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Take a look at these websites and apps that may be of use to both children and parents.

Useful Websites

Kids Search Engine:

Useful Apps

Talking Books
Read Me Stories Sock Puppets
Story Kit History books


We predominantly focus on the Jolly Phonic programme in the Infant classes. It is a fun and child centred approach to the development of phonics. A focus is placed on auditory discrimination, phonemic awareness, phonics, rhyme and syllabication.
How to help your Infant child at home.
Do activities to help your child build sound skills (make sure they are short and fun; avoid allowing your child to get frustrated):
Help your child think of a number of words that start or end with the /m/ or /ch/ sound, or other sounds.

Make up silly sentences with words that begin with the same sound, such as "Nobody was nice to Nancy's neighbour"

Play simple rhyming or blending games with your child, such as taking turns coming up with words that rhyme (go – no) or blending simple words (/d/, /o/, /g/ = dog).

Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs.
Consider using apps that focuses on developing phonological and phonemic awareness skills. The colourful graphics and animation keep young children engaged.

Here are some helpful apps:
Hearbuilder Phonological Awareness
Partners in Rhyme – Rhyming for Phonemic Awareness          
Find the Rhyme
What’s Changed? Skill Builder

1st to 6th Class

Children continue to use the Jolly Phonic/ Jolly Grammar Programme which is also supplemented by Just Phonics, PAT word families, suffixes, prefixes, syllabication, silent letters etc.

As of September 2017, all Junior Infants learn to form letters using cursive script. Outlined below are the key benefits of learning to write using cursive script.
Relative ease in introducing cursive penmanship to infants.
Prevents reversals and confusion of letters, such as b and d.
Enhances spelling ability. In cursive, children learn to spell with greater accuracy since hand movements create some muscle memory that retains the spelling patterns.
Develops internal control systems that can be used as a tool for learning. Fluent movement is developed. With cursive writing practice, the neuron connections in the brain, responsible for organising other kinds of information and skills, are greatly strengthened.
Potential for errors are diminished. Cursive handwriting reduces errors because of the continuous flow of writing. In print, the child picks up the pencil from the paper to start a new letter in a word, thus the potential for mistakes is higher.
 Improved reading skills. The goal in reading is to read words instead of letters at a time. Cursive writing promotes reading words, instead of a distinct letter. After words, reading will move to sentences. The child reads what he or she writes as "whole words" rather than as individual letters.
Prevents erratic spaces between letters and words.
Helps Left Handed Children. In print, the left-handed child proceeds to write printing from left to right but will cover what he has written with his arms. This is called the hook position. In cursive writing, the left-handed child learns to write from bottom up and turns the paper clockwise causing great comfort and legibility.
Use as a tool to put thoughts on paper quickly and easily. 

aA bB cC dD eE fF gG hH iI jJ kK lL mM nN oO pP qQ rR sS tT uU vV wW xX yY zZ


The school’s structured phonics programme will help children learn spelling. However, phonics alone cannot be used to teach spelling and a consistent multi-dimensional approach is used to ensure that children do not become over reliant on phonics when spelling. Teachers encourage children to use a combination of Look, Cover, Say, Write and Check, Phonics, Word Attack and Word Analysis skills when teaching spelling.
On a daily basis, teachers will utilise the Brendan Culligan corewords and choose words from their own observations to generate dictation sentences. A focus will be placed on observing words in words, word shape, rhyme, picture cues, word strings etc.
The children will choose 1 spelling to focus on that night for homework using LSCWC approach. We no longer have formal ‘Friday Tests.’ The children may revise dictated sentences on a Friday, but without the pressure of a test.

Picture Cues

Words in Words
together             together

Word Endings

Mnemonic Spelling


Reading Fluency and Comprehension


At St. Oliver’s, we follow the Building Bridges of Understanding comprehension scheme and methodologies to develop the children’s comprehension skills.


