At St Joseph’s our writing is based around high quality, challenging and engaging class texts which have been carefully chosen by year group teachers. Our English sessions always start with a creative hook which engages and excites the class about the text and enables children to have discussions and explore questions or thoughts they have with their peers. Every English lesson starts with a creative activity which focusses on phonics, spelling, punctuation and grammar or vocabulary. These activities focus on the SPaG related objectives linked to the text as well as the objectives within the national curriculum or they focus on enhancing and exploring children’s vocabulary. Within English lessons we focus on exploring the text and the text type looking at what we enjoy about the text, the similarities and differences with other texts as well as looking at the text structure, the language the author has used and the grammatical features we can identify. Children are encouraged to use personal magpie books which they can use to record interesting and exciting vocabulary and phrases to use in their own writing. This gives the children the opportunity to work in pairs or as a group to discuss their idea, extend their knowledge and understanding whilst practicing their spoken language skills. Children are given opportunities to fully embed themselves in the class text through a variety of activities including: oral storytelling and actions, role play and performances as well as other creative activities. Through this text based learning and quality teacher modelled writing with class input children are improving the quality of their writing. Working walls and washing lines which incorporate our class learning and children’s ideas as well as the class planning and modelled text support our children with their own writing.
Within our school children produce independent extended pieces of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Throughout the writing process, children are encouraged to share their ideas with the class to add to the working wall or for children to add ideas and vocabulary to their magpie books for use at a later date. Our most able pupils are continuously being encouraged to progress within their writing through challenge tasks and activities which will help children to independently enhance their piece of writing. We also ensure children are given the time to independently edit their work as well as taking on board and responding to peer or teacher suggestions and marking to improve the content of their writing in purple pens. Children are also given two short sessions a week to work on improving their handwriting both within independent sessions as well as within their writing in their extended writing books. The high quality of teaching and writing produced by children in English sessions is an expectation that can be seen across all subjects we teach at our school. RE and Learning challenge lessons also follow the same routines, teaching and structures as English lessons to ensure writing is of a high quality across all subjects.
Within our school, we create excitement and enthusiasm for reading by ensuring our book corners are engaging and inviting, all classes have a class story which is introduced to the children through class door displays which initially entices questions and discussions about what the story is. Class teachers read to children daily either by reading their class books or stories within their English, RE or learning challenge lessons. In EYFS and year one, guided reading sessions take place daily. These sessions adopt a structured approach to reading a book in groups using texts that are suitably challenging for their reading ability. The pupils will, in the space of a week: experience reading with their teacher, follow up reading directed by the teacher, questioning and answering in an increasingly more detailed structure through an analysis of what they have read and finally, have the opportunity to read for pleasure. In years 2 – 6, guided reading sessions are completed twice a week through an extended whole class approach. Guided reading sessions begin with creative starters focussing on reading and vocabulary skills where children will work independently, in pairs or in a group using white boards, completing activities or creating vocabulary tables. Interesting and challenges texts are introduced by the class teacher and explored by the children in pairs or as a group. Children will analyse the text pulling out vocabulary, grammatical use, content and meaning as well as forming opinions of their own. These sessions encourage discussion of findings as well as ideas and opinions which are shared within groups and then as a whole class. Children will then complete differentiated tasks and answer questions based on the text they have explored. Extension tasks and challenges are part of every guided reading session to ensure children have high expectations of themselves and are always thriving to extend their own learning.
At St. Joseph’s we aim for our children to be fluent readers and have a love of reading.
There are lots of ways that you can help your child at home:
- Do make sure, for example, that you read frequently with your child,
- Support them with the current learning that’s taking place in school.
All classes have a reading area for children to enjoy reading a chosen book and time is built in for children to listen to stories.
We follow the Ruth Miskin synthetic phonics scheme. Read, Write Inc.
Reading at St. Joseph’s
Writing – Long Term Overview