After another successful funding bid we were flying to Lesotho for stage 2 of our Literacy Leap project (with some stage 1 schools thrown in too!). The aim in 2015 was to extend the training for teachers and appointed phonic co-ordinators in two districts and monitor the use of their donated books. Last year, stage one of the project introduced Phonics and Interactive story telling as a tool to improve pupils and teachers literacy levels in English and Sesotho. It had been received very successfully and during the Lesotho Teacher Placement Programme good practice was cascaded very effectively.
Our first booking for our Literacy Leap adventure of the year was for Thabana Tsoana Primary School on the outskirts of Maseru. A very committed Principal and Lesotho Wales link committee member had invited us to share our workshop with his staff and some guests from surrounding Primary schools. As it was their first introduction to Phonics we began with the Jolly Phonics Set 1 story, sounds and actions, we then consolidated the introduced letter sounds, used handmade flashcards and activities to encourage blending the sounds together to make words. The teachers were highly engaged and extremely quick to pick up the format and demonstrate the teaching/learning process.
As we sped through the 7 sets of sounds and activities for assessment, use of tricky words, high frequency words and mini-chalkboards, we prepared and distributed materials for each Principal to take back to their school with them. They had a set of reading scheme books, bottle blends and letter cards.
Kathryn worked her magic at the end of the session by introducing storytelling as an active resource for learning and oral story mapping using the Pie Corbett technique to enthuse and inspire the teachers and principals. It was a resounding success with some fantastic feedback and aspirations for their classroom practice.