Homework in Junior Infants should only take 10 minutes. It is worth establishing a routine very early on. It is advisable for the children to complete their homework following a little snack after school, before they get too tired. All written work should be completed in pencil and where possible, markers shouldn’t be used as they can ruin additional pages All parents should check that they are happy with their child’s efforts.
During the month of September the children are asked to colour and learn a Nursery Rhyme each week. The children ‘perform’ and change the nursery rhymes in school. When all 10 of our rhymes are complete the pages are turned into a book for the children to chart their own progress and have fun with at home.
“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” [Fox, M. (2001). Reading Magic. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.]
October sees the start of the Jolly Phonics scheme. In St. Catherine’s we cover 2 new sounds every week. On Mondays and Wednesdays the children should colour their sound page and trace the letters underneath. There is space for the child to practice writing a few letters themselves. Following lots of letter formation fun and games with shaving foam, playdough, tracing, sand and whiteboards the children are expected to trace the highlighted letters in their copies. They can if they wish, practice writing some by themselves but it is not necessary!
There is also a Nursery Rhyme to recite at home.
And a little while longer!!!
Mid way through November the children will have finished Phase 1 of their Nursery Rhyme Scheme so these will no longer be recited as part of homework, they will be revisited later in the school year to assist the children with rhyming skills.
Along with their Jolly Phonics sound books the children will have 10 words to practice reading. These words should be blended using the sounds that the children already know.
Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word. For example, sounding out d-o-g and making dog. It is a technique every child will need to learn, and it improves with practice. To start with, you should sound out the word and see if a child can hear it, giving the answer if necessary. Some children take longer than others to hear this. The sounds must be said quickly to hear the word. It is easier if the first sound is said slightly louder. Try little and often.