English underpins all aspects of a child’s education; high standards of language and literacy equip children for life-long learning. At Westfields, we aim to develop English skills to support and prepare our children for the future. Our curriculum units have been designed to nurture a love of language and also for our children to experience a wide range of writing genres.
At Westfields, we recognise that the quality and variety of language that children hear and speak are key factors in developing their vocabulary, grammar and understanding for reading and writing. Through a range of speaking and listening and drama based activities, we ensure the continual development of children’s confidence and competence in spoken language.
Throughout lessons, children develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and poems, and to prepare their ideas prior to writing. They are assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves and to others and teachers ensure they build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and address misconceptions. Children are taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
We use a variety of collaborative activities to develop spoken language so children are equipped and able to talk for a range of purposes e.g. explaining, sequencing, providing a counter-argument, persuading and evaluating. The collaborative activities we adopt, listed below, also help our children to understand the importance of active listening.
- Pair or group discussions
- Working together on shared tasks and presentations
- Activities with a competitive element/games
- Drama and role play
The Great Debate
At Westfields, we strive to ensure that all children read fluently and with good understanding. The children are exposed to a variety of texts and genres to foster reading widely and often, for both enjoyment and information. We are lucky to have a wide selection of Reading Scheme books, ‘New to Free Reader Books’ and an extensive Library collection. Children have the opportunity to read daily either through Guided Reading sessions, shared reading in English, one-to-one reading with an adult or in a group. Parents are encouraged to support their child’s reading by sharing books at home and discussing the books being read.
- Reading Scheme: To support the development of fluency and understanding in reading, each child is assessed and provided with either a Reading Scheme book, a ‘New to Free-Reader’ book or a book from our school library. Our selection of Reading Scheme books and ‘New to Free-Reader’ books are regularly updated and contain a variety of modern, visually appealing books, which inspire children to read. Our Reading scheme contains titles including:
Below is the Reading Scheme colour bands that we use within school and all of our books are labelled from this.
- Westfields Library: To support reading across the curriculum, we have an extensive library that is at the heart of our school; it is extremely well-stocked and contains over 6000 books. Unlike most junior schools, we also have a fully trained librarian who ensures that our books are current and appealing to children. In addition, they work with both groups and individuals to help children progress with their reading skills and they recommend books appropriate to individual children. Our librarian is supported by a fantastic group of Junior Librarians who support and organise reading events, competitions as well as complete weekly library duties, review new titles and so much more!
- Reading Events: We understand that bringing reading to life is vital in promoting a life-long love of reading. As a result of this, we hold a variety of events throughout the school year including: Reading Matters Week, Big Buddy Read, Poetry Slam, World Book Day, Book Fairs, Storytime and many more Library challenges/competitions.
Reading Matters Week 2018
World Book Day 2019
Poetry Slam 2019
Parental Engagement: As reading is such a core skill, it is important that children are supported in their learning at home as well as during the school day. To support families with this, workshops are held each year. These workshops cover a variety of topics including: questioning, comprehension, developing fluency in reading and much more! Here are the key documents from our most recent workshop:
The Day Explorer and eLibrary
The Day Explorer
This is an online current affairs site for children provided by Hants SLS. It explains the news in a way that children can understand and broaden their knowledge. It includes articles, cartoons, points for discussion and looks at all aspects of the curriculum in relation to the news.
This is currently being rolled out throughout the school, it is a web library provided by Hants SLS in conjunction with Wheelers. The eLibrary contains a brilliant selection of age appropriate texts for all year groups. It also has a selection of audio books. To access the Westfields Junior School eLibrary, either download the ePlatform app (by Wheelers) or go to http://westfieldsjun-hantssls.wheelers.co search for Westfields Junior School and use the log in and password provided by the school. The app can be adapted to suit specific requirements such as dyslexia or visual impairment. For more information please speak with your class teacher or Mrs Colyer.
