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Teaching phonics

At High Down we teach phonics using the Letters and Sounds programme, supported by the use of a modified version of Jolly Phonics with its kinaesthetic actions and stories.

As children move through the early stages of acquiring phonics, they practice by reading texts which are entirely decodable for them from the Rigby Star Phonics, Big Cat and Oxford Reading Tree schemes.

Once children have a secure knowledge of letter/sound correspondences and can blend words confidently, they access our Book Banded reading scheme which has books from various published schemes and is designed to give children experience of a variety of reading genres. There are fiction and non-fiction books within each level.  In addition, children access Bug Club e-books at school and at home from a personalised selection made by the teacher.

All children are encouraged to select books from the classroom, library or home to share with their parents to encourage a love of reading.

When children can read fluently and with a good understanding, they self-select books for independent reading from the school library.







These are all our  updated English Policies
Last year introduced "The Big Write" this is a way of working initiated by Ros Wilson an Ofsted inspector and respected author. The children are given a range of interesting stimulus and have time to talk, plan, act out ideas before being asked to write. Clear targets are set for each text type and success criteria are discussed. The children learn about VCOP -vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation and how they can be used to improve children's writing. The writing stamina of all the children in year two has increased greatly and the immediate response to the writing on" Target Friday" the next day means that children can see and practise their next stage of learning straight away. This has led to a significant improvement in the sentence structure, punctuation and composition of the children's work in year two.
In Year two we have also introduced the Big Read book where children are given time to respond to their reading. For example writing book reviews, finding amazing facts, answering questions, drawing characters and settings. Assessments are also kept in this book giving the teacher and parents  clear detailed evidence of Key Performance Indicators informing the teaching of the correct next steps to improve reading skills. 

We aim to teach writing and reading in an interesting and engaging way through the introduction of a range of topics. For example in year two a topic on dinosaurs is extremely popular with everybody. The children first of all immerse themselves in facts about dinosaurs by reading non fiction books: learning how to use contents pages, indexes ,sub-headings and glossaries. They then write everything they know about dinosaurs ,they become real experts and take great pride in their knowledge.

A visit from a "Dinosaur Dome" will enable the children to see life sized dinosaurs will add to the excitement and will give the children the opportunity to learn the skill of writing a recount.

They then spend a week reading and writing dinosaur poetry and being creative in art and dance.

The next three weeks are then spent writing their own dinosaur stories using imaginative vocabulary. The children learn how to use adjectives, interesting verbs and adverbs as well as correct punctuation. A dinosaur day also adds to the excitement and stimulates the children's imagination and creativity. The classrooms are full of dinosaur paintings, drawings and models and most importantly the children enjoy learning new skills.

The Year 1 children enjoy retelling traditional tales using puppets.

The Year 1 children enjoy retelling traditional tales using puppets. 1
The Year 1 children enjoy retelling traditional tales using puppets. 2