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Hamstead Junior School

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At HJS, we aim to prepare our pupils to be literate and to be effective communicators for use in future life. We want our pupils to develop confidence and a positive mindset ready to face new challenges.



Sequenced and Engaging Learning

In our school, each unit of work for Literacy follows a sequence from Reading to Writing, enabling pupils to learn how the two processes are linked.


Most units of work relate to the Class Reader Books, which have been carefully selected to meet the needs and interests of our children. We make use of Class Reader books that promote enjoyment, as well as providing rich opportunities for pupils to experience engaging and interactive learning. Each unit provides opportunities for pupils to develop their communication skills in different ways: through Paired Talk, through debating and via a variety of drama activities such as ‘Hot-Seating’, ‘Freeze Framing’, ‘Moral Dilemmas’ and ‘Interviewing’. Activities such as these are photographed or recorded with parental consent.


Enjoyment of the Class Readers is of real importance to us. Pupils have given positive feedback in relation to the selected texts. Their input has been crucial in shaping the day-to-day implementation of the curriculum.



Linking Literacy to the Wider Curriculum

At HJS, we understand that pupils need to be effective communicators in all subjects. Our units of work for several curriculum subjects (such as Art, Geography, History and R.E.) begin with the use of a ‘Reading Hook’ to stimulate interest in the new topic. This enables children to discuss and debate at the beginning of each new unit.


Reading, Writing and Oracy skills are applied across all subjects in order to reinforce the message that communication is essential in all walks of life. Pupils will produce investigation reports in Science, persuasive posters in Geography and oral presentations in a wide range of subjects. In this way, they become expert communicators as Speakers, Readers and Writers – all essential skills for life!   







Reading Plus

Reading is taught in a variety of ways across the school: Guided Reading sessions, a weekly comprehension lesson, Class Reader sessions, the use of Reading Hooks and the teaching of reading skills throughout Literacy lessons.


The school also uses an online Reading program called Reading Plus.  The program is designed to increase pupils’ fluency (by measuring their word recognition rate), their skills of comprehension and their understanding of vocabulary. This online program is tailored to the reading ability of your child and forms part of your child’s Reading homework. Its use is recorded as part of the children’s Home Reading Record. Children are awarded certificates for their efforts and for their successes in achieving ‘Combos’ (two consecutive Reading Plus lessons where their Comprehension score is 80% or above). 


Reading Raffle

The school promotes Reading via the use of a reading raffle. Twice every half-term, pupils’ names are entered into a raffle if they have carried out their Home Reading and have had their Home Reading Record completed with a suitable comment from home for the previous three/four weeks.


The raffle is designed to promote enjoyment of reading and a commitment to becoming a lifelong reader. The lucky winners in each class win a book as a reward for showing this commitment. All winners’ names appear on the school’s website.



Special Events (World Book Day, Shakespeare Week, Literary Week)

During the year, the school celebrates World Book Day – a national event where children are allowed to dress-up and join in with a range of fun events within their class (all reading-related, of course!)


HJS also celebrates ‘Shakespeare Week’ in the Spring Term. Each Year Group is allocated a different Shakespeare play and, through a variety of activities, children are encouraged to become ‘serious Shakespearean thespians’ (it’s definitely a case of ‘eat your hearts out, Sir Ian and Dame Judi!’)


Our school also has specially themed ‘Literary Weeks’. During these weeks, the whole school follows an overall theme. The activities include a mixture of Reading, Writing and Drama, and involve a school competition for which all classes prepare an entry during the week. The week culminates in our own ‘Hollywood-style’ awards ceremony and a themed end-of-week class celebration.