Power Hour is a literacy-based hour, which we use to improve literacy skills in Senior Infants and 1st class. Pupils get lots of opportunities to improve their skills through station teaching. We have 5 stations – 2 reading stations, 1 writing station, 1 iPad station and 1 phonics station. Power Hour takes place Monday to Thursday, and Friday is reserved for planning. It is run by support teachers and the class teachers.
Children are divided up into small groups and they spend 7-8 minutes at each station. By the end of the hour, they will have visited each activity and will take their “familiar reading” book home for reading for the 3rd time. They should be very proficient at reading the book at home and it is a good idea that you encourage good fluency and intonation and ask questions to ensure they are comprehending the text/story. We use a variety of graded readers from the Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat and many more and ensure they cover a mixture of genres from factual and fiction as they move up levels. It is essential that you read with your child at home and ensure the reader is returned to school.
There are many positive benefits to this type of literacy intervention. The children are given lots of opportunities to express themselves orally. The teachers have a chance to assess individual needs and to get to know the children better. Small group supervision of writing and phonics encourages the children to focus and to take more care with their written work.
Here is an idea of what happens at each station.
Station One: New Reading
Children will explore a new reader each day. They will use various comprehension strategies when reading the book e.g. prediction, visualisation, connection etc. to help them become really good readers.
Station Two: Familiar Reading
Pupils read previously read Readers (read at the New Reading station) to improve their reading fluency and confidence with the text.
Station Three: Phonics/Grammar/Tricky Words
Children work on phonics work, blending and segmenting words, as well as some grammar and Jolly Phonics tricky words. Sometimes, they will practise writing the words they are working on into their copies/sentence strips or sometimes they will use games to learn them.
Station Four: Writing
Pupils focus on correct pencil grip, finger warm-up exercises, correct letter formation of both lower and upper case letters. They will then move on to writing sentences in their handwriting copies.
Station Five: iPads
The children play literacy-based games on readingeggs.com, or on their tricky words (using the Jolly Phonics, Hairy Words, Wordball apps) on the iPads.