Literacy Project History

Finding a Voice: Sharing a Vision is an innovative whole-school literacy project that is in its 7th year. St.Joseph’s is very grateful to the Board of Management, Parents’ Council and staff who helped in its design, implementation and effective delivery. We are particularly grateful to Sr.Elizabeth Connolly, national co-ordinator of the Reading Recovery Programme in Ireland, who trained the reading recovery teachers who initially led the project. We are equally grateful for the keen insights and expert  support of Senior Inspector of the Department of Education and Skills, Marina Ni Threasaigh. 

Literacy Project History

Aimed at children aged 4-13,the project focuses on creating learning environments where all our pupils can  enjoy literacy activities, celebrate their literacy skills and strategies and relish independent active learning. 

Literacy History

Parents are offered concrete support and advice on how they can become proactive in their children’s literacy learning experiences. What parents say influences the content and delivery of the programme.

Literacy History

Classroom teachers are offered explicit support in helping to deliver the programme at a level appropriate to the needs of every class and every child.

Finding a Voice: Sharing a Vision is informed by best national and international research, expertise and practice. It has been highly commended by visiting inspectors, international visitors, principals, class teachers and  literacy support teams from all over the country. 

We were one of eight Deis schools selected nationally to be included in Effective literacy and numeracy practices in DEIS schools, an inspectorate 2007 publication. Chapter Two examines and endorses our literacy hour work station model.   

http://www.education.ie/

Rigorous assessment and evaluation supports its mantra of maximising literacy achievement for every child.

Informed by teacher observation, standardised and formative assessment, success criteria are set and evaluated consistently to ensure improvement in literacy standards throughout the school.  

 

 

Literacy Stations

Literacy station work has changed the face of literacy education in St. Joseph’s.

 

We have been privileged in having a deeply committed teaching staff that rose to the challenge seven years ago to adopt and develop new approaches, methodologies and resources which would enhance the delivery of a balanced literacy programme. 

 

We have been equally privileged in having children and parents who supported us as new resources were designed and developed to make literacy meaningful to and enjoyable for all our children.

Creating a Literacy Rich Environment

A literacy rich classroom environment is a prerequisite for children who are actively involved in exploring and developing meaningful literacy skills across the curriculum.

In our exemplars you will find classrooms where teachers have managed to create dynamic learning environments that support effective literacy learning.

Their classrooms clearly demonstrate the teachers’ commitment to the belief in a literacy rich environment.

Look out for

  •  Book Resources: Books levelled and classified according to genre
  •  Labels created collaboratively with the children
  •  Name charts
  •  Alphabet charts, synthetic phonics charts, phonological charts
  •  Word lists that reflect cross-curricular contextual work
  •  Word study charts that support deep vocabulary building experiences for the children 
  • Interactive word-learning charts created collaboratively with children which are regularly amended and changed

A living record of the learning process

While these classrooms are aesthetically pleasing, their function extends well beyond the visual. 
In effect the charts and classrooms are powerful concrete examples of the unique learning experiences of pupils; the routes they have travelled; the particular focus they have placed on cross-curricular subjects; the value they have accorded to aspects of their learning. 

Thank you for visiting our literacy rich classrooms!

 

Poetry in St. Joseph's

Budding Poets: Flowering Minds

Poetry Matters

Poetry Students Successful Poets can:
  • Recite poetry with an expressive voice
  • Find the steady beat/rhythm in some poems
  • Look out for rhyming words
  • Looking out for different shapes
  • Find images (mental pictures) that help the poet tell how he/she feels and thinks
  • Find verbs and adjectives that help make images come alive
  • Choose a favourite poem and explain why I like it
  • Tell the difference between a story and a poem
 
Poetry Students
 

Now for the fruits of our labour - click on thumbnail images below to enlarge

School Poetry Competition March 2012 Results
All the teachers were very excited and impressed by the quality of entries to our recent school poetry competition. 
Take a look and judge for yourself. Here are some of the winning entries!

Writing in St. Joseph's

  • This year we decided to formalise the work being done by many teachers in classes throughout the school. In term one, we focussed on report writing. Throughout the entire school we structured approaches, methodologies, content, assessment and evaluation. We are very happy, encouraged and inspired by the results.  

