It is our intention when teaching the English curriculum that our pupils acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become lifelong learners. We strive to ensure that all our pupils receive a well-rounded learning experience when reading, writing, speaking and listening, which will equip them with the fundamental tools to achieve in school and beyond. It is our intention to immerse pupils in high quality texts to develop a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination through our text and film-led English curriculum.
The acquisition of early language skills and early reading skills are of the utmost importance to us at Witney Community Primary School and therefore the teaching of all aspects of English is given a high priority within school. Developing confidence in basic language skills enables children to communicate creatively and imaginatively, preparing them for their future journey through all subjects in school and beyond.
Teaching children to become confident and fluent readers is a high priority at Witney Community Primary school. We have many opportunities for reading exciting books and materials – supported by a rich, well-resourced library. Children are taught the fundamentals of reading through whole class guided reading sessions and rigorous book talk during these sessions. They have the opportunity to read for pleasure at various points during the school week.
We use Read Write Inc phonics daily across EYFS and KS1 and all pupils will normally have an hour and a half of English related teaching in the morning. This is a mixture of learning about reading, speaking and listening, which includes a variety of text types and genres.
A wide range of stories and genres are read frequently in class to inspire a life‐long enthusiasm for books and all that they offer children and adults alike. By carefully selecting the termly Super Six texts across EYFS, Year 1 and year 2, we enable children to have exposure to and become familiar with a variety of quality texts. From Year 1 onwards, children enjoy regular whole class guided reading sessions using high quality texts that engage the listener, develop a breadth of vocabulary and support comprehension skills. We ensure that children are continually being encouraged to read for pleasure through events such as visiting the local library, author visits, celebrating World Book Day and enjoying bedtime stories. Through our Reading Challenge trees we support parents and children in choosing quality literature to read at home.
To develop children’s reading skills in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 we use the Read Write Inc scheme book bag books, which provide the children with reading material that is pitched at exactly the right level. In order to provide an extensive library of books at every stage we also offer the RWI non-fiction book bag books and a book from the class library for parents to share. We believe all children should have a broad and rich reading experience.
We have English Ambassadors who meet regularly with the English Leads. During this time, they are straight to the point and give well-thought-out ideas to improve and strengthen a love for reading in the school. The ambassadors also play an important role in talking to their peers and younger children to help them find a text to enjoy and inspire. All children have a say on the authors and genres which they would like to see on their class and the school library’s bookshelves; this is vital for a fresh and meaningful stock of books. The English Ambassadors lead book clubs with a focus on engagement and enjoyment for reading for children across the year groups.
Reading Buddies - Year 6 and Year 1
Reading Buddies Year 6 and Year 1
Reading Buddies Year 5 and Year 3
Reading Buddies Year 4 and Year 2
Books and Biscuits
Children's writing videos
WCP Recommended Reads
All classes visit Witney Library with their Reading Buddies.
Year 1 and Year 6
Year 2 and Year 4
Reception enjoyed a Virtual Author visit by Vicky Woodgate during Mental Health Awareness Week. Vicky’s new book ‘ I can see nature’s rainbow’ showcases various animals of every colour of the rainbow.
The children also enjoyed a ‘draw-along’ with Vicky and had a go at drawing some of her favourite things. Mindful colouring and discussions about nature and how wonderful it is for our mental health rounded off a fantastic session
Stephen Mangan and his sister, Anita Mangan, held an author webinar to talk about their new book, ‘The Unlikely Rise of Harry Sponge’. During the webinar, Anita gave a live ‘draw along’ where we had an opportunity to sketch one of the characters from the book.
‘The Unlikely Rise of Harry Sponge’
Grumpy old King Chisel has a problem.
He needs an heir to his kingdom - fast! So he challenges the best kids from across the country to compete in the Crown Duels, with the ultimate winner becoming king or queen. Step forward:
GLORIA SQUAT-FURTHER: champion athlete
HUXLEY BEELINE: mathematical genius
JONNY MOULD: artistic ace
GOSSAMER FOUNTAIN: empathy expert
HARRY SPONGE: ordinary boy. Not to be underestimated.
The ridiculous prime minister, Farting Bernie, is in charge and the contest swiftly descends into chaos. Who will rise to the top and survive wild sabotaging, saggy royal pants, the most disgusting meal ever invented, and a pair of frisky goats?
Aoife Dooley, creator of Frankie’s World and Finding My Voice, gave a webinar on tips on how to create a graphic novel. Some of the children had read ‘Finding my Voice’, a two-colour graphic novel about speaking-up and standing out when you feel different. Aoife openly shared her experiences of being diagnosed as Autistic at the age of 27, neurodiversity and how a diagnosis helped her to truly understand herself. We have ordered this book for the whole school to enjoy.
The year sixes were treated to a live webinar with the author Abi Elphinstone. She talked about her inspirations for her books and gave us a glimpse into her new fantastic book, 'Saving Neverland'. Her top three tips for writing were: 'Get Outside'; 'Be Curious' and 'Don't be Scared of Getting Things Wrong'. She spoke about finding everyday objects and asking 'What if?' to inspire story ideas. Before going home, one year six said, "I can't wait to grab a pencil and paper and start writing!"
As part of LGBT+ History Month, Scholastic held a webinar with the author, Ian Eagleton. Ian talked about his new book ‘Glitter Boy’ and spoke about how the word ‘gay’ is used inappropriately with many people, using it to mean that something is ‘uncool’.
He prompted a brilliant discussion by showing the phrase ‘That’s sooooooooo gay’ and asked questions such as:
‘What does it mean?’
‘Do you hear it in school?’
‘How does it make you feel? How might it make other people feel?’
‘How can you tackle it?’
Ian then went on to talk about key people who were part of the gay rights movement, such as Harvey Milk and Marsha P. Johnson. We learnt about the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which helped spark the fight for gay rights around the world.
During the 1960s, being gay was classified as a mental illness in the US. Gay people were regularly threatened and beaten by the police, and were shunned by many people in society.
Even in the UK, being gay was a crime until 1967.
The Stonewall riots in 1969 were a landmark event in history, which helped to fight homophobia and campaign for equal rights.
Quotes from year six children:
“ That was so interesting - I can’t believe that it was illegal to be gay!”
“ Gay people had to hide away and have discos without others knowing - that is very wrong.”
“I know that I can talk to my teacher about this and how I feel.”
Year 5/6 Book Club
WCPS Book Club
Every week, Miss Eustice meets with a group of year 5 and 6 children who are encouraged to listen, read and talk about a book of their choice. This term, the children are enjoying Midnight Guardians.
This compelling novel combines historical elements with a fast-paced fantasy adventure and provides readers with an insight into some of the hardships endured during the Second World War. An engaging and moving tale, it celebrates friendship, trust and courage, emphasising that fear and hatred can be defeated by hope and love.
World Book Day 2023
Wednesday 10th May
Mystery Reader is back! The first Mystery Reader caused great excitement in our Reception Class this afternoon and the children enjoyed a classic Shirley Hughes tale. Mystery readers can be parents, grandparents, older siblings, aunts, uncles and maybe even another member of staff from a different class. Thank you to Sarah, Phoebe’s grandmother, for visiting us today. We look forward to welcoming more Mystery Readers in the coming weeks. #mysteryreader #sharingbooks #shirleyhughes #receptionclass #booksmatter #readingforlife #communityinvolvement
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