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Reading And Writing In The Early Years


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Hi everyone,

After reading about the pro's and con's of visual worksheets and templetes etc. this has set me off onto contemplating the best way in teaching children the skills of reading and writing.

 

At the school were I am about to start work in sept. they are quite academic and traditional. They mainly use Jolly Phonics and children learn more or less by rote. Simular sort of thing with writing - by tracing etc.

 

The whole system of learning to write (practising letter formation) and reading is under review and a great time to introduce or change practise if in the best interests. Being an NQT not quite sure what I think due to lack of experience etc.

 

However, I do know that such a big emphasis is placed upon this at present, that the teacher and TA spend most of their time on this. eg. guided reading and writing. Independant / free play is poorly neglected as a consequence.

 

My main concern is to have a good balance, and knowing the true value of play and enhanced provision etc. but how to keep up with the expectations of the literacy and time it takes. I would ideally like the reading and writing placed into context with role-play, for instance. Does it have to be this structured or acedemic. Has anyone found their children not 'coming up to required standards' for Y1 by the play route etc?

 

Any reflections or words of wisdom ?!!

 

All the best

Skylight :o

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I know where you're coming from. I job share with an older more traditional teacher. We have shard Y1, R and now a mixed R/Y1 class. A few years ago we went down the line of much less traditional and more practical play based curriculum. We were concerned about the when the childran went into Y1 and they were fine. We still did group teaching of certain key skills for writing for those that were ready, but they also did list writing in home corners, used writing table, listened to tapes, played much more creatively, etc.,etc. and we taught more to their needs, and we all had fun! We do use Jolly phonics - tell the story, air write letters/ find magentic letters, write in sand/paint on large paper/with big pens, etc. Many children do a jolly phonics worksheet too- those that have a more developed pencil grip, but they certainly don't sit at a table more than 10 minutes max. It will be hard for teachers to change overnight and it wouldn't be wise to change so radically. I would think it would need to be small changes over time.

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Hi skylight

I use Jolly Phonics - it's great as it's interactive, I also use lots of ideas from progression in phonics too- but my kids love the JP songs and actions. I do not usually advocate 'schemes' but JP is NOT about learning by rote.

I do not use worksheets, will try and post a bit more about developing early reading and writing - with some ideas to help move away from the 'worksheets for worksheets sake' mentality - but will probably be after next week, as I'm really busy at the minute. What you say about finding a balance is a great start - good luck with the new job :)

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for kind words of wisdom. All makes sense, but I'm just trying to 'visualise' how you would classroom manage the 'mechanics' of it. For example, you structure a whole class imput (short & sweet, inter-active etc), then would you split into group work (ta & me taking a group - leaving rest of class to free-play on structured/ focused provision to support the sound learnt? This means there is no adult input in the role-play etc...

 

As the year progress's should you be aiming for children all to be sitting at a desk, capable of some groups (usually the HA) to work independantly?

 

I know there are many ways of doing this and should be guided by the children's needs, but any suggestions or ideas would be gratefully recieved.

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  • 1 month later...

Bumping this up for any suggestions to last query.

 

I am currently thinking about how I am going to manage this myself. Have worked Year 1 and 2 for three years and then pre-nursery and nursery in a centre for last four years. Some experienced Reception advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I work in a FSU so slightly different but we work much the same way as we did as an EYU.

We have a short whole class input usually followed by a focused adult directed group activity led by either the teacher (me) or the TA leaving the other member of staff free to work with another group/observe/float etc.

We increase the time spent on whole class input over the year keeping it very short in the Autumn term and slightly longer by the summer term also increase the time spent at focused activity as the year progresses. We do not have all the children sitting down at a desk at any point in the FS but do expect them to be able to work independently for long enough to complete a set task. The children will work the same way for the first half term in Y1 rather than straight into the Lit numeracy formal working in line with continuing the learning journey document.

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That sounds ideal, the only hitch I'm having is that there is only myself & the TA. She thinks it will be difficult for me to direct/ get through all the children on my own (whilst she 'floats' or does more play based stuff)

There is also 2 very challenging SEN children I think will find difficulty in the first instance of independant learning tasks etc.

Wanting to be positive I know there is an answer somewhere!... any more suggestions on management?

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That sounds ideal, the only hitch I'm having is that there is only myself & the TA. She thinks it will be difficult for me to direct/ get through all the children on my own (whilst she 'floats' or does more play based stuff)

There is also 2 very challenging SEN children I think will find difficulty in the first instance of independant learning tasks etc.

Wanting to be positive I know there is an answer somewhere!... any more suggestions on management?

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We have been fortunate over the last few years to have extra adults because of childrne wiht statements. However, form September there will just be 2 of us in the classroom (and a 3rd adult once we appoint someone mornings only for a child whose statement has just come through). we wil have 11 Y1 children (2 of which will be accessing R curriculum completely- both wiht statements, but not enough for outside help), and 17 R children. I plan to have a group either working with me or TA and the other adult observing/floating initially. As time moves on I will try to direct a group of children to a short semi-independent activity near to where me/TA are based. I always have some children playing independently-though not always free access from all areas at certain times. Depending on which children they are, depends on the language/PSE input needed. You may find it easier to split the SEN children so that you are always aware of one in your group and the other is under the watchful eye of the TA. Or if they have similar needs (e.g. language) see if you can 'find' another adutl from school somewhere to plan small language groups/ play alongside the children for short times devloping langugage/other needs.

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Sounds like your TA likes to be working directly with the children in a focused activity, you may be taking her out of her comfort zone asking her to work in a support role. I know some TAs who found that very difficult depending on their experience and training.

Your SEN children may need support even at independent tasks and may be statemented with adult support to allow them to access the curriculum.

However, I have always preferred to complete a task with the children and for the TA or NN to complete her activity rather than have 2 of us working on the same thing. There is no reason why you shouldnt do this, if not in one day but in 2 or more as necessary.

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