Third & Fourth
Home Up


Third and Fourth Classes

Oral Language

As the pupil advances from the Junior classes his command of spoken language improves rapidly, and the time devoted to oral expression will decrease slightly, but the importance of oral language will not diminish. Oral language will still play a vital role in the development and consolidation of ideas. Every lesson is a language lesson, and each subject area provides scope for discussion of themes and concepts. Language may therefore be seen as the integrating influence in the curriculum.

Developing receptiveness to oral language

The child is enabled to:

  • Listen to, retell and tape a narrative or a description
  • Give and follow instructions
  • Use mime to  convey ideas
  • Discuss the use and effect of music, sound effects and non-verbal clues

Developing competence and confidence in using oral language

The child is enabled to:

  • Initiate conversations and respond to the initiatives of others
  • Present ideas in a logical sequence
  • Summarise and prioritise ideas
  • Discuss the origins and meanings of words
  • Become aware of new words
  • Play synonym and antonym games
  • Become familiar with the functions of words – nouns, pronouns, verb, adverb, adjective and preposition
  • Practise the common social functions in the everyday context of the class

Developing cognitive abilities through oral language

The child is enabled to:

  • Discuss issues that directly affect his life
  • Discuss a story being read
  • Discuss different possible solutions to problems
  • Listen to a presentation
  • Learn how to use the basic key questions – why? How? Where? When? What ? What if?
  • Make presentations to class about his interests
  • Justify personal likes and dislikes
  • Argue a point of view
  • Explore historical events through drama

Developing emotional and imaginative life through oral language

The child is enabled to:

  • Describe everyday experiences to the class
  • Describe favourite moments
  • Express reactions to events and stories
  • Dramatise stories
  • Experience playful aspects of language


  • Current affairs: local and global
  • People: Our families, people who help us
  • Special occasions - Christmas, Easter, St Patrick's Day, birthdays, Lent.
  • Stories, poems, incidents in the classroom and in the school community, Greek legends, the Fiannaiocht and other stories from history
  • Social and Environmental Studies - the weather, the changes in Swords during the various seasons
  • Topics related to the stories from the texts which are being read.
  • Animals of the jungle
  • A problem I helped to solve
  • Races - the Olympic Games
  • Things we keep in a fridge
  • People who spend their lives helping others
  • Pets which the children keep and how they care for them
  • A bad mistake I once made
  • Space travel
  • The Tidy Towns Competition
  • Litter
  • Bicycles
  • Ghosts
  • Musical Instruments
  • India
  • A Summer Job


The main goal of the reading programme is to teach the children how to read, but the ultimate objective is to foster an enjoyment of reading. The two main aims are subsumed under the headings of reading to learn and learning to read.

Developing reading strategies

The child is enabled to:

  • Identify unfamiliar words by reference to word parts
  • Continue to self-correct reading errors
  • Become an increasingly independent reader
  • Understand the relationship between text and illustration

Reading for pleasure and information

The child is enabled to:

  • Have access to books
  • Use library facilities outside school
  • Select personal reading material
  • Experience different types of text
  • Engage with a wide variety of poetry on a regular basis
  • Develop basic information retrieval skills – using table of contents, chapter headings and index
  • Use simple dictionaries effectively

Developing interests, attitudes, information retrieval skills and the ability to think

The child is enabled to:

  • Read short books in one sitting
  • Explore new interests and perspectives
  • Seek recommendations for books to read and recommend books
  • Use IT to enhance reading development
  • Know the structure and terminology of books – cover, spine, illustration, dedication, table of contents, introduction, page, chapter
  • Develop a range of comprehension strategies
  • Use a knowledge of printing conventions as an aid to expression and comprehension – bold type, punctuation marks and capital letters
  • Keep a record of personal reading

Responding to text

The child is enabled to:

  • Extend and develop his response to more challenging reading material
  • Talk about books
  • Talk about choice of books
  • Experience a shared response to fiction through the use of a class novel
  • Share responses with other children and adults to cultivate a community of readers

Core Reading Books

Third Class

  • A Perfect Fit and other stories
  • No Room for an Elephant and Other Stories

Other Books

  • The Five Hundred
  • Jimmy and the Banshee
  • Charlie Harte and the Two-Wheeled Tiger
  • The King of Wisdom’s Daughter
  • The Great Pig Escape
  • Albert and the Magician


Creating and fostering the impulse to write

The child is enabled to:

  • Experience a classroom environment that encourages writing
  • Use personal reading as a stimulus to writing
  • Write stories in a variety of genres
  • Re-read writing
  • See his work valued by having it displayed, by having it included in a class anthology, by reading it aloud

Developing competence, confidence and the ability to write independently

The child is enabled to:

  • Write regularly
  • Engage with a piece of writing over a period
  • Experience oral language activity as a preparation for writing
  • Learn to ask questions as a mechanism for expanding and developing a story
  • Give sequence to ideas and events in stories
  • Develop an appreciation of the difference between written and oral language
  • Learn to revise and re-draft writing

Clarifying thought through writing

The child is enabled to:

  • Write in a variety of genres –stories, diaries, reports, letters, notices, memos
  • Read a story and write it in his own words
  • Read a narrative and summarise it
  • Write about ideas encountered in other areas of curriculum
  • Write a sentence and elaborate on it
  • Expand and clarify thoughts through drafting and re-drafting
  • Write down directions on how to perform a particular process

Developing emotional and imaginative life through writing

The child is enabled to:

