English - Literacy
"Literacy is… the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”
What do we teach? Why do we teach it?
Literacy is an essential skill for life and learning and as such, is a crucial part of our curriculum at Ambler. We have designed our Literacy curriculum with the intent to foster a love for writing in children from Early Years all the way to Year 6. By the time the children leave us in Year 6, we aim for them to be clear, confident writers who can communicate effectively, adapting their tone and style to suit the genre. In every year group, children will engage in a range of both fiction and nonfiction genres, with a focus on writing for purpose. As they progress through the school, we intend for them to work as authors, taking more ownership of their writing through drafting, redrafting, editing and self-assessment. We set high expectations and want children to take pride in the presentation of their work; our handwriting and spelling curriculum are intended to give the students the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve this. At Ambler, we believe that every child has the potential to succeed in Writing and put in place the necessary supports to ensure that all children make progress.
How do we teach and assess and how does this look in practice?
In order to develop capable writers, who can express themselves within a range of genres, we use high quality reading texts which supports children not only in their content knowledge, but also their vocabulary development. Most of our writing units are cross-curricular, linking to a Humanities or Science topic. This provides our children with regular opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences.
At Ambler, we have a huge emphasis on ‘writing for purpose’; for this reason, we think carefully about the intended audience and how the final piece will be published. Writing is taught daily and each lesson has a clear learning intention, which builds towards their final write. Children are taught how to self-assess and edit their work, making corrections to spelling, grammar and punctuation, while also making changes to improve the overall effect for the reader.
In order to support children in their understanding and application of Spelling, grammar and punctuation, we have regular conferencing sessions at the beginning of writing lessons to review learning and address misconceptions. Our Spelling curriculum is based on the No Nonsense Spelling programme;We also use the online platform, Spelling Shed to offer a fun way to practise the weekly spelling words.
Lessons are scaffolded and differentiated so that all children can access the key learning intention. If/when children need additional support, we provide targeted interventions to ensure children make the necessary progress.
Visits from authors and poets, as well as Writing Workshops, serve to inspire and motivate the children, as well as provide them with new tools and strategies to express themselves. Being part of the Future Zone group of schools in Islington means we also have access to wonderful stand-alone writing units, including Writing through Art in Year 4 and the Poetry competition in Year 6. Similarly, we hold various Writing Competitions at school throughout the year for children to have the opportunity to share and celebrate their creativity.
Our Writing curriculum ensures that children leave Ambler with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to actively engage with their learning in secondary school and beyond. Children are able to express their opinions and creativity in writing that is well structured, clear, technically accurate and interesting to read. Above all, children value and love to write.
Read below to find out how children feel about Writing at Ambler:
“I get to add in lots of detail to our writing. My teacher helps me and I have a word with the adjectives.” (Brian, Year 2)
“I like that we have lots of different literacy lessons about the different parts of the same genre because then we build up to our piece of writing. It helps me get my head around the genre and know what needs to be included! The best thing about writing is you get to experiment with all the words you’ve learned from Reading!” (Roisin, Year 3)
“Publishing my work makes me feel quite impressed with myself because I know that people are going to see what I’ve done- and I’ve worked really hard to create it!” (Taliya, Year 4)
“There are lots of different genres so we get used to writing in different styles. We edit our own work and we use dictionaries so we don’t always rely on the teachers to correct our own mistakes. That means we learn from our mistakes and not expect other people to fix them for us! Spelling Shed is great because we get to practise words over and over- and it’s fun!” (Anna, Year 6)
Our teacher conferences with us so we can go over what we’ve learned before- that way we learn from our mistakes! (Kelly, Year 5)