Summary of Year 7
In English, we appreciate the importance of ensuring a smooth transition from Year 6 to Year 7, as well as the need to provide an exciting and challenging programme of study. During this year, students will explore a range of topics: from ‘The Media’ and ‘Poetry’; to looking at ‘Shakespeare’ and ‘Classic Literature’. Students will continue to focus on literacy skills, but will also be enhancing and widening their knowledge, vocabulary, use of language and communication skills.
Summary of Year 8
Year 8 is an important year; students will have access to a range of literature and will begin to concentrate on consolidating skills learnt in Year 7 but also broadening their abilities. This will be in terms of: analysing language choices; widening their use of vocabulary; varying their use of punctuation for effect and using more sophisticated language devices. Topics covered include: ‘Shakespeare’, ‘Romantic Poetry and Seminal World Literature’, ‘Classic Literature’ as well as ‘The Modern Play’.
Summary of Year 9
In Year 9, students will move into their GCSE classes. Therefore, the main focus from the beginning of Year 9 is to start embedding key GCSE skills which will be done through studying a modern play, a poetry anthology and a Shakespeare play and by fostering an appreciation of the craft of the writer, literary devices and techniques, themes, characterisation, reading for meaning and exploring the sub-text.
Throughout KS3, pupils will be regularly assessed in reading, writing and spoken language. The assessments are retained in school and accurate judgements made about students’ strengths and areas for improvement.
Within the English area, under the section entitled 'Reading and Writing Targets', students can access fantastic resources and links to sites that target issues with Literacy. For spelling activities, try The Times Spelling Bee, BBC Skillswise, or PrimaryResources.co.uk for help with Literacy.
There is also a site that links to our school library and gives advice on popular reads and reviews by other readers. Try the section called 'Recommended Reads' or 'Reading Fiction for Fun' to encourage your child to read more regularly. Visit the Lancashire site for the Children's Book of the Year contenders to find out what students are voting for as their number one reads, or ask your child to pick up a recommended reading list from their teacher.
If you have any doubts about your child's targets, or any concerns about their progress, please do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher.
Cultivating an appreciation of books and a love of reading
The importance of reading cannot be underestimated. We actively promote regular reading, which is a vital skill in both English and every subject; without it, students are unable to access the curriculum. Fundamentally, it provides vital skills for life. Therefore, it is more important than ever that students engage in daily active reading.
The English faculty regularly runs a range of new initiatives to foster a love of literature and ultimately improve reading skills. These include such initiatives as:
1. ‘World Book Day’
On the day, a full range of fun reading related activities will take place in the Library: games, competitions and art based events. Students can even use the fancy dress box, located in the Library, to dress up as a fictional character from their favourite book!
2. ‘Readathon’ www.readathon.org
Look out for this in the summer term - a sponsored reading event encouraging students to read for pleasure while raising money to help seriously ill children. Thank you for all the support last year, as this was an outstanding success.
3. ‘Blind Date With A Book’ (Summer term)
Don’t judge a book by its cover! Your child will be given the chance to experiment with a wide range of genres. The library has recently bought in a range of new and exciting books. In order to encourage your child to focus on the content, rather than be swayed by the front cover, we are bringing in a new and exciting initiative. Books will be covered in brown paper and students will be given key facts; they can then decide whether they want a ‘date’ with that book.
4. Book Swap Stop Station
The English department is lucky to have two ‘Book Swap Stop Stations’ located on the top floor of the English block. The way it works is that students are able to being in their old books and swap them for another. Maybe they can try something new and different they haven’t read before. Books available will be from a range of genres and will suit all ages.
5. Drop Everything And Read (DEAR)
Another initiative we have introduced is DEAR whereby students and staff alike do just that – drop everything and read. Students bring in their own reading material, fiction or non-fiction, and at a designated time in the school week will read a text of their choice for pleasure.
What can you do at home?
We encourage parents to foster a love and appreciation of reading with their child. Open up a dialogue about what your child is reading, listen to them reading aloud and encourage them to discuss words and phrases they are finding difficult. If they are struggling to find a book to read, encourage them to visit the school or local library. Online reading and reading on a kindle is becoming a good way to get students engaged with reading.
Useful reading sites:
‘Lancashire Children’s’ Book of the Year’ - check out previous winners and shortlisted ‘top ten’ book lists: www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/web/?siteid=6493&pageid=38752
Waterstones has comprehensive and up-to-date recommended reading lists: www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/browse/childrens-teenage/ages-9-12/4294965002%5E3591/