'English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.' (National Curriculum 2014)
At Foxdell, the teaching of English obviously focuses on Reading and Writing, but within that are also elements such as phonics, spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) and handwriting. We believe very passionately that children get the best possible start with these areas, as reading and writing are the tools required to unlock the wider curriculum.
Some children at Key Stage 2 may be experiencing difficulty in reading and/or writing because they have missed or misunderstood a crucial phase of systematic phonics teaching. At Foxdell Junior School, Phonics is taught according to the 'Letters and Sounds' programme. This involves teaching the letter sounds associated with each letter in order to blend to read and segment to spell words. We use a variety of approaches in the teaching of phonics to make lessons as interactive as possible and ensure that every child learns.
In their day-to-day learning some children may:
• experience difficulties with blending for reading and segmenting for spelling
• show confusion with certain graphemes and related phonemes
• have difficulty segmenting longer words containing adjacent consonants
• demonstrate a general insecurity with long vowel phonemes.
For example, children generally know the most common representation of a phoneme, for example /ai/ as in train, but require more explanation and practice about the alternative spellings for any particular phoneme (Primary National Strategies 2009).
Our teaching covers the five phases of phonics. These phases can be found in our phonic progression document as well as in the 'Letters and Sounds' programme.
We believe that reading is the most important skill a child can learn at school. Across all areas of the curriculum the ability to fully access the curriculum depends on a student’s ability to read. In addition we aim to foster a lifelong love of reading for pleasure. Teachers use the National curriculum to devise engaging and exciting lessons which lead our children through the stages of their literacy learning. Throughout our school, children develop their love of literature and are inspired to view the books they read as a gateway to their future aspirations. All children in school have access to Accelerated Reader and a Reading Record.
What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader is a reading program that helps teachers support and monitor children’s reading practice. A student picks a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, the student takes a short online quiz to measure how much of the book he/she understood. Book levels are based on data generated by a STAR reading test. We administer 4 tests over the course of the year to measure progress. As students improve during the course of the year the level of difficulty of the books read increase. Students are encouraged to read both fiction and non- fiction.
How can parents help?
To find out more about your child’s reading progress, visit Home Connect. This will allow you to track your child’s progress towards his or her targets and to view your child’s reading history. Contact the school to find out more.
Learning to write is one of the most important things that a child at primary school will learn. Children use their writing in almost all other subjects of the curriculum. Good writing also gives children a voice to share their ideas with the world.
For a child, learning to write can be a tricky business, not least because good writing involves handwriting, spelling, grammar and punctuation not to mention what we want to write and who we are writing for.
In Years 3 and 4, children are encouraged to draft and write by talking about their writing. They will continue to learn how to organise paragraphs and, if they are writing non-fiction, to use headings. When they are writing stories, they will learn to use settings, characters and plots. Children in Years 3 and 4 will be expected to use what they know about grammar in their writing and to read through what they have written, to find ways to improve it.
In Years 5 and 6, children will continue to develop their skills in planning, drafting and reviewing what they have written. Children learn to identify the audience for and purpose of their writing. They will be expected to use grammar appropriately. In non-fiction writing, children will use headings, bullet points and other ways to organise their writing. They will be expected to describe settings, characters and to use dialogue in their stories.