The cat sat on the mat – Letters and Sounds Achievement
When children reach pre-school age they begin our fun letters and sounds lessons. The children love letters and sounds; staff plan fun lessons with fun games and activities based on early literacy. Children are in two groups, pre-school 1 and pre-school 2. Children are taught by the same practitioner 3 times a week with the aim of introducing literacy in a fun way. We do not follow a structured programme but instead plan on children’s current interests and capabilities; adding new letters, sounds and words into our lesson as the children are ready. It is important that this process is not rushed and introduced gradually. Repetition is the Key to success along with keeping the lessons physical and very fun. Our school leavers all won an achievement award throughout August for ‘the cat sat in the mat’ project which introduced tricky words and sentence formation to our children. It was amazing that our children were ready to learn tricky words and the writing and reading produced was phenomenal. Below is a summary of the topic plan and pictures of the children’s achievements.
1. We began this term with moving onto digraphs (two letter sounds) after the children had learnt all the single letter sounds. Children were observed during the lessons and it was noted that the children were interested in blending sounds and creating words. Children became more interested in ‘printed words’.
2. After several blending and reading activities it was noted that children were getting frustrated with ‘tricky words’. We planned how we could teach tricky words in a simple manner; without it becoming confusing.
3. We spoke about the difference between tricky and phonic words. We referred to tricky words as red words. After a few sessions Toby said “they are red because they are tricky and we must remember them in our heads”
4. We decided to concentrate on a few tricky words – deciding which tricky words to use was going to be hard. On our notes from when children started to blend sounds we had noted that ‘cat’ was the first word children felt comfortable with, from cat then came pat, mat, bat etc. Children had also met these words during rhyming activities so were very comfortable with them. We decided to aim towards the sentence “the cat sat on the mat” knowing that the children would be able to achieve within these activities (self-esteem is very important when learning a new concept).
5. We started by showing flash cards of two words (the & cat). We spoke about the different letters and the sounding out of cat compared to the. We then went on some fun letter hunts; children had to find 1 ‘the’ and 1 ‘cat’ flash card. The children loved the hide and seek aspect of this activity and also helped other children find the words we needed.
6. We repeated the word finding game a number of times and in fun ways until children were confident with both words – we also used letter magnets to create the words, painted the words and dug the words out of the sand pit.
7. We introduced the other words from the sentence in the same way. We told the children the overall aim was to put the words together to make a sentence. Charlie said “I’m ready to make the sentence now”. We did the hide and seek game again; except this time there was one word each and the children had to work as a team to get it in the correct order!
8. The children enjoyed fun finding games, bingo games, team work games, reading recognition games and became very confident in the words and the sentence (far quicker than we thought).
They then wrote the sentence:
What an amazing achievement in three weeks! Huge well done to all!