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Harthill Primary School

‘A school at the heart of its village’

English

Reading
The development of reading skills is seen as being of fundamental importance throughout the school. Great emphasis is placed upon motivating children towards reading as a source of great pleasure and enjoyment. The development of fluent reading skills depends very much upon practice, and curriculum pressures on time mean that much of this practice has to be done out of school.
Children nowadays have many pressures on their leisure time and will only read if they are motivated to do so. Parents play a vital role in helping to motivate their children towards reading throughout the children's primary school career. Sharing books with your child, talking about books, using the public library service, reading to your children - please don't let these activities stop just because your child has reached the age of 5 (or 6 or 7 or 8 or ........!). We actively encourage parents, grandparents and members of the local community to come into school to hear children read. If you would like to help, please let us know. 
 
We use all the above strategies (and more) to teach our children to read. We are very well resourced for books and as children develop in competence they are introduced to a wide range of reading material. At first the emphasis is on pre-reading skills and the learning of a basic sight vocabulary. The children progress to the learning of letter sounds and blends (phonic skills) and the development of a 'word attack' strategy i.e. the ability to use phonic and other skills. The early development of reading skills must not be rushed or treated as a race - either by children or parents!
 
We host Reading workshops where we introduce to Parents how we teach reading through school, the resources we use to support this and ways that Parents can help their children at home. Alongside the workshops we produce a leaflet which gives parents guidance on how to support their child's reading at home. Please see the links below.
 
The skills involved in reading for information are also emphasised, particularly during the child's junior years. The importance of comprehension, both of fiction and non-fiction, is stressed, and is one of the aspects included in the careful monitoring of individual reading progress which is undertaken by all teachers. 

Writing
Ofsted Inspectors recognised the high status given to reading in our school and the positive impact of this. ‘Boys as well as girls develop keen reading skills. They talk enthusiastically about the interesting books they have read in the school’s well-equipped library and how these books have inspired their own writing.’ (June 2011). 

Early writing often starts with a shared class experience so that all children have something to contribute. Skills such as writing from left to right, and top to bottom on the page have to be mastered. Through pattern and copy-writing the children are taught the basic letter shapes and eventually the joining of letters that leads to an attractive, fluent style of writing. 

Children initially use pencil for writing and progress to using a variety of writing instruments. As with reading, motivation is a vital element in children's development of writing skills. From the beginning, therefore, children are encouraged to make marks and 'be writers'. The 'emergent writing' which the children produce is developed through the teachers using a variety of techniques and strategies all designed to enable each child to become a confident and competent writer. As the children progress they are given the experience of writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. Rules of grammar and spelling are continually introduced and reinforced when appropriate for the individual child.
 
Every class has an English session each day, which is given over to the teaching of reading and writing skills. We place great importance on linking English to topics studied and other curriculum areas so children are gaining confidence in writing for a range of purposes and audiences . Daily Phonics and SPAG (Spelling, punctuation and Grammar sessions) have led to a heightened understanding of the construction of writing.

Phonics is taught daily at Key Stage One and we use the Letters and Sounds scheme as well as Phonics bugs resources to support teaching and learning.

 

Spelling is an extremely important and is a major focus of our learning. Each year revisits spelling rules and common exception words taught the year before, as well as learning the rules and common exception words for that year group. Alongside these each year group has a set of zero-tolerance words that should always be correctly spelt.

 

For further information and ways to support your child at home, please talk to your child's class teacher or English coordinator; Miss Rodgers (Year 5 class teacher).
 
Speaking and listening
From their first days in school the children are encouraged to develop their oral language ability. As adults much of our communication is by talking rather than writing. Many classroom activities begin with a discussion and the use of language is regarded as being fundamentally important to true learning and understanding in every aspect of the curriculum; language activities are designed and structured so as to enable the child to develop as fully as possible the ability to express himself clearly and appropriately. The use of talk partners is an established practice throughout school. As parents you can help your child by encouraging his/her questions by being prepared to answer these questions as fully and clearly as possible, and by involving yourself in his/her discoveries.
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