  • Express his reaction to particular experiences in writing
  • Write about experiences in dairy form
  • Create stories and poems
  • Write extended stories in book form
  • Write about favourite moments, characters and events in stories
  • Express in writing his reaction to poems
  • Use his artwork and that of others as a stimulus to writing

Topics for Creative Writing

  • One day I felt left out of things
  • The day I won the race
  • The day I won the lottery
  • As I was walking along a cliff, I heard a voice..........
  • One day I found a ... and brought him home. I asked my Mum could I keep him.....
  • What I would do if I had a lot of money
  • If I had a magic wand  (6 sentences)
  • One day the Zogs on our planet got up to mischief
  • The day I made the dinner
  • My second hand bicycle
  • When I was small, I was very frightened of.....
  • The day I met a leprechaun
  • One day I played a wonderful trick on.....
  • A farm is.... (6 sentences)
  • If I had a squirrel...
  • Reports - daily news, places visited, sports events, review of library books
  • Practice in note taking
  • Class magazine - this is a combination of the creative and the functional aspects, and it will also involve word processing


See Policy Document on Handwriting. Legibility of handwriting is a minimum requirement at this stage. Practise  headlines each day. Transcription of useful phrases and sentences.


Poems are chosen from class texts and from other sources.


  • Question mark, exclamation mark.
  • Use of capital letters
  • to start a sentence
  • for the word I
  • for the names of people
  • for the names of places
  • for the names of days
  • Commas
  • Use a comma when you write a list

Phonics Spellings

[See separate phonic programme]

Fourth Class

Suggestions for Oral Language Topics

  • Local, national and international news
  • Television, radio programmes; Videos and films.
  • Discussion of books read to class by teacher and by pupils.
  • Oral reports on football matches, sports day, tours, trips.
  • Hobbies.
  • Related to texts being read:
  • Cooking. Favourite recipes.
  • Story tellers - seanchai
  • Favourite football teams.
  • Rescue services
  • My ghost story
  • Wild animals of the Irish countryside
  • The life of an Eskimo
  • Tortoises
  • An interview with a person returning from a space voyage
  • The vast universe
  • Treasure
  • Famous painters
  • Famous sculptors
  • Famous paintings
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Detectives
  • Criminals
  • Advantages and disadvantages of various modes of travel - DART, train, steam engine
  • Cruel sports
  • Conservatio


Core Reading Books

  • Its Not Fair and Other Stories
  • Flying Free and Other Stories

Other Reading Material

  • Seven Spiders Spinning
  • Juliet’s Story
  • Star Dancer
  • In Deep Dark Wood
  • The Castle in the Attic
  • The House on the Shore

Specific guidance given on the use of a dictionary,

  • look up the word "bridge".
  • Bridge starts with the letter B. Are B words at the start, the middle or the end of the alphabet ? Find B part of dictionary.
  • R is the second letter, so Br words will come near the end of the B words.
  • Look for the guide words. Guide words are the words in dark type at the top of each page of the dictionary.
  • There is more than one meaning given. Which one is right?
  • Bridge: A crossing over a river or a road
  • A platform on a ship
  • Part of a violin
  • The bony part of the nose
  • A card game.
  • Go back to the sentence from which we took the word "bridge" and check the context clues.

Extension of Reading Vocabulary

  • Synonyms - words which are similar in meaning - use thesaurus.
  • Antonyms - words which are opposite in meaning - use thesaurus
  • Homonyms - would, wood: isle, aisle; to, too, two; blue, blew; tale, tail; road, rode.
  • Compound words - make one word
  • Use of prepositions
  • Compile a list of abbreviations
  • Make a list of the words used in History and in Mathematics
  • Study of prefixes
  • Singular and plural
  • Write out fifteen words which begin with a vowel use of a and an.
  • Write out fifteen words which begin with a consonant
  • Cloze procedure - discuss suitable words for inclusion


  • Extension of previous years' work - class diaries, news sheets
  • Punctuation - capital letters, commas, full stops, apostrophes, question mark, exclamation mark.
  • Paragraphs: Introductory work.
  • Transcription: Small amount to facilitate the development of a legible hand.
  • Reports on matches, television programmes, book summaries.
  • Class magazine - use of computer.
  • My Home Town
  • A Visit to Swords Castle
  • A Walk along the Estuary
  • A Trip to Dublin Airport
  • My Hobby.
  • Write the recipe for a pudding.
  • Write a conversation between a butcher and a customer.
  • A Monkey finds a Guitar.
  • The Ghost that played a Tin Whistle.
  • What are you? I'm just a schoolboy.....
  • Matuk's land is cold......
  • Write a list of questions to be asked of a person returning from a space flight.
  • My Treasure.
  • Write a recipe for biscuits.
  • The Night the Watchman Slept
  • Supersub.
  • Brave Boy saves his Younger Brother.

Letter Writing


Address the envelope  First line: Name
Second line: Street, Road
Third line: Town/city
Fourth line: County
2. Introduction to letter:  Address
Form of Greeting


  1. The noun
  2. The verb.
  3. The adjective.


Give the children the opportunity to hear, recite and write poetry. Explanation of ideas, showing why poet opted for one word instead of another.


See separate policy document

Phonics and Spellings

See separate policy programme

Contact Us

Home ¦ Class Photographs ¦ Dates for Diary ¦ General Interest |Information ¦ Local History ¦ Newsletters ¦ Our Work ¦ Sporting Activities ¦ Useful Links ¦ Web Safety

© St. Colmcille's B.N.S., Chapel Lane, Swords, Co. Dublin