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Phonics in Junior Infants
I have put together a brief overview of the phonics programme in junior infants. If you have any questions please let me know.
In September we focused heavily on developing phonemic awareness. This is a skill we will continue to develop throughout the infant years. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, move, or change sounds, called phonemes, in spoken words. Phonemic awareness is an important basic skill that gets students ready to develop into readers. For example, we have been:
- Clapping and count syllables in a 1 to 5 syllable word (ant, jump-per, sun-flow-er, hel-i-cop-ter, wa-ter-mel-on).
- Blending syllables into a word (cup–cake “cupcake”).
- Identifying whether words rhyme (cat, mat, hat; pop, top, mop).
- Finding words that rhymes with another (“tell me a word that rhymes with ‘sun’”).
- Finding the first sound in a word (“what is the beginning sound in “mop”?).
Parents can help to develop this skill by playing rhyming games at home, reciting rhymes, reading rhyming books and clapping the syllables in the family member’s names or objects around the house (ket-tle, lap-top, ta-ble etc.)
We use Jolly Phonics at Stratford NS to teach letter sounds in the infant room. We will cover 26 sounds in junior infants. For the first term, we will be covering s, a, t, i, p, n, c, k, e, r and d. Each sound is taught with an action, a song and a story. Students learn the name of the letter and the sound it makes. Druing these lessons we will identify words that begin with each sound, we sill sort the sounds using images, draw pictures and play games on the interactive whiteboard.
As the children learn their sounds we will be blending. Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word. For example, sounding out c-a-t and making cat. We will begin this process in December when we will sound words like pat, sit, net, pen, tip etc.
If you do want more information on the Jolly Phonics programme, this Youtube video introduces the programme and it also highlights the sounds and actions each sound makes.
Writing in Infants
In conjunction with teaching letter sounds, students also learn to write the letters. This process will involve tracing the letters in the air, writing it with chalk on a mini chalkboard, writing it on a mini whiteboard, tracing it in sand etc. It is important for students to form the letters correctly. We use rhymes to help them remember how to form the letters (You will find them in the homework pack). This enables them to develop a speedy, fluid and legible handwriting style.
It is also very important to continue to develop the children’s fine motor skills. Every day we spend time threading, playing with links and pegboards, cutting etc. to build up the strength in their fingers. You can support this at home with activities such as Lego, playdoh, colouring and cutting, painting and any activity that involves using their fingers.