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Ratheniska National School

Partnering Children on their Developmental Journey

What is TSI?

TSI stands for Transactional Strategies Instruction.

This  means we use all our skills in comprehension such as predicting, visualizing, questioning, making connections, using prior knowledge, decoding and determining importance to help us improve our literacy skills.

How do we do it?

In fifth class we work in groups of three and we work on TSI three days a week.

Each session lasts for an hour. We read a variety of books. Teacher has picked a selection of books for us but soon we hope to pick some ourselves. Each person in the group has a role or a job to do. You are either a leader, a predictor or a questioner in  your group. You have to spend some time at the beginning of TSI learning how to do each role. Each person in the group has their own job to do.

Each new session we change our roles so in one week you get to have a go at each role.

Why TSI?

In fifth class we’re big fans of TSI because:
•    It helps train us to work as a team.
•    It gives us more confidence.
•    It helps our reading.
•    Reading is more enjoyable.
•    It helps you use new words in your writing.
•    It helps train your reading, literacy and vocabulary.
•    It helps you get through your reading better.

Read about our experiences below


TSI 2023


This is Fifth Class rounding up our T.S.I experience for this year. After our second bash at T.S.I we can confirm that it has improved our reading, writing and increased our vocabulary, especially after Covid. While we were doing home schooling we started to lose our confidence in reading aloud however we are now very confident at reading not only in our small groups but now to the whole class. We learned a lot from T.S.I and have read many interesting books along the way such as Holes, Mr Stink, There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom and too many more to mention.

Last cycle we mixed it up and some days we read our book “Holes” all together as a whole class taking turns and then chatting together about the events of the book. Other days we got into our small groups to work on the book. It was interesting to find out that some of us enjoyed reading together as a whole class better some days as they felt the room was less noisy and they could concentrate more easily on reading or listening. Some enjoyed everyone reading the same book as you could hear many different reactions to the story. Some days some of us definitely preferred working in our smaller groups as we got to read more ourselves and find it easier to share ideas in the smaller group too. All in all it was an interesting experience to mix it up every now and then.

We have worked in large groups and small groups. We practice different types of reading such as popcorn reading and we worked very hard to improve our fluency. We get asked questions and we make up questions too. We also use many strategies such as making predictions, connecting to characters, summarising and comparing and contrasting. In our opinion T.S.I is cool and a great way to learn not just about the book but about your classmates too and how they figure out stuff and what they enjoy!

To wrap up our Fifth Class experience we worked on our “Story in a Box.” This is where we created a scene from a book we had read during T.S.I in a shoebox relying on our creativity and some patience. We got to work in pairs or individually and the final results were something else. Take a look below.

TSI 2019

After finishing what is our last cycle of TSI in Ratheniska school, we can say overall it is a fantastic and invaluable experience. We’ve learned an immeasurable amount of literacy skills that we expected to learn in long, boring lesson after lesson. TSI allows you to expand your vocabulary and develop your level of reading in an enjoyable, intriguing way.
For those wondering, TSI stands for Transactional Strategies Instruction. We have access to two massive trolleys filled with books to choose from. Although any class can have access to every book, usually we introduce younger classes to the activity with easy, short books. In our school, we recently finished building a library, expanding our collection of books even more. However, in 6th class, we can switch it up a bit. This year, we were allowed to pick our own books from at home or in school, and come up with our own questions. The ultimate goal in TSI is to be discussing our books because we enjoy them, not because we have to.
During this generation of TSI, we have more books than ever before. We tend to buy classics, such as ‘The Hobbit’, Micheal Morpurgo’s ‘The Butterfly Lion’, and ‘Holes’, by Louis Sachar. For this cycle, our group decided to choose the book “Wonder”, a book about a boy called August with a facial deformity. We would recommend this book because it gives you an insight on a different perspective, showing you how cruel some children can be, and how acts of kindness can change everything.
TSI has changed so much since 4th class when we started, and it will continue to develop and adjust to the classes that partake in the future. It is a great way to begin reading, even if you didn’t like books before. There’s a story or factual book for everyone out there, even if you haven’t found one for yourself
One of the main traits of TSI is to work in small groups of two or three. This helps people who aren’t so confident with reading aloud to feel more comfortable using their voice. Classes full of boys and girls have gained fluency in their reading because of TSI. There are so many ways working and reading with books has improved our language and writing.
In conclusion TSI is a interesting way of gaining confidence and learning to read independently. Now that we, in 6th Class,  have finished our last TSI cycle ever, we are certainly going to bring the skills we learnt in TSI with us in the future. We know the classes behind us will enjoy it as much as we have done.

