At Choppington Primary School we value reading as a fundamental skill that all children need to develop to prepare them for life. We place a strong emphasis on reading in school, across the curriculum and at home.
In the past year, we have introduced the Accelerated Reader scheme into KS1 and KS2 classes. AR is a reading program that helps teachers support and monitor children’s reading practice. Your child picks a book at their own level and reads it at their own pace. When finished, your child takes a short online quiz to measure how much of the book they understood. There are also activities to consolidate and extend vocabulary. Reward systems are in place to celebrate achievement in reading. To support this, all children across school are provided with up to 30mins each day to read both independently or in groups. We ask that children are given the opportunity to read to an adult or sibling at least 3 times per week at home too.
Since November 2017, we have adopted the Literature Works approach to teaching Literacy in both Key Stage 1 & 2. The approach involves using high quality texts to engage the children, giving them a purpose for reading and writing. Lessons usually contain activities to develop children's reading, communication and comprehension skills with writing activities based around the text. The books shared in Literacy are often linked to the topic currently being covered by the class and aim to give a greater depth to children's understanding as well as introducing them to relevant vocabulary.
As mentioned above, writing activities within Literacy as usually linked to the texts being shared in class. At the beginning of a topic, children are often asked to complete a 'Cold Writing Task'.
A Cold Task is an exercise at the beginning of every unit, or genre in literacy. The children have a go at doing the task – for example, if they’re doing poems they have a go at writing a poem.
They then do all the unit of work and the teacher teaches them how to improve their work. At the end of the unit they do a 'Hot Task', which is a second go at doing the same piece of work.
It allows the teacher to be able to build on what the child already knows, instead of just teaching them all the same thing. The teacher can see if a child can already do some of the task, and can focus their teaching accordingly.
There are great benefits for the child, because they’re really able to see the difference between what they could do before and afterwards.
Children in Key Stage 1&2 also complete handwriting cards at the beginning of each half term which they refer to whenever they complete independent pieces of writing. This helps them to ensure their presentation is their best possible at all times.
Improving children's understanding and use of vocabulary is a major focus for us here at Choppington. There are a number of reasons for this including:
It gives your child the ability to say what he or she means. By having several words at their disposal for describing an event or emotion, they can be explicit when sharing their ideas and opinions.
It helps your child understand what other people are saying and what she/he is reading. Vocabulary is the foundation for comprehension. Unfamiliar words become holes in the text, preventing your child from completely understanding what he or she has just read.
It bolsters their ability to grasp ideas and think more logically. The greater number of words your child has, the more he or she can interpret ideas from others, and express their own ideas.
It boosts your child’s power of persuasion. Having a rich vocabulary will help your child communicate in a more engaging way. Relying on one or two words to describe an idea will be repetitive and not as persuasive, as relying on a vocabulary of 10-15 similarly descriptive terms.
It helps your child make a good impression on others. How articulate your child is constitutes a big part of the impression she or he makes on others.
We use a variety of approaches to include vocabulary in our day to day lessons, not just in Literacy but also in Maths, Science, History etc too.
All children in Key Stage 1, and some from Key Stage 2, take part in a daily phonics session (Read Write Inc), as well as individual reading.They are given opportunities to develop their spelling, punctuation and sentence structure during English.
Read Write Inc., developed by Ruth Miskin, provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching literacy. It is used by more than a quarter of the UK's primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. Lessons are supported by a range of engaging texts along with an emphasis on partner work and communication activities.
We have also recently introduced the Nessy interactive system of learning aimed at developing children's reading and spelling skills. 100 independent learning lessons spread over ten engaging islands employ an intensive, multisensory, and sequential method of instruction based on the highly respected and researched Orton-Gillingham approach to reading & spelling. Lessons emphasise phonemic awareness, phonics, blending, sight words, fluency, spelling, vocabulary and comprehension. Each island consists of a series of lessons composed of strategy videos reinforced with games which teach fundamental reading & spelling skills.
Reading and Writing is assessed in a number of different ways which all feed into a final assessment from the class teacher. Regular assessment is important as it shows where children currently are at and which areas they may need additional support in.
In reading, children undertake a STAR Reading assessment each half term. These are online tests which focus on a number of different reading skills. The tests give an indication of where a child is currently at, how quickly they are making progress and also areas of development.
In writing, teachers assess children's writing half termly and identify areas of strength and development which are then shared with both parents and pupils at half termly assertive mentoring meetings.
We have also recently begun using a system of writing assessment called 'No More Marking' which involves children producing pieces of writing (1 per year group per year) which is then marked by comparing it to others from across the UK. This provides us with a wealth of information which teachers use to inform their assessments.
You can find links to all of the above information below.