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Story-sacks & phonics in CP


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Hi,

Just seeking some advice on the use story-sacks in the setting. I have used a couple of these in the past but have always been worried about bits being lost etc. as they have taken a while to put together as well as money! and become a bit precious to us (I know they shouldn't but I hate losing things or finding things broken that we have ordered specially on a tight budget etc.)

So... do you use them? Do you introduce them before letting the children 'loose' on them? Have you used parents to help collect resources to build them up? Have you found bags or boxes better?

Sorry if these all sound like basic questions - I'm probably thinking about things too much! At the moment we offer different activities and resources to do with books but tend to put them in the most relevant areas e.g. puppets in the book corner, small world characters in the small world area, games/jigsaws in the games area but don't tend to have them altogether in the books corner.

Also, what phonics resources do you put out in your CP? I have recently been on course that advised us not to 'words in the sand' or 'letters in the water' type activities that have always been recommended in the past (unless in a T-L activity) so am trying to think of further ways to extend their phonics skills within the CP? I have ideas up in the classroom in remind staff how they can extend phonics skills while interacting with the children and will leave out (some!) resources from the phase 1 activities for children to use independently. May be having a phonics box or bag? Have games, rhyme box, rhyme cd for listening station with books to accompany which we use during singing time too, access to familiar rhyming stories, music area with at least 2 of each instruments. Any ideas greatly appreciated,

Thanks,

Green Hippo x

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Hi we tend to have our story sacks as an adult led activity purely for the very reasons you give,

However we do have some nice home made sound boxes, made out of shoeboxes, rhyme & song baskets , posting boxes, for the children to use independently.

We also put books linked to the different areas of our continuous provision out to enhance these areas.

We often have the cd on linked to a story, songs or rhymes, musical instruments, some storyphones bought from a lovely lady on here(thanks Happy Maz) the children love them. Jolly phonics with books, posters, cd etc.

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Thanks Fredbear,

could you explain what your sound boxes are please? And what do you mean by posting boxes?

We have books around the setting linked to the resources within the provision.

A friend has recommended that I have a look at our local resource centre for story-sacks but I'm worried about returning everything!

Thanks,

Green Hippo x

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Yes that's it, Harmony1985. We also have nursery rhyme pictures cut and laminated, the children choose a song or rhyme to sing or say then either put onto the Velcro on the outside, or post through the hole.

These were made from the solid card wine gift boxes you can buy in lots of card shops. Very cheap and easy to make.

Edited by Fredbear
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Hi Green Hippo

we run a story sack lending scheme at our Nursery. We were able to purchase them through funding called 'Community Chest'.

We thought long and hard about whether we could send them home due to all the reasons about parts going missing etc. However, for us the whole purpose was for parental engagement and home learning so we have created a system that ensures as best we can, that all parts come back.

The sacks are introduced along with other story related activities, at our first Inspire Workshop of the year in October (just as the children have settled). The children and parents get to play with them in the workshop where we are able to explain to the parents about the scheme and of the benefits of the sacks and reading as a whole.
It is explained how much they cost and that if they sign up to borrow one then it is their responsibility to look after it. When signing the form they are agreeing to replace any damaged or lost resources from with the sack.

How the system works - each member of staff took a story sack and made a digital record including photos of all the resources within the bag and a list. This is photocopied and laminated and put inside the bag so that they parents can check that everything that is on the photos is being returned. All CD's have been copied; the master copies are kept at Nursery and only the copy is included in the sack.

Once the sack is returned a member of staff checks that all is there and only then can the child take another. If a piece is missing then we alert the parent who has the chance to then find it (usually pieces behind the sofa!). So far (touch wood) we have not had anything go missing due to the rigorous checking in and out. It was a lot of work to set up, but has been worth it. We know that as everything has been checked then it is only that family that could have lost/damaged a resource.

As they have signed to say they will pay then they are taking more care of them. We know that it does perhaps put some people off from borrowing one but it is there choice - they know if there is a likelihood of pieces going missing or it being chewed to pieces by the dog!

For those that don't take a bag home we have story times with them were we can share the sacks together in Nursery. We now have Maths sacks that go home - based very much on the story sack idea - a maths game (usually the lovely Orchard ones - I get a lot from car boots) and a book that reinforces the maths concept of the game plus an activity card. We have photocopied any rules sheets, CD's etc. Some of the maths games have lots of pieces - we have sorted them into little plastic wallets and labelled how many pieces in each set - this helps to keep them contained in their boxes.

It is as I said a big task but worth doing if you really want them to go home. Whatever you do, such sacks are a wonderful addition to the love of books :-)

And on that note Happy World Book Day - now where did I put that broomstick!

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we set up a phonics area and do a letter a week after easter, then have activities to choose from in cp areas, e.g. letter s might be making sparkly sequin snakes - card snakes with sequins to stick on, or silver stars - paint stars silver and sprinkle with silver glitter. then whatever the letter is we have toys/pictures beginning with the that sound as well as big/small letters, tactile letters etc on our phonics area. and ensure children only play with items at the display - no wandering around with them!!! it takes ages to get them all together, doesn't it?!! and we put words beginning with s on graphics table to make link between written word/phonics. we use a picture with word under, as children can't read words, and we use 'communicate in print' which is a software program to support children with SEN - you just type the word you want, press enter, and a picture is inserted. magic!! we leave phase 1 phonics game resources out after teaching sessions, and A4 lined pads and teacher's biros and the children play fantastically with them, and love to be the teacher!! but we are very strict that they are not taken off the group time carpet.....x

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Thanks everyone for your help. Thanks for your explanations of the sound box (of course! Feeling thick!), posting boxes and your other ideas and resources. We have little boxes of items that all start with the same sound but again, I'm really frightened of them 'walking' as they are only small and we do use them a lot for teacher led activities. I like the idea of having a table or area that they have to keep these items in or on and being strict about this! At the moment I have a table which I set up with fine-motor resources as well as a finger-gym box but I could also have a phonics box on this table as well.

I have to be 'careful' with activities like making a letter using play-dough/painting letters etc as we use Read Write Inc and this is something that it advises NOT to do! But I think having tactile letters is important for those kinaesthetic learners.

We have never unfortunately had the opportunity to build up a class set of story bags as we were not given the funding due to not being in a deprived area. To be honest we have VERY few children that don't have books at home and who aren't read to so we are lucky in this respect. What I do is speak to parents and send a leaflet home about the importance of reading to and with their child with pointers.

I do like the idea of sending home suggested link activities for C&L and L and M. - e.g. printed games/something to look for when out and about/something to talk about etc. Does anyone else do this sort of thing? Is it manageable? I wary of adding another element to my ever increasing workload and don't want to set up a weekly thing that I can't sustain because my brain is all out of ideas!

Green Hippo x

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  • 1 year later...

some lovely ideas here. i am keen to introduce story sacks too but again am not that confident that staff and chidlren will take care of the resources so i think introducing them during carpet time will be best intitialy.

 

greenhippo, would you mind sharing your classroom ideas of how you remind staff to extend phonics skills while interacting with children?

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I created little bubbles with ideas of how to promote phonics through play and have then stuck up in the classroom (at adult height!). I will attach them for you. Also have ones for development of drawing and speech & language.

Green Hippo x

 

thanks for sharing

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