This scheme enhances children’s pleasure in reading, and raises children’s achievement through teachers’ knowledge of literature and its creative use in the classroom. Using a range of picture books and chapter books as stimulus, we teach lessons which develop the children’s speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Speaking and Listening
We strongly believe that speaking and listening skills are the building blocks of English. In order to succeed as writers, children need to cultivate a love of words and language. They need to build a bank of stories, which they can draw on for ideas and language patterns, and develop oral story telling skills that help them internalise the language they need. Therefore, developing talk in the classroom is a priority at Sir Thomas Abney.
Developing a love of reading is the single most powerful attribute that can make a difference to our children’s future attainment. From Foundation Stage right up to Year 6, the children at Sir Thomas Abney are encouraged to develop an enjoyment of reading and books.
Children at Sir Thomas Abney are taught reading skills through a programme of synthetic phonics (Read Write Inc) and reading good books to develop an interest in stories.
Once they are on their way to reading, children are taught individually, in small groups and as a class to develop their reading further.
We follow the STA Loves Reading (Destination Reader) scheme approach to the teaching of essential reading skills. The children learn the scheme’s main strategies which include, Predicting, Questioning, Clarifiying, Inferring, Summarising, Making Links and Evaluating to deepen their understanding of different genres and texts.
Children in Early Years and Key Stage One read with an adult at least once a week and older children are involved in group reading tasks with an adult just as frequently. We also send home reading books every week for children to read with parents and carers. Sir Thomas Abney also encourages parents and carers to read more complex texts to their children at home and school. If you are interested in volunteering to read with some of our children please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also offer the opportunity for parents/carers to read in class with their child every Friday in Early Years. In addition parents/carers can visit our Early Years’ library to borrow books up to three times a week.
Home School Reading
We all know that if children read at home, they are more likely to be successful learners at school. At Sir Thomas Abney, children take home a preferred book that is carefully matched to their reading ability. This is done through the Accelerated Reader system for years 2 – 6. The scheme provides an initial assessment of children’s reading and online quizzes on children’s books. It also provides a system for levelling books. This means that children can choose books that will provide exactly the right level of challenge while being accessible; their comprehension of the book can be checked and their progression in reading can be tracked.
We are continuously reviewing and adding to our collection of children’s books so that stimulating and attractive books are available at the right level.
For children in Nursery to Year 1, the teacher chooses a book at the right level for each child. We encourage children to regularly read with support from home and we welcome feedback about your child’s reading experiences.
Writing at Sir Thomas Abney develops children’s skills in two key areas – transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and organising them into speech and writing). In Reception children are taught how to form lower case and capital letters correctly, so that in Year 1 they can begin to learn the pre-cursive strokes required for cursive handwriting. When pupils are ready, they will learn to write in a continuous cursive style.
At Sir Thomas Abney we understand the link between good talking and skilful writing. We also know that children will be motivated to write if the purpose of writing is clear. Writing at Sir Thomas Abney is, wherever possible, linked to the class Power of Reading book or their IPC topic (see IPC link), giving the children a secure context and purpose for their writing. Children are taught key skills to help them plan, draft and edit their work, learning to proof-read and improve their own writing, as well as having opportunities to discuss their writing with peers. Children’s stamina for writing is developed through fortnightly extended writing tasks which are linked to other areas of the curriculum, whilst building upon the writing skills taught during English lessons.
Grammar and punctuation are taught explicitly through focused activities within the context of reading and writing. Once familiar with a grammatical concept, children are encouraged to explore and apply this concept to their own writing and speech.
Spelling is taught using a programme which is interactive and engaging. It consolidates the children’s previous phonic knowledge and parents/carers are encouraged to support the children with learning their spellings at home.