Stuck in a rut thinking about what class activity to have for your next lesson? Based on our teachers’ experiences, the lack of time to instruct and create output assessments with children is a concern. We understand here at Cassidy Education, that at times it is stressful to teach, give instructions and correct mistakes, especially when you don’t have enough.

Although we can’t stop time, we can make lessons more time-efficient and do away with “time-wasting activities”. In this post, we list some literacy practices that are worthy of your time and deliver results.

1. Morphology. Morphemes are the smallest “meaning-carrying” units of language. For example, in the word reabsorbed, there are three morphemes: re, meaning “again”, absorb, meaning “to take in”, and “ed”, signalling the past.

Studies show that teaching morphology boosts advanced development of language-learning skills, such as: spelling, vocabulary development, and decoding.

Teaching affixes, root words and their meanings is common practice in classrooms. Teaching morphology isn’t, yet it may provide a more solid foundation for the learner. With morphology instruction, learners are taught to compose or decompose words using its existing structures. Figuring out how words form using specific architectures is for some, a more robust way of explaining language and thus, can be learned. Over time, students move on to more sophisticated words, deriving their meanings from composing or decomposing them. According to research by Thomas and H. A. Robinson, Spache and Berg and R. P .Robinson, the PQRST strategy is recommended:

P (prefix): identifying the prefix and its meaning
QR (queen root): defining the root word (queen) and its meaning
S (suffix): identifying the suffix and its meaning
T (total): putting together the meanings of the units to find out the word’s meaning

2. Motivating Children to Read. Fostering a love of reading is essential. Designing lessons and instructions that include specific motivational practices is vital to improve and influence a student’s motivation to read.

The Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) approach is designed to include motivational practices that bolster a fondness for reading. The five motivational practices are:

a. Relevance: Students have an opportunity to connect a current activity to their previous experiences, in or out of the classroom. This can be anything such as scientific investigations in class and then compare findings outside of the school; this can motivate them to read more about scientific research.

b. Choice: You give students the opportunities and options within the curriculum itself. For example, reading about an animal habitat that they need to study, identifying the kinds of texts they ‘want’ to read, and how to present their learning (reports, presentations, etc.).

c. Collaboration: Collaborative projects among peers provides a great opportunity for work in groups. It can be a simple exercise such as partner reading, or larger activities such as developing a dramatic skit.

d. Self-Efficacy Support: This is when students are encouraged to share their expectations about; lessons, themselves, and their goals for their work. Their goals are discussed to ensure they are realistic; students are guided to associate their failures and successes to the amount of effort they put in, not just on ability or outcome.

e. Thematic Units: Students develop knowledge through a structured set of experiences determined by a theme. This means that their ideas cohere with a larger one, and subconcepts, points and cases within the Big Idea.

3. Interactive Writing. Interactive writing usually involves the teacher and young students (Pre-Nursery to Reception) writing together. The teacher leads the activity, and the learner contributes to the writing based on their skill and developmental level

Step one is thinking of something to write that has an authentic purpose, for example, writing a letter to parents about a recent field trip, or thanking the school nurse for her care, or even teaching another class, the new skills they have learned.

The second step is writing! The teacher and the learner compose the text together, taking turns. The teacher makes a note of the student’s strengths and needs when the activity is ongoing. For example, a student might be invited to write the beginning letter of a word when he is in the early stages of learning, whereas a more advanced learner would be asked to spell out whole words – or even sentences.

Also, while writing, the teacher can use interactive writing to engage students in explicit teaching by modelling literacy skills like the concept of print, phonemic awareness and spelling. It can be as simple as telling the student where on the page he can start to write, or listening and matching sounds in words. Studies indicate that phonological awareness, knowledge of the alphabet, and early reading contribute to writing development.

These activities are designed with Primary students in mind. However, with a little adjustment, it may help your students foster the right attitude towards reading and writing.

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