Our Star Wars theme continued, with another variation on last year’s BB-8 scrap metal hunt. This time there were magnetic words buried in the sand.


  • Storage box with sand in
  • Magnet
  • ELC magnetic word tiles
  • Tray – not essential but helpful to catch the sand for an easier cleanup


I split the ELC word tiles into two groups. The group of words for Ioan (6 years old) did not show grapheme-phoneme correspondence. I explain more about grapheme-phoneme corresponance in the post, “Tricky Trains“.

Ioan read the words as he pulled them out of the sand with the magnet. He then put the words on a tray.

The group of words for Finn (4 years old) were easily decodable using phonics. Like Ioan, he read the words as he pulled them out of the sand.

They kept asking to re-bury the words and have another go.

Finn wanted to record himself reading his words.

So, of course Ioan wanted a video too.

Whilst I was cooking tea, they took it in turns to pick a word from each other’s pile, for their brother to spell. Finn loves testing Ioan on his spellings.

Finn: DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)


ELG 09 – Reading:

Children use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately.

ELG 10 – Writing:

Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

English Year 1 programme of study

Reading – word reading

  • Pupils should be taught to read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word.


  • Pupils’ attention should be drawn to the grapheme-phoneme correspondences that do and do not fit in with what has been taught so far.

Science Year 3 programme of study

Forces and magnets

  • observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others