

There are many developmental benefits of cooking. Penny Tassoni provides some tips for settings