At Westfields, we recognise that the quality and variety of language that children hear and speak are key factors in developing their vocabulary, grammar and understanding for reading and writing. Through a range of speaking and listening and drama based activities, we ensure the continual development of children’s confidence and competence in spoken language.
Throughout lessons, children develop a capacity to explain their understanding of texts they read as well as prepare their ideas prior to and during the writing journey. They are assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves and to others and teachers ensure they build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and address misconceptions. Children are taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
We use a variety of collaborative activities to develop spoken language so children are equipped and able to talk for a range of purposes e.g. explaining, sequencing, providing a counter-argument, persuading and evaluating. The collaborative activities we adopt, listed below, also help our children to understand the importance of active listening.
- Pair or group discussions
- Working together on shared tasks and presentations
- Activities with a competitive element/games
- Drama and role play
The Great Debate
Reading takes place regularly in school in a variety of forms: independent reading, reading to an adult, shared reading in class, group reading, guided reading, peer reading and being to read to by an adult. We value all these opportunities as they develop not just the ability to read but the skills needed to understand texts at increasing levels of complexity. These reading experiences also improve a child’s vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills and improves the child’s ability to write well.
Westfields Library: To support reading across the curriculum, we have an extensive library that is at the heart of our school; it is extremely well-stocked and contains over 6000 books. We also have a fully trained librarian who ensures that our books are current and appealing to children. In addition, they work with both groups and individuals to help children progress with their reading skills and they recommend books appropriate to individual children. Our librarian is supported by a fantastic group of Junior Librarians who support and organise reading events, competitions as well as complete weekly library duties, review new titles and so much more!
Children at Westfields Junior School have access to a web library provided by Hants SLS in conjunction with Wheelers. The eLibrary contains a brilliant selection of age appropriate texts for all year groups. It also has a selection of audio books. To access the Westfields Junior School eLibrary, either download the ePlatform app (by Wheelers) or go to http://westfieldsjun-hantssls.wheelers.co search for Westfields Junior School and use the log in and password provided by the school. The app can be adapted to suit specific requirements such as dyslexia or visual impairment.
The Day Explorer:
This is an online current affairs site for children provided by Hants SLS. It explains the news in a way that children can understand and broaden their knowledge. It includes articles, cartoons, points for discussion and looks at all aspects of the curriculum in relation to the news.
Having a sound understanding of SPaG is key in enabling children to express themselves clearly when writing. Because of this, we ensure that children experience spelling lessons, spelling tests and grammar lessons on a weekly basis. As this is best understood within a context, our grammar lessons are linked to our writing units. Throughout each year at Westfields, children will learn various spelling patterns and rules which are organised into weekly spelling lists. Teaching of the spelling pattern or rule takes place in school, is supported at home through the use of ‘Spelling Shed’ and children are expected to be able to apply this learning in their writing.
As well as these spelling patterns, the National Curriculum has outlined a list of key words that your child is expected to know at different points within the key stage. The lists are a mixture of words children frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. These are the words that your child will be expected to learn by the end of Year 4. Click here for a downloadable version.
These are the words that your child will be expected to learn by the end of year 6. Click here for a downloadable version.
We would really appreciate it if you could support your child with practising their spellings. Every child learns in different ways and it is important to learn spellings in a way that best suits them.
Click here for suggestions of activities to practise spellings in engaging ways.
Reading Events: We understand that bringing reading to life is vital in promoting a life-long love of reading. As a result of this, we hold a variety of events throughout the school year including: Reading Matters Week, Big Buddy Read, Poetry Slam, World Book Day, Book Fairs, Storytime and many more Library challenges/competitions.
Reading Matters Week 2023
What an event it has been! Throughout Reading Matters Week, the children have been immersed in a variety of superhero-themed reading activities to help further develop their reading superpowers! From becoming text detectives, to sharing the inspirational stories that make their superhero capes, it has been fantastic to hear the children talking about a range of books with such enthusiasm. All pupils have taken so much pride in displaying their favourite stories and illustrating their book heroes and we look forward to sharing examples on our website soon. Each class has also had a secret challenge to complete this week which has proved to be lots of fun! The children voted on a word to describe how reading makes them feel and were set the challenge of taking a photo displaying this word in an interesting way. Also, we must mention our Big Federation Read which was a huge success in modelling reading across both the infant and junior schools. It has been a successful week and all of the children have truly demonstrated that reading really is their superpower!
Reading Matters Week 2021
For the week of 13th September 2021, we enjoyed celebrating a love of reading during our annual Reading Matters event! Throughout the week, the children have taken part in a variety of activities to promote reading for pleasure as well as helping them learn about good reading habits. Following an introductory assembly, our celebrations began with the children getting to know their new class libraries through an exciting ‘Speed Browsing’ activity. Each child also considered their own reading habits by creating a ‘Reading River’ which displays texts they have read and enjoyed; we will be sharing some of these shortly on our website! Following on from this, the children explored our ePlatform which allows them to read and listen to a huge variety of books online at the click of a button. The children also had the opportunity to visit our brand new (and very exciting!) reading area, Betty’s Book Nook, which can be found on our back playground. We are looking forward to the children using this area to read and share stories during playtimes. As part of Reading Matters Week each of our classes also had a library session with our wonderful school librarian, Mrs Colyer, who provided a wealth of information about using the library as well as sharing some amazing reading recommendations. To finish our celebrations, all children took part in the ’Big Read’ this afternoon and spent time enjoying a love of books which is such an important life skill and the key to other learning.