Writing is an integral part of the curriculum and we aim to make it an enjoyable and purposeful activity, enriched with cross-curricular links. Across each writing unit, children develop skills which enable them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- Writing Events: To further encourage a love of writing, we hold a variety of events throughout the year. Examples of this include our Remembrance Poetry Competition and whole-school Writing Challenges.
- Writing across the curriculum: Writing is an important method of presenting information, sharing your views and explaining your understanding. Our curriculum has planned opportunities for children to write within Science and across the foundation subjects where appropriate.
- Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG): Having a sound understanding of SPaG is key in enabling children to express themselves clearly when writing. Because of this, we ensure that children experience spelling lessons, spelling tests and grammar lessons on a weekly basis. As this is best understood within a context, our Grammar lessons are linked to our writing units. Throughout each year at Westfields, children will learn various spelling patterns, for example words that end in -cious or -cial and are assigned a spelling rule to learn each week. The pattern is taught in class and children are expected to be able to apply this pattern to other words that sound similar.
As well as these spelling patterns, the National Curriculum has outlined a list of key words that your child is expected to know at different points within the key stage. The lists are a mixture of words children frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. These are the words that your child will be expected to learn by the end of Year 4. Click here for a downloadable version.
These are the words that your child will be expected to learn by the end of year 6. Click here for a downloadable version.
We would really appreciate it if you could support your child with practising their spellings. Every child learns in different ways and it is important to learn spellings in a way that best suits them.
Click here for suggestions of activities to practise spellings in engaging ways.
Listed below are the classes and the details of their chosen poetry performance. Every class was original and creative and this was such a fantastic opportunity for the children to work collaboratively to develop their speaking and listening skills.
3MP – The Sound of the Train – David McCord
3CC – From Red Hot Liquid to Metal Sword – Mary Green & Julie Stanley
3RP – Christine Crump – Colin West – 3rd place
4LB – The Pig – Roald Dahl
4EC – Walking with my Iguana – Brian Moses
4TR – The River – Valerie Bloom
5RM – Sick – Shel Silverstein
5DC – Jabberwocky – Lewis Caroll
5DT – Daffodils – William Wordsworth
6LL – Macavity: The Mystery Cat – T.S. Eliot
6HP – The Spider and the Fly – Mary Howitt – 1st place
6HC – Gran Can You Rap? – Jack Ousby – 2nd place
World Book Day
Westfields Junior School celebrated World Book Day with a bang on Thursday 7th March! As this year’s theme was rather similar to last year, we decided to have our own theme for the day too. As such, each class across the school explored a different book written by the incredible children’s favourite, Julia Donaldson. Each class was given a different book, which they shared and discussed; many may think that these picture books would only be suitable for younger children, but we do not believe this to be the case. With a little creative thinking these relatively simple children’s books offer a wonderful stimulus for quality analysis and writing. Throughout the day, the children completed a range of activities; they delved into their chosen text and explored characters, settings and plots. The children also had the opportunity to consider what questions they would like to ask the author and wrote letters to her. Some classes wrote a quiz to strengthen their comprehension skills and summarised main events identifying key vocabulary. Just before home time, there was great excitement as the children scattered around the school to listen to a story read by a member of our fantastic staff team; there were plenty to choose from including latest titles as well as some old favourites! A great day of sharing stories and strengthening reading and writing skills was had by all!
Reading Matters Week and our ‘Big Buddy Read’
Reading Matters Week has been an amazing event because every class have had the chance to share and enjoy different activities linked to one of Roald Dahl’s books. We have celebrated the importance of reading and have been reminded that reading is a very important part of all our learning and can help us in the future. Each class has enjoyed and read a different Roald Dahl story and we have all created lots of fantastic activities linked to our story. Some of these include: character descriptions, vocabulary cards, games, arts and crafts and books reviews. We cannot wait to see which activities will be in our class story packs in the library for everyone to see and use. We ended the week with our ‘Big Buddy Read’ and had the chance to read to others and meet new people. It has been an amazing experience and a great start to the year!
Written by Scarlett Brown and Gabriella Stephenson 6LL
Poetry Slam 2019