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10

D R A G O N S T O D AY S P R I N G 2 0 1 6

L I T T L E D R A G O N S

s soon as children start

at Lynams we begin to

work on and consolidate

their emerging literacy skills; the

most crucial tools they will need

in expressing their personalities

and growing as individuals.

Firstly their knowledge of sounds is

assessed and subsequently continually

developed, ‘soft’ sounds being encouraged

and promoted over more traditional ‘hard’

sounds to ensure successful blending later

on. We use the Jolly Phonics scheme,

which provides a mixture of kinaesthetic,

pictorial and writing experiences to help

a child embed the sound. Each sound is

taught and reinforced through a mixture of

teacher-initiated play; practical hands-on

activities such as painting chicks for the

‘ch’

sound - and sensory experiences, such

as tasting pepperoni for

‘p’.

Once children have been exposed to

all sounds, blending is encouraged and

extended through Phono-graphix, an

approach to learning sounds and groups

of sounds through sound ‘pictures’

representing the different phonemes.

Children thoroughly enjoy these sessions

which embed the knowledge necessary for

successful reading and writing.

When beginning to learn to read, we

initially work with children through

picture books, encouraging them to decode

stories through pictorial clues. Text is

then introduced, firstly with a focus on

initial sounds in words and then with cvc

(consonant-vowel-consonant) words. It

is lovely to watch children realise they

can read and understand words on the

page. If they aren’t yet ready to recall the

sounds covered, extra phonic sessions with

a Learning Support teacher boosts their

confidence and continue the ‘virtuous

circle’ of success and achievement.

Non-phonetic words challenge this

phonetic approach; we address this by

starting children on a programme of

learning ‘tricky’ words in 11 manageable

stages. These words are non-decodable

and need to be familiar enough to be

recognised on sight. Most are high

frequency words that occur naturally in the

texts children regularly read. Parents are

encouraged to be involved in the regular

practice and repeated reading necessary to

build this vital word bank.

We are keen to make children realise how

their lives are enriched and enhanced by

reading and writing. We expose them to

literature through weekly library sessions,

a story most days and access to a myriad

of books in the classroom. A storyteller

visits during the year to dramatise a book

and a trip to the local library is scheduled

early on. During the first week, they create

their own book in school: a Learning

Journal, the content of which they will

‘own’. Children take this home each

week, together with a stimulus for writing/

conversation/drawing to complete with

their parents, underpinning the magic

learning triangle of home, school and

child. The result is often shared in class,

giving children a chance to express their

personalities and grow in confidence

within a supportive, environment.

When it comes to writing, on arrival

at Lynams, some children are already

forming letters, others are simply mark

making, while a few may not be interested

in writing at all. Our strategy for this

last group is to initiate play that involves

some form of writing, such as writing a

prescription in doctor role play, or using

chalks and the chalk board outside

during playtime.

Each sound is taught and

reinforced through a mixture

of teacher-initiated play;

practical hands-on activities

such as painting chicks for

the

‘ch’

sound - and sensory

experiences, such as tasting

pepperoni for

‘p’.

Getting to ‘grips’

with Reading & Writing

A

expressing their

personalities and

growing as individuals.

I