It is the aim of Oakdale Junior School to use English effectively, so that our children are able to maximise their future learning opportunities. We endeavour to instil in the children an appreciation of the diversity of language, and the enrichment it brings to our lives.
Children have a daily Literacy lesson focusing on the development of key writing skills. Each term, children focus on a range of genres and text types. Children learn how to write within the context of these genres, developing an understanding of key features related to text organisation, sentence structure and use of vocabulary.
Our Creative Curriculum ensures that English lessons are interesting and include plenty of opportunities for Drama; where possible, our writing tasks are linked strongly to our topics. There are always many opportunities for writing for different purposes and audiences. As a result of this most children really enjoy writing. Children who do not engage so readily are given additional strategies and encouragement through, for example, shared writing tasks or additional rehearsal activities before being expected to write. Children also respond well to Guided Writing tasks, which allow children to work collaboratively, challenging and extending their skills in writing.
Reading at Oakdale Junior School
Our aim is to ensure that by approximately Year 4 most children are able to read for enjoyment. For this to happen, you need to be a competent reader, who can sight-read and understand a range of unfamiliar texts.
Here is a list of reading activities that we do at school:
- Shared reading – children read and discuss a text as a class, led by the teacher.
- Guided Reading / Reciprocal Reading – children read and discuss texts as part of a group of about six children, led by the teacher.
- Independent and Partner Reading – using books/ the Internet to find information.
- Silent reading – children read at every opportunity.
- Class book – children are read to by the class teacher for pure enjoyment value, and to nurture a passion for reading.
- Weekly Whole School Reading – children are paired with pupils of different ages, to share their reading skills.
- Library sessions – children are allowed to select a book to take home, from the school library.
- Visual Literacy – using high quality picture / multi-modal books to challenge the children’s thinking and to encourage the children to think more deeply about the text and illustrations.
- Reading at home – see below.
To enhance a love of reading and books, we have an annual Book Week, which encourages children to participate in a range of activities. We also celebrate World Book Day annually. We also have two Book Fairs every year for children to purchase suitable books.
Reading at home with parents /carers
When learning to read, REGULAR PRACTICE is the key – just like practising skills in football or a musical instrument. Children should read aloud for 10 minutes every day to develop their confidence and skills. If you can’t manage 10 minutes, 5 minutes every day is better than 20 minutes here and there.
Remember: Reading opens the door to any subject that your child will need, not only for school… but for life.
Helpful hints for a constructive and enjoyable reading session with your child:
- Sit down together, preferably in a quiet place.
- Ask your child about their current book – use some of the ideas in the front of their READING record books. What do they like best? New vocabulary? What have you learnt about life from this book?
- Experiment with taking turns e.g. you reading a sentence/ paragraph and talking about it, then your child reading to you. Try “getting words wrong” yourself for your child to correct.
- Experiment with you reading your own book alongside your child / children, discussing together information that you have learnt.
- Almost every child responds well to praise – so praise them for: effort, new vocabulary, trying challenging texts, reading with expression, pointing out punctuation, talking about the subjects in the book… Children learn more from discussion times than any other task.
Reading Record Books:
Please sign the Reading Record book regularly and write positive comments about your child’s reading. Your child will quickly want to impress you with her/ his new-found skills. The class teacher monitors the record books, and will occasionally comment, where appropriate, on your child’s progress. However, the main difference between Key Stage 1 and 2 is that in Key Stage 2, children are reading a number of different books in class (see above examples of reading activities), therefore teachers will have less individual time with each child on the book that they take home, but more in-depth discussion time with a small group, which helps to develop reading and thinking skills to the maximum.
We continue the Oxford Reading Tree, from Key Stage 1, and have a selection of other schemes, for example Sprinters and Wolf Hill to support your child in the transition from wholly supported reading to Free Reading. During transition time, children can dip into “free-reading” books now and again to develop the skills in choosing appropriate reading books. When a child is a fully-fledged Free Reader, they are allowed to choose their own books, but will still need support in selecting appropriate books for their level.
Children are usually overjoyed to become a Free Reader, but it is this period that they need the most support, as they come across an infinite number of new words!! Too many unfamiliar words will result in a lack of understanding of the text and this is when some children become less interested in reading. So please keep up the regular reading sessions with your child all the way to Year 6 and beyond…
Phonics and Spelling
We have weekly spelling sessions where children practise and experiment with new sounds/ blends. Children follow a range of reading schemes that progress from Key Stage 1, until children are ready to become “free readers”. We also follow the “Read, Write Ink” scheme for children who need additional help or practice with the basic phonics, sessions are carried out by LSAs in small groups.