In the junior school we want children to enjoy reading and be confident readers. Reading takes place everyday in the classroom and includes, reading to children, reading with children (reading groups), independent reading and partner reading.
Your child will bring a reader home each evening to read with you. These readers are an essential part of your child’s reading programme. On the days that your child reads with the teacher these readers will be at their instructional level. On the days that they do not read with the teacher your child will bring home a reader that is slightly easier. These easier readers are an important part of the reading programme as they help children develop, fluency (reading should sound like talking) and confidence.
Reading Assessment in the Junior School
Twice a term teachers take a running record of your child’s reading. When taking Running Records teachers are looking to see how accurately children read (they need to be reading at 96% accuracy or higher), how closely they monitor their own reading and self-correct their own errors, how well they understand what they are reading and how fluently they read.
Phonics Digraph Song to help children learn common digraphs and dipthongs
Alphabet Songs Songs to help children learn the alphabet
Writing in the Junior School
At St Michael’s Catholic School we want all children to enjoy writing and to be able to express themselves confidently when writing. Writing at home should be a fun experience. Children need to enjoy writing and see a purpose for writing in order to become confident life-long writers. The focus at home should be on enjoying and sharing writing.
Children arrive at school with various levels of experience with writing however; most children go through the same stages on their journey to becoming independent writers.
How to Support Emerging Writers at Home
To begin with the focus is on getting children to share their ideas. Emerging writers draw pictures to communicate their thoughts and ideas and to support them as they begin to record some of the dominant consonant sounds in words. The first sound is usually the easiest to hear in a word so most children will begin writing by recording initial letter sounds followed by recording the final sounds in words.
Encourage your child to talk about their day when they get home from school
Let your child see you write at home
Have an area at home set aside with writing and drawing materials for children to use. If possible have alphabet wall charts available for children to refer to.
Talk to children about the pictures they draw or paint.
Ask your child first and if he/she wants you to label drawings for them or even scribe the story.
Get children to draw pictures to go inside cards for relatives.
Encourage children as they try to write dominant letter sounds for example s, t, p
Help children develop their knowledge of the alphabet by playing rhyming games and games such as “I-spy with my little eye”. Remember to use the sound of the letter not the name.
How to Support Early Writers at Home
As children become more familiar with reading and writing they will start to write more and more common words correctly for example, I, am is, at, the, on. They will also be able to hear and record more of the sounds in words. Children will also ‘invent’ spellings of unfamiliar words as they sound out words. Letter reversals and confusions of b/d, p/q are quite common at this stage. At this stage a child’s writing is often short and repeats the same idea. Children who are able to share their ideas clearly and confidently orally usually find writing easier.
Encourage children to talk about their ideas and experiences with you. Ask questions such as what, where, when, who, why and how to help extend their ideas and thinking.
As with emergent writers have an area set aside at home with writing and drawing materials.
Make a word list or chart containing the names of people, places and things your child does.
Computers can be great motivators for getting children to write.
Let your child see you write. This shows them that you consider writing important.
When reading stories with your child talk together about what you think will happen next, or how you think the story should have ended. This helps children develop their ideas when writing.
How to Support Early Fluent Writers at Home
At this stage children are able to write independently and confidently. Most common words are spelt correctly and phonetically close approximations are made for unfamiliar words. Children are starting to organise their writing and it usually has a clear beginning, middle and end.
Have a place set aside for your child to draw and write at home.
As with Early Writers computers are a great motivating tool to encourage children to write.
Spend time talking and listening to your child to help them develop their ideas. Encourage them to use more specific and interesting words as they talk about their experiences by asking questions.
Visit your child’s class before school and give them a chance to share their writing with you.
Here are a few Ideas to Encourage Children to Write at Home
Get children to help you make the shopping list.
Write thank you letters to the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny as well as family members. This works better if the child receives a reply.
Invitations for a friend to come over for a play date.
Draw pictures and write “I love you” notes to grandparents.
Take crazy photos and write captions together. Email photos and captions to school for news.
Keep a diary of your holiday adventures.
Leave messages for your child in their lunch box or under their pillows.