Our English genres revolve around our topic for the term in each Key Stage and uses a lot of Visual Literacy and the Active English grammar cards. For instance, KS2 recently had a topic of Changes from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, which allowed children to watch “The Croods” and write setting and character descriptions, diary entries and non-chronological reports on the animals around in these Ages among other cross-curricular topics.
We learn about, revise and practise writing a new genre each week (although, some genres may take longer than one week); focussing mainly on the writing and grammar skills needed. Once a week, children are given the chance to write independently in THE BIG WRITE after a class planning session, before editing and improving it the following day.
Big Write: Structure of the Week
- Set the challenge for that week’s Big Write activity.
- Little Write - initial pre-assessment.
- Discussion of the vocabulary to be used during the week building a
- class vocabulary bank, which is to be displayed on the English Working
- wall. Children read and understand what a good example looks like and discuss and record the features of that genre.
- Practise of a discrete skill related to that genre.
- Practise of another skill building up to the Big Write
- Planning for the Big Write. Recap of the week’s learning (e.g. analysis of features, up-levelling of an example of that genre) and modelled and shared writing as a class. Then the children plan their writing.
- THE BIG WRITE
Children write independently for 30-45 minutes, depending on age and ability. Use soothing or classical music, but insist on complete silence while writing.
- Editing Session - the children will peer assess their Big Write. Then, when marking, the teacher will pick up an area for development from the children’s writing and work on improving it as a class in a shorter literacy lesson. The children then respond to individual marking by editing and rewriting a section of their work as highlighted by their teacher.
Active English - Grammar Cards
This is a new programme for Seathorne, which enables pupils to develop an understanding of language and sentence construction. There is a variety of symbols that have been devised to represent each grammar focus. Children will learn the meaning of the card and how to use it within their writing. Daily activities ensure that pupils retain, recall and fully engage with each concept.
Children learn spelling through the Read Write Inc Spelling scheme for year 2 - 6, which complements the Read, Write, Inc Phonics scheme taught in KS1. Spelling is taught daily as part of the Literacy lesson. Children are encouraged to become proactive learners by taking accountability for learning trickier spellings as part of the scheme. Throughout the week, children are taught a range of words from a given spelling rule. Any words that the individual child finds tricky, generates their weekly spellings and these are written down in their log books. The children are tested weekly on their individual spellings.
School reading books:
At Seathorne Primary School, we follow the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme throughout school. Once children are on reading stage 12, children are allowed to choose a book from the free reading section in our school library. Children are introduced to reading at an early stage in their school life. Reading is taught through a multisensory approach developing phonic, contextual and short/long term memory skills. At Seathorne Primary children are asked to take books home every day to read at home and parental support is essential if children are to make progress.
Reading For Pleasure:
All children at Seathorne Primary School are encouraged to read a text of their choice for pleasure. Children can choose a book/magazine or newspaper from school or bring in a piece of text from home. Children are encouraged to read the text during morning registration and as one of their guided reading activities.
At Seathorne Primary School, we implement guided reading daily for 30mins. Your child’s class will be split into five ability groups to match their reading ability. Each group will follow a carousel of activities that they will complete throughout the week. The carousel of activities will comprise of reading with the teacher, reading for pleasure time, comprehension and reading journal activities.
We believe that children should take pride in their work. Emphasis is placed on accuracy and fluency and children join their letters when they show maturity and consistency. This can be at different ages for different children. Children practise their writing in their learning journals or handwriting books (depending on the age of your child) at least twice a week.
Read Write Inc. Phonics (RWI)
We use Read Write Inc. Phonics, a dynamic, systematic literacy programme rooted in the teaching of phonics, for all children learning to read in Foundation Stage to Year 4.
It was developed by Ruth Miskin to teach the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound blend words for reading (decoding) at the same time as developing handwriting skills and spelling (encoding). The scheme is also suitable for older children who have learning difficulties or specific literacy difficulties.
At the core of the programme is the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Alongside this children are also taught to comprehend and to compose out loud before writing it. Pupils are assessed using the sound and word assessment in Reception or if they are new to the school and it is felt they may benefit from the programme.
Children are divided into broadly homogenous groups dependent on the stage of their reading development. Each RWI group has a RWI Teacher, who is responsible for the delivery of the programme to their group. Pupils are re-assessed approximately every 6 weeks. In the interim, if it is identified that a pupil may need to be moved to another group that may better meet their decoding ability, it is the responsibility of the pupil’s current RWI teacher to speak to the RWI Leader who will then reassess the pupil before moving that pupil on.
The aim of RWI Phonics is for pupils to complete the programme as quickly as possible; they do not need to read every book. It is our aim to ensure our children experience early success in reading so that they are motivated to read widely and often (from comics and computer games to classic children’s fiction) and be able to ‘Read to learn’. We strive to foster a life long love of reading in our children.