Writing is taught daily and all writing sessions are planned around a central text. These ‘journeys’ usually last for 2-3 weeks and culminate in an original piece of writing from every child. It is important that children are given a purpose for their writing and an audience for their writing. We aim for children to share their writing with others in their class or across classes throughout the year.
Each writing journey is inspired by a high-quality text and teachers pull out key elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and composition from these texts so that children learn these skills in a meaningful context. Children are given opportunities to act as editors and proof-readers for their own work and that of their peers and develop these skills as they move through the school.
We ensure that children write for a range of purposes throughout each of their years at St Jude’s in order to become confident and independent writers. Teachers also plan for extended writing opportunities in other lessons as well as English which allows children to adapt their skills to meet different needs.
At St Jude’s we follow the National Curriculum standards set for each year group, so our children learn and revisit writing skills as they move through the school. All skills are embedded into writing sessions and linked to the text that is being studied. Year 6 receive discrete grammar, punctuation and spelling sessions in order to allow them to tackle the national tests with calm confidence.
Handwriting is taught at least once a week and we teach the continuous cursive style of handwriting. Reception learn to print their letters and in Year 1 children begin to lead into their letters to prepare them to join. Handwriting is highly valued in the National Curriculum and therefore we place emphasis on children practising and using their handwriting skills in all their writing. Please see the following website for more information on letter formation at St Jude’s:
In order to foster our children’s love of English, we work closely with Tales on Moon Lane (our local, award-winning children’s bookshop) to organise author visits, both to school and at Literacy festivals. Over the last few years, we have had visits from Ed Vere (Max and Bird), Elys Dolan (Steven Seagull, Action Hero), Clara Vulliamy (Dotty Detective), Lorraine Gregory (Mold and the Poison Plot), Josh Lacey and Garry Parsons (Dragonsitter series), Steve Tasane (Child I), Helen Stephens (How to Hide a Lion), Andrew Clover (Rory Branagan: Detective) and Gareth P. Jones shared a number of his books with us!
As well as meeting real life authors, we hold poetry performances and competitions, dress up days for World Book Day and exhibitions to showcase our writing, such as poetry inspired by famous Black poets linked to Black History Month. We are a member of the Windmill Cluster and always look forward to the Windmill Cluster Poetry Slam in the summer term!
“I like storytelling because it gives me a chance to use my creativity.” Year 4
“Literacy is great!” Reception
Attention is also paid to developing a command of the technical features such as grammar, spelling and handwriting.
Reading is a key skill that your child will learn at St Jude’s; the ability to read and understand with ease is necessary for success in all areas of life. We aim to ensure that your child is a confident and enthusiastic reader by the time they leave us in year 6. Alongside developing academic excellence, we also wish to introduce your child to the world of books and hope to instil a lifelong love of reading in them.
Learning to read is taught through the Letters and Sounds phonics programme which begins in Reception. Children receive daily, discrete phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1. This programme ensures that children understand the sounds that different letters make and allows them to both break words down in order to read them. The children’s reading books are aligned with their developing phonic knowledge.
As well as phonics lessons, teachers read a range of texts to the children throughout the day. Texts are used as the basis of all writing and story time (listening for pleasure) is an important time in St Jude’s. This year all classes have been gifted a book to enjoy together on their return to school! Hearing a range of texts allows children to develop their vocabulary and comprehension skills and also their own writing skills.
Children from Year 2-6 receive daily whole class reading comprehension lessons; these lessons focus on teaching key skills required for a complete understanding of a text. We introduce these skills to the children in the form of Reading Roles (created by Aidan Severs) which support understanding of the eight cognitive domains required for effective reading comprehension. All children are taught the same text and answer the same questions in the lesson; we believe that this will help all of our children to reach their reading potential.
Children in Year 1 and Reception also access these skills through whole class story sessions. Teachers plan questions and discussions which are held during some story sessions each week. We aim for children to take part in three story discussion sessions as a class each week.
Children in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 will read individually with an adult at school and have support selecting age-appropriate reading books to take home. These books are banded according to developing fluency. Children move through the banded books at their own speed and are supported by the adults they work with.
Children in Key Stage 2 are encouraged to become more independent when choosing their reading books. We have in-class libraries that children can access to ensure they are reading a range of text types. Where necessary, children will continue to be supported in their choices and will read individually with an adult. All adults in school support children with reading and we have a lovely reading volunteer who visits once a week and reads with some children.
We want to encourage children to read because they love it, not just because it is a curriculum requirement. Parental support is vital in helping us achieve this aim through allowing children a calm, quiet space to read, listening to their reading, sharing stories, discussing texts and encouraging them in their reading. All staff are on hand to offer support and advice on this whenever it is needed.
We expect children to read at least three times a week, however we encourage as much reading as possible! In Early Years and Key Stage 1 we ask that parents comment/sign children’s reading records every time you read together. Comments are particularly useful to teachers when they include a quote about the text, something that your child has spotted about the story or a word/spelling pattern that they may need more support with.
Please click on the links below for information from our Parent Grammar Workshops:
For other curriculum subjects click the following links: