University Workshop at Blanquerna: “Sharing how we teach literacy in the early years”

This week two of our teachers in Foundation Stage have given a workshop on Jolly Phonics at Blanquerna University. Katie Owen and Tracie Butler were invited to share their knowledge and expertise with the students who are following the Master’s in Teaching and Learning English in Early Childhood and Primary School.

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Katie Owen explaining how children learn to identify sounds

Included in the subject Teaching Methods (coordinated by Professor Salvador Rodríguez), the workshop was a practical approach to how we teach early literacy at St. Peter’s.

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Tracy Butler explaining a sounds game

The experience was a great opportunity to share our methodology and discuss it with the teachers and students who attended the workshop.

Adapting Jolly Phonics to our own needs
In fact, we don’t use a unique methodology when teaching literacy to children in early years. We started using Jolly Phonics about six years ago but adapted it to our own needs. This one of the ideas we wanted to share and discuss at the workshop: any school or class requires their own specific method, matching practice to individual context. It is not the same to teach literacy in an English Immersion school than to teach English in a Catalan school or in an English school in London. It was fascinating to talk about different ways and methodologies applied by the teachers attending the course.

If you want to know a little more about Jolly Phonics
You can have a look at our list of youtube videos, prepared for the workshop and related to these five skills:

How does Jolly Phonics work?
Using a synthetic phonics approach, Jolly Phonics teaches children the five key skills for reading and writing. The programme continues through school enabling the teaching of essential grammar, spelling and punctuation skills.

The five skills taught in Jolly Phonics:

1. Learning the letter sounds
Children are taught 42 main letter sounds. This includes alphabet sounds as well as digraphs such as sh, th, ai and ue.

2. Learning letter formation
Using different multi-sensory methods, children learn how to form and write the letters.

3. Blending
Children are taught how to blend the sounds together to read and write new words.

4. Identifying the sounds in words (Segmenting)
Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling.

5.  Tricky words
Tricky words have irregular spellings and children learn these separately.

A synthetic phonics approach, Jolly Phonics teaches children the five key skills for reading and writing. The programme continues through school enabling the teaching of essential grammar, spelling and punctuation skills. At St. Peter’s we adapted this methodology but changed it to our needs and the cultural background of our school.