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    reading and writing in first grade
    By Cathy-Dee

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    It sounds like you are on the right track. I'm not aware of what the curriculum standards are in England and even here they vary so much from school district to school district. But I think the mix you are talking about is one that works well. I use songs, word families, phonics workbooks along with a lot of stories, literature in the room, poetry, etc., I think the more kids are exposed to different things, the more they can pick up. But many kids also need the structure of phonics and guided reading and writing activities.

    Is this your first year teaching, or have you been teaching for awhile?

    I always start the year by doing some simple one on one testing. I check each child individually and see if they know all their letter names and sounds. This gives me a good starting place. If most of the class is confident with their letter names and sounds, then I don't have to spend as much time on the phonics of individual letters and can move more into blends, digraphs, long and short vowels and sight words.
    In the first week have them write in their journal - make it unstructured, - just ask them to write about what they did in the summer and if they don't know how to spell a word to write the sounds they hear. If some say they don't know how to write, tell them to write the letters of the alphabet they know or even the words they do know. This will also give you some insight to where the class is with writing skills.

    Good luck, England would be a fascinating place to teach.

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