Literacy Lift Off – The gift of reading!
Our main aim is to pass on our love of reading to our pupils. This gift opens a whole world of excitement and opportunity.
Following the success of Reading Recovery, with specialist trained teachers, the Literacy Lift Off programme was devised so that more children could benefit from the Reading Recovery strategies. This programme is implemented in all classes from Senior Infants to Second Class. The children read books from all six genres – Narrative, Recount, Report, Procedural, Explanation, Persuasive. All books are chosen from our well stocked library which is added to every year.
The children are broken into four groups based on reading ability so that they are working at an appropriate level with other children of similar ability.
Each group takes turns to participate in the following stations:
- Familiar Read
- New Book
- Phonics/ Word Study
- Writing or Independent Station
The teacher adapts the activities of each station to the ability of the group in front of him/her. Each station lasts 15 minutes and then the children move to the next station.
Each child reads the book that they read at the new book station on the previous day. This is the book that they take home at night. At this station, as well as listening to the reading, the teacher will check the children’s understanding of individual words. He/She will also check that the children have a grasp of the bigger picture. The roles of the characters are discussed. Comprehension strategies such as prediction, connecting to own life, inferring etc are all consolidated at this station.
At this station a new book is introduced with emphasis on the following:
- Introduction to story – author, illustrator, blurb, genre of story, plot, characters
- Picture walk (Discuss the pictures prior to reading to introduce children to some of the new vocabulary they will meet in the book)
- The mechanics of reading are taught – eg. Left-right orientation, punctuation, expression, phrasing, pointing to words while reading
- Teacher models reading
- Word/ Letter find
- Each child reads at own pace in their indoor voice. Teacher listens to each child independently
- Teaching points and strategies for figuring out unknown words (eg picture cues, context, decoding, chunking, “what makes sense?”) are all done at this station
The teacher endeavours to highlight these features of text in the more natural setting of reading rather than in isolation.
Word Study/ Phonics
At this table the children learn about the structure of words, sounds within words (beginning, middle and end sounds), blends (ch, br, ow, ai…), prefixes (word beginnings eg dis, un, mis…), suffixes (word endings eg. able, ing, ed), syllables, rhymes, compound words, silent letters etc. Grammar points like speech marks, commas, exclamation marks are also covered when the children are ready.
Each child has a mini whiteboard to practice writing words or making words with magnetic letters. Sound boxes are used to break words into chunks e.g .
This helps the children to see words as sound chunks rather than individual letters.
At this station the children practise the process of writing. The emphasis is on enabling the children to develop the skills to express themselves in writing. By Second Class the purpose is to encourage children to focus their thought so that they can create a concise well-formed sentence. The process of transferring this thought to paper is a complex one involving letter formation, word spacing, grammar and punctuation points, spelling. Writing activities are based on the six genres.
At this table the children are working independently and it is here that they are really tested! They have to develop their independence and problem solving strategies as they learn to figure things out on their own.
Activities at this station vary but listed below are some examples:
- Comprehension activities
- Assembling cut up sentences
- Crosswords/ Word searches
- Jumbled words/ sentences
- Phonic games
- Listening to stories with headphones and documenting the story through picture or text
- Colouring/ playdough activities to develop fine motor skills
- Making words with magnetic letters.
- Work on initial sounds, end sounds, rhyming words
Literacy Lift Off runs all year long. Research has shown that targeting children at this age yields the best results in later years, enabling them to read and write with confidence.
How can parents help?
Your child will take home their new reading book each night. Our main aim for reading is to give the children a love of books and reading, therefore please try to set aside 10 minutes each day to read with your child. Try to make reading an enjoyable experience, if your child gets stuck on a word you can help them by telling them the word.
Here are some activities that you can do to help your child engage in their book:
- Discuss the cover of the book, the pictures, the illustrator, author etc
- Listen to your child read
- Ask your child questions about the story and encourage your child to give as much information as possible.
- Your child could ask questions to see if you were paying attention! –this is your chance to model answering questions correctly.
- Can your child sequence events from the story correctly? What happened first, then what happened, what happened last?
- Discuss the characters, their favourite part of the story, what they didn’t like, what might happen next if there was another chapter in the story?
- The more you talk with your child the more their vocabulary and confidence in speaking and reading will grow.