TSI 2018 Blog#16


In 5th Class we are just finishing our second cycle of T.S.I. This is our fourth cycle of T.S.I since we began in fourth class and overall it’s been a very enjoyable experience.

During this T.S.I cycle we have read a large variety of books including The Honest Truth, Brock, The Butterfly Lion, Mr. Stink, Faraway Home and The Boy in The Girls Bathroom. These books have covered a broad range of topics. For example, David Williams’ Mr Stink is very humorous while also discussing current topical social issues such as homelessness. Some other books have covered dark themes such as Marilyn Taylor’s Faraway Home describing the struggles of World War 2 and The Honest Truth telling the story of a boy fighting cancer.

We find this greater in depth analysis of these books has helped us in other areas and subjects. For example, Faraway Home helped us to empathise with the suffering of people during World War 2.  Other books like The Honest Truth and Brock taught us very important life lessons such as resilience and determination.

T.S.I has evolved for us since we began two years ago. We now read more, write less and have more meaningful discussions. We now clearly focus on different comprehension strategies each week while consolidating strategies already learned in previous TSI cycles. This TSI we focused mainly on inference, determining importance and summarising.

 One of the main advantages of TSI we believe is working independently in small groups. This allows us greater book choice so that we can pick books that suit and interest all of us in the group. Also, it has given us more reading time which has improved our fluency greatly. We are more comfortable in small groups and not as self-conscious about making mistakes.

TSI has greatly improved our vocabulary which has helped our comprehension across all areas. This has had a hugely positive effect in our writing and would you believe it, it has even improved the way we speak.

   All in all we have found T.S.I a fun and easy way to enjoy books and learn. We definitely read more books independently now as a result of the confidence TSI has given us.

The Guns of Easter Blog #15


We started T.S.I way back in 5th class. We were so excited and couldn’t wait to get started. Back then there was lots of paperwork and we didn’t get as involved. Now we are experts at T.S.I and just finished our last cycle .These days we know everything we need to know about T.S.I. We have just finished our last book called ‘’The Guns of Easter’’ by Gerard Whelan. We really enjoyed it. It was like an emotional rollercoaster, some parts were very sad and some parts were very happy. As this was the centenary year of the 1916 Rising we had studied it in class and this novel gave us  another perspective on the lives of the ordinary Dubliner caught up in the rising.

During this cycle we only had small bits of paperwork and we moved on to free coding and it helped us a lot! Free coding is when you don’t have to do vocabulary sheets and you just code words your group don’t understand, not the one’s the teacher predicts the whole class will not know. We also did a strategy called discussion.  This is when instead of doing a comprehension sheet you discuss the questions on the sheet instead of writing them down.

In this book Mae’s favourite character is Jimmy because he is so brave .Jack’s favourite character is Mick because he is really kind .This book really made us think about how lucky we are to be so privileged to live in a warm house with family to look after us.

We all think that this T.S.I cycle was one of our best because our book was so good and we got really involved and now that we are experts T.S.I comes easily to us!!!

Now that we are leaving Ratheniska we hope that next year’s 6th class enjoy their cycle as much as we did!!

By Sean, Mae and JackIMG-20160601-WA0000

Desirable Blog #14



Hi our names are Amy Hurley, Aisling Lalor and  Aisling McCullagh. We called are T.S.I group The Bubbles! We are in Fifth Class. We are going to tell you all about our T.S.I.  experience.

We think T.S.I helps you to learn by teaching you new words and finding out their  meaning and how to put them into sentences. T.S.I helps build up your confidence when reading to people and learning to lead a group. We really enjoyed T.S.I. It was real fun! We enjoyed making connections, doing predictions and listening to other people read.

