At Harlescott Junior School we feel very strongly about teaching English effectively. English provides the communication skills essential to function effectively on a personal, social, educational and professional basis. With this in mind, English provides the backbone of the school curriculum we deliver.
Our commitment to the teaching of reading and writing skills throughout the school reflects our belief that all children should have the tools necessary to make good progress in their own learning at school and beyond.
Phonics work is based around a scheme, that is used widely across the country, called ‘Letters and Sounds’. This is used in lower key stage 2 (if appropriate) in a structured way. It provides children with an understanding of phonics and key words which enables them to read for meaning and with greater fluency.
The school’s reading scheme draws on commercial resources such as ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ ‘Rapid Phonics’ and ‘Songbirds’. As part of our partnership with parents, children are provided with books to share and read at home throughout the year. A Student Planner is assigned to each child and parents are encouraged to make comments about their child’s reading as part of the dialogue between home and school. A small number of children will bring home a book from a phonics/reading scheme that matches their decoding ability and a book of their choice to share with a parent. While other children are able to choose from free readers graded colour bands, which means they are confident at word decoding and do not require books from a particular phonics or a reading scheme.
Each class has a timetabled visit to our school library. In this session, per week, children are encouraged to select a new book, read for pleasure or even research around a particular topic. Our library is also open during a lunch time so children can browse or read in their personal time. In addition to this, we have a Reading Club as part of our after-school club menu.There are many other ways in which we raise the profile of reading, for example, we organise an annual sponsored reading activity, we participate in Book Month and Book Fest and where we can, arrange visits from authors and theatre groups. Furthermore, on World Book Day the children are encouraged
Our aim is for all pupils to become confident, fluent readers who read for pleasure and to learn. In writing our aim is to enable pupils to write creatively using grammatically correct English, correct spelling and a neat, fluent handwriting style. We expect our pupils to transfer these skills into all areas of the curriculum we teach. We have high expectations about how our Literacy work books should look and encourage children to maintain the same standard of work and presentation across every subject. Where children experience difficulties in mastering these skills, they are provided with additional support through individual and small group work activities or intervention. We also use a cold to hot write structure for each unit of writing we study. From the cold write activity teachers assess this work and provide individual pupils with a personalised writing targets to work on. When this unit of work draws to a close the children participate in a hot write where they are able to demonstrate they have reached their cold write targets.
Year 4 have explored the stories by Colin Thompson. During this study the children all chose their favourite extract and read it aloud.