At Annfield Plain Junior School, we aim to prepare pupils for their next stage in education and life. We aim to develop the skills and knowledge to be life-long readers, writers and to be able to communicate effectively in a range of situations.
At Annfield Plain Junior School, we aim to make learning in English engaging and enjoyable. The teaching of English includes: speaking and listening, reading, writing, GPS (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 in class blogs, as well as through publications and competitions.
Reading is a life skill and an integral part of English teaching; it is taught both discretely and with opportunities for reading throughout the curriculum. School uses consistent strategies to teach reading skills and fluency, in order to develop a deeper understanding of the purpose and meaning of a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, as well as developing fluency to ensure each pupil’s reading age ensures they are able to access the age-related curriculum.
At our school there are three strands to the teaching of reading:
1.The development of the fluency of reading: Years 4, 5 and 6 access the online program Reading Plus, at least for one term in each year. Targeted pupils, who are catching up to their chronological age of reading, may have additional access to this. Whilst on this program at school, pupils can also access this at home as part of their home reading. Oxford Reading Buddy is another online program, which all children can access at home and use as their home reading too. Pupils across the key stage access a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts in lessons, as well as whole school texts which are linked to enjoy and achieve weeks and termly class novels.
All children will progress through the school’s graded home reading levels from early reading phonics books moving 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.
2.Decoding and comprehension is taught in every class. All staff are trained, through Fischer Family Trust’s reading training, in using the same approach to ensure reading skills develop across the key stage using a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts, understanding each genre’s layout. Reading skills taught are: how to use effective skimming, scanning and close reading; reading to locate or infer the meaning of unfamiliar words; how to annotate text and understand the main ideas; distinguish between fact and opinion; how to make predictions; how to summarise understanding; understanding the author’s intent and inference used by the author etc. Staff also use Jane Considine’s booktalk to further enhance the teaching of reading.
For pupils with SEND and pupils needing catch up, a range of targeted interventions are used to support their learning. These sessions are additional to their reading lessons. Additional Literacy Support (ALS) and Read, Write Inc/ Freshstart (RWI) are used for pupils whose early reading is not fluent or who may need additional phonics support. Reciprocal Reading (guided reading) is also used for those pupils who are identified as not making sufficient progress from their assessment tests in September, February and June; this is to ensure pupils are given the opportunity to catch up.
3.Reading for pleasure is a key aspect of developing children’s reading skills. The school library, run by pupils, is open on lunchtimes and playtimes. Children may borrow books for home use or can read in the library. The well-stocked library has a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, magazines and children’s newspapers to choose from. Various activities and competitions take place to enthuse pupils to read. We regularly invite authors, illustrators and storytellers into school, to inspire children to read for pleasure.
Pupils in all classes 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. Each term the whole school delivers work through an “Enjoy and Achieve Week”,where pupils all read the same book/texts, enjoy visitors (storyteller, magician, illustrator/author, drama teacher), produce writing, take part in maths and science challenges. In 2018-19 the autumn theme was: “Our Amazing Planet” with visits from storyteller and author Adam Bushnell, the Environmental Agency and artist Susan Warlock. In spring the theme was “The Circus” with visits from illustrator & author Liz Million and circus skills workshops from Bell & Bullock. In summer the theme was “Detective Cluedo: solving mysteries” with a visit from Yorkshire Trails to investigate clue writing. Themes vary and often involve the production of a whole school publication, such as education trail leaflets around the village, “Our Community, Our Responsibility” and “When I Grow Up -The World Of Work” publications.
Ofsted in January 2020 stated, “Leaders have selected a wide-ranging list of texts. This challenges pupils’ thinking and encourages their thoughtful debate.”
School assesses reading on entry into a new year group, mid-year and end of year using NFER tests for Years 3,4,5 and past SATs papers for Year 6. This allows the progress of each pupil to be tracked and the identification of pupils needing interventions. Reading levels are assessed each term. Each child takes a schonell reading test annually, to analyse their progress in meeting their chronological reading age.
Reading support is offered to parents, in reading workshops, to provide support for parents/carers to help their child to read skilfully and for pleasure. In addition, opportunities change year on year, where parents can enjoy reading sessions with their children e.g. in world book day quizzes, reading afternoon teas etc.
Speaking and Listening
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 interventions “Social Skills” and “Socially Speaking” are 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), Jane Considine’s writing units, 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 on entry, mid-year and end of year, through joint moderation of pupil’s independent work in books. Moderation of writing also takes place with cluster schools, to ensure it is accurate.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling
Grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS) are taught, where possible, through writing and reading. There are times when discrete lessons may be appropriate and we use a variety of resources, including the No Nonsense Spelling scheme. Assessment for GPS takes place on entry, mid-year and end of year, using NFER and SATs papers. Phonics and spelling rules are taught, the content is dependent upon ability. Spellings and spelling rules are taught at least three times a week in school. Pupils are encouraged to learn spellings at home and spelling lists are sent out each term/week, depending on the class.
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.
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