We are fortunate to have a vast supply of texts to support the children’s literacy development. The children are exposed to both fiction and non-fiction texts in the form of Big Books, graded Key Links texts for in-class support, graded Oxford Reading Tree and PM+ texts for shared reading at home, class novels, class libraries, the Dandelion phonic based readers and Big Cat Phonics used by our SEN Team


Sample of Big Books                                 Sample of Class Novels                 Sample of Key Links Texts

Reading with Your Child

Read for 10 minutes a day.
Find a suitable time and place, a time that works for you e.g. after dinner or at bedtime; a comfortable quiet place if possible.
Reading at Home Tips
1. Find a quiet comfortable corner with no distractions-turn off mobile phones and the TV.
2. Show a positive attitude towards books and reading.
3. Take an interest in different children’s authors.
4. Read to or with your child everyday, at a set time if possible. Enrol and encourage your child to visit the local library once a week...
5. Read some of the books your child enjoys so you can discuss them with him/her. Recognise and praise your child’s efforts in reading.
6. Encourage your child to read articles / headlines in newspapers, magazines or in digital media-on line with parental supervision. Discuss ideas and points of view proposed by newspaper articles etc.
7. Encourage your child to read to younger brothers/ sisters.
8. Allow your child to choose his /her own reading material. Find the right level book for your child, too easy will bore them and too difficult will discourage them. Use the five finger rule-there should be no more than 5 new words your child is unfamiliar with on a page. More than 5 new words means the text is too difficult. Encourage your child to guess unknown words.
9. Encourage your child to predict what will happen next in the text.
10. Encourage your child to read for information – timetables / weather forecasts / menus.

Reading with Your Child
Paired or Shared Reading with your Child

If your child lacks confidence to read alone, try paired reading. There are different types of paired reading try them all to see which works for you and your child.
Assisted reading: Read a part of the text and the child takes over at an agreed point-read every second paragraph or every second page. If your child comes to an unknown word, you give them 4 seconds and then read the word for them.
Chorus reading: Parent and child read aloud together. Listen carefully so you know that your child is able to read with you most of the time.
ECHO reading: You read the sentence and then you and the child read the sentence together. Finally, the child reads the sentence alone. This is useful if your child is experiencing significant difficulties.
If a child is reading without expression, try asking them to read the same paragraph again but with feeling. Reading and acting out lines is a great way to build fluency. This can be great fun if you really exaggerate and use different accents.

Comprehension Questions

Fiction Text Non-Fiction Text    
Who was the main character?
What was the setting?
What was the problem in the story?
How was the problem resolved?
What do you predict will happen next?
Why do you think the author chose this title for the story?
Can you think of a different title for the story?
What was your favourite part of the story? Why? What is the main idea of the text?
What did you learn from reading the text?
Are there any words you did not know the meaning of?
What are some new words that you learned?
Where could you find more information on this topic?
Did you like this text? Why/ Why Not?  

Oral Language     

These are the TOP Ten Tips for Parents/ Guardians for Developing Oral Language with
your child as supplied by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST)
Infants - 1st Class 
Listen to what your child is saying/trying to say and respond to contributions 
Make and maintain eye contact while talking with your child
Explain the meaning of words
Talk through activities
Talk through everyday experiences
Involve your child in discussions/plans
Ask/ Answer questions
Teach your child nursery rhymes/songs/poems/raps
Develop your child's receptive language by asking him/her to follow simple instructions 
Assist your child to express ideas in an orderly fluent way
Read to your child each night
2nd - 4th Class
Set aside 10 - 15 minutes to discuss the day's happenings
Encourage your child to express and justify opinions
Involve your child in adult conversation when appropriate
Talk about the child's favourite T.V programme
Play language games which focus on words i.e. Scrabble, Crosswords
Encourage your child to talk about experiences with a wide range of people.
Listen carefully and clarify meaning: "Do you mean/or is this what you mean?"
Encourage your child to listen courteously to the opinions of others
Talk about school topics and assignments
5th and 6th Class
Discuss your child's school work successes/concerns/interests
Respect your child's opinions and feelings
Involve your child in adult conversation, when appropriate
Help your child to extend his range of words in specialised subjects
Encourage your child to listen and respond courteously to others
Watch and discuss T.V. news/current affairs programmes together
Assist your child to locate information in local library, internet
Talk about school topics and assignments
Play commercial games that focus on word building  
How to Extend your Child’s Vocabulary

Let your child tell the story.
Converse regularly.
Play together: Play word games such as Scrabble, word searches, crosswords, word stack, Boggle, Pictionary etc.
Label household items.
Be patient. Keep it fun!
Read together. A broad range of texts fiction, non-fiction, magazines, joke books, comics etc.
Write for pleasure!
Create a word wall at home with new vocabulary.
Show older children how to use a thesaurus.
Correct mistakes with care: If you’re child makes a grammar error when they are speaking, it is not necessary to correct them. However, you can parrot what they have said and expose them to the correct sentence structure.
For Example.  Child: “I goed to the shop with Granny.”
                      Parent: “Oh, you went to the shop with Granny.
                                  What did you buy?”

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