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 Drama Studio – with full technical lighting and sound systems – allows for expression and development of skills in all areas.
Every child reads, and is read to, every day
At Tollgate Primary School, we believe that the teaching of reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves. Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading. We cultivate the behaviours that children will need to be discerning readers as they read frequently and widely using a range of evidence-based strategies and discuss what they read. This curriculum is delivered through synthetic phonics, a linked approach to shared and guided reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. All of these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunities needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers.
It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. Thus, we work hard to foster a love of independent reading and build communities of engaged readers. We understand the significance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership through our coffee mornings and workshops which enables parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading at home.
Reading is at the very heart of our curriculum. We are committed to promoting a love for reading and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum too.
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 school.
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 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.