We aim to inspire our children to be authors and enjoy the writing process. Using high quality texts, often drawn from the excellent CLPE ‘Power of Reading’ book list, we develop specific reading and writing skills over a several weeks as the children immerse themselves in the language and structure of the book. Short films may also be used to inspire writing; Literacy Shed is a particularly rich resource of inspirational (often prize-winning) animations.
Children read excellent examples of a particular genre of text before beginning to write themselves. Pupils should know at the beginning of a unit what type of text they will write for an audience at the end of the unit and develop their knowledge and skills for that goal. The writing will often have a real-life purpose, for example, writing a persuasive letter to the Mayor to express an opinion on the Bristol airport expansion.
Wherever possible, useful links are made with other areas of the curriculum but some aspects of English are taught discreetly. Teachers expect skills and knowledge learnt as Authors to be applied across the curriculum.
A consistently high standard of handwriting is promoted across the whole school as successful teaching of handwriting empowers children to write with a fluent and legible style. Sea Mills follows the progression, resources and teaching guidance produced by Nelson Handwriting. Our approach aims for children to write using a semi-cursive handwriting style.
Handwriting & mark-making is taught regularly through short, focused and discrete sessions and may be linked with spelling, grammar, phonic objectives or fine and gross motors skills. Teaching of handwriting occurs outside of Author lessons although high quality handwriting is modelled at all times by adults.
Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation
Spelling is taught on a weekly basis when children (years 2-6) are introduced to a focus spelling rule or pattern. A set of words based around this spelling rule are given to the children and practised and then tested. It is expected that children not only learn how to spell these words but also use them correctly within their writing. Children will learn to spell words that follow a pattern or rule as well as those that are identified as being common exception words (words in which the English spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way).
Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation is taught mainly within the teaching of English lessons in order to make clear the purpose and relevance of a specific word, piece of punctuation or grammatical term. These elements will be explored through identifying them in texts and by practising them before applying them in their own writing.
To find out what each class is learning about as Authors, please see their specific class page or class newsletter.
How you can help at home:
- Primarily and most importantly read with your child. If you do nothing else do this; every day if at all possible. Research again and again has proved this is very, very important in a child’s literacy development.
Early readers should be read to and when they are able to read listened to daily. Once they can read, children should still be read to and listened to daily as long as they are still keen (which is probably secondary school if you have kept it up with the right books and interest). Try reading some pages and then listening to your child read a page. Don’t swamp the session with too many questions, just enjoy the book! If you want any advice on getting the home reading habit going, class teachers or a member of the reading team (Mr Kinnear, Mrs Thomas & Mrs Goodgame) would be delighted to help!
- Practise spellings
Spellings for the term for your child’s class are available on the class page of the website. There are some useful suggestions for how to practise here:
- If you have done the above two (most important) suggestions and your child still wants more then encourage them to write for a real and purposeful reason e.g. thank you cards, emails to a friend, a letter to a relative, shopping lists, etc.
Support in understanding and applying skills in writing