How we teach English.
At Reinwood we believe that English is the most important single area of children’s learning; it is the key for accessing and understanding the rest of the curriculum.
In school, we teach English through the use of the Power of Reading approach. This involves the study of quality whole texts so that pupils fully immerse themselves in the characters, settings and plot of a story. This allows the pupils to write in role more effectively as it provides a clear audience, purpose and context for each piece of writing. It is also a strategy that seeks to support children’s knowledge and understanding through a variety of teaching approaches. Children respond fantastically to the breadth of learning opportunities and they enjoy engaging with the books. Quality texts have been selected for children to study and where possible, these have links to the broader curriculum and the themes/topic areas that particular year groups are studying as well as the wider context of the school. The enthusiasm for this approach is fantastic across the school and it really helps children develop a love of reading.
Our weekly structure for English lessons revolves around a single piece of longer writing, linked to the text being studied. These writing opportunities have been identified through having a deep understanding of the text in order to provide learning opportunities that will suitably engage and challenge all pupils. Each piece of writing is part of a carefully planned sequence of lessons. To start with, pupils are taught a key spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) objective which has been identified as being important for that week’s piece of writing. Pupils then plan their piece of writing, studying or recapping the features of the genre of writing that they are learning about where appropriate. Pupils then produce a first draft of their writing before proofreading, editing and redrafting their work based on teachers’ feedback and their own evaluations.
At Reinwood, we have high expectations of all pupils’ written work, including their handwriting and presentation. Pupils understand the importance of always giving their best and work diligently to improve how they present their written work. They regularly practise their handwriting and pupils aim towards receiving their Pen License.
Practicing Presentation Skills
Children also engage in spelling lessons three times per week. Lessons focus on helpful rules and strategies to spell words and are taught in a fun and exciting manner. Likewise, children are also taught grammar and punctuation in a weekly lesson and they then apply what they have learnt to longer pieces of writing.
Reading at Reinwood
At Reinwood Junior school, we like to promote ‘the love of reading’ in all our children and we want every child to leave the school being confident, fluent readers. We encourage children to ‘read for pleasure’ and we have carefully selected a wide range of texts for each year group, to ensure that children have access to a range of different authors, genres and fiction, poetry and non-fiction writing.
We know that reading for pleasure has a very positive effect on educational performance and we therefore, give children opportunities to do this in the school day. They can select a wide range of books from both their class library, which contains both fiction and poetry texts, and from our school library, which houses a wide range of non-fiction books.
Furthermore, for a week each half term, children get involved in our Drop Everything And Read (DEAR). Children are encouraged to bring in their favourite books, a cushion or blanket or a soft toy – they absolutely love it!
At Reinwood, we feel that children really understand the importance of reading, not only for themselves but for the adults in school. Our displays showcase staff’s favourite childhood books and children also have an awareness of what book their teacher is personally reading in their own spare time.
We are extremely lucky at Reinwood to have an amazing book vending machine. At the end of each half term, the children with the most dojos points as well as those who regularly complete their reading homework receive tokens for the vending machine.
A lifelong love of reading is further promoted through Guided Reading lessons. These involve the study of quality whole texts and follow the same books as used in English lessons. Pupils regularly take part in discussions about the books that are read to them and those that they read themselves in order to gain a better understanding of characters, settings, plot and authorial intent. Here, our teaching aims to develop pupils’ vocabulary, breadth of reading and depth of reading.
In order to do this, pupils are taught key comprehension skills through a metacognitive approach and are exposed to a range of challenging texts. This follows a well-planned sequence of learning activities which promote pupils’ enjoyment and understanding. Pupils are taught to use their prior knowledge in order to make links and connections to what they are about to read. They are then taught how to identify any barriers to their understanding and remove these by using a range of strategies. Pupils’ comprehension is then tested as they are challenged to think more deeply about the text, answering questions which require them to use evidence from what they have read in order to justify their ideas and views.
Reading at Home
As well as reading in school, we like to encourage pupils to read as much as possible at home. Parents are also encouraged to get involved with this, by listening to children read and filling out their Reading Cards/Records. Teachers reward children for completing their Reading homework and each half term, a child is given a ‘Most Improved Reader’ certificate. We also set fun reading-based homework tasks such as ‘Extreme Reading’ to further engage our pupils and promote a love of reading.
In addition, we have excellent relationships with Kirklees libraries and as such, have encouraged children to register as members at the library so that they can make use of the many things that they have to offer, such as loaning up to 15 books, accessing audio books and thousands of magazines and being a part of a range of clubs, such as Lego club, Craft club and Coding club (please see the links). As well, each year group will participate in activities run by the library, such Multi-sensory class visits; Local History class visits; Coding class visits and Story Walks.
Inspirational Authors and Poets
We are very fortunate to have connections with our local bookshop. The children get very excited each term when their ‘mystery’ book arrives and they have to try and guess what their new book is in our amazing ‘Book Bonanza’! Through this ‘connection’, we have also had visits from famous authors such as Serena Patel. During the Pandemic, we still managed to make this happen virtually, with well-known writer Rob Biddolph (Draw with Rob) and the very funny poet, Matt Goodfellow.
Please follow the useful links below to access useful information to encourage your child to read.