Poetry Slam 2021
Friday 26th March marked the greatly anticipated return of the WJS Poetry Slam! During the weeks leading up to this, each class practised, performed and recorded their chosen poem. This year a wide variety of poem styles were selected, varying from ‘Walking with my Iguana’ to ‘Dog in the Playground’. The event also celebrated some of our favourite poets including: Berlie Doherty, Michael Rosen, Alan Ahlberg to name a few. To view some of the class recordings, please visit the Year Group pages on the website.
This year’s Poetry Slam winners are: Year 3 & 4 – 4RM and Year 5 & 6 – 6HC
World Book Day Fun 2021
We were determined not to let a little thing like a pandemic and partial school closures stand in the way of an opportunity to join in the annual WBD fun…to celebrate our World Book Day Book Fest, all of the WJS children completed a variety of exciting and
creative book-themed activities!
Firstly, they had the opportunity to bring their stories to life with a range of challenges from making their characters, retelling stories and even making props or dressing up. Then, incredible World Book Day authors were celebrated by sharing their specially-made videos and completing their inspiration activities. Finally, the children got to share their favourite books; some children made
incredible book trailers or designed word clouds to celebrate their chosen books, while others created new covers, wrote blurbs or even made dioramas to show off their books!
There were also some special surprises in store from the Westfields Staff: The Masked Reader and Character Guess Who; both were amazing opportunities for the children to hear and see some of our favourite books and characters. I wonder how many you guessed correctly?!
Reading Matters Week 2020
We have all enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful world of books through our annual Reading Matters Week. The children have been immersed in a wide range of texts through assemblies, teacher-led story times and have delved into their class
guided reading texts. To avoid bursting bubbles rather than reading in person, staff members created recordings of extracts and full versions of their favourite children’s books. This gave us all an opportunity to remind ourselves of the enjoyment we can all share from books. From penguins with lost treasure right the way to boys who grow dragons, the children have absolutely loved hearing and sharing stories. Perhaps most importantly, we hope this week has inspired your children to keep up with their regular reading and we are all looking forward to seeing their amazing reading records showing their reading journeys!
Reading Matters Week 2019
Our Reading Matters Week (The Big Brilliant Book Off!) has been a fantastic success and it has been so lovely to see the children enjoying reading and completing creative writing and practical activities based on their new class books. Despite the not so perfect weather, it was great to welcome so many family members (an impressive 109!) to our Share a Story session on Wednesday afternoon.
Poetry Slam 2019
Listed below are the classes and the details of their chosen poetry performance. Every class was original and creative and this was such a fantastic opportunity for the children to work collaboratively to develop their speaking and listening skills.
3MP – The Sound of the Train – David McCord
3CC – From Red Hot Liquid to Metal Sword – Mary Green & Julie Stanley
3RP – Christine Crump – Colin West – 3rd place
4LB – The Pig – Roald Dahl
4EC – Walking with my Iguana – Brian Moses
4TR – The River – Valerie Bloom
5RM – Sick – Shel Silverstein
5DC – Jabberwocky – Lewis Caroll
5DT – Daffodils – William Wordsworth
6LL – Macavity: The Mystery Cat – T.S. Eliot
6HP – The Spider and the Fly – Mary Howitt – 1st place
6HC – Gran Can You Rap? – Jack Ousby – 2nd place
World Book Day 2019
Westfields Junior School celebrated World Book Day with a bang on Thursday 7th March! As this year’s theme was rather similar to last year, we decided to have our own theme for the day too. As such, each class across the school explored a different book written by the incredible children’s favourite, Julia Donaldson. Each class was given a different book, which they shared and discussed; many may think that these picture books would only be suitable for younger children, but we do not believe this to be the case. With a little creative thinking these relatively simple children’s books offer a wonderful stimulus for quality analysis and writing. Throughout the day, the children completed a range of activities; they delved into their chosen text and explored characters, settings and plots. The children also had the opportunity to consider what questions they would like to ask the author and wrote letters to her. Some classes wrote a quiz to strengthen their comprehension skills and summarised main events identifying key vocabulary. Just before home time, there was great excitement as the children scattered around the school to listen to a story read by a member of our fantastic staff team; there were plenty to choose from including latest titles as well as some old favourites! A great day of sharing stories and strengthening reading and writing skills was had by all!
Reading Matters Week 2018
Reading Matters Week and our ‘Big Buddy Read’
Reading Matters Week has been an amazing event because every class have had the chance to share and enjoy different activities linked to one of Roald Dahl’s books. We have celebrated the importance of reading and have been reminded that reading is a very important part of all our learning and can help us in the future. Each class has enjoyed and read a different Roald Dahl story and we have all created lots of fantastic activities linked to our story. Some of these include: character descriptions, vocabulary cards, games, arts and crafts and books reviews. We cannot wait to see which activities will be in our class story packs in the library for everyone to see and use. We ended the week with our ‘Big Buddy Read’ and had the chance to read to others and meet new people. It has been an amazing experience and a great start to the year!
Written by Scarlett Brown and Gabriella Stephenson 6LL
Writing Events: To further encourage a love of writing, we hold a variety of events throughout the year. Examples of this include our Remembrance Poetry Competition and whole-school Writing Challenges.
Poetry Slam 2019