Let's put things in logical order...
As a child grows as an active learner, their ability to explore skills and concepts in more challenging and abstract ways increases. Sequencing skills are extremely important in everyday life and in the new language curriculum sequencing has it's own learning outcome. Retelling and elaborating in sequence plays an important role in the development of a child's language skills and comprehension of written texts. It is one of those foundation skills that children will use to build on other skills in the future, while also helping children to recognise patterns that make the world around them more predictable and understandable. There are plenty of daily activities that offer opportunities to practice those important sequencing skills... story time, aistear play, P.E., art. Most activities involve some form of sequencing. Sequencing can be practiced in a simple two minute activity, a whole lesson or even a whole class project worked on over a week. Ideally the language of sequencing could be integrated into most lessons.
Five tools for the balanced reader’s toolkit
Supporting children through the process of learning to read with little stress and as much success as possible is the ultimate goal of any teacher. We want children to become successful and component readers who read for both knowledge and enjoyment, a complex task for any teacher regardless of experience. And just when you feel you know what you’re doing, you realise that each new class, with their unique needs require a whole new approach to literacy! There is no quick fixer for gaining reading success, nor will any one component alone, churn out those fluent readers. The challenge for us educators is to provide each child with a personally tailored set of tools for their reading toolkit.
Focus on speech before print - What you can teach in the dark!
Therefore, it is vital that we teach phonological awareness skilfully, using teaching methods that are informed by current research. The good news is that when taught this way, most children will learn to read at acceptable levels.
Now they're ready to write...
In most European countries, children are not expected to start formal handwriting with a pencil until they are six years old (or the countries that do best in international comparisons scores in Literacy, until they are 7). So, when are children ready to learn letter formation? This has been a much-debated topic and rightly so! On many occasions, I witnessed children become overloaded with the demands to develop these essential skills earlier and earlier at an ever-increasing pace. Do we risk children missing out on less 'essential' age-appropriate experiences in an attempt to spend more time getting children writing earlier?
The importance of continuing to develop fine motor skills in and beyond the pre-school years...
I believe it is our fellow pre-school educators who are the experts in this area. It wasn't until my daughter went to play school that my eyes were opened to the wonderful range of fine motor activities that were available to help her specifically develop her fine motor skills. I realised then, just how important it was that we continue to develop these skills when children arrive in junior infants before we make any attempt to teach letter formation. In this post I set out to compiled a selection of fine motor activities that will help infants develop their fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination, while also making them a little more challenging and fun by integrating them into our early maths and literacy learning. Building the muscles in their hands and fingers does not stop when we begin to teach letter and number formation either, teachers should develop these activities, integrating more hands on tasks into children's learning as an alternative to worksheets and workbooks.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”- Dr Seuss