Valuing all children's language skills and building upon their existing linguistic knowledge is essential to high achievement alongside the need for carefully planned learning opportunities designed to cover the full range of speaking and literacy skills.
As communication takes many forms: body language, gesture and verbal communication, it is important that children are given the chance to explore situations and contexts in exciting and creative ways, such as the use of role-play in the preparation for writing.
Speaking and Listening is an integral component in all lessons across the curriculum and we are pleased to have our own Creative Arts and Drama Co-ordinator, who assists in the development of a curriculum that fosters this approach. Our new Drama Studio with full technical lighting and sound systems allows for expression and development of skills in all areas.
Children are taught to use Jolly Phonics as a medium through which to acquire the phonetic knowledge needed to read and write. Teachers listen to their children read through the guided and shared reading sessions within the English lesson. Parents are actively encouraged to listen to their children read on a daily basis.
We recognise the need to develop fluency when reading and the need to develop strategic comprehension skills. These skills are taught directly through a weekly comprehension lesson. Currently, our Reading Targets are aimed at developing pupils' awareness of phonics and knowledge of less common spelling patterns. As a school, we use Jolly Phonics as our phonics programme. To accompany our targets home, we held parental sessions exploring how Jolly Phonics are used to help children learn to read and write, in addition, we have produced wordlists and a comprehensive glossary that helps to explain all the complex terminology.
A Reading Champion is easy to recognise - she/he has a passion for reading. Be it books, magazines or graphic novels, she/he has an ability to inspire other people to discover the pleasure of reading.
Children are encouraged to aim for three levels of Reading Champion achievement:
- Bronze Champions
- Silver Champions
- Gold Champions
Children use their personal Reading Journals to record their reading sessions at home. By reading aloud at home and discussing their reading with family members, children are developing their understanding of stories and texts. As children build this knowledge and experience with books they collect stickers which count towards certificates. These are given in assembly and displayed in the school library.
Here at Tollgate, we pride ourselves on our high levels of presentation. All pupils are encouraged to write neatly and legibly and all attempts at early writing are praised and encouraged. More developed writers, who have adopted and personalised the school's Nelson Handwriting style, are awarded our prestigious 'Pen Licence'. Excellent presentation is encouraged within all curriculum areas as a means of ensuring that all work is to the highest standard possible.