Once upon a time, in a land very close to here lived 5 magical teachers. They all worked extremely hard and loved teaching the wonderful children at St Giles School.
One day, as evening drew in, they were sat in the staffroom after a particularly long staff meeting perhaps curriculum planning, or target setting, possibly writing policies, having a work scrutiny or maybe subject coordinators’ meeting (obviously not marking or lesson planning as that would have to wait until they got home) a Fairy appeared and granted them 3 wishes.
In unison, without hesitation the 5 teachers replied with –
I wish every child in school would learn their spellings, practise their times tables and read at home daily.
The Fairy looked bemused and asked the 5 teachers why their 3 wishes were so important.
They replied, enlightening the Fairy.
Wish 1 – Spellings
We wish all children would practice their spellings for 5 minutes every day.
Every Year Group has a list of common exception words that the children are expected to know by the end of each year. The magical teachers send these words home as spellings so as the children can practise and learn them. The magical teachers also make working spelling walls in their classroom so as the children can get help with their spelling while doing their work.
Learning spellings makes the connection that is shared between sounds and letters. Learning common exception words helps with both reading and writing. Spelling and reading also help with speech and language.
As children get older spelling will affect a child’s grade and possibly determine his or her future success in life.
Not only is the ability to spell necessary in most occupations, but a person also needs to be able to spell well in order to be able to communicate and take notes and directions.
Here are the lists of common exception words for each year group.
Wish 2 - Learn times tables
We wish the children would chant their tables at home, perhaps in the car, in the bath, while going to and from school.
Every child will have to know their times tables off by heart by the age of 11 as part of the Government's 'war on innumeracy.’ By the end of the Infants, Y2, the children must know the 2, 5 and 10 times tables and in Year 1 count in 2s, 5s and 10s.
By the end of Year 4 the children should know their tables to 12x12. They should have fluent and rapid recall when doing their tables.
By the time the children reach Year 5/6 they need to know their tables so as they can work out their 20, 30 times tables or 1.2 or 0.4 tables for example. Knowing their tables in Upper Key Stage 2 gives them transferable skills in other areas of Maths.
The Magical Teachers have working Numeracy walls that the children can see if they need a little help.
Wish 3 – (Last but not least) Read at home every night for 10 minutes
“The most valuable thing a parent can do is hear their children read”.
Reading books are sent home that match the national curriculum and a child’s ability. A child’s reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school. Reading is happening all the time in a classroom and in school. It is taught in specific reading and English lessons, but children are practising and using their ‘reading’ constantly across all subjects too. A child’s ‘reading journey’ begins with ‘learning to read’ and moves on into ‘reading to learn’. Talking to a child about the book they are reading develops their comprehension. Ask them what is happening in the book they are reading and why?
Even when a child has finished the school’s reading scheme they are still expected to read every day at home until the day they leave St Giles. Each child is given a reading record that needs to say what they are reading, when they were heard and signed by the person who heard them.
Don’t forget the good old bedtime story. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a wide range of words. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read.
The Fairy then understood why the wishes were so important.
And with a wave of her magic wand she invited all of the children’s parents and carers to come and join their Children in School on World Book Day on March 2nd from 9-9.30am to read with their children.