Valuing all children’s language skills and building upon their existing linguistic knowledge is essential to high achievement alongside the need for carefully planned learning opportunities designed to cover the full range of speaking and literacy skills.
As communication takes many forms: body language, gesture and verbal communication, it is important that children are given the chance to explore situations and contexts in exciting and creative ways, such as the use of role-play in the preparation for writing.
Speaking and Listening is an integral component in all lessons across the curriculum.
All children at St James’ have access to an exciting programme called Bug Club. This is an online system where children can read hundreds of books which their teacher would have selected based on their reading age/level. As they go through the book they are asked questions to check the children’s understanding. The programme also shows teachers how well the children have answered the questions so it can then inform their planning.
We encourage the children to read every day as part of their homework and children can take books home to enjoy. By reading aloud at home and discussing their reading with family members, children are developing their understanding of stories and texts. Teachers listen to their children read through the shared reading sessions within the English lesson. Parents are actively encouraged to listen to their children read on a daily basis.
Comprehension lessons are taught twice a week where children engage with a range of different texts from classics to more contemporary novels. Children read in every lesson and teachers read to children on a daily basis.
In year 3 those children who did not pass the year 2 Phonics Screening Test have phonics lessons daily. We use Read Write Inc. which helps children to learn their sounds while having fun. During their lessons children learn all the sounds needed to be able to read and then apply these in their English lessons.
We have high expectations of our children and this is shown in their pride of their work. We try to incorporate writing in all other subjects to maintain high standards. Here at St James’, we pride ourselves on our high levels of presentation. All pupils are encouraged to write neatly and legibly and all attempts at early writing are praised and encouraged. More developed writers, who have adopted and personalised the school’s handwriting style, are awarded our prestigious ‘Pen Licence’. Excellent presentation is encouraged within all curriculum areas as a means of ensuring that all work is to the highest standard possible.
We hold events throughout the year to support children with their English. This year children have taken part in two poetry competition held outside the school. Twenty of our children had their poems published in the book ‘A Wander in the Woods’ by Woodland Adventures (edited by Wendy Laws). Various reading events for the children to enjoy are held during our yearly ‘World Book Day’.
Children in year 3 visit our local library and given the opportunity to join the library. In addition during the summer months they take part in the summer reading where certificates are awarded and presented during our achievement assembly.
Throughout this year we encourage children to show their Literacy skills in competitions. Our year 5 and 6 children enter the yearly ‘Debate Mate’ regional competition. Here the children are coached and compete in debate competitions with other schools. Year 6 children also participate yearly in ‘Brilliant Club’ activities and tutorials operated by various universities.
These children are given the opportunity to visit the hosting university, have online tutorials with PhD tutors and submit a 1000-word essay that is marked by the university. At the end, children are awarded a certificate (honours depend on marks achieved) in a graduation ceremony held at the hosting university.