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English

Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Primary Schools have implemented the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach to teaching English.  Below are more details about what this approach entails and why we adopted it.

Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to mirror the style of the author(s) they have studied. Schools that have adopted the approach have not only improved their children’s progress but have found that both children and teachers love it.

Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.  It builds on three stages of teaching:

 

1) Imitation - the children learn a text and the language they need

2) Innovation - the children adapt the model text with ideas of their own

3) Invention - the children create their own text using the language and skills that the model taught them.

 

Reading

Reading is a core skill which is key to pupils’ learning in all subjects. In EYFS and KS1 we ensure that our children learn to read. During KS1 and throughout KS2, the focus shifts to ‘reading to learn’.

At Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Primary Schools we strive to ensure that all children are literate and engage with reading and writing.

Whole class and focus group phonics sessions take place regularly and children are taught based on individual stages of learning. Children also have mixed ability English lessons with their class teacher.  We place a lot of emphasis on writing independently and children are given regular opportunities to write in a range of styles and for different purposes. English skills are developed across the curriculum and strong links are made between English and themed learning across the curriculum.  The children have regular extended writing sessions where they write at length and then have the opportunity to review their work.

 

Reading Books

Our children access a wide variety of books in school. Each child takes home a daily reading book which will match his/her independent reading ability. In other words, it should be a pleasure to read rather than a struggle. There are several opportunities for children to change these books during the week and we ask that you regularly listen to your child read at home.

 

The Library

Every child also has access to the library. We have developed our libraries on all three sites so that the children can borrow and return at any of our schools. Children have a free choice of books with age-appropriate content. Children should base their library book choice on reading preference or their own interests. They may choose a book to read independently, or a more challenging book to have read to them. The key is to develop reading behaviours and preferences and to promote a love for reading.

 

Guided Reading

Guided reading is our primary approach to the teaching of reading. In small groups, one of which is with the class teacher, children work on a book which is pitched just above their current independent reading level. It is during these sessions that the class teacher will explicitly teach and develop reading skills; word-recognition and comprehension. Groups working independently will have a particular task based on the development of aspects of reading e.g. summarising the plot, illustrating, generating questions, and finding definitions of unfamiliar words.  

 

Writing

Throughout school, using the Talk for Writing approach, children gain experience of reading, exploring and creating a wide range of narrative, non-fiction and poetry texts. Children are taught how to plan, draft, write, evaluate and read aloud their work. We include regular opportunities for children to complete extended pieces of writing and provide time for them to edit and improve their work.

Across our schools, children experience a wide range of non-fiction text types, many of which are linked to our curriculum theme or science work. Creating links to other curriculum areas provides children with a purpose for writing and ensures they maintain their literacy standards in a variety of contexts.

As children progress through the school the focus for narrative writing varies. They develop skills based on plot, setting and characters which enable them to create extended pieces of narrative writing. Alongside this, children also focus on three aspects of poetry: vocabulary building, structure, and poetry appreciation. We ensure that there are opportunities for performance and recital throughout the year, including participation in ‘The Wensleydale Tournament of Song’.

 

We also use a comprehensive handwriting programme called ‘Letter Join’ which teaches children the mechanics of writing from the very earliest stages of emergent writing. This programme can be accessed through RMUnify. We teach a cursive (joined) script right from the very beginning, as soon as children are beginning to fo

rm their first letters.

 

EGPS (English Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling)

EGPS is embedded across the curriculum. In addition to this, we teach EGPS as a discrete subject, using a programme which starts in reception and develops skills systematically, building on previous understanding throughout school. Throughout every writing unit children are taught spelling, grammar and punctuation rules that are related to, and appropriate for, the text type that they are focusing on.

 

Spoken Language

Across all aspects of the national curriculum we provide opportunities for children to present and discuss their work and ideas. Oral rehearsal of written work is an important way of developing ideas, improving work and ensuring the use of Standard English.

 

Phonics

We teach phonics systematically throughout KS1 and in KS2 where appropriate. At Bainbridge, we used a combination of Jolly Phonics and the Read Write Inc scheme and at West Burton we use the Jolly Phonics scheme.

 

For more information about English, please contact our subject leader, Mr Russell Billingham (based at Askrigg): r.billingham@b-a-wb.co.uk.

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