Writing

 

 

Writing  

Process

  • Teacher introduced a topic at the beginning of the week, introducing specific vocabulary that would be required to complete the writing task. 
  • During daily station work the word detective teacher deepened the vocabulary experiences of the children, focussing on developing written and oral fluency on the selected topic words.
  • Throughout the week children completed first and second drafts independently, often conferencing with the class teacher on content, layout and success criteria.
  • The writing assignment was completed independently on Fridays as part of weekly assessment for learning task (no book, spelling or teacher support).

 

 

 

Time

  • Friday writing task completed in 15-30 minutes by all classes.
 Writing

Teachers selected from the school standardised list those criteria which reflected their teaching focus for that week or month.

 

Success Criteria for Junior Infants: Report

  • My report has the X-factor.
  • I enjoyed reading my report.
  • I loved my illustrations.
  • I used sentences. I used full stops.
 

Success Criteria for Senior Infants -2nd Class: Buddy Report

  • Your report has the X-factor.
  • I enjoyed reading your report.
  • I loved your illustrations.
  • You planned your report.
  • It is full of interesting facts.
  • You used exciting action words.
  • You used good punctuation.
 

Success Criteria for 3rd to 6th class: Buddy Report

  • You wrote a scientific/geographical/historical report.
  • You used scientific/geographical/historical words.
  • Your report is full of very useful information.
  • Your report has the X-factor.
  • Structured (Intro. Topic; Describe; Place; How it Works, Summary)
  • You included  varied verbs, adjectives and adverb.
  • You used paragraphs.
  • You used correct punctuation.
  • You used capital letters correctly.
 
Writiing
This term we are working on our narrative stories. 

Comprehension Strategies

The explicit teaching of comprehension happens from the moment pupils enter St.Joseph’s.
 
In St.Joseph’s our pupils use comprehension strategies when they are given time and opportunities to discuss and reflect on text.

In St.Joseph’s many of our pupils from infants to sixth can:

  • Explicitly describe key comprehension strategies
  • Model strategies for peers and younger readers
  • Reflect on how strategies deepen their understanding of the text
  • Use strategies independently during reading and writing activities
Here are some of the key strategies we like to use every day:
 
Sneak-a –peek
Good readers can sneak-a-peek at a book and predict what the story/text is about. 
(Talking to a child prior to reading is important in revealing the child’s expectation of text and their response to it.)
 
Predict
Good readers use their experience and book knowledge to extend the story and predict different events and endings. 
 
Accurate Reading
Good readers search for meaning in the structure of a words, phrases and sentences. 
They self-correct, searching for cues and clues in the text to solve challenging words and phrases.
 
Direct and Thinking Questions 
Good readers ask themselves direct questions about the text.
Good readers ask “thinking” questions where the answer is partly in their heads with clues in the text. 
 
Expressive Reading
Good readers read at just the right speed, speaking clearly and expressively, paying attention to punctuation.
 
Main idea
Good readers can figure out the main idea in a paragraph, chapter or entire novel. They can summarise.
Visualise
Good readers love to imagine themselves in the story, wondering what the characters are thinking and feeling.
 
In literacy homework parent link you can find a senior pupil using comprehension strategies as he reads.

Media Mayhem

News flash

Ms. Caulfield is presently being trained and supported by the DEIS First Steps Programme co-ordinators to enhance the whole school delivery of the reading programme. 

media mayhem

This year fourth class have focused on interpreting information from newspapers, signs, magazines and postcards. This is known as “media literacy”. Next year, this approach will be piloted across the whole school.

Infant Classes will focus on  reading and writing “Our News”. The children will write out their news and present it to the class.

First and Second classes will examine advertisements under different headings; target audience, promotions, colour, effectiveness etc. The children will then create their own advertisements. 
 
media studies
We want our pupils to have FUN 
 
Third and Fourth classes  will work as journalists writing articles and reading them aloud as “TV reporters”. These articles will include; match commentaries and accident reports.
 
media studies
 
Fifth and Sixth classes will focus on the reading of tabloid and broadsheet newspapers. They will compare and contrast them and list the advantages and disadvantages of both. 
 
media studies
 
With the launch of our school website we feel that it is an appropriate time to focus on media literacy in a structured and systematic way.
We want all our pupils to understand and use mass media actively and critically.
 
We want our pupils to have FUN 
 
media studies
 

Reading

St Joseph’s teachers wanted reading to be a truly enjoyable experience for the children. With that in mind, we moved swiftly away from published reading schemes and replaced them with more authentic levelled reading texts in a wide variety of genres and formats.

