Whilst at Annfield Plain Junior School all children will have experience in the following areas in English: speaking and listening, reading, writing, grammar spelling and punctuation, as well as handwriting. Children are encouraged to communicate their ideas through writing and speaking which includes: drama, performance, creative writing, poetry and prose. Children’s work is celebrated both in school through display and out of school on the school website, through publications and competitions.
In teaching reading children are encouraged to read for both meaning and enjoyment. Reading skills are developed both for pleasure and information, using both fiction and non-fiction genres. All children will progress through the school’s graded home reading levels from early reading phonics books moving then to level 5 through to level 13+. After 13+ a pupil will be deemed to be a free reader, able to choose books from level 13+ or the school’s well-stocked library. Pupils are encouraged to read daily at home if below level 10 and at least 3 or 4 times a week if level 10 or above. Parents and carers are encouraged to hear pupils read and sign the reading record in their child’s planners. Planners also have a list of suggested questions for parents to ask their child when hearing reading, to check for understanding. Please write any comments in the planner too.
Reading is an integral part of English and is taught both discretely and with opportunities for reading throughout the curriculum. School uses consistent strategies to teach reading skills and assesses reading using NFER tests and for Year 6 past SATs papers on entry into the new year group, mid-year and end of year for progress. Interventions are also used to support pupils to fulfil their potential and accelerate progress e.g. Additional Literacy Support, Phonics, Read Write Inc., Reciprocal Reading and Catch Up Literacy. Reading levels are assessed termly and each child takes a schonell reading test annually to analyse their progress in reading age.
Reading for pleasure is a key aspect of developing children’s reading skills. The school library, ran by Year 5 & 6 librarians, is open on morning playtime. Children may borrow books for home use or read in the library. The well-stocked library has a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, magazines and children’s newspapers to choose from. A reading council is established in class to encourage reading for pleasure. We regularly invite authors, illustrators and storytellers into school to inspire children to read for pleasure. Reading support has been offered to parents in reading workshops to support them in helping their children to read skilfully and for pleasure.
Pupils in all classes also read a class novel each term, which includes both classic novels and novels with specific links to cross-curricular work. In June, all classes spend a creative literacy fortnight exploring and producing work around a book e.g. “Holes”, “Kenny & The Dragon”, “The Iron Man”, “The Ice-Cream Mystery”. Each term the whole school delivers work through an “Enjoy & Achieve” week where they all read the same book/texts, enjoy visitors (storyteller, magician, illustrator/author, drama teacher), produce writing, take part in maths and science challenges. In 2017-18 the themes are Friendships, Dreams and Our Village.
Speaking and listening is delivered through Philosophy for Children (P4C). This is delivered initially through discrete lessons and also through cross-curricular themes in other subjects e.g. R.E., life skills etc. All staff are trained in delivering P4C which provides consistency across the key stage. De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats are also used to aid pupil’s ability to explain their thinking. Speaking and listening progress is assessed annually through teacher assessment. For pupils needing additional social and communication support, the intervention “Social Skills” is used.
Writing involves the teaching of fiction and non-fiction genres. Varied resources are used: interactive whiteboard materials such as Smart Literacy, on-line scheme Wordsmith (Pearson), on line resources such as websites, current affairs programme “Newsround” and children’s newspaper “First News”, poetry textbooks. Publishing for an audience is an essential part of writing, with pupils writing for a purpose e.g. to share through displays, competitions, on the school website, in the community newsletter “Annfield Appletree”, in whole school publications such as the “When I Grow Up…Project”. Writing is assessed termly through joint moderation of pupil’s independent work in books. Pupils needing additional support in writing take part in Read, Write Inc and Freshstart interventions. More able writers in Years 4, 5 and 6 take part in a weekly additional writing lesson with an English specialist teacher.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught, where possible, through writing and reading. There are times discrete lessons may be appropriate and we use a variety of resources, including the No Nonsense Spelling scheme. Assessment is through a termly assessment test to track progress. Phonics and spelling rules are taught, dependent upon ability. Spellings and spelling rules are taught three times a week in school. Pupils are encouraged to learn spellings at home and spelling lists are sent out each term.
Handwriting is taught through Senter handwriting – a scheme of handwriting used by both Annfield Plain Infant School and ourselves, in order to provide consistency across the two key stages. We also use the online program, Letterjoin, which can be accessed by pupils and parents for home use.
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