Part 3: Decodable readers and writing skills
In Step 5, there are 20 more tricky words for the children to learn to read and write:
any many more before other
were because want saw put
could should would right two
four goes does made their
They do this in the same way as the tricky words in Steps 3 and 4, trying to blend the words and then looking for the awkward bit [demonstration].
Now with knowledge of the new 20 tricky words and the alternative spellings, the children are ready to read the Blue Level of Jolly Phonics Readers. As in earlier levels, the first page tells us what the children need to know: the 42 letter sounds, ‹y› with an /ee/ sound, the hop-over-‹e› digraphs, and the digraphs and tricky words taught in Step 5 [demonstration]. Now the emphasis, as often quoted, is moving from learning to read to reading to learn, and in this case [book shown] the children are learning about the River Nile [story summarised].
As you can see, the content level of these books is quite advanced. If these books are too hard for some of the children to understand, then choose simpler decodable books, such as those described on the home page in the section Phonic knowledge, under the heading Decodable readers. The children can always enjoy reading the Blue Level at a later date, when their comprehension skills have sufficiently improved.
Writing and spelling should continue to be a major focus and be encouraged as much as possible, using many different approaches, such as the children writing messages to each other, writing a shopping list, re-telling a story, writing their news, creating a story of their own, or even writing a diary. The more the children write the easier it becomes, and the easier it becomes the more they enjoy doing it. Not all the children will be at this stage, which is why it is important to continue with dictation.
For some of the time, the children will be learning to spell the new tricky words in Step 5, a few at a time. A little instruction and revision most days work well. The tricky word spelling sheets are useful and can be used in the same way as in Steps 3 and 4. (They can be downloaded either by scrolling down to the bottom of the screen in the relevant Step, or by going to the Resources section on the home page.) The children could also work in pairs and test each other: one child dictates three or four words while the partner writes them on a board or on paper [demonstration]. Then they both check the words and swap over. The aim is for both children to learn how to spell these new tricky words. It makes a change to dictation always being given by the teacher. There are, however, times when the children should continue to write on lined paper and be encouraged to use their neatest handwriting. A variety of approaches helps to keep the children focused and interested in their writing.