As reading is so important, every child takes part in a daily guided reading session. We use carousel style learning activities during guided reading as this gives a balance of encouraging the children to learn independently and being taught crucial skills.
Each child will have two adult-led session and two other sessions which are based around what they have learnt with the adults. The fifth session encourages the children to read for enjoyment with their own choice of book. A week in your child’s class may look something like this:
During guided reading, the children read banded books that are from a different scheme to that of the home readers. Each group reads books that are suitable for their level of development and the emphasis is on deepening their learning, not on proceeding quickly through the bands.
Home Reading Books
We like to get the children taking home reading books as soon as possible at SASJ. As we have a fully decodable reading book scheme for early readers, the children don’t need to know many sounds be able to get their first book to take home. We found that the children love the Dandelion Launchers books so much that we invested in games that reinforce the learning from the books. These books are generally used in Acorns Class as they help the children develop their confidence.
At SASJ, we love phonics. As soon as the children start in Acorns, we start teaching them phonics as this is the grounding for their reading. We use PhonicsPlay to plan our lessons as it is a fun, interactive programme that the children love. There are many games on the website which you can access for free at home.
EYFS children are grouped within the class but we are always adaptable and if children need to go into other areas of the school for their learning, we have this potential.
The children are grouped throughout KS1 for phonics to enable the children to progress through the scheme at a pace that is relevant to them.
You may hear lots of new words when your child starts learning phonics so we have included a glossary of terms below to support you.
We use Lancashire English Themes for our English planning. These have been well developed and adapted over the years by the Lancashire English consultants who we regularly receive training from.
Each planning phase follows the same pattern of: creating interest in the theme, reading and analysing, reading and gathering content, planning and finally writing. This process can take place over a number of weeks but even when the children are in the reading phase, we plan lots of writing activities like diary entries, postcards, etc. to enhance their writing skills.
When the children get to the writing phase, sessions may begin by being modelled, showing the children how to apply the grammar skills that they have learnt. After this initial modelled write, they will then have a go at writing something similar independently. Later in the year, teachers will ask them to use these skills elsewhere in the curriculum.
At SASJ, we teach grammar during separate sessions for 10 minutes a day and then these skills are in our writing. For example, if a class were learning about how to use adjectives in their grammar and they then wrote a story, part of the success criteria for their story would be to use adjectives within that story.
In order to embed the skills fully, we ensure that we also ensure that the children use them throughout the curriculum. For example, they might have to use adjectives to describe the process of the water cycle in geography.
Children are taught the correct formation of letters as they learn each grapheme (the written units) through their phonics teaching. It is really important that children hold their pencil with the correct grip and teachers will always encourage this. Occasionally, children really struggle and develop their own style but this is less likely if it is picked up upon in the early years.
Children are shown how to join letters as they begin to learn about phonemes (the sounds) with more than one grapheme in. As the children progress through the years, they follow a scheme called Nelson Handwriting which develops more and more joins. Click on the link to see a short clip of the four main handwriting joins that are taught in school.
By the time children reach UKS2, most children will be able to write fluently in joined up handwriting.
Once children are confident in their phonics, they progress to spelling. As in phonics, we group the children for spellings to enable every child to work at a level applicable to them and to allow them to reach their full potential.
We have daily spelling sessions which are 15 minutes long and we use a scheme called No Nonsense Spelling from Year 2 – Year 6. This scheme teaches spelling in a 'Little-but-often' structure which allows children to revisit and review, learn new strategies and apply. A variety of strategies are suggested so that children with different learning styles can find out what works well for them.