I was looking for a summer course on Literacy this year. I try to pick a topic/subject that I’m going to really focus on and work on each year and this year is Literacy. I wanted some new ideas to try in my classroom so I was delighted to be asked to review Enriching Literacy. The programme can also be used for Gaeilge so the skills are transferable.
Enriching Literacy is a programme for Literacy and Gaeilge in primary schools and was created by a practising primary school teacher and deputy principal Julie Prendiville.
(I completed the course free of charge in exchange for a review)
What is Enriching Literacy?
Enriching Literacy is an active, child led programme for teaching English (and Irish) in Primary Schools. It links the three strands of Reading, Writing and Oral Language together.
The programme focusses on the use of tags. The children find a suitable sentence in their book/ class reader etc. and ‘tag’ it by placing a post it note on the area and labelling it with the abbreviation for the tag.
The tags include;
- Senses (S)
- Guess (G)
- Links (L)
- Vocabulary (V)
- Summarise (Su)
- Challenge (C)
- Interpret (IN)
- Grammar (Gr)
- Comparison (Co)
- Illustrate (I)
- Céadfaí (C)
- Tuairim (T)
- Naisc (N)
- Foclóir (F)
- Athchoimrigh (A)
- Dúshlán (D)
- Mínigh (M)
- Gramadach (G)
- Compared (Co)
- Maisigh (M)
Each tag has it’s own focus – vocabulary, comprehension skills, grammar points etc.
One tag is introduced each week (10 weeks in total)
Resources that you’ll need to get started
One of my favourite things about Enriching Literacy is the fact that you really don’t need anything ‘out of the ordinary’ to get started.
All you need is a book, post it notes (for tagging) and a thesaurus. This means the programme can be done in any school and at any class level too. It’s practical and easy to implement for busy teachers.
My experience in class
I started the year with a story from our class text book during week 1. I didn’t use Enriching Literacy because I wanted to check in and see where the children were at before starting a new programme that I hadn’t used before. I found the children were struggling with recalling the story and with answering comprehension questions.
This week, I’ve just started with the Senses tag and the response has been incredible so far. With the senses tag the children have to choose a sentence from the story and then they need to describe the scene – what do you see/hear/feel/taste/smell? They then use 3 adjectives for each noun.
Some responses received included;
•I can see the giant, cold, rough waves crashing against the black slippery, slimy, rocks.
•I see the cold, wet, terrified man splashing the freezing, shark infested waters. I can hear seagulls flapping their big, wide, white wings, loud, roaring engines of the boats in the distance and the rough waves crashing over the big, jagged rocks.
The children were really engaged and enjoyed tagging their story. They were motivated to write their own responses and also work within their groups for peer assessment.
This led into a grammar lesson too so we revised nouns and adjectives in a really meaningful way.
What I love about the programme is that it can be used individually, in pairs or in small groups. The children can work in mixed ability groups and work together to create the best possible answer. They can encourage one another to use a wide range of interesting vocabulary, ask questions, seek clarification and also assess one another’s work.
The programme is very much child led which I think is really important. The children are actively involved in their learning – they find the best sentence to place their tag. The teacher acts as a facilitator for the lessons.
Transfer of skills
One thing that will definitely be really useful is how the skills learned throughout the programme can be fully transferred from Literacy to Gaeilge. The tags (and images associated with the tags) can be used in both languages.
Overall, I found the course really enjoyable and so far it has been very easy to implement in my classroom. The children are motivated, interested and engaged in our lessons. To find out more you can visit the Enriching Education Website below.