English at Wallace Fields Junior School
Reading during lockdown
Hopefully all the children are enjoying listening to their class reader being read in their remote classrooms by the teachers during the week. It is incredibly important that while children are not here at school, they keep up with reading good quality books. However, we know that it is hard to get hold of books while shops are closed, so here are some ideas that could be used.
The Oak Academy has launched a virtual library. https://library.thenational.academy/This is an amazing resource with free audio books and videos.
Finally - last year, we had a visit from the hilarious children's author Maz Evans and the children were hooked into her series, Who Let the Gods Out. She is now bringing out a new series called VI Spy Licence to Chill on February 4th and can be ordered now on line.
A love of reading as an enjoyable activity is promoted across the school throughout each day.
- Teachers share fabulous books in English lesson where they are read and explore together; this can be as a model for writing or to improve comprehension skills by exploring themes and deeper meanings within the text in a guided comprehension lesson.
- New vocabulary is collected by children in their ‘Word Collector’ books to expand the choices they have for writing.
- Children visit our well stocked library regularly to choose and share good books. Library is also open on a Thursday lunchtime. we have a librarian who keeps up to date with new and popular books.
- A carefully selected book corner is in every classroom to share and this is where teachers and children promote their favourite books.
- Teachers and children recommend and read their books to each other in class to share book experiences with each other.
- An author visit is arranged in February, to celebrate World Book Day and we have a fabulous book fair in March where children and parents can browse for new books.
- Children are rewarded with a BOOK BINGO certificate for reading different genres through the year.
- Pupils form Year 6 become reading ambassadors to children in lower year groups, listening to them reading and talking about their books.
Book Week 2020
Last year we celebrated World Book day within our Book week in February 2020. Each year group read a class book linked to a cultural theme and followed this with activities. We also dressed up as our favourite book characters. The highlight of our week was the visit to our school of two incredibly popular and talented children's authors:
- Maz Evans https://maz.world/ author of the hilarious 'Who Let the Gods Out' series. She made us all laugh about the characters in her books and intrigued the children with stories about where her inspiration for her books comes from.
- Abi Elphinstone http://www.abielphinstone.com/ author of The Unmapped Chronicles and 'Sky Song', 'The Dreamsnatcher' trilogy and 'Winter Magic'. Abi grabbed the children’s imagination with descriptions of her travels to places around the world, including Mongolia, and how they were woven into the settings and characters in her magical books.
Book Week February 2020
Wallace Fields Junior School Book Club
In September 2019 we launched our Wallace Fields Junior School Book Club. Mrs Clarkson, one of our parents and a children’s book author, has volunteered to run this on Wednesday lunchtimes. It provides a wonderful opportunity for children of each year group to gather informally to discuss a book they have all read. Whilst obviously developing and extending their comprehension skills it will also develop their ability to express their own ideas and consider those of others. The club is organised in year groups and meets once a month to discuss their book. The club is free but parents will need to buy the chosen book or get the book out of the local library. Children sign up in September for the year.
Book club reviews
How can parents help?
- Encourage children to try new books by different authors (see websites below for ideas)
- Share books together
- Listen and discuss your child’s current book and also read to them
- Make sure your child has a book in school everyday
- Record when your child has finished a book in their homework diary or reading record so that they can achieve a ‘Book Bingo’ certificate
- Download the APP - The Reading realm which encourages thinking and talk about good books https://thereadingrealm.co.uk/app/
- Read our ‘reading at Home’ handout for ideas on questions that could be asked to explore texts together
Reading at home
What can I read next? Can you find me a good book please? I like funny books. Where can I find more books like this one?
Whether your child is an enthusiastic reader or a reluctant reader, it is useful to have an idea of books that are available.
In our school library we provide ideas for children to try new books and they can ask our Year 6 librarians for advice or their teacher. These websites are also useful for ideas:
For more information on how reading is taught, please see our English Policy document.
Pupils at Wallace Fields are encouraged to produce writing that is clear, entreating, informative and engages the reader. They are given many real opportunities to write for a purpose in English and across the curriculum at Wallace Fields. During English lessons, a text or video is used to generate a purpose for writing but their skills are embedded in other subjects through a broad and balanced curriculum. Children generate ideas as a class or with their peers and effectively self-evaluate and edit their own writing following discussion and feedback. We are keen to help children develop an extensive vocabulary and so each child has their own word collector book to keep new, ambitious and precise words to use in their own writing.
The programmes of study for writing at key stage 2 are divided into:
• transcription (spelling and handwriting)
• composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
It is essential that pupils develop competence in these two dimensions.
The programmes of study guidelines from the government are divided into lower (year 3 & 4) and upper (year 5& 6) but we have created 'pupil friendly' checklists for our pupils (see below). Please use these to help your child with any writing and editing they do at home for pleasure or homework. These are the writing expectations that children should meet consistently by the end of each year group for expected progress.
This is our writing progression map based on the National curriculum. These skills are taught through the study of texts and films in our English lessons. It illustrates the progression of skills taught in composition, grammar & punctuation and spelling.
English progression map
How can parents help?
Encourage your child to read widely – See the reading section at the top of this page
Share new words found in books, notices, adverts etc and help to explain what they mean.
Find synonyms for a new word and practise putting the word in a sentence.
Find opportunities to write at home, e.g. a diary.
Print off the spelling lists below and practice spelling these key words.
Encourage your child to enter the annual Radio Two 500 word story writing competition when it opens in the Spring.
Examples of story and poetry writing
Each year we invite the children to take part in the Radio 2 500 word competition. Three years ago we had a child who reached the final.
Please click on the links below to read some recent poetry written by the children.
500 word stories
There are two statutory spelling lists for the English curriculum: year 3 & 4 and 5 & 6. By the end of KS2, if children use these words in their writing, they are expected to spell them correctly. The lists can be printed off and also practiced on Spelling Shed.
We have been using The Spelling Shed for the last year. It is a spelling scheme that can be used on online on a computer or as an App on a phone or iPad and we can also use it in school on our chrome books. The scheme is used to support our teaching of spelling across the school and to help children consolidate spellings by playing games at home and setting lists to practice for homework. We therefore require your child to have access at home via the computer or a mobile device. There is also an App that can be purchased and played independently. It is dyslexic friendly, uses an ‘Open Dyslexic’ font, and has three levels of difficulty to support pupils of all abilities through the spelling lists with appropriate degrees of challenge. For instructions see the attached document.
Wordshark provides a fun and effective games-based solution for students learning to spell and read. We have been using Wordshark successfully for many years with children who find spelling a particular challenge and have found that the program is especially useful for those with dyslexia and other special educational needs. It has a diagnostic tool that assess which spelling rules and patterns the children need to practise the most and then teaches and reinforces them using fun games and activities. Wordshark gives our students the essential reinforcement and continuous practice they need to master a wide range of spelling patterns and rules. Children who have been identified by their class teacher as requiring this individual and specialised support will be given a log in that they can use to access Wordshark both at school and at home. Their class teacher is able to access the program to monitor usage and progress of the children using it, to ensure it is the best intervention for them to help them to progress.