As a parent to a Senior Infant, you will notice how their vocabulary and speaking skills are developing all the time. Oral language is one of the key strands of the Primary Language Curriculum, which seeks to progress children’s ability to communicate, understand, explore and use language confidently and fluently.
Activity books are ideal resources for supporting oral language teaching and learning, as they provide opportunities for guided instruction, reflection and interaction in order to advance key skills such as expression, elaboration, engagement and awareness of others. They also provide visual cues for more technical elements involved in language such as sentence structure and grammar, which young children often struggle with during the early years of their education.
In this article, we'll discuss how you can support your Senior Infant with their oral language development, what you should look for in oral language resources and the different types of activity books available for Senior Infant-aged Primary School children.
Supporting your Senior Infant with their oral language
You may already be doing a lot of things that support your child’s oral language development, such as reading to them regularly and encouraging them to interact with friends, family and fellow schoolchildren. There are many ways you can aid their development at home, including:
Face-to-face interaction and maintaining eye contact
Having face-to-face conversations that involve eye contact builds a sense of trust that is incredibly important during early language development. It is a key skill in social interaction that demonstrates you are sustaining and engaging in the conversation with another person. Leading by example and encouraging your child to do these as well will help them build an understanding and appreciation of other people’s social needs and expectations. This in turn will help your infant communicate and express themselves more clearly and improve their ability to interpret non-verbal cues.
Encourage your child to articulate themselves and speak clearly
You can do this by encouraging them to read more, have conversations and tell stories—both non-fictional accounts such as retelling their day at school and fictional narratives that allow them to use language playfully and creatively. To make it more fun, you can even use songs and rhymes to describe daily activities or play games such as 'I Spy' that introduce your child to new words and provide a more memorable experience for recalling words later.
Read stories and engage with a variety of different media
By engaging with different forms of media—verbal, visual, aural and written—you can help your Senior Infant comprehend what they’re reading, watching or listening to and absorb the words they pick up. When it comes to reading stories, you could ask your child to predict the outcome of the narrative or to summarise the passage that you've read together to demonstrate their understanding and comprehension of information.
Finding the right oral language activity book for your child
When it comes to finding the perfect oral language activity books for your Senior Infant, there are a few factors to consider. Some children have developmental delays that mean they aren’t able to advance their oral language skills as quickly as their peers, so look for books that cater to your child’s abilities while also offering plenty of opportunities for growth and discovery.
Make sure that the activity books you choose cover all the components of oral language, including semantics, syntax and pragmatics and that these are presented in an age-appropriate, child-friendly way with lots of colour and interaction elements. It should also feature a range of engaging activities and cover a selection of different literacy skills including phonics, spelling, reading and vocabulary.
Irish oral language activity books
This is a full-colour activity book for Senior Infants. It is written in line with the themes in Curaclam na Bunscoile and encourages individual thought, shared reading and discussion. It uses games, drama, songs and rhymes to develop speaking and listening skills.
This is a complete student programme, covering Irish aural and oral work, writing and reading. It contains clear and bold artwork alongside activities for your infant to work through independently. Inside, there are lots of puppets, posters and lamhleabhair, making it great for classroom use and perfect for providing an all-round Irish Language Programme.
This series of activity books link digital material with a range of stimulating activities that can be worked through systematically. They include instructions for teachers at the bottom of every page, as well as matching activities and listening exercises. This will give your infant the opportunity to practise, revise and consolidate all the language they have learned in an interactive way.
Overall oral language development activity books
The second book of the A Way with Words series, this instalment for Senior Infants is designed to help children develop their prewriting, letter formation, oral language and reading skills using graded and integrated activities.
Over the Moon is a skills book containing nine units of work to allow infants to develop the three strains of the Primary Language Curriculum (writing, reading and oral language) in an integrated and meaningful way.
Over 10 units of work, this book offers a comprehensive programme that integrates oral language with other areas such as reading, spelling and writing. Speaking and listening activities are designed for the whole class and pair work to encourage collaboration, interaction and awareness of others.
The Big Box Adventures series runs from Junior Infants to Second Class and is designed specifically for the needs of Irish schools and pupils. These storybooks integrate oral language and other key literacy skills with ICT and digital learning to make studies more enjoyable and accessible.
This activity book is written by experienced Primary School teachers to help infants develop their core skills in literacy and focuses on oral language, phonics, comprehension and grammar.