As an English team, we strive to pioneer an approach to teaching English that is relevant, purposeful and engaging for all children. We want the children at our school to find pleasure in the learning of English and recognise it as an essential and highly valuable tool for communication. It is our vision that the children will leave our school as competent readers, writers and speakers; we want them to take ownership over their language and use it to express themselves with confidence and conviction as they grow towards success.
Here are some of the things the children have said about reading and writing at Oakridge:
‘We really like writing about real stuff, like when we got to see the plans for the new buildings so that we could write to the parents about it.’
‘I feel like we have freedom in what we want to write about.’
‘Our teachers give us lots of different activities to practise the things we need to put in our writing.’
‘There’s nothing better than reading in school.’
‘Our teachers pick really good books for us to read.’
‘I really like that our teachers lets us choose the non-fiction texts we want to read about.’
As you might have spotted from the spelling pages, each year group has a specific set of words that they need to learn to spell before they move to the next key stage or year group.
Some of these words are really quite tricky as they often go against many of the spelling rules we teach.
To make learning these spellings a little bit more exciting, we decided to hold a spelling bee!
This event varied slightly between the schools but involved the children taking part in a variety of fun, exciting and active games including shaker races, orbwars (words hidden in a big bowl of squishy orbeez) and much more!
Correct spellings meant team points to try and earn the mystery prize!
The children had a fantastic day and we would like to say a huge well done to everyone who put that extra bit of effort into learning their spellings and took part in all the games.
Once again we celebrated World Book Day in style at the beginning of March! The children came to school dressed up as a character from a book or in their pyjamas (ready for a bedtime story) and partook in a range of activities from modelling book characters out of junk to making book marks and going on book character treasure hunts! It’s always fantastic to see the children engaging with members of other classes as we like to mix up the year groups across the federation.
In conjunction with World Book Day we also entered a competition this year, to design and make a display inspired by the book: A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston.
Although we didn’t win, the authors were very impressed with our competition entry and we are now proud of owners of our very own copy of A Child of Books, which we were awarded in recognition of our efforts.
We had our first parent forum of the new academic year on Tuesday 19th September.
This time we focused on spelling as it is currently a whole school focus to improve spelling across the federation.
Following on from our last spelling forum, we decided it would be fun to invite parents and children along, to actually play and see for themselves how fun spelling practise can be!
If you were unable to make the forum this time, please see below a collection of resources which were provided at the event, including the main word lists, spelling game ideas and some further information on the spelling strategies taught in each year group.
Thank you to those who attended and we hope you have been inspired to get creative with your spelling practise at home so that it can become as fun and meaningful as possible!
Please also find links below to the resources which were provided at the reading and phonics forums we ran last year.
One of the ways we have sought to promote reading in our school this year is to hold our own book fair. It was fantastic to see the buzz around the whole federation about the books that would be available and even more so to see the shared excitement between both children and adults as they selected books together to take home and read. We are very proud to announce that sales topped £1252.00; this means we now have an impressive £691.00 to spend on books for our school. Each class will be responsible for choosing the new books they would like to purchase for their classroom.
Keep an eye out for information about upcoming book fairs in our newsletter and twitter feed!
It is extremely important to us to continually monitor and modify our approaches to teaching English, ensuring that the curriculum we provide is enriching, rigorous and harnesses the potential of all our children. As a staff we frequently meet in all manner of combinations- as a year group team, as upper and lower key stages, as well as a whole to assess the effectiveness and consistency of teaching and learning across the federation. In addition to this, we meet with other schools in Basingstoke to moderate writing.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
read easily, fluently and with good understanding
develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate