We teach reading in several ways. As children begin to become readers, the school introduces a daily 30 minute Guided Reading lesson, which reinforces phonic skills as well as introducing children to reading comprehension skills to help then read for meaning. In KS2, Accelerated Reader is used to ensure children have books matched to their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and their understanding of what they have read is developed.
Comprehension is a key life skill as it focuses learning on a variety of skills that help our children use their own knowledge and experience to make sense of a text as well as to learn new vocabulary. We teach our pupils to identify the features and structure of different types of text, ask and answer relevant questions and most importantly; to enjoy reading and to develop a lifelong love of reading for pleasure. In addition, all class teachers have story time and children are read to.
All pupils have an age-appropriate home reading book (in EYFS/KS1 this is matched to their phonic ability) and in KS2 is matched to their ZPD or of their choice and a Reading Record Book for parents and carers to make their own comments when they have heard their child read at home.
We expect children to read on a daily basis at home for a minimum of 10-15 minutes building up to longer periods as they progress through the school and ask parents and carers to set aside dedicated time to do this. It is also suggested that parents and carers read to children; for example, a bedtime story as this helps children develop that all important appreciation of books and expands their understanding of story structure and vocabulary as well as sending a clear message about the importance reading as an essential life skill to be enjoyed.
We foster a genuine love of reading through celebrations of daily readers, trips to the local library, dressing up for Book Day, to visits from real life authors; reading and books pervade the curriculum and our children most certainly do love to read!
We utilise Accelerated Reader in KS2. Accelerated Reader is a powerful tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practice while promoting reading for pleasure.
Accelerated reader is a computer program that will help to develop the child’s independent reading. It works in quite a simple way; children pick a book at their own level, and when finished will take a short quiz on the computer at school.
Each half term the children complete a short reading test that assigns them a reading band (or Zone of Proximal Development, ZPD). The children then select a book from school that falls within their ZPD. This reading band will guide the children towards choosing books at an appropriate level that are challenging without being frustrating. All of the school books have been newly labelled with a colour sticker that will help guide the children in choosing a book.
We will utilise opportunities to promote Accelerated Reader through weekly awards for the class and a half termly individual award for the highest word count.
Please click below for a parents guide to Accelerated Reader and the Powerpoint that introduced Accelerated Reader to the children. If you have any queries about Accelerated Reader, please speak to your child’s class teacher.
The English National Curriculum stresses that writing is a process which begins with gathering ideas, planning, drafting work in rough, re-drafting and editing. We teach and encourage our pupils to be able to spot their own errors through guided writing, verbal feedback, marking and assessment. Self editing is essential to the progress and individual improvement.
Talk for Writing pedagogy underpins our approach to writing. We ensure the children have the vocabulary and skills and be able to write with confidence and enjoyment.
The National curriculum also emphasises the importance of writing for a real purpose and audience; encouraging children to think and behave as real writers from an early age. We achieve this by getting children to publish their work in many forms; book making, writing letters, making posters, leaflets, power points, to name a few. We also offer our children an array of audiences to write to, famous people, or people of stature, senior leaders, other classes, their peers, family members. If children can see the point of what they are writing and have their work read and responded to by a variety of audiences they are more motivated and understand why writing is such an important tool to enable them to express themselves and to communicate clearly and effectively in society at large.
Grammar and spelling
Although grammar and spelling are taught in context during the writing process outlined above, all classes from Year 3 upwards also have specific dedicated grammar and spelling sessions in addition to English lessons. These lessons teach explicit grammar and spelling rules and patterns and follow a targeted age related expectation.
Class teachers will send home a spelling lists for children to learn at home for a spelling test the following week. The spellings sent home follow key strategies that help your children learn a spelling pattern. In addition to this it is essential that children understand the meanings of these words and are able to use them in context, as vocabulary building is an important part of growing knowledge.
Handwriting is taught daily and links with the national curriculum, reinforcing phonics teaching and vocabulary building. We teach children a cursive (joined up) handwriting style.
Parents and carers can help their child develop correct letter formation and build their confidence by practicing upper and lower case letters and giving children opportunities to improve their speed, correct formation letter size and orientation of letters and joins at home by copying short pieces of text from a comic, magazine, newspaper, story book or poem, on lined paper.
World Book Day- March
We thoroughly enjoy celebrating World Book day in March. Staff and pupils dress up as their favourite book character, we have a whole school assembly and pupils take part in specific book activities throughout the day. Pupils also have time to share a book with a class from a different year group.