As a new school year begins and the first few weeks of the Autumn term roll by, the core foundation of phonics will be settling nicely into place.
Games and activities which concentrate on developing children’s speaking and listening skills are perfect for building trusting relationships whilst they are getting used to the new routine of busy school days.
Children love sharing their ideas, thoughts and feelings and in these early weeks it is lovely to begin building a bond whilst introducing core phonics skills.
At the time of writing, we are still recovering from the Covid19 pandemic. Transition has been different this year with the opportunity for home visits, pre-school / nursery visits and the late Summer term transition sessions not being possible in the same way.
Therefore, this year more than ever, there is a real need and opportunity to learn about children’s interests through focussed speaking and listening activities in the early weeks of the school year.
As educators we are all aware of the importance of vocabulary for children’s future attainment, not only in reading, but also learning in general. So focus on this area is key.
A great little activity to share is a selection of picture cards of different activities which children may have enjoyed over the past few months. Perhaps baking, going for walks with their dog, playing in the garden; all of those everyday activities which they can share with you and their class peers.
This can be further developed by asking parents to send in, via your schools online learning platform or email, a photograph of their child’s favourite activity or hobby.
Remember that these activities bring perfect opportunities for extending children’s vocabulary by bringing in new words linked with the hobby. For example if a child enjoys baking at home, then talk about some of the specialist vocabulary associated with this such as measuring, weighing, temperature, sieving, cooling, kneading etc. Children love to explore new words – the sound of them, the shape of them, what they mean and so on. We can do this within the framework of phonics and combine learning with fun.
The ability to communicate confidently and using a broad vocabulary really is a vital stepping stone to reading and writing. Play around with the words which come up in conversation, find rhyming words or other words with the same initial sounds.
We have a range of classroom support material that reinforces phonics and vocabulary learning.
Our animal alphabet signs are perfect for adding colour to your classroom, with lovely animal illustrations for each letter. More importantly though, they provide a long lasting resource to help identify the initial sounds in words and for teaching the order of the alphabet.
Placing any of our literacy / phonics signs in a permanent position within your classroom is a great way to reinforce the lessons learned throughout the school day.
Have fun developing language with your new classes and remember that time spent exploring phonics sounds, playing with new words and building communication skills is crucial for children’s future reading and writing skills.