English at Rushmore
English Lead: Cat Sutcliffe
At Rushmore, we are passionate about teaching our children how to communicate effectively.
From nursery to Year 6, we use differentiated talk stems to teach the children how to support and listen, show understanding and build a discussion with their peers.
Here are some of our students putting all of this into practice at a Debate Mate competition.
Developing a Love of Reading
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum at Rushmore
We have a range of different reading initiatives happening in the school, on top of the daily reading lessons.
- Rushmore Reads – a 10 minute session where children enjoy their reading book
- Read Alouds – a session where the class reader (a book linked to their topic) is read by the teacher
- Tick for 10/20/30 – a rewards system that records and celebrates children who are reading daily at home
- Weekly library slots – every child is able to borrow a book for up to two weeks
Some of our initiatives have had to be paused this year but we hope to have them back up and running soon.
Our well-loved Rushmore Library has just celebrated its 4th birthday! We have a constant supply of books being added to the library, most of them requested by the pupils! Thanks to a project run by parents two years ago, we are ensuring that we have a selection of books that are a true reflection of our Rushmore community.
We also have a team of parents who come and read weekly to some of our children. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please email Cat Sutcliffe: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books, Books, Books
Children at Rushmore are encouraged to be reading suitable books at home every night. We have a wide range of reading books in the classrooms and they are regularly updated thanks to donations from parents. Some books are book banded based on reading ability but we encourage all children to use the five finger rule to support them in selecting books.
The Five Finger Rule
Ask your child to read one page of their book and to hold up a finger for every word that they don’t know. Ideally, 2-4 unknown words means that the book is the right challenge.
We begin to cultivate children’s reading skills in Nursery, where daily sessions of Read Write Inc (RWI) teach children how to decode new words and begin to develop their comprehension skills.
Once this programme has been completed (usually by Year 2), children move on to Destination Reader (DR). This approach involves daily sessions incorporating whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner work and independent reading.
Rushmore was lucky enough to be part of shaping Destination Reader - developed by the Hackney Learning Trust - and have found that teachers and children alike are really enjoying this approach. Children now have a clearer understanding of what makes a good reader and are given the time to develop these skills. We are also beginning to see the impact of these sessions in their writing: children are writing as readers with their readers in mind.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/school-radio/nursery-rhymes-songs-index/zhwdgwx - a collection of nursery songs
https://www.storylineonline.net/ - watch and listen to actors reading extracts from a huge range of books
https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/ - free to register and then you'll have access to lots of free books
https://www.lovereading.co.uk/ - book recommendations and opening extracts
https://library.thenational.academy/ - they are releasing one book a week linked to their author of a week
We value the importance of giving the children a reason to write and ensuring that they have all the vocabulary and skills necessary to succeed. Our teachers use an exciting range of topics and books as a stimulus for writing.
We encourage the children to explore and evaluate good examples, build up their vocabulary, and use drama as a tool to unpick different genres before teaching them to plan and write their own pieces. We also have bi-weekly Big Write sessions from Year 1 onwards, in which children are encouraged to build up their writing stamina and complete an independent piece based on the theme or topic that they are studying. Our children are part of the discussion in terms of their next steps and work together to peer assess each other’s work and to give advice on how to make their writing even better.
You can also see amazing examples of our children’s writing displayed proudly throughout the school, so keep your eyes peeled!