The School Start Buddy has been avidly embraced by many schools and teachers who recognise that students MUST achieve foundational literacy skills in the first years of school.

“The School Start Buddy, developed by Sharona Edwards, has become a fundamental resource in the explicit teaching of literacy at St Albert’s Catholic School. Used in partnership with all families in the junior years, the School Start Buddy has re-defined the learning experience and delivered results beyond our expectations. Our parents have commented that their children love doing ‘school buddy homework’ and find the resource to be engaging and fun. The resource is especially beneficial for those who response well to tactile and visual learning stimuli. The School Start Buddy has become a permanent feature of the literacy landscape at St Albert’s School.”
Brett Czechowski

Principal, St Albert's Catholic School

Many schools currently give the School Start Buddy to their Foundation Year students to use at home with their parents.


1 for $75 Click to purchase 

    20 for $700 View bulk prices for schools

School Start Buddy

School Start Buddy Products


What is the School Start Buddy?

The School Start Buddy is specifically designed for children in their first year of school or who are in the early stages of school. It is designed for parents to use at home with their children to support and strengthen the foundational literacy skills they are learning at school.

The handbook inside the School Start Buddy and the online videos explain to parents exactly how they can use the School Start Buddy to teach their child to read and write.

The case contains:

  • 57 magnetic letters

Magnetic letters are an effective resource for teaching children letter sounds, as well as how to read and write words.  The design of the case ensures it is quick and easy for children to find the letter they are looking for.

  • 24 blank magnetic sentence blocks

The magnetic sentence blocks are designed to make it fun and easy for children to transition from reading and writing words to reading and writing whole sentences.

  • 1 Small magnetic whiteboard eraser

The small size allows children to erase just one letter at a time, leading to more confidence and less frustration.

  • 2 whiteboards

Children feel more confident to write on whiteboards because any mistakes they make can be easily erased. The two whiteboards allow all the magnetic resources to be clearly displayed on one board, while the other board is free to play and learn on.

  • 1 whiteboard marker

  • 100 blank sight word cards and 2 alternate colour pens

Most schools require children to learn to read sight words (the most commonly used words). The handbook explains how your child can learn to read sight words by using the cards, pens and other resources inside the School Start Buddy.

  • 1 School Start Handbook

This is a guide to teaching a child to read and write. All the activities utilise the resources inside the School Start Buddy case.

Order the School Start Buddy

✔ Improve the connection between home and school

We all know how much children benefit from parent support with reading and writing. When parents provide their child with one-on-one support, just for 10 minutes a night, it increases results in your classroom dramatically.

We make this SUPER EASY for everyone because parents can access the SHORT videos (see an example below) that explains exactly how to use the School Start Buddy with their child at home.

✔ Get the basics right!

Research shows that children should be able to recognise letters and blend letter sounds BEFORE reading school readers. During the first term of school, children should learn the following four skills:

  1. Recognise and say the letter sounds
  2. Blend letter sounds to read short words
  3. Hear sounds in words, particularly the first sound
  4. Write letters using the correct pencil grip and letter formation

Parents can simply watch this short video, which shows a ten minute activity that uses the School Start Buddy to teach these  ESSENTIAL literacy skills!

Children move up the reading levels quicker

When children receive their first school readers, parents can use the magnetic sentence blocks from their School Start Buddy to help their child learn very early reading and writing skills, for example matching each written word with each spoken word. Most importantly, the sentence blocks are an easy way to teach children to use the 3 essential reading cues. They are so simple to use! All the parent needs to do is:

  1. Choose a sentence from their child’s reader and write each word from the sentence onto the blank magnetic sentence blocks.
  2. Place the words/blocks randomly at the bottom of the whiteboard.
  3. Ask their child to put the words together to make the sentence. The child will automatically need to use essential reading strategies. For example, they will need to monitor that the words look right, sound right and make sense.

✔ Set your school apart from other schools

What a great way to show parents that your school is serious about literacy education. Children LOVE their ‘toy homework’ and parents love how easy and effective the School Start Buddy is to use.  

