Welcome to the English section of the SJA website. We have a big focus on English within the school to continue to drive our children’s enthusiasm and talents in this area. The children are taught reading skills through guided reading sessions, handwriting and spelling. We have writing units of work which link as closely as possible to our topic for each term, engaging and inspiring children throughout their work and teaching vital writing skills including the application of grammar techniques.
At SJA, we have a big focus on reading and take part in lots of reading events. Our most recent reading events have included: World Book Day, a Bedtime Story event and a sponsored read in conjunction with Usborne Books.
We use a mixture of reading schemes to promote extending pupil’s reading skills by allowing access to a variety of reading materials including: Pearson’s Bug Club, Oxford Reading Tree, and Project X. Other children are free readers and are given access to a range of genre books to read and enjoy at home and school. Children have access to the school’s library daily at lunchtime. It is run by Mrs Sharman, Miss Filby and some Year 6 volunteers.
During our guided reading sessions we use Reading Vipers to scaffold discussions and promote the children’s understanding of the key reading domains as outlined in the National Curriculum. In addition to guided reading, classes have dedicated reading time. We aim for every child to read to an adult in school at least once a fortnight. We welcome reading volunteers in our school and, at present, we have two volunteers who come in once or twice each week to read with our children. Every class has a reading challenge, where the children can earn Dojos and prizes for reading. The more they read, the more likely they are to win the term’s prize.
This year, we have had an exciting addition to our school community in the form of an ABC Dog. This is a small, local charity which originated from Vets 1 Limited in Downham Market. We welcome Lunar and her handler Jane each week to read with our children. They have made a real impact on our pupil and staff well-being with lots of cuddles and fuss. A full risk assessment can be accessed on our website or via the school office.
Websites to support reading at home:
https://www.booksfortopics.com/ has a wide range of useful suggestions for books linking to different themes and topics.
https://schoolreadinglist.co.uk/ has age appropriate book suggestions and reading lists for each year group. This can help with free readers for books at home.
https://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/ has a range of texts and sample texts.
https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/ has great resources and free books to enjoy. The website can be accessed on pc and tablets.
At SJA we have changed the way we complete writing and have moved toward unit planning. Each unit of work links as closely as possible to our topic for each term giving children opportunities to apply their writing skills across the curriculum and engage with topic they may not have before. We select a key text that links to our topic for the term and use this text as a support and scaffold for our learners. Each lesson is designed to provide challenge and support so that every learner can achieve their best.
Our handwriting has been a real focus for our children and we have worked hard to develop our Handwriting Heroes Challenge. To support this we use PENPALs which is a scheme of handwriting that develops children’s handwriting appropriate for their year group. Alongside this, we have certificates that the children can earn once they have reached a milestone. The certificates are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Once the children achieve a Bronze certificate they are permitted to use their handwriting pens. A Gold certificate enables them to use writing tools of their choice, with support of the teacher. Finally, a Diamond certificate rewards the children with fountain pen because their work and handwriting is of the highest standard.
We have recently introduced a new way of learning spellings using the No Nonsense Spelling scheme. This focuses on explicitly teaching spelling strategies and rules to the children, matched to their year group expectations outlined in the National Curriculum. http://www.swaffhamjuniorschool.com/docs/National_Curriculum_Spelling_appendix.pdf .
Through this scheme, the school has designed our very own Spelling Bee. Through this the children learn a set of words linking to the strategies and rules they have been taught in lessons. The children are quizzed throughout the half term and then have a final Spelling Bee on all the words learnt. We then give out certificates for the Spelling Bee Champion for each class and a certificate for the most improved score as a way of recognising the children’s achievements. The Spelling Bee sheets change each half term and are individual for each year group.
We encourage the children to practice their spellings as much as possible both in school and at home. To help your child with their spellings http://www.spellzone.com/ and https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/at-school/subject-guides/spelling-at-primary-school/ has some great resources.