Here at Killowen our children are introduced to the world of communication as soon as they enter Nursery school. They are given opportunities to develop their language through play, their pre-writing skills through mark making with chalk, paint, water and their reading through having access to a wide range of books and stories read to them. Teaching Communication begins in our Nursery School through carefully structured play activities.
Pre-writing skills are taught in the foundation stage where the children spend a lot of time forming letters in sand, shaving foam, glitter etc or mark making the playground with chalk or water and paint brushes. Many of these pre-writing skills have been continued in Nursery and carried on throughout Primary 1 and Primary 2.
Reading is the key that opens up the rest of the curriculum and phonics are the building blocks that children use when learning to read. Here at Killowen we teach our children to read using phonics. They start by learning the sounds that letters make, then they learn how letters combine to make different sounds, and the different ways of writing each sound. We use the Jolly Phonics Scheme throughout the school where the children learn through songs and actions. When children see an unfamiliar word, we encourage them to use their knowledge of phonics to work it out, breaking it down into its individual sounds and then blending them together. This is called decoding, and is the main way we teach children to read. We use a variety of reading schemes thus enabling the children to experience a wide range of genre and texts. Schemes include Oxford Reading Scheme and Collins Big Cat books.
We teach our children to read using guided reading which involves children reading with their teacher in a small group, and as well as working on their decoding, they also do comprehension activities to ensure that they are understanding what they are reading.
Usually, one group will work with the teacher on guided reading each day, while the other groups rotate around activities such as writing practice, grammar challenges and reading topic books.
Through Key Stages 1 and 2 children will learn spellings, grammar and punctuation on a daily basis with more focus on how to use grammatical elements correctly in key Stage 2. Handwriting is taught using the Nelson’s handwriting scheme.
We have a fantastic library system in school where the children can choose and scan out a book. They can reserve a book online, read book reviews online and write reviews of their own for their friends. They can also use the system at home, with parents, to research books of interest in our school library. We have Primary 7 librarians who assist in managing this system.
We are committed to raising the standard of Literacy in all our children by encouraging them to communicate clearly and confidently in all aspects of literacy across the curriculum.