Review: Sounds in Focus: A whole school phonemic approach to spelling

I have been using the Senior Infants Sounds in Focus programme since September last year.It uses a phonemic approach to learning how to read, write and spell. The main skills that the programme utilises are: Identifying Sounds, Counting Sounds, Segmenting and Selecting Graphemes. Within the Teaching guide, there are many and numerous activities for oral language, listening, attention, speaking, questioning and photocopiable resources available online to download to your own device. Each class level has 36 units of work, designed to fit into the school year. Each unit is based on a specific phoneme(s), and with the teacher’s help and assistance, pupils explore the grapheme(s) that can be used to represent it. Each unit is given a thorough treatment in the Teacher Guide, which guides the teacher through a Monday-Friday schedule of work though...

What did you search for in December?

Every month we look back on the products you searched for. As it was December, there was no surprise what the top search item was - yes - Christmas! The word was searched 3 times more than any other search term. In the top 6 searches, variants such as Nollaig, An Nollaig and Christmas Activity Pack also had high search results. Randomly, the second and third most popular search terms were "hobbies" and "water" which goes to show not everyone is focused on Christmas! Éadaí and Aimsir were the other big hitters in December's searches. Sellers might be interested in some of the searches that achieved zero results. All but one were the names of stores. We are working on allowing teachers to search for their favourite stores but in the meantime, we'd recommend sellers add their store name in the description of their products. We would hope to...

Vocabulary Instruction Matters

There really is no getting away from it, vocabulary instruction matters and needs to be embedded into a balanced framework of literacy instruction. This means finding time in an already stretched teaching day. The research highlights the strong link between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. According to Graves (2016) vocabulary knowledge in the early grades is a significant predictor of reading comprehension in the higher grades. The work you put into it in the early years is worthwhile. So how should explicit instruction look? Vocabulary instruction can be approached in different ways. For example, whole class teaching for approximately 10 minutes a day. Table 1 outlines a suggested instructional sequence for teaching individual word meanings across a week. If you are lucky enough to have on-going in-class support for literacy a...