At Bowsland Green Primary School we believe that language and literacy is fundamental to the overall development of the child and enables their access to the curriculum in all its aspects. It is acknowledged that: “Speaking and listening, together with reading and writing, are prime communication skills that are central to children’s intellectual, social and emotional development” (Rose 2006).
We are very excited about the changes we have made to our English curriculum. At Bowsland Green we are starting to implement the Power of Reading. The Power of Reading is an approach which using high quality books and creative teaching approaches, such as art and drama to teach English. This approach aims to engage and motivate children in their learning. It also enables children to deepen their understanding of books and provides a meaningful context for writing.
We start planning our English units by selecting a high quality book that relates to our Science, Geography or History units. We then decide a fiction end of unit outcome and a non-fiction end of unit outcome. As teachers, we then plan backwards to ensure we are giving our children the experiences they need to be successful before they write their end of unit write. Each unit lasts roughly 3 weeks and is divided into 3 phases of learning.
Phase 1 focus: immersing the children in the text
Phase 2 focus: understanding the key features of the particular genre.
Phase 3 focus: Drafting, editing and publishing our end of unit outcomes.
Throughout the unit, we use our working wall to display our journey. At the start of each unit, the children are told what they will be producing, the end of phase outcomes and their audience. The display is used to aid learning and the children can see the journey they have made.
Look at the books we have been reading during English…
We believe in developing a reading culture throughout the school by creating welcoming book areas in classrooms and Key Stages; a school library which hosts a variety of reading genres and raising the profile of reading through a print rich environment, attractive book displays and promoting the written word at all times.
All of our book areas are inspired by the text we read during our English units. Take a look at our reading areas.
Read Write Inc
At Bowsland Green we use the Read Write Inc phonics programme to teach systematic synthetic phonics. RWInc phonics is a powerful teaching tool which ensures that young children will be well-placed to read and spell words with fluency and confidence by the time they reach the end of KS1. It is taught each day, for half an hour (11.45-12.15) KS1.
Teaching begins informally in Term One of the Foundation Stage and more formally in Term Two, after the children are assessed and grouped according to their reading ability. At the start of the year, children are taught in short burst sessions and gradually build up to half an hour sessions by the summer term of Reception.
Children are taught in small ability groups that are appropriate to their stage of reading. They are reassessed every six weeks and moved according to the progress they have made.
Read Write Inc Overview
When children start Reception, they are taught Set 1 Sounds in the following order: m a s d t, i n p g o, c k u b, f e l h sh, r j v y w, th z ch qu x ng nk
We call sounds which are made using more than one letter: special friends. We teach the children, that the letters are special friends so they only make one sound.
Children reinforce reading using these sounds during Wordtime sessions and reading Ditty books (story books which allow children to use their Set 1 Sounds).
The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds – the long vowels.
The children progress through the programme, reading books which allow them to practise reading using their Set 2 Sounds and reinforcing Set 1 Sounds.
Once the children are secure reading and spelling using their Set 1 and 2 Sound, the children are taught to read and spell using their Set 3 Sounds.
To ensure we are teaching to the new National Curriculum, we teach additional sounds, such as e-e in Year 1.
Children in Read Write Inc will bring home sound sheets to practise daily. Please help your child by practising reading the sound, green words and spelling words from the sheet. Class teachers will be pleased to see any phonics homework your child completes and of course will be rewarded with lots of house points!
Children who exit the programme move onto Guided Reading sessions. We aim to have the majority of children out of Read Write Inc by the end of Year 1.
Throughout the week, children are given opportunities to work in a small group to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. This method of Guided Reading ensures children are taught a range of reading skills which they practise at school and home. Guided Reading takes place every week focusing on individual targets for the group.
At the start of the session, the teacher will explain which target the children will be focusing on to ensure they are clear how to make progress during every session. Children then record their reading journey in their own reading journal. Reading journals are very important to the children.
Rosie Denning explains how much she enjoys recording her learning in her reading journal.
The Enjoyment of Reading
Children and staff enjoy reading for pleasure. Look around the school to see which book your teacher is currently reading.
When you enter Bowsland Green, you will see we are working hard to ‘Read around the World’. Each class is given a plane which starts in the UK, and as children read, they can earn string to help them fly to different destinations. The class which earns the most string and flies the furthest distance each term is rewarded the Mrs Vindel award.
Every week each class can visit the library to ensure every child has a library book that they can take home. The library is open every day after school until 4pm, so please pop in and read a book with your child.
Every Tuesday, we have an exciting guest who is waiting to make story time a little bit more interesting! Come along and see how much fun you can have reading.
From Term 4, we will be launching our new reading scheme for children in Key Stage 2 and children who have completed the Oxford Reading Scheme in Key Stage 1. We have spent time colour banding our fiction library books so we can ensure children are reading books appropriate for their stage of development.
Until now, children have been able to become ‘free readers’ once they have completed the Oxford Reading Scheme. We have decided that this approach can bring mixed messages: it works extremely well for some children, but others find being a ‘free reader’ a bit daunting and sometimes make wrong decisions about books, choosing titles that are either too easy or too difficult. We hope that this problem can be overcome by banding our library books for our older children.
Children will still have the freedom to choose their own books, within their colour band, but it is likely through the prescription of book bands, there will be more structure, and that their choices will be more appropriate and informed. In time, we will be adding non-fiction texts to our colour banding system.
Children should bring their library book and reading journal into school every day. Reading journals are used during guided reading and are used to support children’s learning in other curriculum areas.
Class teachers will check reading journals/ records weekly and will monitor how many books are being read across the class. It is hoped that children/parents will record at least four times a week in their reading journal/ record.
For more information, please read the information below:
Our Reading Schemes
To ensure children write across a range of genres, we make sure we plan using the genres below throughout the year:
Writing Text Types
We plan a fiction end of unit outcome and a non-fiction end of unit outcome within each cycle (6 weeks) which links to our genres.
As teachers, we identify the skills and experiences our children need to learn/ reinforce to be successful in their end of unit write. We then generate the skills we need to teach and these skills are displayed on our Learning Walls. These skills become our learning objectives (l.O) and the children identify the skills they need to work on. The skills are taken from assessment gaps and year group expectations from the new National Curriculum.
Please take a look at Year 3/4 skills overview for their mystery story end of unit outcome..
We have weekly Grammar lessons, where children focus on skills which they will need to use during their end of unit write.
We have a section on our Learning Walls so the children are clear which skill they are working on.
Year Group Terminology Words
When you walk around the school, you will see writing is celebrated throughout our school. In the entrance hall, you will be able to read work from every pupil in our school- we are proud to share it with you! In the hall, the classrooms, the areas and our website, you will see we display children’s writing to aid learning and to celebrate the progress the children are making.
To celebrate success and to give children a real purpose to write, each child has a writing buddy from another year group. Once the children have finished their end of unit write, the children share their writing with their buddy.
There is always a real buzz in the school when the children get to share their work. Staff and children are proud of the progress we are making!
See our Wrting Buddies in action below.
Handwriting is an essential skill for both children and adults (Feder & Majnemer, 2007). Even in the age of technology, handwriting remains the primary tool of communication and knowledge assessment for children in the classroom. At Bowsland Green, we follow the Nelson scheme throughout the school. Handwriting is taught through a range of formal and informal activities. Please see our handwriting policy for more information.
To support your child at home, please ensure your child is using the Nelson scheme:
All children in Key stage 2 now have their pen licence – yippee! The children are continuing to work hard to improve their presentation and ensure standards remain high.