Our aim at Woodside Primary Academy is to equip children with a strong command of the spoken and written word and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. By the time they complete their studies in year 6, they will become confident and competent users of the English language.
Speaking and listening underpins the development of all literacy. We believe that, to be able to write competently, children need to articulate themselves confidently. We therefore encourage pupils to develop their ability to use Standard English at every opportunity. We promote children’s ability to explain their learning in every lesson and believe this leads to a deeper understanding.
Formal and informal presentations are included in the curriculum; as is poetry reading which the children greatly enjoy.
Drama is especially valued at our school as it provides many opportunities for expression and develops the children’s speaking and listening skills in small and large groups. Activities like hot seating and conscience alley help children delve into characters and motives. Who knows, we could have a future Oscar winner in our midst!
This year, we are starting a debating clubs for year 5 and 6 pupils which will be run by Debate Mate. Children will learn the skills of formal debating and develop confidence in the process.
One of our main aims is to foster the enjoyment of reading for pleasure at Woodside. Interactive and stimulating book corners can be found in every classroom and pupils are offered a diverse and rich range of reading materials. Guided reading is taught every day across the school. In KS1, various reading schemes are banded into the colour book band system and multiple copies of the same text are used during guided reading. Whenever possible, children are given texts that are related to their topic. For example, year 3 could read information about the rainforest which will support their writing and topic work.
Teachers promote the enjoyment of reading by reading to their class on a daily basis. Children will also be given the opportunity to visit the local library to promote a love of reading throughout the year. The celebration of World Book Day creates a focus for promoting reading across the whole school.
The two elements of reading, word reading and comprehension, are taught side by side during guided reading sessions. Teachers prepare questions related to the text which challenge children’s thinking and promote the deeper comprehension of the text.
We value reading a variety of texts and purchase First News every week which can supplement classroom reading materials.
It is expected that all children will read for at least 20 minutes a day outside school and complete their reading log which is signed by a parent/carer. The children have their own Bug Club account which is an online reading resource. Children can access appropriately levelled books at home and read them online. There is also the Read to Me function which supports parents who do not speak English.
In year 2 and year 6, we support selected children through the Rapid Reading programme. An adult reads with one child for half an hour every day; questioning them and ensuring they understand the text.
We aim to ensure that all children have proficient word reading skills by the end of Key Stage 1. We have a systematic approach to teaching phonics. We follow the Letters and Sounds document which starts in Reception and continues throughout Key Stage 1. This ensures that national expectations within phases 1 – 6 are covered. Children are grouped according to their ability across the year group and each group follows the phase appropriately matched to their level of ability. Children are regularly assessed to ensure they are making the expected progress.
In year 1, Phonics picnics are arranged for parents each year. This gives parents a chance to see how their children learn and even play some of the games the children use.
The expectation is that children have mastered phonics by the end of year 2. However, if necessary Phonics is taught in KS2.
Phonics Screening Check
At the end of Year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to an appropriate standard. There are 40 words in the screening check which children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of 'real words' (eg. 'mud') and 'non-words' (eg. 'splog') and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words. Year 1 children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check will have to retake it in year 2.
Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis. There are lots of books, games and apps that support Phonics. Below are some websites that you could use.
Oxford Owl Reading. click here
Articulation of Phonemes. Click here
At Woodside Primary Academy, we have many children who speak other languages so helping them develop a wide and varied vocabulary is paramount. The Virtual Reality equipment is one way in which children can learn about their topics and increase their vocabulary. The children enjoy it and it inspires them to write.
“It helps us imagine and describe settings.” (MM)
“ think the Virtual Reality is great because it help because it is like going on an adventure.” (NH)
“I think the Virtual Reality is great because it feels like you are there and you get great ideas.” (SA)
“Virtual Reality helps me learn new words and makes me imagine what is under the sea.” (DB)
“Virtual Reality helped me improve my writing by imagining I am there.” (GA)
“Virtual Reality helps us learn interesting words we can use in our story.” (KSY)
“When we use the Virtual Reality, it helps us imagine.” (SA)
English Working Wall
The classroom walls are a great way to support learning. When a teacher has showed the children how to write, the example will go onto the wall so children can refer to it throughout the lesson. Working walls are kept updated regularly and reflect current learning. The children are trained to refer to them to support their learning.
We provide a wide range of opportunities for children to write for different audiences and purposes. The curriculum is taught through termly topics and writing is linked to these topics, ensuring it is has a meaningful context.
In line with the Leader in Me programme, children are taught to be responsible for reflecting on their writing. Self-evaluation and partner conferencing is used to improve their writing. Children use green pen for these corrections.
Children have up to three targets which are stuck in the back of their books. These targets are agreed with the child and monitored during weekly conferences.
Once a week, children write an extended piece to showcase their developing skills. The genre has been previously taught and is revised at the beginning of the session.
Some writing will be published and displayed around the school for everyone to share and celebrate.
Teachers mark children’s writing using the codes below. They highlight three positive aspects with a yellow highlighter and select one improvement which is highlighted in pink. For longer pieces of writing, Steps to Success are stuck into the books and children self assess as they write.
Teachers will check for the following before they comment on other skills. The key skills must be mastered by all children.
· Capital letters start a sentence and are used for proper nouns
· Full stops end a sentence
· Sentences must make sense
· The tense must be accurate
National curriculum in England: English programmes of study. Please click here
At Woodside, we believe that a sound understanding of grammar gives children conscience control and choice in their use of language. The explicit teaching of grammar enables children to discuss the choices they make as writers. This leads to better choices and improvements in their writing. Children are taught to use Standard English so they can communicate effectively in the world. Grammar is taught daily and is linked to the current genre. Medium Term Plans ensures all aspects of the National Curriculum objectives are covered every year.
Spelling is an essential skill that enables children to read and write. In year 1, children learn the high frequency words on a weekly basis. From year 2-6, in the first term, children must learn the words from the year group list in the English curriculum. After the first term, a weekly spelling rule is learnt in school and homework, which supports the learning of the spelling rule, is sent home. Children are tested on their application of the rule once a week.
Some children, who require extra support, participate in the Daily Spelling programme. This programme requires children to learn the high frequency words on a daily basis until they know them all.
At Woodside, we believe fluent handwriting is an essential and beneficial skill. Children are taught how to form letters correctly, hold a pencil with the tripod grip and the expectation is that by the end of year 2, they can join the appropriate letters. We teach the Nelson handwriting scheme as it promotes the development of clear, legible handwriting. Handwriting lessons are taught several times a week. Good handwriting practice and excellent presentation are expected in children’s books at all times. When their writing is neat enough, they will be awarded a pen licence so they will be allowed to use a pen in their books.
Literacy through ICT
Walthamstow Library’s website. Please click here
A fantastic website with lots of free resources for supporting reading at home. Please click here
Another great place to go for recommendations of books and lots more. Please click here
Another fantastic website with recommended books for each year group. Please click here
Another place to find reading lists, advice for reluctant readers and much more. Please click here
A bookshop that specialises ‘in books in which all children can see themselves and which reflect our world community in all of its diversity’ Please click here
Crickweb. free online education resources & games. Please click here