As mentioned in previous posts, the school I currently work at introduced a new product last year which streamed young learners by age opposed to level. This means that in one classroom you can end up having a wide range of levels in skills (speaking, reading, listening, writing) and systems (vocabulary, discourse, grammar, phonology). Students come from different schools with different programmes, which also contributes to the disparity in levels, namely the ones who frequent international schools often have higher language abilities compared to others.
The greatest disparity I’ve found is students’ reading abilities. Some young learners can read very long words and their fluency when reading sentences in very good. A lot of these students frequented a phonic foundation. This made me want to find out more about this course.
I decided to participate in the Jolly phonics online course. The website layout isn’t the best but the content was very helpful in understanding the best ways to help young learners develop their reading fluency, spelling and writing skills. It gave me a spectrum of ideas on how to support children in my lessons who are currently behind others where reading is concerned.
The Jolly Phonics course
This course has 5 modules. For each module you have to answer a question on a forum and make contributions to other answers. I personally didn’t receive a lot of replies, however I found the reading materials very interesting.
The course goes through the history of approaches to reading in primary schools in English speaking countries and the results of studies that compared these approaches. It then goes on to explaining the skills students need to have to approach reading a word/sentence. Finally it goes over the Jolly phonics course itself and the available materials.
Another good thing about this course is that they have more than one version to cater for people of different English speaking countries.
Before I completed this course I had already taught phonics, but this helped me understand the structure and the reasoning behind it, which in turn helped me tweak my teaching.
If you are interested in taking this course, you can find the link below.