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Reading and Phonics
We teach reading through the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme.
Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves.
How will my child be taught to read?
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the foundation stage. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are. The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.
The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.
The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.
How long will it take to learn to read well?
By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.
How do I know the teaching will be good?
All the staff have been trained to teach reading in the way we do it in this school. Reading coordinator and Senior leadership watch teachers teaching to make sure that the children are learning how we want them to learn.
What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?
You will be invited to observe how your child is learning phonics in school during their reception year. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.
Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly here: http://www.ruthmiskin.com
If you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. Oxford Owl is a super dedicated website for parents with a wealth of helpful advice on synthetic phonics and over 260 free eBooks.
Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?
It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.
Connect with Read Write Inc.
Parents can find out about Read Write Inc on their Facebook page.
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Spanish at St Mary’s and St Michael’s
The Spanish curriculum we follow at St Mary’s and St Michael’s focusses on stages of gradually building pupil’s knowledge, constantly recapping and building on what has previously been learnt. It excellently prepares pupils for their eventual transition to foreign languages at Secondary School. The skills they learn whilst learning Spanish at Primary will aid them not only in Spanish at Secondary, but will also be of
benefit in aiding them to acquire any other modern foreign language.
At Primary level Spanish, pupils are encouraged at all times to strive to work things out for themselves, work in pairs and small groups sharing knowledge, and to speak aloud when possible – thereby building confidence. Pronunciation, memory, pattern finding, sentence building, autonomy, performance and creativity are the concepts at the heart of their learning.
A Breakdown of What We Study:
In Year 3
The phonics, learning the vowels first.
The numbers 1-10 and how to ask and give their age.
Read rhyming stories, sing songs, practise tongue twisters and have further opportunities to make the sound-written link by listening to words and anticipating their spelling.
Nouns (pencil case items).
They are made aware of gender.
The verb forms ‘tengo – I have’, ‘es – it is’ and encounter the negative forms of these.
In Year 4
Animals and colours.
The key verbs are ‘es’ (he/she/it is), ‘son’ (they are), hay (there is/are). The negative is revisited and there is also a subtle introduction to ‘también’ (also/too/as well), ‘pero’ (but).
Retell a familiar story – The Very Hungry Caterpillar – in Spanish.
Numbers 1-31, months, dates, asking for and giving birthday.
Shapes and prepositions of place.
In Year 5
Continuing with shapes and prepositions of place, looking at the artist Miró.
Parts of the body and face.
Language for family members.
Re-tell the story ‘The giant turnip’.
‘Tengo un/una ..que se llama…’ I have a …called…
Adjectives for describing personality and physical description (hair and eyes).
Key verbs in the 3rd person singular and plural: –> tiene (has), es (is), tienen (have), son (are).
How to ask for and give the time.
Food and drink vocabulary.
Opinions of different food and drink.
In Year 6
Sports and opinions.
Learners may start to use dictionaries.
Opinions of different types of music,
Give reasons why, using ‘porque’ (because).
Describing the weather.
Revising colours (with adjectival agreement) with common nouns and then the flags of a few familiar countries.
Expressing what each country is famous for.
Focus on Spain and some of the key features of the country. Attention is paid to forming plurals of nouns and using the adjective ‘mucho’ (lots of).
Use ‘hay’ (there is/are).
Look at key cities and their location in Spain, using the points of the compass and key geographical features to locate them on a map.
Vocabulary for places in the town.
At St Mary and St Michael School we believe that Physical Education (PE) plays a fundamental role in a child’s development. Physical Education (PE) can inspire and challenge an individual. We understand that a positive and well balanced PE curriculum can lead to lifelong participation in sport and can help children lead healthy active lifestyles.
All children at key stage one and two participate in two hours of PE a week. We ensure our PE curriculum meets the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum and provide learning opportunities in dance, games, gymnastics, athletics and outdoor education. In addition, children in years 2, 3, 4 and 5 will also complete a term of swimming. It is expected that all children change into their PE kit during lessons.
Our passion for PE was recognised in 2014/15 by being the first school in Tower Hamlets to receive a Sainsbury School Games Gold Award. Since then we have maintained our Gold standard and have worked closely with the Tower Hamlets Youth Sport Foundation to help raise the profile of PE within Tower Hamlets primary schools.