I love playing with my ‘toy’ homework!”
Campbell Vowels

5 year-old boy

Help parents who want more support

There are lots of parents who are eager to know how they can further support their child with foundational literacy skills. The School Start Buddy is the perfect resource to recommend, because it is easy to use, gives them quality time with their children, and all the activities support Early Literacy Skills from the Australian Curriculum.

✔ Created by a literacy trainer

Aside from being a literacy coordinator and primary school teacher, I also conduct workshops at SPELD SA around teaching children to use spelling strategies. I’m also hired to train onsite at schools. I strongly believe that parents and teachers need to work together to make sure ALL CHILDREN achieve essential literacy skills.

✔ Caters to all literacy levels

The School Start Buddy caters for a variety of learning needs so that every child can achieve foundational literacy skills. For example, children who have poor fine motor skills are often reluctant to write. The magnetic letters allow these children to learn writing skills, such as hearing sounds in words, without actually having to write the word. The whiteboard then safely transitions children to writing words and sentences because they can easily erase any mistakes.

The magnetic whiteboard and letters give our son the opportunity to make words and sounds in a fun interactive way while his handwriting skills are developing. The multiple ways in which the School Start Buddy can be used keeps the kids interested and excited to learn.
Stacey Jaeschke

Mother of 6 year-old boy and 8 year-old girl

✔ Meet budgetary restrictions with bulk pricing

Save money by purchasing the cases in bulk. If you purchase a set of 20 cases you will save a massive $800! We can also customise bulk prices to your needs – simply contact us with your specific requirements.

✔ Compliments any literacy program

The School Start Buddy can work with any literacy program. It simply provides parents with all the tools to teach children to confidently read, write and spell.

Use the School Start Buddy in your classroom!

✔ Complements your school program

This resource works perfectly with any foundational literacy program.

Use School Start Buddy as a ‘hands-on’ learning tool, covering:

  • Letter sounds
  • Letter formation
  • Blending skills
  • Hearing sounds and writing words
  • Reading and writing sight words
  • Reading and writing sentences
  • Alphabet skills
  • Vowel and consonant letters

✔ Tried, tested and terrific. Students and teachers love it!

The School Start Buddy has been tested and tweaked in the most rigorous learning environment possible, the classroom! And it’s been assessed by the toughest crowd possible, school students!

I’m delighted that students and teachers have given the School Start Buddy the thumbs up for: ease-of-use, effectiveness and enjoyment. Children love their ‘suitcase’, which they proudly open during literacy time.

✔ Ignite even more fun, passion and participation in the classroom

Nurture your students’ thirst for literacy knowledge by making reading and writing even more fun.

The School Start Buddy provides a completely different approach to learning. It engages students and is inclusive of all their needs.

No need for excessive worksheets

The School Start Buddy is a hand-on resource with corresponding activities. It is a great way to mix-up the learning activities in your classroom.

 Save precious time 

All the resources you need are at your fingertips. The children simply get their cases out and follow your directions. No setting up, no packing away. Easy!

✔ Easy and time efficient to use

We all know how good magnetic letters are for helping children hear, locate and blend sounds. They also allow children to ‘play’ with words and make connections between words according to a common sound or word family. In the past, using magnetic letters has been a time consuming process. The School Start Buddy has all the magnetic letters clearly displayed on one whiteboard, making it easy and quick for children to find the letters they need.

✔ Students develop sorting and organisational skills

At the end of each lesson, you can ask children to spend a few minutes placing all their magnetic letters neatly on one of the whiteboards inside their case, which not only keeps the case tidy and ready for the next learning session, but helps them develop sorting and organisational skills.

✔ Outdoor group work

The magnetic letters don’t blow away, so your students can enjoy outdoor group work when the weather is favourable.

✔ for new teachers

I remember what it was like in my first year of teaching, particularly teaching the foundation year, because I had to figure out where to start teaching a child to read and write. I wish I had access to the handbook during my first year! If I did, I would have known the exact process I need to follow to teach a child to read and write. If you are still finding your feet in the classroom, then the School Start Buddy is a valuable resource that will help you immensely.


Are you ready to give your child or students the gift of literacy, helping to boost their confidence and reach their full potential at school and beyond?
If so, consider buying the School Start Buddy, either individually or in bulk enjoying discounted pricing. Please contact me with your questions, and/or sign up to my newsletter to receive great reading tips and product offers.

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