English at Hexton
At Hexton JMI School, we believe that life is enriched by reading. We value all forms of the written word and want children to develop a love of language that lasts a lifetime.
In reception, children begin their reading journey by listening to stories, joining in with songs, rhymes and poems. Phonic knowledge is central to pupils learning to read and the school follows a systematic approach using Twinkl phonics. This rich reading experience continues in KS1 as pupils develop a broader vocabulary, begin to read more independently and are exposed to more books, authors and genres.
In KS2, texts from a wide variety of authors are shared with pupils as they begin to share and reflect on their reading experiences in school and at home. Accelerated Reader is a web-based programme that supports teachers’ assessment of pupils’ reading. As pupils develop their comprehension skills, they are able to explore more sophisticated and multi-layered texts. Guided reading enables pupils as they develop their responses to texts. Children’s experiences through reading lessons include echo reading (modelling fluency); reciprocal reading, using different roles; being heard to read 1:1 by KS2 staff; answering comprehension questions and independent reading and quizzing (using our Accelerated Reader software). We celebrate reading at school; through book week, World Book Day, Extreme Reading, decorating our class doors as a book and by sharing individual progress with our headteacher. We believe that reading is the gateway to the whole curriculum and fluent independent reading is crucial to success in life.
While reading, it is important children read about characters and settings that reflect children’s own life experiences and the wider world they live in. Books are selected carefully and thought is given by all adults about the texts we choose to share with children.
Pupils are heard read on a regular basis by adults who are committed to pupils developing fluency and a love of books. The school is relentless in its ambition for children to go on to their next stage of education as confident readers who have the strategies needed to succeed in school. The SENco provides further support to class teachers, teaching assistants and parents in ensuring pupil progress in reading.
We promote reading engage pupils in reading in various ways including:
- Class story or daily reader
- Guided reading
- Participation in book events
- Links with the local library
- Author visits to school
- Information in newsletters
- Magazine subscriptions
- Drama lessons
- Book assemblies
- Online events
- Parent workshops
Useful websites for parents include:
Talk 4 Writing
In Reception and Key Stage One, we use the Talk 4 Writing approach, developed by children’s author Pie Corbett. This approach encompasses both composition and transcription (spelling and handwriting). Talk 4 Writing units follow a sequence of imitation, innovation and invention. Children learn texts by heart with actions, read them as a reader, analyse vocabulary and meaning and engage in hands-on learning alongside short burst writing tasks. Grammar, punctuation and spelling is all embedded within the unit, and model texts are crafted by teachers to cover the grammar and vocabulary/spelling work that assessments have identified children require next. Once children are familiar with the texts, they read as a writer, boxing up and story mapping their text, and adding their own innovations to start to retell similar stories based on their model text. Finally, children plan their own piece of writing, using their ‘toolkit’ – a series of lessons where they have rehearsed the embedded grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and sentence structure – and write a story or text of the same genre, following a similar structure to the original text.
The Write Stuff
In KS2, we use ‘The Write Stuff’ to support our children’s composition. The Write Stuff, developed by Jane Considine, consists of units made up of ‘experience days’ and ‘sentence stacking days.’ During experience days, children learn context, carry out research and build vocabulary. They will ‘find the shape’ of the text, which involves identifying key sections of text and their purpose and effect on the reader. Throughout the unit, ‘Fantastics’, ‘Grammaristics’ and ‘Boomtastics’ are covered to help pupils to develop a wide range of tools for improving their writing.
Transcription in KS2 - spelling
Spelling is taught discretely using Twinkl PlanIt. Units are planned sequentially and can be found in the English long term plan at the top of this page. Texts selected by the class teacher for The Write Stuff English lessons will support the work children are doing in spelling, and will contain many of the statutory spelling words for children’s year groups.
Transcription in KS2 - handwriting
Handwriting is taught discretely in KS2. We have a school font which is used on the majority of display boards and worksheets that are created for children. Children in Reception and Year One are taught precursive handwriting. From Year Two, children are taught cursive handwriting.