Approaches to Speaking and Listening
Developing all pupils ability to communicate is an essential life skill and one which is fundamental to being able to successfully access all areas of the curriculum. In order to do so, we incorporate interactive teaching strategies which help to engage all pupils in their learning. Opportunities to develop these skills include: assemblies; presentations; discussions; Talk for Writing strategies (which encourage children to use actions when imitating text and pictures and symbols to help retell own ideas); co-operative learning structures such as talk partners; hot seating; drama; role play and performances. The photograph below shows a working wall in Elf Owl Class, where Talk for Writing has been used to develop speaking and listening skills and then supported the writing process.
We recognise the need for all pupils to speak, read and write Standard English fluently and accurately, while acknowledging that a pupil's own dialect, or other language is of prime importance. It is our school policy to model our own language to the children which encourages Standard English both in speaking and writing.
Approaches to Reading
Reading is essential to lifelong learning. At Crofton Junior School, we endeavour to foster a love of reading through the wide and varied opportunities we provide.
Our curriculum has a quality text is at its centre, which is changed at least every term. The reading of quality texts engages and inspires children. The learning of other core and foundation subjects is then linked to the text in order to provide meaningful learning experiences. We ensure that throughout the journey through school, all pupils will engage with a wide variety of authors and genres, for example the works of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Michael Morpurgo.
Teachers model reading strategies during shared reading sessions, these may be centred around the text driver or around texts linked to the current genre/text type being taught in class. Through these texts teachers also develop comprehension skills such as recall, inference, prediction and understanding of author's use of language.
Independent reading provides time for both assessment and 1-1 teaching. We aim for all children to read twice per week to an adult in school who will then focus questioning on developing the child's understanding of vocabulary, retrieval of information and inference skills; we encourage parents to focus on these skills whilst hearing their child read at home.
Throughout school children take home a levelled book band book according to their ability. These books develop fluency and enjoyment of a variety of texts (e.g. stories, poetry, and information). Each child has a home-school reading record that teachers and parents can use to share information about a child’s reading. It is an integral part of the homework that children read at least three time per week at home. It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence. Please see the videos below which demonstrates this.
We passionately believe in instilling a life-long of reading. We do this in a range of ways including whole-school "Buddy Reading". Once a week, all children have the opportunity to read with a "buddy" (a pupil from another class). All children thoroughly enjoy this and it is an excellent way to build relationships and it gives children the opportunity to read together. Assitionally, some of our children have access to the Accelerated Reader programme as we have found that this has increased children's desire to read and has also quickly increased their fluency and comprehension skills.
All classrooms have a selection of fiction and non-fiction books for the children to enjoy, which are regularly updated and enhanced through the use of the School Library Service.
Assessments (teacher and test) undertaken throughout the year provide knowledge of each child's reading development in terms of their accuracy, fluency and understanding. We use this information to decide which colour book band is appropriate for each child.
We recognise the value of adults (both in school and at home) reading aloud to children, in order to improve their grasp of story language, enthuse them with a love of books and inspire them as writers.
Approaches to Writing
Making a word pyramid, which builds up the letters in each word.
Our writing curriculum is designed to develop greater links between all aspects of English i.e. Speaking & Listening, Reading & Writing. A quality book, selected by the teacher every term or half term, is at the heart of our English curriculum. Whilst providing a platform for the teaching of reading objectives, it also links explicitly to the teaching of writing. A quality text provides children with an excellent model and content for their own writing. Additionally, we interrogate model texts which provide our pupils with a precise understanding of the key features of different text types, including the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Specific skills are taught linked to the text type (where possible). All pupils are expected to plan, draft, write and edit to produce a finished piece of writing, incorporating all the skills they have learnt throughout a unit of work. To support our teaching of writing, teachers model writing, including handwriting and spelling strategies. They also model the editing process which encourages pupils to respond to teacher feedback in order to draft and improve their work. The editing process includes the key skill of proof-reading in which children are expected to check the grammar, punctuation and spelling in their own work. Pupils use green pens to show where they have improved their work. This process culminates in extended pieces of well presented finished pieces as demonstrated in the photograph below.
The photograph also demonstrates how pupils writing is linked to other areas of the curriculum which helps them write in different contexts, for a variety of purposes and audiences.
In order to support our pupils in meeting the requirements of spelling and handwriting within the national curriculum, all classes take part in discreet spelling sessions and spellings are an integral part of the homework. It is an expectation that all pupils learn a set of words every week for a weekly spelling test. These words may link with the spelling rules being taught in class or they may be from the statutory spelling lists (words which your child must be able to spell to be at the expected standard). See the photos below for examples of strategies which may support your child in learning their spellings.
Handwriting is taught discretely in Years 3 & 4 and then as required in Years 5 & 6. Additional intervention groups are used to focus on the specific needs of individual pupils in these areas. Pupils are expected to write in a cursive style. The photos below show the letter formations children are expected to use.
Approaches to Spelling and Handwriting
Matching the picture to the word, highlighting letter strings in different colours, drawing an image, writing a pupil's own definition of the word and placing the word in a sentence.
Creating new words from a base word and writing the definition. Also, identifying the word class ie verb, noun, adverb or adjective.