Early Writing

Within the EYFS Framework, by the end of Reception children at the expected level of development will be able to:

  • write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;
  • spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters;
  • write simple phrases and sentences that can be ready by others.

The ‘Birth to 5 Matters’ non-statutory guidance outlines that children between the ages of 4 and 5 should:

  • enjoy creating texts to communicate meaning for an increasingly wide range of purposes, such as making greeting cards, tickets, list, invitations and creating their own stories and books with images and sometimes with words, in print and digital formats.
  • give meaning to the marks they make as they draw, write, paint and type using a keyboard or touch screen technology.
  • begin to break the flow of speech into words, to hear and say the initial sound in words and may start to segment the sounds in words and blend them together.
  • start to develop phonic knowledge by linking sounds to letters, naming and sounding some of the letters of the alphabet, identifying letters and writing recognisable letters in sequence, such as in their own name.
  • use their developing phonic knowledge to write things such as labels and captions, later progressing to simple sentences.

The ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ non-statutory guidance outlines that children in reception should be learning to:

  • form lower-case and capital letters correctly.
  • spell words by identifying the sounds and then writing the sounds with letter/s.
  • write short sentences with words with known sound-letter correspondence using a capital letters and a full stop.
  • re-read what they have written to check it makes sense.

To ensure that children are making progress in their writing and to support them in achieving the end of year Early Learning Goal, we have produced an Early Years writing progression document. This takes in to consideration the statutory and non-statutory guidance and breaks the end of year goals into smaller steps which can be achieved over the course of the year.


Here are some examples of end of year writing expectations:

Transitioning into Year 1

The ELG’s are a key piece of transition information and invaluable to our Year 1 teachers for planning and sequencing of their curriculum to ensure the needs of all children are met. Our reception teachers meet with your child’s year one teacher and talk through each child’s strengths and targets. We are aware that children develop at their own rates and in their own ways during their early years, and should a child not have achieved the early learning goal in writing, targeted intervention will be planned in advance to help support them with the transition into Year 1.

Further information is available from the following websites:
Early years foundation stage (EYFS) statutory framework – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Download or buy a copy – Birth To 5 Matters
Development Matters – Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage