English at Oxley Park is an exciting opportunity for children to explore all genres of writing. Where possible, writing is linked to the topic being studied in Doorways and Pathways (topic based learning) so children can become completely immersed in improving their skills while writing their own versions of texts which are relevant to their learning journey. The teaching and learning of grammar is now thoroughly embedded in our English lessons with some additional discrete back-to-basics lessons being taught to address any misconceptions. The expectations of the new curriculum are high, with children not only able to read and write well but to also have a secure knowledge and understanding of formal grammar including the technical vocabulary.
Our English session are built around Chapters. These are very evident in every child’s English book. To start a chapter children complete a Cold Write, which is totally independent. A chapter can be genre focussed or skill focussed. From this cold write teachers can assess what needs to be taught during the chapter ahead. Every child has a personal working wall added to their books for that chapter of learning which highlights where they 'magpie' interesting vocabulary and annotate key skills to then later apply to their own writing. This personal wall shares a ‘model’ of what that chapter is focussing on and supports the child in visualising what a good one looks like! Throughout the chapter, children will explore the model text in a variety of ways using drama and the arts to support and develop a widening vocabulary range. They will take part in shared and guided writing to ensure key skills are learnt explicitly and editing and drafting skills will be taught to encourage reflection for their writing. At the end of the chapter, the children have the opportunity to complete a Hot Write which enables them to demonstrate what they have learned on their learning journey. They use their working wall to assess whether they have included all of the features, applied the new skills and met their own learning goals.
Chapters have proven a huge success at Oxley and has really built our children’s confidence in talking about their learning. It enables them to see what they have learnt and helps make their progress really explicit.
Reading—Introducing Accelerated Reader (AR):
We have invested hugely in our reading book provision recently and we continue to enhance this area of our school. Along with many more books we now also have two amazing new libraries; one for each site along with smaller reading spaces around both schools. Reading is at the heart of our school and we have great plans on creating spaces to read like no other!
Accelerated Reader Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer-based program that helps teachers to monitor children’s reading comprehension skills and guide reading choices to ensure children are reading books that support gradual progress, rightly recognising that reading is not solely about a child’s ability to decode words using phonic knowledge. Once children are fluent and confident reading Green Level Oxford Reading Tree books they will move on to Accelerated Reader. Children will take home AR reading books within their ZPD (zone of proximal development). You will know they are an AR book because they will have a coloured sticker on the spine with a decimal number written on, and a sticker inside the front cover with information such as the book level, interest level and quiz number. Of course, pupils can read books that are not an AR book but they will only be able to quiz on AR books and use the results of these quizzes to work towards a set target. The ZPD range is set for every child based in the result of the STAR reading quiz they sat in the previous term, which is re-sat six times a year. By reading books in this range, for at least 30 minutes every day ,in school plus extra at home, children should make optimum progress in reading. Childrens’ ZPD ranges and their points target can be found on the front page of their reading record and will be updated after each STAR quiz. When starting on a new ZPD, children should begin by reading books at the lower end of the ZPD and gradually move through to the top end, being guided by their teacher and the results of the quizzes they complete.
Recording the reading that children complete at home in their reading record is strongly encouraged to parents/carers. Children can earn themselves merits in school for each week that they read at least 5 times. When children feel they have completed a book, and do not need to re-read to fully understand it, they may quiz on the book in school as soon as possible. Quizzes should be taken within 48 hours of completing a book and any completed on a Friday evening, can be quizzed on Monday.
Reading with your child
It is important to us to hear your child read as often as we can. We aim to do this in our lessons, 1:1 and/or in small guided groups. All children in Foundation and Key Stage 1 will be heard read by either their class teacher or teaching assistant on a fortnightly rotation. In Key Stage 2 children will take part in group reading challenges to build their comprehension skills on a weekly basis. If you have any comments to make about your child’s reading that you would like to share with their class teacher then please share this information via their Reading Diary.
Phonics —Introducing Letters and Sounds:
Letters and sounds is the programme we follow to teach phonics. Through regular teaching children can transfer the skills they acquire to their reading, writing and spelling which they use across the curriculum. The cycle of teaching (revisit, teach, practice, apply, assess) ensures a rigorous and consistent approach for all our children.
'Letters & Sounds' is the government programme for teaching phonics and high frequency words.
It is split into 6 phases:
Phase 1: Children learn rhymes. (starting in Nursery) They keep rhythms and start to relate letter sounds to words. E.g. b for bag.
Phase 2: Children learn initial letter sounds and build 3 letter words.
Phase 3: Children learn all 44 phonemes and blend sounds to read and write words.
Phase 4: Children blend consonants together to read difficult words e.g. blue, grab.
Phase 5: Children learn how to spell letter sounds in more than one way e.g. rain, day, make.
Phase 6: Children learn how to spell word specific spellings. E.g. turned, beautiful, shopping.
Children will have access to a variety of resources during their lessons to make their learning fun and exciting!
We will be updating our English page over the term so watch out for some exciting games you can play at home to practise phonics.
Sponics (Spelling & Phonics)
Sponics is our newly revised progressive whole-school programme combining both Phonics and Spelling. Spelling patterns, rules and exceptions are taught to the children as part of the curriculum within their English lessons and as standalone Back2Basics lessons throughout the week. In addition, children are given the statutory core spellings for years 1-6. We have chosen to break these spelling lists up into specific year groups and the word lists can be found below. Check sheets can also be found in children’s reading diaries. Sponics home learning will be set fortnightly (on rotation with grammar) and children in Key Stage 2 will also be tested on their spellings. Scoring well in spellings and having a really good go at the tasks can be profitable for the children in terms of merits so it is really worth completing them.
At Oxley Park Academy we believe that, whilst our children live in an ever-advancing technological world, the ability to write legibly and quickly continues to be an important basic skill that should be taught and developed in the primary years.
The aim of teaching handwriting is to enable each child to write legibly, fluently, without strain and with sufficient speed to facilitate flow of thought to paper. To realise this aim, the basic script and its development to joined handwriting is described below and is taught in all year groups throughout the Academy.
The lower case letters of basic script are shown below:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m
n o p q r s t u v w x y z
Basic script refers to an alphabet that is simple and practical – it can be written at speed and with ease but allows some variation without loss of a consistent appearance. It also provides a sound foundation for later progression to a cursive form and to the expression of individual preferences.
“Cursive” is a term that usually refers to handwriting in which the letters within words are connected by joining strokes to increase the speed of writing. The cursive style taught at Oxley Park Academy represents a progression from basic script, providing for increased fluency and speed by joining some, but not all, letters.
Capital letters for both basic and cursive script are shown below:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Apps to support English development
Mr Thorne does Phonics
ABC Pocket Phonics
Abby Explorer Grammar
Read with Biff Chip & Kipper
Websites to support English development
Websites / Videos to support Phonics development
https://youtu.be/BqhXUW_v-1s - To practise correct pronunciation of sounds.
Websites to support Handwriting development