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English at the Junior School

English at the Junior School
Our approach

At the Junior School we see vocabulary as key to our English lessons and it cannot be emphasised enough how important the expansion of a child’s vocabulary is. As children progress through our school, the development of their vocabulary, through English lessons in particular, is key to their learning. 

Reading rich and varied texts is regarded as an essential part of the development of a child’s vocabulary and we ensure that all children experience the joy of reading every day, from Reception through to Year 6. 

English at the Junior School is really enhanced by the topic-based, thematic approach to planning our curriculum. The girls’ English lessons are enriched by the fact that they not only study a book in depth, but can also make links with history, geography, RE and art through their other lessons. 

We love reading

Books studied this year have included War Horse, which supported the Autumn Term WWI topic, and Freedom 1783, which linked with the ‘slavery and justice’ topic, both in Year 6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory linked with Year 4’s work on South America and chocolate. 

We take great joy in reading at the Junior School and celebrate Book Week during the week that includes World Book Day.  We invited author Lou Treleaven into school this year and girls took part in a Sponsored Readathon, raising money for the Read for Good Charity. 

We also use our daily ERIC time (Everybody Reading In Class) to read in small groups and explore our creative side through using our reading journals.  The girls can choose to create new book front covers, write different endings, explore characters in detail and many other activities related to the books they read. 

Author Louisa Reid commented: “It’s amazing to be back at St Mary’s to work with young people who are so passionate about writing and fiction on World Book Day 2020. I’m sure their words will change the world.”

Super spelling

Spelling, handwriting and grammar are taught in discrete English lessons, but the girls are always encouraged to apply these skills in their writing through our HPL characteristics of Astrid the Ant (linking), Octavia the Owl (analysing) and Sylvie the Swan (realising/practising)

Again, learning and using a wide vocabulary is fostered throughout the school and ensures that the girls are ambitious, both in their reading and writing skills. 

The girls at the Junior School are inspired by the texts they read and hear to write their own stories and poems. They have also written newspaper reports based on Oliver Twist and their own modern versions of well-known Greek myths. This year, many of the girls put their creative writing skills to the test and submitted stories for the BBC Radio 2500 words competition. After reading through the stories that were submitted, we are very hopeful that some will be successful.   

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