‘Children should be taught to write and speak fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and, through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.’
(DfE New Curriculum document 2013)
Through our curriculum at Connaught, children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively whether they are immersed in reading, composing written texts or engaging in oral debates and presentations.
Introduction to Reading at Connaught
WHY: At Connaught, we want all children to express a love for reading and read for pleasure. Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible; once you learn to read, you will be forever free.
WHAT: We want all children to leave Key Stage 2 as confident readers.
HOW: We are committed to promoting reading through a variety of strategies and opportunities as explained in our introductory video.
Our main priority is for children to enjoy reading so they can not only widen their knowledge, vocabulary and sentence structure but also read for pleasure and have access to a wider range of text types, authors and make informed decisions about their favourites.
Author of the term
The English team are working hard to promote reading in school through a range of different ways. These include:
- creating corridor libraries where the children can be exposed to books when they move around the school;
- displaying quotes of books around the school encouraging the children to read the book that the quote has come form;
- covers of books are displayed all around the school so children can be encouraged to see a book and then read it;
- characters from books have been drawn and displayed around the school;
- children 'drop and read' at various points throughout the week which encourages children to find the most comfortable way they like to read;
- weekly assemblies where they are read to;
- promoting an author of the term;
- children are read to every day by their teacher;
- inviting book corner in each classroom;
- time in class to talk about books they have read and recommending books to each other;
- podcasts whereby children talk about books they have read;
- poetry is read to them each week during as assembly;
Children have created their own book clubs with peers in their class. It gives the children an opportunity to enjoy reading the same books as their friends and then having time to discuss the books in school. This has encouraged children to read and talk about books with their peers.
As well as this, staff have created a book club where they meet once a month and discuss the books that they have read. So far, we have read The Boy who made the world disappear by Ben Miller and Can you see me by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott.
ERIC (Everyone Reading in Class)
Our timetable prioritises daily ERIC sessions in which all the children have the opportunity to access and analyse a quality text from start to finish; for these sessions, books are selected at a higher level than might be read independently to provide appropriate challenge and engagement. Skills are developed through a structured cycle:
- Objective-led questioning, e.g. exploring the difference between fact and opinion, or predicting what will happen next.
- Immersion activities, e.g. drama, hot-seating.
- Assessment-style questions.
Where necessary, specific phonics support is offered to develop children’s reading skills through the use of interventions such as the online Lexia programme.
Those children who require a more structured approach to reading have access to the Book Banded books to help them to continue to grow in confidence as readers with a text that is appropriate for their age group.
Reading at Home:
Children choose library books or their own texts to take home and read; they are encouraged to record their own thoughts and opinions about the books in their homework diary.
Please click on the image below for your childs year group - this will take you to the School Reading List website. Beneath is the Connaught Reading list.
These lists are intended to be a guide to books suitable for children in Key Stage 2. Covering a range of genres, the lists are drawn from a number of sources including teachers own recommendations; suggestions by respected authors; reading lists suggested by other schools and the National Literacy Trust’s website.
Some of the texts are more difficult to read than others and care should be taken when choosing those which your child might enjoy. Try the ‘Five Finger Test’ – open the book at random and ask your child to read aloud, holding out a finger for each word they do not know or cannot pronounce. Just one finger and the book is probably too easy; two or three fingers is an appropriate level; four might be too challenging and perhaps a book to read with an adult; five fingers suggests this is a book to leave until they are a little older.
For more information on how to support your child’s reading, please read the following documents:
WHY: At Connaught, we want all children to embrace the power of the written word. To write well means to be able to communicate effectively with a range of different audiences and for different purposes.
WHAT: Through our creative curriculum, we ensure that the children have a strong sense of purpose to their writing in order to motivate and inspire them to produce writing of a high standard.
HOW: Through the use of inspiring texts, drama, multi-media, and simulated experiences (such as inventing a product to pitch to the Dragons’ Den, or a space ship landing in the hall!), the children are fully immersed in their learning and therefore engaged in their writing.