The book we read was called Desirable written by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It was about a boy called George who didn’t have any friends. When he got some aftershave and lucky cufflinks from his Grandad for his birthday things go from lonely to well….. adventurous! We enjoyed listening to George’s funny story about the magical aftershave, we thought it was really entertaining and  we  loved this book. We would recommend this book to everyone because we laughed our heads off throughout the book and we thought the characters were very interesting and funny! We would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

We would recommend T.S.I because we got to know new people in our group and we had so much fun reading and doing activities as a group. The next time we do T.S.I we would like to read a different book and get more free reading just because we didn’t do much of it. Aisling Lalor enjoyed sitting down and reading and she found it got her reading more at home. Aisling McCullagh enjoyed doing free reading and predicting. Amy Hurley enjoyed listening to other people read.

If we were all told we couldn’t do T.S.I next year we would be really disappointed because we enjoyed sitting down and talking about the book and we learned lots about each other through  our connections.

We all really loved  T.S.I and we can’t wait to do it next year!!



The Butterfly Lion Blog #13



Ella, Roisin and Sophie.

Hi my name is Ella. This year we had T.S.I in our classroom. I really enjoyed it and I’m really going to miss it next year because I will be heading off into 1st year. It was a great time. This year my group and I read The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo. I really enjoy his books and I would recommend this book to all ages. I really enjoy reading out loud to a small group of people. It boosts my confidence and it prepares me for speaking in front of a BIG group of people. I really like the book varieties that the school gives us and I think many people will agree. At the start of T.S.I. in 5th class I was not so confident reading in front of people but now I know I can because T.S.I. helped me. I would recommend T.S.I. for all primary schools around the world. I really enjoyed it and I think that you will to. Thank you for reading.


Hi my name is Roisin and I’m here to tell you about my last year of T.S.I. The book I read  was The Butterfly Lion. I really enjoyed this boo. I would recommend this book to all ages. Last year I started T.S.I. and I have enjoyed it ever since. I think that T.S.I. is great for ages 8 and up. It helps our reading and it builds up confidence. The T.S.I. groups are chosen by the teachers and they are sure to put you in a good enough group. In T.S.I. we get sheets called Vocab sheets that have words from to book and we need to put them into proper sentences. I think it is a really good idea and it helps us learn new words. Once we get the hang of it we get to discuss the words orally instead of writing them down. This really helps us to use new words easily and use them in sentences right. This year I enjoyed T.S.I. and I will really miss it next year. Thank you for reading.


Hi my name is Sophie and I’m here to tell you about T.S.I. The book I read this year was The Butterfly Lion. It was really good, the book was written by Michael Morpurgo. I think this book would be good for all ages but I think people from the ages 9 and up would like it the most. I think the idea of T.S.I. is good because you can get better at reading, speaking out loud, using new words and you get to read more books too. The book selections are really good but some books can look good and they could be bad. At the start of T.S.I. you are put into groups of 3 people, you get  a choice of three books and you have to choose one book to read. After you pick your book you start to read the book you choose. During T.S.I you get sheets called Vocab and comprehension sheets, about half way through T.S.I. your teacher can let you do these sheets orally.  I think T.S.I. is really good and that all schools should do T.S.I.

Thanks for reading.

Ella Róisin Sophie

Cool! Blog #12


Hi guys its Ciara, Annie and Jimmy here from 4th class.  We have just finished our second cycle of T.S.I.

We think T.S.I. helps you to learn more vocabulary in a fun way. We enjoyed reading with new people, helping people if they get stuck on new words and discussing connections, predictions, codes and interesting words.

We read the book Cool by Michael Morpurgo. This book was about a boy called Robbie Ainsley who was in a terrible car accident involving his dog Lucky. He was in a coma for at least a month. Robbie suffered a serious head injury and a broken leg and was on a life support system. We loved  this book because we were always wondering if he was going to wake up.

We would recommend this to a younger class because there are not very difficult words in the text.

