Literacy Lift-Off is a whole-class intervention aimed at increasing each child’s competency in oral language, reading and writing. In Ennis National School, we have introduced Literacy Lift-Off to First Class. Over the course of the school year, each first class will benefit from the Literacy Lift-Off programme for a period of ten to twelve weeks. The main aims of Literacy Lift-Off are
To introduce children to Guided Reading. It is through Guided Reading that teachers can show children how to read and can support children in learning the many and varied skills and strategies needed to become fast, fluent readers.
To empower children to read for enjoyment and meaning and develop oral language skills by talking about what they are reading, predicting, retelling story etc.
To teach children fast visual recognition of letters, sounds and useful high-frequency words. Also, to articulate words slowly, thereby allowing them to hear and record sounds in sequence. We hope to thus enable them to write stories and messages relevant to them.
To facilitate the Literacy Lift-Off programme, the Board of Management invested in a wide range of appropriate books at the children’s level. Teachers have attended in-service training to ensure that the programme is being delivered effectively.
For the Literacy Lift-Off lesson, the class is divided into four groups with a teacher taking each group in rotation for fifteen minutes. During each Literacy Lift-Off session, children experience four activities:
Here, children with the same reading needs, read a new book daily, with the teacher. This book is at their instructional level i.e. it is challenging but not too difficult. They learn to use visual, meaning and structural cues. This book is brought home that night.
Here the children read books to a parent helper on, or below their level of reading. They read silently, in pairs, as a group or take turns to read aloud. In first class children practice their spellings using magnetic letters.
Here the children look at sounds. They learn to recognise and put together the different sounds in the English language. We use magnetic letters, whiteboards and games.
Here the children write daily. They put into use what they have picked up at the phonics and reading stations to communicate a message to a target audience.