Writing is a complex skill which needs careful modelling and support. As such, we take the children through three phrases which are: investigating the text type, experimenting with the text type and writing and editing.
Phase 1: The children are presented with a writing opportunity for their topic, and understand the purpose. In this phase, they read high quality texts in order to create a success criteria and set of features for the genre, and make comparisons with other genres where appropriate.
Phase 2: Here the children will magpie examples from high quality texts in order to build their vocabulary, explore relevant grammar and punctuation devices, start to collect information and plan the content of their final piece.
Phase 3: During this phase, teachers will guide the children through the writing process using modelled writing, shared writing and other scaffolding techniques. Throughout this phase, the children will refer back to their year group’s non-negotiables as well as the success criteria generated at the beginning of the unit. Teachers model how to edit and up-level writing as this is a vital element in the writing process. Children quickly develop independent editing skills and it becomes second nature to make improvements to their work.
Punctuation & Grammar
Through a weekly discrete SPAG lesson, the children are taught specific grammar and punctuation devices explicitly and which are then interwoven across the curriculum.
Please find below some further documents which may help you to support your child with their writing:
Here are some examples of the childrens writing:
Speaking and listening skills are vital in all learning and social situations. We encourage our pupils to speak clearly and articulate their views and opinions by encountering a range of situations, activities and audiences, which are designed to develop confidence and competence.
Our children have many opportunities to hone these skills through active participation in a range of different activities, such as:
- Bi-annual class talks, independently prepared and presented to peers
- Talk homework
- Class debates
- Circle Time in PSHE
- Drama activities
- School council meetings
- End of term Topic Celebrations
- School productions
Bi-annual class talks, independently prepared and presented to peers. The children give a short 5-7 minute presentation to their class, are marked out of 20 and given constructive feedback. The presentations range from children talking about personal interests, to sharing information that they have gathered linked to their year group topic. Here is an example of the mark sheet the children receive.
Below is an example of a Year 6 child's presentation linked to their Victorian topic.
Each week, the whole school is set a 'talk homework.' This gives the children an opportunity to talk at home with their siblings and family about a topic which is linked to our theme of the week. Below are some examples.
What can we each do to look after the environment?
How do you establish new friendships with people you don’t know yet? What would life be like without friends and friendly people?
In school, what different things could you do to make sure you are showing respect to others?
School Council Meetings - the children meet with other peers from different classes and year groups, and a formal meeting is conducted. As well as this, the children have to hold meetings in their classes to gather their peer's views.
End of term Topic Celebrations - The children have to share their knowledge with different audiences linked to their topics. We have had parents visiting our school, children from local schools, as well as other year groups/classes. This enables the learning to be 'real' and allows the children to present to an audience, which is not just the peers in their class.
School Productions - each year group have an opportunity to perform to a larger audience. Year 3 perform the Nativity, Year 4 an Easter Production, Year 5 Harvest and Year 6 perform a show for their end of year production. The children learn many new skills during these performances, as well as those children who take on back stage roles.
Please enjoy some podcasts that have been created by some of our children
Children are expected to read aloud at home at least five times per week, making a reflective comment about they have read in their homework diary. Parents are required to sign the reading record and this is then monitored by the teacher. It is important to hear your child read and ask them questions about the text to ensure they comprehend what they have read. (See the link above under 'Reading' for suggested questions). There will usually be a SPAG focus area linked to home reading.
Children should practise their spellings each week; they are given weekly spellings from the National Curriculum Spellings lists, as well as half-termly spellings which can be found in their homework diary.
Please use the following links for KS2 English skills practice and guidance:
Useful websites for English:
Instruction and activities on Reading, Writing and SPaG:
Links to online skills practice:
Comprehensive list of links to various areas of English:
Literacy ‘Boot Camp’ for upper KS2 (first 5 days free)