Writing Curriculum at Mengham Junior School
At Mengham Junior School, we want our children to see themselves as writers. We want children to enjoy the craft of writing and to develop into reflective, entertaining and successful learners who enjoy writing.
Our writing aims for our children are achieved by a progressive and engaging writing curriculum. Each unit is carefully constructed around an engaging hook and a real purpose to write. Children have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the writing topic through speaking and listening, drama and language development. This journey continues with children developing a secure understanding of the text type and intentions of the author. Throughout the process, children have the opportunity to discuss, reflect, edit, redraft and evaluate. Key grammatical skills, spellings and handwriting are taught within the engaging writing units to make sure children understand both the context and purpose of these skills. At the end of each unit, we make time for publishing, illustrating and creative ways to display and celebrate writing. For children with special educational needs, we use the Hampshire SEND planning tool to provide a scaffolded and personal learning journey. We still ensure however that the same writing hook is used to make sure that all children feel part of the class writing journey. Our writing curriculum is reviewed regularly and supported by HIAS to ensure we are continuously evolving and enhancing our curriculum.
In terms of curriculum application, we also ensure children have real life purposes for writing and applying writing skills. These opportunities include invites to school events and pen pal style letters to local care home residents.
We are determined to create both positive and successful writers who understand and enjoy the writing process. Children who also see themselves as mini authors and are able to use these skills to continue their writing journey at secondary school.
Reading Curriculum at Mengham Junior School
A Mengham Junior School, we want our children to become successful, confident readers. We want them to be able to access with fluency and understanding a range of genres for learning and for pleasure. Ultimately, we want to inspire a real love for reading.
Our reading curriculum has been developed in line with the Hampshire Teaching Reading for Comprehension Toolkit. This model enables us to create a progressive reading journey with our children whereby each part of a reading domain is taught and explored with the children. The texts used for guided reading and end of the day reading have been carefully chosen to ensure they are quality texts with a range of themes as well as different text types. Our guided reading units include lots of opportunities for talk, reading for fluency, sharing opinions and ideas and responding to engaging reading tasks. Each lesson enables children to develop reading skills to further embed their comprehension skills. For children who are working significantly below age related expectations, we use the Hampshire SEND planning tool to provide a scaffolded and personalised learning journey. Phonics interventions are used to support children with gaps in their phonetic understanding: in lower school, we use Read Write Inc. and in upper school we use the Fresh Start intervention from Read Write Inc. Once children have completed the relevant phonics programme, we assess their reading fluency using the YARC assessment. Children with gaps in fluency will take part in a fluency intervention in addition to the fluency work in undertaken within guided reading sessions.
In terms of wider reading, our reading curriculum includes at least 15 minutes of Drop Everything and Read time (DEAR) each day. During this time, children can read an Accelerated Reader book and complete any reading quizzes if they have finished or they can read another book of their choice. The Accelerated Reader programme enables children to select the book with the appropriate level of challenge and it also assesses their understanding with a quiz at the end. Children are also encouraged to pick other texts of particular interest to them. In addition, the class teacher reads to the children for at least 15 minutes 4 x a week. This is an opportunity to enjoy a text together and is also a great opportunity for the teacher to model fluency and intonation to the children. These text choices include pre-selected texts inspired by the School Library Service (SLS) book lists as well as texts the class teacher has enjoyed. Throughout the library, book displays encourage the children to take an interest in undiscovered books and topics and clear signs help them navigate the library. Our pupil librarians, after completing a period of training, enjoy helping other pupils select and borrow books as well as taking an active part in promoting the library. With the support of the SLS, we introduce the children to a wide variety of writers and illustrators through virtual author visits and book award events. Each year, we take part in World Book Day, planning a range of reading activities around the given theme. Our year 5 children also take part in the Hampshire Book Awards. Reading is celebrated widely and children have the opportunity to earn word count certificates with the aim of being part of the ‘millionaires word club’. We also award certificates for reading independently and completing quizzes. The certificates range from ‘Ready Reader’ all the way up to ‘Honours Reader.’ Home reading is actively encouraged and there is an expectation that children read at home weekly. Those on phonics programmes have a range of e-books they can access as well as book bag books to allow overlearning of phonic sounds. This home reading selection also includes e-books for children working on the Read, Write Inc phonics intervention. Each term, children have the opportunity to win a book prize following completion of a reading challenge. Children are then awarded a book of their choice in our end of term assembly.
Through the promotion of reading and through carefully planned units and interventions, children leave Mengham Junior School with the reading skills required for secondary education but also the skills to enjoy a wide range of age appropriate texts. Children talk positively about their reading experiences in school and enjoy sharing their reading with their peers and adults.