The ability to read and write effectively is a valuable commodity in today’s society. At Alverstoke Junior School, we believe that building a solid foundation of literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education and we strive to give children the tools they need to become contributing members of society. Nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences is important to all teachers within our school.
English at AJS is not just a daily discrete lesson but is at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum. Our curriculum has been constructed in a considered and deliberate manner, allowing children to make connections through content and concepts. This enhances the relevance of what children are learning and allows them to draw upon prior knowledge to move their learning forward. English is embedded within all our lessons and we strive for a high level of English for all.
Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary-rich learning environments that are informed by curriculum expectations, the children at Alverstoke Junior School will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.
We understand the crucial role reading has in enabling children to access the curriculum and ‘reading to learn’. Guided Reading is the first lesson taught in all classrooms, every day. Throughout Guided Reading lessons, children are explicitly taught comprehension strategies through teacher modelling and guided tasks. The lesson sequence then allows for independent application of these strategies to ensure teachers can make accurate judgements against the learning objectives. Teachers understand the importance of reading stamina and fluency and lesson sequences ensure children are provided with ample ‘reading miles’ time to ensure progress in these areas. In addition to planned interventions, we draw upon our community links to enlist volunteer parent readers, allowing struggling readers further opportunities to read aloud with adult support. Texts for exploration during reading lessons are chosen carefully with the aim of deepening thinking and knowledge and allowing children to make connections across texts (via genre, topic or theme). Additionally, children take reading books home frequently and are encouraged to read regularly at home. Within the school context, reading for pleasure is promoted through silent reading, regularly and relevant book corners in classrooms, whole class texts, author visits and events such as World Book Day. At present, our English leader is working with the Young Governors to raise funds for a ’book vending machine’ which will coincide with our 100 reading challenges which are to be launched in the new academic year.
The text drivers for English learning journeys have been carefully considered and expose the children to inference, high-level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. Each text is purposefully selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high-quality writing from each child. Progression has also been considered through the text driver choices, allowing children to make links to themes, genres, characters and stories across year levels. Copies of text drivers for reading and writing can be found at the bottom of this page.
We aim to create an ambitious and sequential reading curriculum for our children which ignites imagination at the same time as teaching crucial reading skills. We design lessons and learning journeys with the aim of what a reader should achieve. Please see our reader profiles at the bottom of this page for more information.
With this intention in mind and the belief that English is the bedrock of a quality education, we ensure that the teaching of writing is purposeful, robust and shows clear progression for all children. Teachers are focused on making English interesting and exciting, engaging the pupils with the joy and wonder of books and piquing their imagination and creativity. We follow the model set out by the Hampshire English team for the delivery of writing lessons:
Each stage provides our children with the opportunity to be excited by literature. Our writing and reading curriculum are designed to allow pupils to make links across texts, share thoughts linked to concepts and apply reading and writing skills seamlessly.
We provide varied and exciting opportunities for writing and encourage children to see themselves as authors and poets, who think deeply about their text composition, vocabulary choices and the intended impact of these. Teachers regularly provide a WAGOLL – what a good one looks like –based on the genre, and support pupils to identify and mimic the identified features in their own writing. We promote the importance of written work by providing a writing purpose and opportunities for children’s writing to be read and listened to by an intended audience. In line with the national curriculum, we ensure that each year group is teaching the explicit grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives required.
As well as teaching the objectives, we work hard to embed the skills throughout the year in cross-curricular writing opportunities and ensure that most children are achieving the objectives at the expected level and that some children can achieve at a greater depth standard. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time at Alverstoke Junior School. Additionally to this, we teach handwriting both as a discrete subject and through taught inputs across the curriculum. Our policy for handwriting can be found on the policy section of the website. We are keen to showcase children’s ‘best efforts’ with handwriting; each wing of the school has a ‘Handwriting Hall of Fame’ – a place where children’s work is publicly celebrated. Children are encouraged to write in pen as early as Year 3 once they demonstrate their ability to write legibly, fluently and joined.
We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing; editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. We aim to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and encourage them to use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
The intended impact of the English Curriculum is evident in every classroom at Alverstoke Junior School. Our children leave us with a developed sense of purpose and audience in writing; a broad vocabulary with the courage to be adventurous with language choices; ambitious and conscientious attitudes towards written outcomes; resilient spellers; pleasurable readers and most importantly, a love for literature.