As a school we use the 'Power of Reading'project to guide our learning. The project is designed to enhance children’s enjoyment of literature and their engagement in the English curriculum. The project aims to capture children’s enthusiasm and raise achievement by developing teachers’ knowledge of literature and its use in the primary classroom. Central to the project is the use of high quality books and creative teaching approaches, such as role-play, hot-seating, freeze-framing, conscience alley, reader's theatre, story mapping, writing in role, reading journals and art activities.
Each year, children are immersed in a wide range of carefully selected texts around which their learning, both in English and across the curriculum, is focused.
Throughout the school we emphasise the importance of good comprehension skills as it is vital that children fully understand what they are reading, as well as developing fluency and speed. The children have regular opportunities to read a range of texts throughout the school week as well as experiencing structured reading lessons which teach these key skills. The staff at St John's aim to make these lessons engaging and enjoyable by incorporating the high quality texts identified through the power of reading project.
DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read)
On a Friday afternoon we enjoy whole school DEAR time - Drop Everything And Read - where everyone in the school reads a book of their choice, aimed at developing reading for pleasure in all of our pupils.
Writing - Try it, Use it, Prove it
Through working with one of our partner schools, we have recently developed a new approach to the teaching of writing: Try it, Use it, Prove it. This is a structured lesson format which is aimed at ensuring every child at St John's masters the grammatical content of the National Curriculum and can then apply this knowledge when writing for a purpose. Children are given well thought out tasks which match their confidence with specific skills, meaning every child experiences success whilst being challenged. The three stages are described as:
Try it - Sentence or word level tasks which introduce children to the lesson objective. They continue to try the skill in sentences until they are confident.
Use it - Short tasks in which the children are expected to demonstrate they can use the skill in a variety of contexts. This could be through many different contexts, including character descriptions, story starters and blurbs for fiction books.
Prove it - Children are given a stimulus which they must use to create a longer piece of writing. This could be anything from a necklace to a newspaper headline. Within this piece of writing, children are expected to prove they have fully mastered the skill by using it in many different ways.