Thursday, May 18, 2017

Phonics awareness - a great place in setting students up for literacy

I've always incorporated Phonics into my literacy programme, but as I am constantly reflecting on my teaching and how it can be improved, I jumped when the opportunity to attend the 'Yolanda Soryl workshop' arose.

Yolanda confirmed the view I have that students need a range of basic phonics strategies so they can easily work out new words in reading and spelling.

Teaching tips and pointers
  • Allow only lower case letters to be written in phonics
  • Only have a reason for a capital letter like writing your name. When they write a capital letter in writing ask what the reason was for writing letter in capital - if no reason, rub out.
  • Only teach capital after lower case is secure

  • Blending important for reading: d, d-o, d-o-g = dog
  • Break up word to write- segmentation
  • Some students know their sound, but don’t know how to break it up
  • Teach kids how to hear
  • The aim is to look at work and recognize it instantly
  • Read name before school - this is recognition of graphic knowledge
  • Teach high frequency words fast
  • Phonics is for low reading learners
  • Grammar - does it sound right. Get them to read their sentences back
  • Ingrain a sense of a sentence - repetitive reading
  • Teach students to re-read their writing, to check if it sounds right. 
  • 3 levels that students use to connect (sounds, words, sentences). Students that struggle don’t connect these three
  • Important to decode to enable them to comprehend
  • Book introduction important - look and introduce unfamiliar words
  • Teach fluency at word level - then you have chance to read page
  • Dyslexic kids tend to use both sides of the brain
  • Hear low level reader read out loud every day to improve reading outcome
  • Phonics is about using sounds, not only knowing sounds

I am also looking forward to the release of the Phonics App which can be used to learn/revise the alphabet sounds. It also follows a Phonics 'Hear, Read, Write' lesson plan and can stand alone or be used to revise a lesson. The App features a New Zealand accent which is so important for helping students learn the short vowel sounds.

~ "It shouldn't matter how slowly a child learns, as long as we are encouraging them not to stop" - Robert John Meehan ~

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Librarian on Blogging Journey

When helping to set up for the MindLab session, I was approached by Mary about my work at Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru. I explained to her what I am capable of helping with… She mentioned that she would like help with setting up a blog for their library and we arranged for a time to meet and to get the ball rolling.

This morning, we created a blog, added pages, added important links and information on to it. I also showed her how she could create posts. Mary was very excited and happy with the outcome and asked that I checked in regularly when helping at MindLab to see that see is going well.

Feedback from librarian via email:
“RHGS Library Blog
Professional Development:

To invite the expert – Marnel van der Spuy –Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru to deliver professional development to show me how to make a blog.

This session is the first of ongoing assistance of how to make a blog. It was amazing to have such expert assistance that Marnel was able to provide. The assistance was professional, encouraging, and reassuring. It seemed to take her no time at all to establish the basic blog site we needed i.e. links, photos, advice, examples of blogs; as a real novice in terms of ICT literacy it was a pleasure to have someone who made your lack confidence seem OK with her calm, cheerful manner.

Hopefully Marnel is able to provide ongoing help when she comes in as part of her Mindlab visits or I can request future sessions to support this excellent beginning.”

~ "One person with passions is better than forty people merely interested" - Unknown ~