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Here are a few ideas to help you keep the children busy and support them in their learning whilst at home.
From Reception to Year 6, all children are encouraged to read at home as often as possible. Reading is an incredibly important skill which leads to increased learning outcomes in all areas. It has a positive effect on progress in not just reading but writing, spelling, maths and their comprehension of the whole curriculum.
At Whiteshill, all children are expected to read at least 4 times a week at home. This can be recorded in your child’s reading record which is sent home each day. The more your child reads at home, the more progress they will make. As they get older, from Maple Class upwards, they may enjoy reading to themselves and this should be encouraged as it will help them learn to love books. However, it is still important for them to read out loud to an adult on occasion as reading aloud is a very different skill. It helps your child to practise slowing down and focussing on every word as well as thinking about the expression with which a sentence has been written. It also allows you to keep track of how they are progressing. Please ensure your child gets a balance of both at home as they get older and feel free to record both in their reading record.
Your child will come home with a reading book in line with their current reading level. It is important that they read this book regularly in order to make continued progress. However, please do also encourage them to read books for pleasure either from home, the school library or any other source. Please feel free to record this reading in your child’s reading record as well so that we get a good picture of the reading they are doing outside of school and to keep them interested and excited about books.
In school, reading is taught through daily phonics lessons in Willow and Elm classes up to the end of Year 1. From Year 2 upwards, it is taught through our reading curriculum, which you can find out more about on our curriculum pages. These sessions involve reading and enjoying a text together, asking and answering questions and learning new vocabulary. A love of reading is also encouraged through teachers reading a class book at the end of the school day and through our teaching of writing which is often based on stories the class have read together. The children are also encouraged to read quietly to themselves in school from Year 1 upwards to get them into good reading habits and so that the staff have chance to hear them one-to-one to assess their progress and move them on to the next reading level when necessary.
In reception and year 1, the children have a daily phonics lesson where they learn the sounds they need to successfully read and spell. These sounds will be sent home to you so that you can support your child when they are reading or writing at home.
From year 2 upwards, the children complete a spelling unit each week during English lessons. They learn spelling rules and words in line with the National Curriculum. They are then encouraged to use these words in their writing and apply the rules they have learnt independently. They are given dictionaries, word lists and key vocabulary prompts when writing to encourage them to spell independently and edit their work to make corrections. A list of spelling words and rules from the National Curriculum will be sent home to you at the start of each term so that you are aware of the expectation for your child’s year group. As well as teaching these new rules and patterns each year, your child will revise previous learning and work on any patterns which the teacher has identified as not being applied during writing. Children’s spelling will not be tested weekly. The most important skill with spelling is applying it when writing and this is where our emphasis will lie in school.
In Willow and Elm Classes, the key objectives for Maths will be sent home to you during parents’ evening so that you are aware of the expectation for your child’s year group and where their gaps lie.
In Maple Class, your child will learn their times tables daily. It is in Years 3 and 4 that this important skill is developed and by the end of Year 4 all children are expected to know their times tables up to 12 x 12. Although there will be no formal Maths homework on a weekly basis, there will be suggestions of games that you can play to support your child’s developing times tables knowledge – see above.
In Oak Class, there will be formal Maths homework. It will be collected in and marked on a weekly basis. This is in order to prepare the children for secondary school where they will need to manage their time at home in order to complete a larger range of homework for different subjects. The homework has been designed to help them practise their calculation skills in preparation for the SATs arithmetic test at the end of Year 6. The format will consist of boxes with a range of calculations which will increase over the year as they are taught new techniques. If your child is unable to complete a calculation independently, or is unsure of the method, please leave it blank so that the teacher is aware and can support them with the calculation method taught in school.