At Mossgate we follow the National Curriculum for English and use the Lancashire theme booklets as a resource to support our teaching of speaking and listening, reading and writing. In teaching these areas of English, we aim to incorporate creative teaching and learning approaches to inspire our children to become enthusiastic readers and writers. We aim to create purposeful opportunities for children to communicate through spoken and written language for a range of audiences.
We value reading as an essential part of children’s learning at Mossgate. We believe that promoting the enjoyment of reading is of equal importance to teaching important reading skills. Children take part in a reading lesson every day where they develop reading skills in decoding and comprehension. They read a range of age appropriate texts from fiction, non-fiction, poetry and play scripts. Children also spend time understanding and developing their vocabulary and investigate the themes of the texts before applying reading skills to them.
As well as understanding the meaning of words in a book, children learn to talk about the characters, settings and main events, learn to predict what will happen next and summarise what has already happened. The also learn how to find and locate information in books and use this information to infer why things happen.
The school library is an important resource for children in all areas of the curriculum, which can be used to select books to read for pleasure, or in order to find out information from books. Classes use the library to teach library skills and to enjoy reading in the area and it is also open every lunch-time to give the children the opportunity to change their books. The library is also open once a week after school for parents to enjoy the library with their children.
Home reading is very important and takes high priority at Mossgate. Children have access to a wide range of different books and are expected to read at least 4 times a week.
In Reception and KS1 (infants), children’s home reading books are linked to the phonics lessons in school. Children can change their books daily.
In KS2 (juniors), children’s home reading books are linked to their reading ability. Children have a reading level range (known as a ZPD in school) which staff and children use to choose suitable books. Book levels are based on:
1) average sentence length within the book
2) vocabulary difficulty within the book
Books can have the same book level (see label on the book spine and inside of the book cover) but look very different.– never judge a book by its cover! On the spine, the book also has an additional code of MY (Middle Years – age 9-13) and LY (Lower Years – age 5-8). Children in Years 3 and 4 can choose books from either LY or MY.
Phonics and spelling
Children in EYFS and KS1 take part in daily phonics and spelling lessons where they learn to read and write different sounds. Lessons range from whole class teaching to targeted group work and 1:1 teaching, depending on the needs of the child. During this time, children also learn how to read and spell ‘tricky words’. The children’s progress in reading and writing sounds and ‘tricky words’ is tracked by the teacher and home reading books and flashcards are sent home to consolidate and practise the sounds and words being taught in lessons.
Spelling lessons take place in KS2 and some children will continue to have daily phonics lessons if they are needed. Children are taught spelling rules and patterns from the National Curriculum in spelling lessons as well as independent strategies for writing words correctly. We believe this to be an important part of spelling so that the children become more active in their own learning. Spellings learnt each half term are tested and the information is used to plan for the next half term.
We provide children with a range of opportunities for writing in all areas of the curriculum for a range of purposes and audiences. Children are given opportunities to write different types of texts from different types of fiction to non-fiction such as recounts, instructional texts and non-chronological reports. Children take part in a writing lesson every day where they learn and develop age appropriate grammar and punctuation skills that can be applied to planning, writing and evaluating a final piece of writing. We believe it is important to evaluate, edit and re-draft at all stages of the writing process and teach children how to be independent in these self-checking skills. The children also have the opportunity to apply the skills that they have learnt in fortnightly independent writing sessions.