Why are our KS1 children so far ahead in Literacy at AKS?
Mrs Smith, Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning at AKS Prep School and Year 1 teacher explains how we build the skills and competence for early literacy.
The ability to be able to express the breadth of your thoughts and ideas as well being able to listen deeply form the foundations of the rich Literacy we have at AKS. In the Nursery, our skilled key workers are experienced at drawing ideas from their children and always encourage them to listen to each other, to songs, rhymes and stories. They help the children to learn new words and phrases to explain what they see happening around them. Through hands-on learning experiences, the children’s vocabulary skills and phrasing become more varied and the listening becomes more active. New words are sought and encouraged. Time is made for listening, rich stories feature as a habit and also as a treat. This broad experience is the perfect springboard for the continuous learning which helps our children to quickly become skilled readers and writers at AKS.
Well-chosen books are readily available in classroom and library collections as well as through audio resources and other forms of technology; sharing books is seen as such an important activity.
During the Pre-School year, the children are helped to develop their skills of visual and auditory discrimination which allow them to learn letters and sounds, the toolkit for reading and writing. Pre-schoolers visit the Reception class and spend time with our friendly Reception teachers. This preparation begins the next phase, allowing the children to develop independence and resilience, and use the knowledge they have been helped to collect so far.
The Reception year continues to be child-focussed as well as learning-focussed. The lovely relationships between adult and child in our optimum sized classes helps the teachers provide security for the children to be brave with their learning. Teachers have time to speak to the children on an individualised basis and hear them read every day.
Independence begins to flourish and children are given the first books they can read for themselves. The children read daily, with their peers and independently with the teachers. They understand how to record the words they have chosen, begin to recognise tricky words by sight; the fledging process is almost complete.
Our relationship with parents is highly valued; we work as a team to enhance the contribution made by each.
Year One adds confidence with speedy phonic and word recognition and through exploring what has been read. This experience is used to flavour class and independent writing. Layers of learning with spelling, grammar and punctation taught passionately teach our children that writing is really an art form and reading a great adventure. ‘Reading Buddies’ from our Sixth Form are also part of this journey, sharing stories with our children and enjoying talking about them in a way that benefits both parties.
Our children move towards Key Stage Two with secure knowledge and the confidence to move from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’, opening up a world of possibility.