At Sandwich Junior School, we encourage our pupils to think and write creatively so that they are adventurous with their use of language and are able to write with a clear purpose and for pleasure.
In order for this aim to be achieved, we equip our pupils with the tools to be able to spell accurately by employing a range of strategies that can be applied in independent writing. We are passionate about exploring the etymology of words, investigating patterns and identifying word families, as well as exceptions and rules.
We believe it is important that pupils practise their spellings every day whilst practising their handwriting skills. This is part of the pupils' morning routine, and each child takes their spellings home to practise in their Home Contact book each week. Subject specific words are often included in pupils' weekly spelling lists to help them better access new vocabulary as it arises across the curriculum.
In addition to this, each of our pupils have a Spelling Shed account so that they can have fun practising their spellings through games and this in turn builds their confidence. Hive games are often played in class to create friendly competition between Houses, whilst learning.
What is Phonics? Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to recognise the sounds each individual letter makes and to identify the sounds that different contributions of letters make such as 'sh' and 'oo'. Children are taught to read by breaking down words into separate sounds or 'phonemes'. They are then taught how to blend these sounds together to read the whole word.
At Sandwich Junior School, Year 3 pupils receive twice daily phonics input in whole class teacher directed sessions. This is planned in line with the 'Letters and Sounds' document, Phonics Play and Spelling Shed.
Daily phonics teaching continues through Year 4, where children are taught in differentiated groups according to their ability.
SPEAKING & LISTENING
Opportunities to develop and hone children's oracy skills are embedded not only in the English curriculum, but across the wider curriculum at Sandwich Junior School. Teachers are resourceful in their planning of subjects and look to include speaking and listening wherever possible, such as through discussions, debates, performances and presentations. Children practise speaking for a variety of purposes and audiences, adapting their language appropriately as well as their intonation, tone, volume and action.
In addition to the many classroom opportunities for Speaking and Listening, children also have the chance to perform in the Christmas production, join the popular debating club, and participate in acting workshops and to speak in assemblies and School Council meetings.
At Sandwich Junior School we love to read. Reading is a central and valued part of our curriculum offer and we pride ourselves on the positive and passionate attitude of our pupils towards reading.
Teachers are reading role models in the way that they discuss and promote books as well as modelling reading for pleasure. There has been careful selection both in the texts used in the teaching of English and in those that teachers read aloud to pupils. Children are read aloud to daily as part of timetabled Story Time. This not only allows them to encounter more demanding texts in a safe environment, but also aids their vocabulary growth. To further aid vocabulary development, all children receive explicit instruction of 'tier 2' words three times a week with our bespoke 'Word of the Week' programme.
Pupils are given manifold opportunities to access books throughout their school day and it is a highly valued aspect of our curriculum. Pupils are also given the chance to read independently at various points of the school day. Children regularly access a variety of texts across the school and in all subjects. Investment in the school library and individual classroom book shelves means pupils have access to a wide range of genres, including a range of traditional texts from the 4 nations of the UK and dyslexia friendly books. When they reach Year 6, pupils can apply for one of the coveted School Librarian roles. Pupils really embrace the opportunity to become reading mentors to younger pupils and this has had a positive effect on reading for pleasure amongst all pupils.
Sandwich Junior School takes a systematic approach to text marking across the whole school in dedicated Guided Reading sessions, alongside the use of varied stimulus: video, image, music, written texts. This provides pupils with a wealth of opportunity to develop their decoding skills. Language Through Colour is used throughout Guided Reading sessions to aid understanding, as this is also used across subjects and in interventions, it allows all children the opportunity to access questioning across all texts.
Children love their Guided Reading lessons and are exposed to a wealth of classic fiction; non-fiction, plays, poetry and new authors. They make cultural and historical links to support the wider curriculum. These sessions not only develop the skills needed to be an effective reader, but inspire our pupils to try a whole range of genres. Teachers are able to make content links to related books to widen the reading experiences of children and to build reading mileage.
Pupils are provided with a reading book to take home from Year 3 onwards. These books are selected based on children's reading ability and allow them to consolidate the skills they are developing in class. Pupils are also encouraged to borrow a book for pleasure. Parents are asked to record pupils' reading at home in their Home Contact Book. All pupils are encouraged to read daily.
At Sandwich Junior School, the core reading scheme used is Oxford Reading Tree. This core scheme is supplemented with additional practice texts such as Floppy's Phonics; Project X and Collins Big Cat books.
Our aim at Sandwich Junior School is to develop a culture where our children love writing. We do this through a carefully planned range of exciting cross-curricular opportunities and genres, designed to inspire even the most reluctant writers and giving them the starting point to become passionate about writing.
We use a text-based approach to teaching writing at Sandwich Junior School, using high quality, language-rich books to hook the children. This not only embeds reading in our English curriculum, but it inspires their writing. The world around us is constantly changing and this is reflected in the media pupils are exposed to. With this in mind, we also include film and other mixed-media texts as a basis for writing. In addition, links are also made with other areas of the curriculum, such as RE and Geography. Each chosen text acts as an umbrella under which pupils are to write a range of fiction and non-fiction genres: balanced arguments; persuasive letters; diary entries; factual accounts, etc. Each unit of writing develops progressively with children developing their speaking and listening skills, vocabulary, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, proofreading and editing.
At Sandwich Junior School, every child will be given every opportunity to grow up with a genuine love for writing that will stay with them for the rest of their education and beyond.
We love reading so much at Sandwich Junior School that we don't just have one Reading Week a year, but two! The most recent themes for these weeks have been Christmas books and the myths and legends of the four nations of the UK.
These weeks really celebrate our love for reading in a creative and fun way. We have made reading dens; come to school in our pyjamas to read as a Wolf Pack in the school hall; decorated potatoes as characters from our favourite books; taken part in workshops and just taken the time to read, read and read some more.
At Sandwich Junior School, Shakespeare Week is a popular date on our calendar. We spread 4 of the Bard's plays across the 4 Year groups: The Tempest; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Twelfth Night; and Macbeth. As these alternate each year, pupils are given the opportunity to make friends with each of the plays across the curriculum and in varied and creative ways. We often have live performances of the plays from theatre groups and workshops that the children can get involved with.
There are some fantastic drama, writing and reading that come from this week, but in typical SJS fashion, there is lots of madcap fun too, from delivering a Malvolio speech dressed in yellow tights, to decorating eggs to represent famous Shakespearean scenes.