We would recommend T.S.I. because you get to read with other people and make friends. Also you learn more vocabulary.

If we could make any changes to T.S.I for next year we would have less paper work and more reading.

Our TSI experience was very interesting and fun. Bye guys!!!!!!!!


The Honest Truth Blog#11


In T.S.I., Roisin, Chloe and I [Lily] read a book called The Honest Truth. We are in Fourth Class.

This book is about a little boy called Mark and his dog Beau. Mark has a big dream to climb a huge mountain called Mt. Rainer, but the only thing holding him back is his family, friends and the fact that he has cancer. He is so fed up of the doctors, the medicine and all the help that he runs away to the mountain to die.

We would recommend this book to 11-13 year olds and for people who like exciting but sad books.

We like T.S.I because in a big group you don’t have much time to code or ask questions but in T.S.I you have all the time you need to do that. We also like T.S.I because it is fun to work with your friends and you get to pick books that you want to read. The thing we enjoy most about T.S.I is the reading and the thing we would change is less paper work and more reading.

T.S.I helps with our vocabulary, literacy and our reading skills. Our vocabulary sheets help us to know better words that we can use when we are writing instead of using boring plain words. Our readings skills help us speak better so we are not stuttering over are words.

We would recommend T.S.I because it is very helpful and is really fun.

Roisin Chloe Lee


5th Class T.S.I. Trained and ready to go! Blog #10


Another 5th Class group to give T.S.I a go are Derinn, Adam and Devin. They really enjoyed getting stuck into T.S.I this year and read no less than three books during this cycle – “Who’s a Big Bully Then?” and “Wartman” which were both written by the great Michael Morpurgo, and they also read Mad Iris which was written by Jeremy Strong.

Adam said he enjoyed learning more vocabulary which helped improve his reading but his favourite part was making connections and then being able to talk about them with the book. Derinn loved reading for the other members of her group. She also loved helping out when people got stuck on a word in the book. Devin also enjoyed being part of a group and reading aloud.

And what was the group’s favourite book out of the three? The winner is…..Mad Iris! Adam thought this was by far the funniest one. He liked that it was not as serious as the other books. Derinn enjoyed the main character – the ostrich! Her favourite part was when things started to go very wrong in the book and instead of the ostrich burying it’s head in the sand it buried it in someone’s jumper. They all agreed it was a super read!

Roll on the next T.S.I Cycle.

5th Class

5th Class

“There’s a boy in the girls’ bathroom”! Blog 9


Hello my name is Conor.C and I am in a T.S.I. group with Isabel and Matthew. This is our first time doing T.S.I and we really enjoyed it. T.S.I was really fun and improved our confidence and our comprehension. We like being in groups because your group help you when you’re stuck on words. The book we were reading is called “There’s a boy in the girls’ bathroom” by Louis Sachar. Personally we think this is a bad name for the book. The book is about a boy called Bradley who is a bully, he tells lies and picks fights with girls and only one person likes him and her name is Carla. We like this book because it makes you think differently about bullies because it shows you what’s going on in their heads. It shows you that not all bullies are actually that bad. It teaches us that there is no such thing as bad people but just bad behaviour. My favourite character is Bradley Chalkers because of the way he turns from having bad behaviour at the start of the book and ends up with good behaviour at the end. I would rate this book 9\10 because I like this book and its funny but I’ve read better books.

Hi my name is Isabel I really enjoyed T.S.I it was my first year doing it .It helped me with my confidence for reading out loud. I would give this book 10\10 because it was really good and it made me think differently about bullies because it shows that bullies might look tough and hurt people but on the inside they can be really lonely and a nice person. My favourite character is Bradley because I kind of feel sorry for him and because he changes from having bad behaviour to having good behaviour.

Hi I’m Matthew and I thought it was really fun.  I think it really helped build our confidence. It also improves reading skills. My favourite character from the book is Carla because she is nice and gets people to think for themselves. I rate this book 8/10 because it’s not that funny also I like other authors and books more.

We really enjoyed T.S.I. We hope that if you are going to do it you will enjoy T.S.I as much as we did. That’s us signing off. Bye!

5th Class

5th Class