Throughout their time at Billinge House, our pupils are actively immersed in a rich literacy environment to enable them to become confident in and positive about Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We are committed to developing these English skills from a very early age and prior to Years One and Two, children will have experienced an enhanced Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, focussing on the building blocks for communication, language and literacy in the Nursery, at Pre-School and in Reception.
All children are encouraged to develop a love of literature and to view reading as both an essential tool for learning and a pleasure in its own right. In Years One and Two, children access a wide range of literature by significant children’s authors, including modern fiction, classic children’s stories, non-fiction, poetry and plays. Children in Year Two are encouraged to take more responsibility for choosing their own books from the Home Reading Scheme in preparation for Key Stage Two. Teachers also carry out group guided reading sessions each week which allow children to share their opinions and ideas with their peers, develop better comprehension through targeted questioning and to feel ever more confident with reading aloud in front of an audience. All Year One and Two children continue to take part in regular discreet phonics sessions which gradually begin to focus more on linking sounds with their correct spelling.
Staff foster high expectations of our pupil’s writing, which means that the teaching of writing is not constrained to English lessons, but permeates throughout the curriculum. In Year One, children participate in more formal writing sessions via their Literacy lessons and start to explore key genres of writing in more depth through shared, guided and independent work. They develop good writing stamina and many are able to start joining up their letters mid-way through this year. In Year Two, children are encouraged to check their own writing for sense and to experiment as much as possible with descriptive vocabulary. Creative, cross-curricular or topic-based lessons incorporating a range of drama strategies encourage children to write for real purpose and with imagination. Differentiated extended writing sessions allow staff to work on specific targets with children and to really extend our most able writers.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and Listening activities are an integral element of the entire curriculum at Billinge House. Throughout the Infants, children access an incredible range of role-play opportunities and learn how to organise resources and make compromises through their imagined worlds. Teachers plan opportunities for paired talk and group discussion, as well as giving children the chance to organise roles for themselves in order to solve a given group task, thus encouraging independent learning. Such activities often take place in the outdoor environment allowing pupils to learn through practical experiences. Year One and Two pupils all take part in productions and assemblies where they are encouraged to speak confidently in front of a large audience. All pupils take part in specific LAMDA lessons and have the opportunity to enter LAMDA examinations. Children in Years One and Two can join Speech and Drama club to further explore elements of performance.