Speaking and Listening.
English is a vital way of communicating and oral language comes naturally to most children in the early years. There is however a continuing need to develop children’s skills in speaking and listening. During their time at our school we provide a wide range of opportunities which enable the children to learn to speak confidently and clearly and listen to what others have to say so that they begin to think about the needs of the listener. Children share their experiences and communicate during a wide range of play and experiences many involving problem solving. They tell and listen to stories and learn how to interact with others in both small and large group situations. They learn to use language in imaginative ways and express their feelings when working in role and drama activities.
We seek to develop children’s interest and pleasure in reading as they learn to read confidently and independently. This enables children to read for both enjoyment and information. Learning to read is a long term process which will continue throughout your child’s schooling and beyond. The vital foundations are laid in the infant years.
It cannot be stressed enough how important each step in reading is. Parents can give tremendous support to their children and thereby to us, by showing the enjoyment they themselves derive from reading, by reading and enjoying stories and poems with them and, just as important, by taking every opportunity to stress to your child how useful reading is, pointing out the signs and symbols in the street, labels in the supermarket, visiting the local library or at home perhaps sharing the activity of looking something up in a dictionary, using the telephone directory or some news in the local paper. It is from this encouragement of a positive attitude to and love of reading from the earliest years that successful reading habits grow.
We have many varied structured reading schemes in school. There are also many other supplementary books that support a wide range of reading material to meet the needs of all children and to facilitate much necessary ‘reading across’ at every level. It is of course essential that children build up a basic sight vocabulary initially and learning keywords and are able to read the most commonly used words in a variety of different contexts. This they are encouraged to do through reading games and a breadth of reading material.
We develop the children’s phonic skills, working on initial sounds moving onto blends and the ability to build and segment words. The children will begin to learn to spell words when they are ready, which will help to develop both their skills in reading and in writing. When children start their first reading book they will bring it home every day to share and enjoy with you. Regular reading at home enables the children to consolidate and share their enthusiasm and progress with you. Children are highly individual and their progress will be at different rates.
We have a system of reading in school where children try to read every day either to a teacher, teaching assistant or parent helper in the morning. This system is working well and we always welcome new parent helpers. It is only possible to hear all the children read, if we have enough adults to support us.
“Giving time, praise and encouragement offers the very best means of support.”
From our well stocked library, every child may have a library book every day should they so wish. The children have ‘Library time’ each week which allows them to select a book to share with you at home or you can come and choose a book with them after school.
The very youngest children are able to demonstrate considerable knowledge of the forms and purposes of writing. We encourage the children to enjoy writing and to see the value of it. They begin to develop their writing skills during play and role play situations.
From the earliest stages we encourage children to write individually and in groups, for a variety of purposes and audiences, often sharing and discussing their writing with others. The children have frequent opportunities to write their stories, accounts, description, reports, letters, poems and instructions. They will also have plenty of opportunities to read and hear good examples of different types of texts.
Alongside the children’s emerging writing skills we teach the correct formation of letters using handwriting. We encourage the children to write independently and develop fluency and creativity. Phonics is taught daily across the school and is based on the ‘Letter’s and Sounds’ programme. Pupils are assessed regularly to ensure they are making progress in order to support their reading and spelling development. Spelling is a complex skill and we aim to support the children in using their phonics to spell common patterned words and strategies to spell irregular and high frequency words correctly. We are explicitly teaching the spelling rules and patterns for children to apply in their writing. Grammar is taught explicitly and the children are learning the technical terms alongside activities to practise and refine their knowledge and skills.
Alongside this we offer rich experiences within our curriculum to interest and motivate pupils and help to develop the content of their writing. Children are encouraged to begin to use adventurous and wide ranging vocabulary and write for a meaningful purpose.
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