Manor Leas Junior Academy
At Manor Leas Junior Academy our intent is that every child leaves our school reading and writing at a high level to prepare them for the next stage of their education and beyond. We want to inspire children to have positive attitudes to both reading and writing for enjoyment, which in turn will help with their mental health. Our intent is to develop lifelong habits of reading in all our children so that they can access knowledge and understanding of the wider world through reading of non-fiction. As a result of this, reading will open doors for children both imaginatively and factually to facilitate their writing. Our intent is that we use a spiral curriculum of age appropriate and challenging texts to tackle a variety of themes which supports cross curricular learning.
Ever since the introduction of Active English, the children’s knowledge and application of grammatical terms has improved significantly. For 15 minutes at the beginning of every English lesson, each class takes part in an Active English session, which allows children to recall grammatical terms, respond to a piece of text containing those terms and finally apply their knowledge to their own written response. These sessions are designed to be very interactive and many children will learn actions alongside the grammatical terms to ‘hook’ their learning. Having a secure knowledge of grammatical terms and how to use them has a positive impact on children’s writing.
Accelerated Reader – Accelerated Reader is used throughout the school to inspire children to immerse themselves into independent reading. It allows staff and children to check their understanding and comprehension of the text and allows class teachers to monitor the level of difficulty of their reading. Throughout last year, we had a large number of children who became ‘Word Millionaires’ (25% of the school during 2018/19).
Myon/Wider Reading – Myon is an online reading library of mainly non-fiction books that children are able to access at home and at school. This is to ensure that children have a diet of both fiction and non-fiction books. Class teachers allocate projects for Myon linked to their afternoon history or science topics.
Power of Reading – The POR is used throughout the school to ensure the skills of reading are taught in a systematic and progressive way. Each year group is allocated high quality texts that are taught through a wide range of teaching approaches to ensure that children are experiencing high quality questioning about the text. This ensures that the depth and skills are developed consistently and progressively across the school.
Whole Class Texts – Each year group has a whole class text that is read for pleasure in the afternoon lessons. These are often linked to the cross-curricular learning of history, geography or science teaching. Careful reading and questioning ensure that children learn new vocabulary and read with greater fluency and expression.
Reading Rocks video book reviews
Alongside our class texts, we encourage the children to review what they have read. At Manor Leas, we also work closely with LitFilmFest, which helps to combine reading and writing skills with filming. One of their schemes is called 'Reading Rocks' and this helps to promote the children's love for reading by creating video book reviews, based on the books they have read in class. Rather than writing a generic book review, the pupils are encouraged to plan, write and direct their own video reviews, which outlines the plot and highlights of the book they have read.
Please take a look at the example below, which includes year 6 pupils reviewing a book called 'Once' by Morris Gleitzman. This was a book that the pupils in year 6 were specifically passionate about and they thoroughly enjoyed putting the film together.
On a Monday, the English lesson is dedicated to spelling. Manor Leas embraces an explorative approach to the teaching of spelling, which follows the structure of RESCUE - Read, Explore, Spell, Check, Understand, and Explain. During these lessons, children are encouraged to read and explore spelling rules and root words, alongside synonyms, antonyms and word classes. They are then able to practise spelling the words, using a range of different strategies before proof-reading and checking for errors. Finally, children are given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of those words by writing them in sentences or linking them to definitions, before explaining the rule to a peer. All children within the school receive Spelling Shed logins to practise spelling the words at home, as part of their homework.
The spelling menu/mat can be used to practise your spellings at home alongside spelling shed. Little and often is the best way to ensure that the spelling rules are retained in your long term memory.
Bedrock Vocabulary – Bedrock Vocabulary is an online resource that supports children with learning new vocabulary. This works on an individual basis, with children completing two lessons each week. Once during class time and once as homework. Parents and teachers both have access to the progress of the children and new vocabulary is highlighted.