I recently attended a course on dyslexia and reading difficulties which was organised by the SESS (Special Education Support Service).
This course gave us an insight into the lives of children with dyslexia and reading difficulties and also identified some strategies that could be used both in class and in a learning support setting.
There were lots of key points for infants teachers that could be implemented in the infant classes. They could also be used as assessment and indicators for children that may have a difficulty.
Phonemic Awareness was a key component of the course. It is important to engage the children in rhymes and rhyming activities in the early days of Junior Infants. Often the traditional nursery rhymes can be overlooked in the infant classroom, however the awareness and recognition of rhyme is a key part of phonemic awareness.
Sequencing activities are also really important both in the early stages of Junior Infants and throughout the infant classes. The Prim-Ed books for sequencing were recommended by other teachers at the course. These books encourage the child to start with basic sequencing of before and after, first and last and introduce first, next and last. These books are also great to introduce sequential language in a variety of ways. A review of the series of books will follow soon.
Once formal phonics are introduced it is important to discuss sounds at the beginning and ending of words. Children may not be able to distinguish the sounds at the end of words, similarly they may not hear that particular sound. If children do present with difficulties in this area it may be worth noting it on their assessment file for future observations.
Children may need to over learn sight words, I like to use probe cards in my class where we focus on 5 words and the children recite them at speed. The same 5 words are used throughout the probe card encouraging the child to become over familiar with the words. I have sets of Probe cards on my Mash.ie store.
At this stage of the year I like to use the assessment from the Hands on Phonics book from Educate.ie. This test can be used a number of times in the year and can be used in classes from Junior Infants to 2nd. This test focuses on some of the areas mentioned above.
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A nice topic for this stage of the year is The Aquarium.
There are lots of nice story books to link with the topic, I particularly like the Rainbow Fish and Hooray for Fish!
Last year, I used the children’s gazebo and some large fish and sea creatures that we had made for a different display and created our very own Aquarium. The children loved it. We could pull out the gazebo so the children could walk around it.
We set up an aquarium for the children to visit. The children in role-play could be on reception, a tour guide or a visitor. If you have any aquariums or sea-life near you collect some maps and other information to have in your role play area.
In small world and construction the children wanted to make smaller aquariums. I got some sea creatures in euro shops but I really like these sea creatures from Primary classroom Resources. These counters could also be used in Maths for sorting and classifying.
In art there are lots of lovely under the sea themed ideas. You could also make fish or jellyfish to add to the large aquarium.
I replaced sand with water for this topic. I bought fishing rod sets from Euro Giant and a small paddling pool. I put a small amount of water in the pool and let the children catch the fish with the rods. I also added some buckets and containers to link with Capacity in Maths.
Check out my new thematic plan on Mash.ie. It includes ideas for discrete lessons along with links for lessons and resources.
If you have any questions on this topic. Please send me a PM.
I love this domino and playing cards set from Euro Giant. There are endless possibilities for Maths games using this set which are also ideal for revision of numbers as we go through Term 3.
You can revise the story of number with the card games.
Taking out all the picture cards place all the other cards face down. Children take turns to turn over two cards and try to make 10. If they can make 10 they keep the cards if not turn them over and the next child takes a turn.
This game can be played for story of number from 6 – 10. Just remove the cards that you don’t need.
Another version of this game is similar to go fish. Again after taking out all the picture cards give each child six cards. Place the rest of the cards on the table face down. Give children a target or story of number to focus on. Children can ask their peers for a specific number and if they don’t have it they can say go fish. Once a child has two or more cards to make the set number they place it down face up. The winner is the child with the most pairs.
The children can play a variety of games with dominoes. The easiest game is to match the numbers on both sides of the dominoes.
In another game, get the children to work in pairs with one set of dominoes between them. Take all the dominoes out and put them face down. One child turns over one, and the other child also turns over one. The child with the greatest number on their domino gets to keep both dominoes. Play continues until all the dominoes have been turned over. The winner is the child with the most pairs.
While these games are suitable for infants, you can adapt them for older classes, introducing multiplication elements for third class.
If you have any questions please send me a PM.