Literacy Project
 
The school is very grateful to the Parent’s Association and the Board of Management who were responsible for funding the expensive and extensive rage of levelled reading texts (PR Books) now available on a rental basis to all children in the school. 
 
Reading

 

The texts have enhanced the reading experiences of both boys and girls, facilitated the teaching and learning of comprehension skills and strategies, enhanced the children’s oral language, supported differentiation and made reading and related reading activities one of the children’s favourite activities at school.

 

Literacy Project

 

The school community are now more aware of the power of books – the right kinds of books - to alter the children’s experience of school and hopefully their future lives. 

 

Literacy Project

 See parent link on literacy homework for ways to help your child with reading at home.

St Joseph's Word Detective Programme

  • Designed and developed  by the teachers of St. Joseph’s
  • A Spelling, Phonic, Phonological, Grammar, Topic Word Programme that works!
  • A programme that is built on small weekly successes for child, parent and teacher
  • A programme that is explicitly cross-curricular
  • A programme that involves weekly  pupil self-assessment, teacher assessment and parental reflection 
Super Word Dectective
 
Our Word Detective Programme is presently being piloted in a number of other schools around Ireland. 
 
You can watch a teacher and third class children working with the programme on the literacy station web page.
 
 

Oral Language

Word Power - Word Play

Our pupils are learning to use English with clarity, purpose and confidence.

Oral Language

We are explicitly teaching them more appropriate vocabulary to organise and express their ideas and thoughts with confidence

Oral Language

Our pupils enjoy sharing their ideas!

The extensive range of reading materials used during guided reading and project work is enhancing our pupils ability to present complex ideas. 

Oral Language

 

Latest News

News flash

Ms.Callan is presently being trained and supported by the DEIS First Steps Programme co-ordinators to enhance the whole school delivery of the Oral Language Programme. 

We have already been doing much work in the area of oral language as part of our project Finding a Voice: Sharing a Vision.  This year we have been working on

  • expressing our points of view
  • oral reporting after station work

Next September our focus in oral language will be on the area of argument and informal debates.

In the infant classes this will take the form of 'take a stand' where children stand on either side of an invisible line depending on whether they agree or disagree with a given topic. An example of this would be 'Should the gingerbread man be eaten by the wolf?' and the children will decide whether they agree or disagree with this.

In first and second classes the game 'four corners' will be used to help children form opinions and justify their views. They will decide if they: agree; strongly agree; disagree; strongly disagree on a given topic.

Oral Language

In third class the children will  focus on informal debating.

Oral Language

Fourth, Fifth and Sixth class will focus on formal debating aand public speaking. We think this focus will really develop our childrens self confidence and make oral language lessons exciting and challenging.

Again we are grateful to the Parents’ Council for helping in the purchase of vital resources in the delivery of the Oral Language programme.

Watch this space..

Literacy Teacher Link

A literacy rich classroom environment is a prerequisite for children who are actively involved in exploring and developing meaningful literacy skills across the curriculum.

In our exemplars you will find classrooms where teachers have managed to create dynamic learning environments that support effective literacy learning.

Their classrooms clearly demonstrate the teachers’ commitment to the belief in a literacy rich environment.

Look out for

  •  Book Resources: Books levelled and classified according to genre
  •  Labels created collaboratively with the children
  •  Name charts
  •  Alphabet charts, synthetic phonics charts, phonological charts
  •  Word list that reflect cross-curricular contextual work
  •  Word study charts that support deep vocabulary building experiences for the children 
  • Interactive word-learning charts created collaboratively with children which are regularly amended and changed

A living record of the learning process

While these classrooms are aesthetically pleasing, their function extends well beyond the visual. 
In effect the charts and classrooms are powerful concrete examples of the unique learning experiences of pupils; the routes they have travelled; the particular focus they have placed on cross-curricular subjects; the value they have accorded to aspects of their learning. 

Thank you for visiting our literacy rich classrooms!

 

Teacher Info Literacy Station Work

Literacy station work has changed the face of literacy education in St. Joseph’s.

Literacy Stations

We have been privileged in having a deeply committed teaching staff that rose to the challenge seven years ago to adopt and develop new approaches, methodologies and resources which would enhance the delivery of a balanced literacy programme. 

Literacy Stations

 

We have been equally privileged in having children and parents who supported us as new resources were designed and developed to make literacy meaningful to and enjoyable for all our children.

