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Nottingham Primary Academy

English

Literacy skills and the teaching of reading, writing, handwriting, spelling and grammar are central to all learning here at Nottingham Primary Academy.

Literacy is taught with a strong cross-curricular focus and links with topic areas of learning such as history, geography and science.

Writing has a purpose for our children and they write for meaning with an end goal of performing to an audience.

Our children’s books and work on display reflects the hard work and strong focus on literacy at the Academy.

Reading 

Our vision for reading – We read to Succeed!​

  • We want reading to be fundamental and at the heart of what we do – having a  culture of it being cool to read.​

  • To be able to read fluently and comprehend texts regardless of children’s circumstances. ​

  • To be exposed to, and to know how to access, a wide range of highly captivating texts.

  • To have a genuine love of reading, for purpose and pleasure, which will extend and stretch their ability to learn independently and equip them for their future.​

  • To be able to communicate effectively and be articulate by expanding their vocabulary.

Help your child read at home
 

We want to encourage a genuine love of reading and believe that this will extend and stretch our children’s ability to learn across the whole curriculum.

A love of books, words and reading for the simple pleasure of it, we believe, is vital for children to become life-long learners.

As such, every class places a high emphasis on ‘Reading for Pleasure’ each day where books are read together, discussed and enjoyed as a group. 

Here are our top tips to help parents encourage even the most reluctant child to develop a love of reading:

  • Make time to read
  • Let your child choose what to read
  • Explore different reading materials
  • Get the whole family involved
  • Bring stories to life
  • Create fun reading challenges at home
  • Be positive
  • ​​​​Be a reading role model

Reading with your child at home as often as you can is one of the best things you can do to support your child’s learning. Click on the links below for useful websites giving you more information and ideas  about reading with your child.

The National Literacy Trust’s Words for Life website is packed full of information, advice and

resources for parents to help develop children’s language and communication skills from 0-

11 years: www.wordsforlife.org.uk

BookTrust’s Bookfinder helps parents find the perfect book for their child, according to age

and interests.

BookTrust’s best books for children guide lists the top 100 books for children to read before

they’re 14.

The National Literacy Trust’s Literacy Apps website is a handy guide for parents with tips to

on how to get the most out of apps that help young children learn communication skills.

Find stories and activities from popular CBeebies shows to boost your child’s literacy skills:

More useful websites:

Words for life

Suggests suitable books by age

www.wordsforlife.org.uk

Story line

On line stories and videos

http://www.storylineonline.net

Story nory

Free audio stories

http://www.storynory.com

Love reading 4 kids

Free extracts from thousands of books

http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk

Oxford Owl

Free e books

https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk

Cbeebies

Stories from favourite television shows

https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/stories

Meddy Bemps

Fairy tale stories

http://www.meddybemps.com/5.1.html

Inkless tales

Stories, poems and games

http://www.inklesstales.com/stories/

Learn to read

http://more2.starfall.com/n/level-a/learn-to-read/load.htm?f&redir=www

Book trust

Suggested books for children, advice on how to read with your child, book lists, fun games, competitions to win free books, Children's Book Club etc

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books/

Pearson

Helping your child to enjoy reading

https://www.pearson.com/uk/learners/primary-parents/learn-at-home/help-your-child-to-enjoy-reading.html

Reading in lessons
 

We want to encourage a genuine love of reading and believe that this will extend and stretch our children’s ability to learn across the whole curriculum. A love of books, words and reading for the simple pleasure of it, we believe, is vital for children to become life-long learners. As such, every class places a high emphasis on ‘Reading for Pleasure’ each day where books are read together, discussed and enjoyed as a group.

Whole class books

Each class has a whole class book which is read at least three times a week. This is time for children to enjoy books together with their teacher while providing language rich experiences and opportunities to develop vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Books being read by each class are displayed outside every classroom.

Book Club

Nottingham Academy Book Club runs at events at the Academy throughout the year. All the books are brand new and are a fraction of the recommended retailers price (RRP). 

The book club is usually held in the dining room with books ranging from £1 to £3. A wide range of popular children's books are stocked including: 

  • Roald Dahl
  • Horrid Henry 
  • Dork Diaries
  • Jacqueline Wilson 
  • Activity Books
  • Fiction and Non Fiction 

Look out for the Book Club at Parents Evenings, the Christmas Fair, Summer Fair and lots more events, a letter will be sent home with pupils to let you know which events you can buy books from. 

Whole class reading

Whole class reading takes place from year 2 - year 6 on a daily basis. Texts chosen by each cohort are age related and where possible linked to the curriculum or the year group’s half termly author. A mixture of short texts and chapter books are used covering a wide range of genres.

During these lessons ,children have the opportunity to listen to the texts being read by the teacher, read the text aloud to the class, read to the teacher and to read with a partner. Teachers plan and model activities covering the different reading skills, followed by children having a go at answering a range of questions and activities independently or with support. There are lots of opportunities to discuss  new vocabulary and for children to discuss their opinions about what they have read. Visual icons are used for display and in lessons so the children are clear on the skill they are learning.

Reading fluency 

We think it is important that children have the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression. Fluency is important because it helps children to recognise and understand text. When fluent readers read silently, they recognise words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking.  To help children learn how to become a fluent reader they follow the 6 Ps when reading.

