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When discussing with my class teacher the use of guided reading within her lessons she helped me to understand that although initially it can be difficult to organise, the results are greatly beneficial, and the interaction that the pupils are able to have with the teacher is invaluable. Many of the reading activities that I incorporated into my unit of work were based around comprehension, whereby the pupils develop understanding of the texts they are reading, and answer questions to display this understanding.
For example, in the first lesson the pupils are required to read and analyse information in a newspaper article, highlighting specific facts. This style of reading activity helps children to develop the skills required of them by the Primary Literacy Strategy such as ‘Understanding and interpreting texts’ and ‘Engaging with and responding to texts’. (Department for education and skills, 2006) These are vitally important skills as they are used effectively in Literacy and also required across the curriculum in many other subjects, for example problem solving in Mathematics.
My scheme of work shows the importance of shared writing, this takes place during lesson two, and consists of the teacher and pupils working together to create a newspaper report. Modelling how a piece of text is created in this way gives the children the opportunity to understand how they can plan and arrange their own work. It also allows the teacher to highlight the various functions of the writing, for example the audience that it is aimed at, the key features of the text type.
All this information is brought together in a visual context and displayed on the whiteboard.
The children are able to see how to arrange their own ideas, with the support of their peers and teacher, which assists them when creating their individual pieces of work in the following lessons. (Marsh, 1999) Giving children the opportunity to work together as a whole class and also in smaller groups, encourages successful teaching and learning, as they can reach new levels of knowledge and understanding through investigating each other’s ideas. Pupils need to be given the opportunity to think aloud, talk openly to one another and also discuss their shared and conflicting ideas.
This leads to an open minded learning environment whereby children want to explore new ideas. With this in mind, I decided to incorporate group work into my literacy planning, using strategies such as discussion time, talking partners and oral presentations to both small groups and the whole class. (Arthur et al, 2006) Group work also gives way for pupils to progress their speaking and listening skills. This is vitally important as these skills play a significant role in developing children’s social, emotional and cognitive understanding, which can benefit and advance their learning in all educational areas.
‘Language is an integral part of most learning and oral language in particular has a key role in teaching and learning’ (Department for education and schooling, p. 17) Therefore, to ensure that my unit of work is an effective teaching tool, I have included array of speaking and listening opportunities. I have planned an activity whereby the pupils present a journalistic account through role play, in the style of a news report. This activity helps them to understand the effect that expression can have on a piece of writing.
They observe first hand, how the manipulation of the English language can influence the meaning, interpretation and effect of a piece of work, thus encouraging them to create their own expressive and interesting writing. An activity such as this has great educational value, it develops the pupil’s literacy skills, and also encourages the children to take a positive and active approach to their learning. Delivering literacy through drama in this way is a great strategy as it provides fantastic opportunity for children to grasp a real understanding of the topic they are covering.
Children often tend to do extremely well in drama because it appeals to all types of learning styles as it provides an auditory, kinaesthetic and visual approach to a topic. (The National Literacy Trust, 2007) The inclusion of all types of learners is crucial, when planning I ensured that I developed activities to appeal to all learning styles. It is also extremely important to understand and cater for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN). It is vital that this is given extra forethought when planning, all pupils must have the same opportunities and access to learning.
The SEN code of practice states that ‘Teachers’ planning should be flexible in order to recognise the needs of all children as individuals and to ensure progression, relevance and differentiation’. (Dfes, 2001. Page, 47) My unit of work achieves this through supporting all pupils, to work collaboratively as a whole class, and also show their own individual understanding and ideas with independent work. The class that I am currently teaching has one French child who speaks English as an additional language (EAL).
Although this can initially create a communication barrier, and cause problems with understanding, I have planned to overcome this. I will give the French pupil cue cards displaying relevant words to the topic, in both French and English, to assist them in familiarising themselves with the language. This will encourage her to revise and practice the English spelling and pronunciation, giving her the confidence to use them in written work. Also, in lesson three (See Appendix B) I planned for the use of a video showing a news report in French.
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