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 word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The National Curriculum, July 2014
It is our intent at Petham Primary School to provide pupils with the opportunity to write for a wide range of audiences. We intend to extend and develop their vocabulary and sentence structure, in order to independently produce high-quality and engaging pieces across the curriculum.
It is our aim to:
Provide pupils the opportunity to plan, draft, edit and evaluate their writing.
Ensure pupils can confidently identify and write for the audience, purpose and context
Encourage and support the use of neat, joined handwriting
Support and develop the pupils’ increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar
Provide pupils with regular teaching of spelling, so that children can confidently identify spelling patterns and strategies to support them so that they can independently edit their work
Following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised program, children move on to Accelerated Reader (AR). We ensure children are secure in the learning content of the Little Wandle program and that they are confident and fluent when applying the skills before moving them forward to AR. AR does not help children learn to read - it consolidates their learning and promotes reading comprehension rather than decoding and word reading skills.
All children learn to read at different rates, so read with your child often to help them to develop a love of reading. This is equally as important as your child learning to read individual words.
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at their own level and reads it at their own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer (passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read). AR gives children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice. Children using AR choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This encourages reading to become an independent experience as the children can choose books they find interesting promoting a love of reading and reading for pleasure. Teachers support children to choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that your child can enjoy and understand the text and subsequently pass the quiz and experience success.
Children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they’re reading books at their reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all, they learn and grow at their own pace.
According to research, children who read at least 35 minutes a day (at home and school) with a 90% comprehension rate (average percent correct) on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Therefore, your child should have at least 35 minutes set aside for reading during each day.
As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library on a regular basis, letting your child see you reading, and discussing books that each of you has read. When reading with your child, stop and ask questions to be sure your child is understanding what is read. Reading with your child, no matter what the child’s age, is an important part of developing a good reader, building a lifelong love of reading and learning, and creating a close relationship between you and your child. Make learning a family affair!
Using Accelerated Reader, your child will choose the books they want to read. The teacher will make certain the book is at the right level so that after completing the book, your child should do well on the AR Reading Practice Quiz. Success on the quiz will encourage your child to read more. With guidance from the teacher, and success, even children who say they don’t like reading develop a love of reading.
Teachers determine your child’s reading level using a STAR Reading™ test and using their best professional judgment based on their knowledge of your child. A STAR Reading test is a computerized reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child misses a question, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 15 minutes. As a result the teacher is provided with a Zone of Proximal Development for your child.
In independent literature-based reading, ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will receive a ZPD range after taking a STAR Reading test. It’s important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within their ZPDs. ZPDs should be adjusted based on the needs of your child.