What is English about at Sunny Bank?

We want our children to develop a love of reading and to guide them to be the best they can be.  We want to see children..

  • Read with a writer's eye noticing the effects a writer can create
  • Master handwriting and spelling
  • Know what they want to say
  • Internalise the different stages of the writing process: planning, drafting and editing and proof reading their work
  • Write with a reader's eye, re-reading continually to check it makes sense
  • Know how different sorts of texts are structured so that in time they can create their own structures appropriate to audience and purpose
  • Vary and control sentence style to create different language effects
  • Develop writing stamina

We follow a core text approach.  We use Power of Reading teaching strategies to immerse the children in the texts.  

Teaching Approaches

 

We use a wide range of teaching approaches to promote reading for pleasure and meaning in the classroom.  The children take part in a range of activities to immerse them in both the text and the genre of writing.

Here are a few examples...

  • booktalk
  • reading journals
  • role on the wall
  • role play and drama such as freeze frame or conscience alley 
  • readers theatre
  • use of visual images
  • mapping






Tell Me - booktalk

Discussion about books forms the foundations for working with books.  We believe children need frequent, regular and sustained opportunities to talk together about the books that they are reading as a whole class. The more experience they have of talking together like this the better they get at making explicit the meaning that a text holds for them: a child quoted in Aidan Chambers' book Tell Me: Children, Reading & Talk with The Reading Environment Thimble Press 2011 says 'we don't know what we think about a book until we've talked about it'.

This booktalk is supportive to all readers and writers, but it is especially empowering for children who find literacy difficult. It helps the class as a whole to reach shared understandings and move towards a more dispassionate and informed debate of ideas and issues.  Once they have heard a book read aloud, the class can begin to explore their responses to it with the help of what Chambers calls 'the four basic questions'. These questions give children accessible starting points for discussion:

  • Tell me…was there anything you liked about this book?
  • Was there anything that you particularly disliked…?
  • Was there anything that puzzled you? 
  • Were there any patterns…any connections that you noticed…?  

The openness of these questions unlike the more interrogative 'Why?' question encourages every child to feel that they have something to say.  It allows everyone to take part in arriving at a shared view without the fear of the 'wrong' answer.

Role on the Wall                                                                                                                                                       Writing Route Map

Role on the wall is a technique that uses a displayed outline of the
character to record feelings (inside the outline) and outward
appearances (outside the outline) at various stopping points across
the story. Using different colours at each of the stopping points to
track changes in the character’s emotional journey.

It can include known facts such as physical appearance, age, gender,
location and occupation, as well as subjective ideas such as
likes/dislikes, friends/enemies, attitudes, motivations, secrets and
dreams.

               

Drama, Role Play & Conscience Alley

Role play and drama provide immediate routes into the world of a story and allow children to explore texts actively. Through role-play and drama, children are encouraged to experiment with the 'what if?' of plot and make it their own. Role-play is a particularly effective way for children to inhabit a fictional world, imagining what the world of the story would be like, and illuminating it with their own experience. It enables children to put themselves into particular characters' shoes and imagine how things would look from that point of view. Through drama and role-play children can imagine characters' body language, behaviour and tones of voice in ways that they can draw on later when they write.

Freeze-frame

Freeze-frames are still images. They can be used to enable groups of children to examine a key event or situation from a story and decide in detail how it could be represented. When presenting the freeze-frame, one of the group may act as a commentator to talk through what is happening in their version of the scene, or individual characters might be asked to speak their thoughts out loud.

Thought tracking

This technique is often used in conjunction with freeze-frame. Individuals are invited to voice their thoughts or feelings aloud using just a few words.

Hot-seating

In hot-seating, one member of the class role-plays a central character from a poem or story and is interviewed by the other children. This activity involves children closely examining a character's motivation and responses. Before the hot-seating, they discuss what it is they want to know and identify questions they want answering.

Conscience Alley

Conscience Alley is useful technique for exploring any kind of dilemma faced by a character, providing an opportunity to analyse a decisive moment in greater detail.  The class forms two lines facing each other. One person (the teacher or a participant) takes the role of the protagonist and walks between the lines as each member of the group speaks their advice. It can be organised so that those on one side give opposing advice to those on the other. When the protagonist reaches the end of the alley, they make their decision.

Reading

We use accelerated reader to engage our children, motivate reading practice and improve reading progress.

How accelerated reader works...

  • Our children read a book, take an online quiz, and then get immediate feedback.
  • Children respond to regular feedback and are motivated to make progress with their reading skills.
  • Accelerated Reader gives teachers the information they need to monitor reading practice and make informed decisions to guide their future learning.
  • A comprehensive set of reports reveals how much children have been reading, at what level of complexity, and how well they have understood what they have read.
  • Vocabulary growth and literacy skills are also measured, giving teachers insight into how well children have responded to reading schemes and class instruction.
  • Pupils develop reading skills most effectively when they read appropriately challenging books – difficult enough to keep them engaged but not so difficult that they become frustrated. This is their ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD) 

Spelling Shed

Spelling shed a scheme of work which has been designed to give 100% coverage of the English Primary National Curriculum.  The scheme is divided into six stages, each stage corresponding to the respective school year.  Within each stage there are weekly objectives and spelling lists that give a steady progression through the curriculum as well as review and challenge lists to extend vocabulary.  For each week's spelling list there is a traditional printable practice sheet that follows the look-cover-write-check format. There is also provide a printable activity for each list that can be used in class, as a homework or where technology is not available.