How do we teach Literacy at Bisham C of E?
We believe that immersing children in a range of creative activities before reading and writing means that they are fully prepared, and excited, about the journey ahead of them. Through immersing a child within our themes, trips to relevant places and having visitors into school we aim to get the best from children in both their reading and writing.
We aim to provide children with a clear purpose to all reading, and especially writing tasks. Whether it's an invitation to the headteacher to attend a class assembly, an email to an author or an article for a school newsletter, our children know why the quality of their writing matters: because there will be a real audience for their published work.
Where possible, learning in English is linked with our creative curriculum theme. Well in advance of starting a new theme teachers collaborate and share their ideas for planning through a mind mapping process. Meaningful, creative activities are planned for, ensuring that all staff members know exactly what the children will be learning and why.
Focused on strategies
We ensure that specific reading strategies are modelled explicitly to the class; this provides children with a holistic bank of skills to draw upon. This could include scanning a text, making an inference, predicting or creating a mental image. Our teachers use 'think aloud' statements to model to the children how these skills are used, and how they can help them become better readers. These strategies are then shared as a class, and then assessed in follow up guided reading activities.
Inspirational learning environment
Not only do we aim to display the children's work creatively, but there is a range of learning prompts to inspire and support all pupils. We want to encourage our children to discover new texts, genres and authors.
Drama to engage and inspire
The use of drama is such a powerful tool and staff use a range of techniques to promote the exploration of characters, situations and historical events. This process expands the pupils' imaginations, and provides them with the ideas they need to give their writing that extra spark and flair.
Rigorous teaching of spelling and phonics
From Rec to Year 3 phonics is streamed, so all children can benefit from tailored teaching, making maximum progress as a result. All phonics and spelling activities are fun and multi-sensory the aim being to meet all learning styles in the class. In the juniors, we try to make homework spelling lists as personalised to the child as possible to ensure that the spelling patterns stick in a meaningful way.
Grammar concepts taught creatively
Children begin to understand grammar concepts, and start to apply them in their own writing, when they start to read with a writer's mind. Punctuation rules and techniques are drawn from shared texts; texts which the children have already been immersed in and have a good understanding of. Exploring these, and embedding them creatively is how the learning takes place.
Peer and self assessment
With a clear marking key, success criteria and purpose in mind, children set about assessing either their own, or a partner's piece of writing. Modelled through the teacher's own formative marking, pupils know what the expectations are. They search for successful examples of the learning intention, articulating their responses to the work, checking the writing matches any targets and giving constructive feedback. Seeing the children learn in this way is hugely positive
A Part of the Ashley Hill Multi Academy Trust