Literacy Stations

Literacy And  Numeracy  for Learning And Life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People  2011-2012 includes the following key objectives for primary schools: 

    • Ensure that there is explicit and systematic attention in the English curriculum to the teaching and assessment of key literacy skills and strategies
    • Ensure that the curriculum provides for the development of literacy through engagement with a range of texts and a range of media including digital media
    • Ensure that the reading tastes of all students, including boys, are catered for in the English curriculum

Thanks to such initiatives as literacy station work the pupils of St. Joseph’s have been realizing these objectives for some time now.

This is how it all began back in 2005

 

The listening station has always been one of the children’s favourite stations. Child- managed, it allows a group of children to listen and respond to text they might otherwise never access. It creates a community of readers and listeners through enjoyment and shared knowledge; it develops knowledge of written and oral language syntax and vocabulary……..

It’s simply quiet active listener fun.

 

 The word detective station focuses on the building blocks of a good literacy programme-the skills and strategies that support confident and independent literacy learning.

 Our teachers have designed and developed a whole-school word detective programme that ensures a systematic approach to the teaching of key skills and strategies.

 In this unedited and unscripted 13 minute clip a group of third class children reveal their natural confidence in tackling challenging work; their growing ability to reflect on their own learning; their sheer delight in celebrating what they know.

Every team needs time to reflect on what they have achieved, where they are heading and how best to get there.

Literacy Links for Pupils

This page has been created by St. Josephs School for students to improve their literacy skills and for teachers seeking literacy resources to use on an interactive white board. Materials on this page are links to other websites and St. Josephs takes no creative credit for any of the activities or links.

News Flash

Literacy Pupil Link Infants - 2nd Class

Phonics         
 Starfall  Clusters and Blends  CVC Words  Alphabet order  Missing Letter
Starfall  Clusters and Blends CVC Words Alphabet order Missing Letter
         
Grammar        
 Capital Letters  Capital Letters  Full Stop  Question Marks  Apostrophe
Capital Letters Capital Letters Full Stop Question Marks Apostrophe
         
Spelling        
 Look Cover Write  Read Key Words  Read Key Words  Spelling Ship  Drag & Spell
Look Cover Write Read Key Words Read Key Words Spelling Ship Drag & Spell
         
Reading    Writing     Poetry 
 Reading Online Stories  I Can Read  Writing Story Plant  Letter Formation  Reading Poetry
Online Stories  I Can Read Writing Story Plant Letter Formation Reading Poetry

Literacy Pupil Link 3rd - 6th Class

Phonics         
 Clusters and Blends  Prefixes / Spellings  Adding Endings  Phonics  Spelitis
Clusters and Blends  Prefixes / Spellings Adding Endings Phonics Spelitis
         
Grammar        
 Grammar Gorillas  Adjectives  Punctuate  Homophones  Homophones
Grammar Gorillas Adjectives Punctuate Homophones Homophones
         
Spelling        
 Look Cover Write  Read Key Words  How many?  Mnemonics  Look Cover Write
Look Cover Write Read Key Words How Many? Mnemonics Look Cover Write
         
Reading  Poetry Writing      
 Reading Online Stories  Write a Shape  Story Plant  Story Starter  Learn Letters
Online Stories  Write a Shape Story Plant Story Starter Learn Letters

Parents: First & Greatest Teachers

Helping with Literacy Homework, Building On Success
 
Parents: First and greatest Teachers
  • We put together a little video that we hope will help make reading,spelling,and written homework an enjoyable experience for all involved.
  • We hope it will make homework time an opportunity for your child to share their new learning with you. 
  • Even in senior classes when children can read independently,there are still wonderful opportunities to discuss their PR books with you.
  • They can talk to you about the characters,the plot,some new and exciting words they have met.
  • They can "Show Off" all the comprehension strategies they use to help them enjoy and understand the text at a deeper level. 
  • Our teachers will vouch for the fact that all our children  enjoy sharing their ideas with grown-ups....
Don't let them grow up toooooo fast!
Parents & Teachers
 
 
Part One: Reading Homework
  • A challenging text – senior pupil
  • A familiar text – junior pupil
  • Parent consultation
  • Comprehension strategy usage – senior pupil
Spelling Homework
  • A senior pupil
  • A junior pupil
  • The Word Detective Programme
 
Part Two: Literacy drills in the Classroom
  • The Four Step Challenge
  • Book Knowledge
 pupils at sjns
 You can work the magic!