Here at St. Andrew’s CE Junior School the pupils are taught all of their English work based around class texts. The teachers at our school select high quality books around which all of the reading and writing objectives are taught. The children in our school thoroughly enjoy immersing themselves in the book and are always keen to discover what book they will be studying next. Throughout the year the pupils in our school study a range of genres and text types, from the scrumptious delights of Roald Dahl to the macabre, twisted tales of Philip Pullman. We ensure the books we study tantalise the trickiest of taste buds.
By reading a class text, children have the opportunity to read in a range of styles, including hearing teachers model good reading, choral reading (reading all together), independent reading and peer modelled reading. All books are chosen carefully to ensure that they are interesting, engaging and well-written, so they help children to develop their reading and vocabulary skills.
All written work is done in relation to a text. This means that children can magpie ideas from authors to help improve their own writing. It also gives children the opportunity to write for a range of purposes and audiences, giving them the chance to develop a wide range of skills within each piece.
Spelling is taught through a daily spelling scheme ‘Spelling Zone’. This allows children to work on spelling rules regularly in order to fully understand and embed the rule rather than just rote learning words. We are already seeing that this scheme is having a huge impact on our spelling levels and this will only improve year on year, ensuring that our children are great spellers – a key life skill!
Children will all have a school reading book which they can choose from our wide selection in the school library. We use the Accelerated Reader scheme which allows children to read ‘real’ novels and non-fiction books, rather than relying on a school reading scheme book. The idea behind this move was to foster a love of reading in children – much easier to do when they can read books from their favourite authors.
An added bonus of the Accelerated Reader scheme is that children get to do a quiz about each book they have read. For children, this means they get to compete with themselves to improve their scores and earn prizes for achieving 100%, being the most improved and for reading the most words. There is also a class prize for the class who can gain the highest average point score each week. This element of competition really inspires children to read and has helped to increase the amount of participation in reading as well as the standard of reading across school.
Additionally, this scheme gives teachers the opportunity to monitor your child’s progress and activity levels in reading which means we can intervene and offer help and support as soon as we notice any problems in reading. This has helped us to identify and target any children needing extra support, resulting in more individualised reading interventions and more effective catch up sessions.