Pitch 

Vary your voice in tone, pitch, and volume

Power

Emphasising key words to reflect the meaning of the text.

Punctuation

Long pause for a full stop. Shorter pause for a comma.

Pause

Raised tone for a question? and ! Adhering to (); ...etc

Pace

Reading smoothly with a strong rhythm (not too slow or too fast and without having to self correct)

Passion

Clear expression appropriate to the text type.

Reading searchlights

During any reading activity, children throughout the school use a reading skill hand to remind them of all the different strategies they can use if they come across a familiar word or phrase.

Use pictures: look for visual clues to work out what the word is.

Before and after: read the sentence before the unknown word and after to see if they can work out its meaning.

Think about the text: thinking about what type of text it is

Break it up: look for words within words, prefixes and suffixes

Sound it out: using phonetic skills to decode the word

Focus Authors for each year group

Each year group has an author of focus for every half term. The purpose of this is to broaden the authors and illustrators children are exposed to and encourage children's reading for pleasure. Books from these authors are shared as class reading books and may be part of literacy and reading curriculum. At the start of the half term children research the author and their books and produce a poster for display. 

Reading competitions

We have lots of opportunities to enter competitions related to reading, and reading events see the links below to read about recent competitions. 

World Poetry Day Competion 

Winter Poetry Competition 

Hoodwinked Competition 

Libraries and Learning Zones

Across the school there are lots of inviting places and spaces for children to find a wide variety of fiction and non- fiction books. There are library spaces across the school for all year groups to use and every classroom has a comfortable reading zone where children can choose a book to enjoy.

Reading Ambassadors
 

Nottingham Primary Academy has recently appointed their new reading ambassadors from Years four, five and six.

Their job will be to promote reading in phase three and encourage pupils in their class to read at home by choosing exciting and interesting books.

They will also play an important role in developing the non–fiction section of our library and making sure books are reviewed.

We will keep you updated with what they get up to in our news section.

Writing 

Our vision for writing​:

  • To be able to adapt their writing to real purposes  and have a  capacity to convey meaning to a range of audiences.​

  • Develop their powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.​

  • To have the skills  to plan, draft edit and proof read, on paper and screen..​

  • To be confident in communicating effectively and  articulately through the vocabulary and grammar they use.​

  • To enjoy writing and have a love of words and their meaning. 

Handwriting
 

This year, as an Academy, a main development focus is handwriting and specifically the use of cursive script.

What is cursive script?

Cursive script is a style of handwriting that has an entry stroke, which starts from the line.

The benefits of teaching cursive script are:

  • It helps children to be clear, fluent and legible writers.
  • Having a lead in stroke avoids confusion about where to begin letter formation.
  • It has proven beneficial for children with poor hand control and also dyslexic children.
  • The pencil does not often need to be lifted from the page, which also reinforces spelling patterns and phonics.
  • Because of the flow that cursive provides, writing soon becomes quicker and easier.

How do we teach cursive?

When your child first comes into school, they will learn to form every letter with an entry stroke and an exit stroke. Children are taught that every letter starts on the line. You can support your child at home by encouraging them to trace over handwriting on a regular basis. Using coloured pens, chalk, paint, a sports water bottle, or even using a toy car can help make the activity really exciting. In addition, finger painting, or using sand can also be an engaging way to start young children off with the formation of these types of letters.

Constant repetition is the key, emphasising entry and exit strokes. The advantages of using this style is that you can quickly see when your child is forming letters incorrectly- such as when a child starts the forming at the bottom and moves clockwise, rather than anti-clockwise. As the children progress through the school, they begin to move away from forming single letters, and move on to joining letters within words and then later on, focusing on fluency, speed and adopting a style.

When helping your child at home, the following points will help you.

  • Always start forming letters from the line
  • ‘Tall letters’ will almost touch the line above (b, d, f, h,k,l)
  • ‘Middle letters’ are all the same height and stop at the middle point of the line. (a,c,e,I,m,n,o,r,s,u,v,w,x,z)
  • Some letters stretch down below the line. The top of these letters touch the middle point. (f,j,p,q,y)
  • Capital letters never join the rest of a word.
  • Ensure your child is holding their pencil correctly.
  • Make sure your child is sitting on their chair properly.
  • Sometimes having the paper tilted at an angle can help.

Examples of each letter using cursive script:

 

Spelling
 

Spelling is a very important part of the curriculum at Nottingham Primary Academy.

We have put together some useful tips to help your child with their spelling at home. 

 

Poetry at Nottingham Academy 

We think poetry is fabulous because...

  • Research shows there is a strong link between early rhyme and success in reading and spelling​

  • It can create a rich storehouse of memorable metaphors, language, images, rhythms and movement. ​

  • Children love to revisit and recite well known poems, just like they do when they sing.​

  • It builds up their confidence when speaking aloud and in front of others​

  • Poetry helps by teaching in rhythm, stringing words together with a beat helps cognitive understanding of words and where they fit.​

  • They can be used to learn about different cultures, religions, places – and help to teach empathy by understanding other’s feelings. us to share our emotions - they can be funny, serious, sensible, nonsense, reflective or sad.