Homework Information

At Abbeyfields we recognise that parents are a child’s first and best teacher, and that children learn best through practical experiences with those they love and trust. We are very keen to work in partnership with families to ensure that school learning extends beyond the classroom. We will share our learning objectives with you through newsletters, topic information sheets and regular parent meetings, and will also discuss your child’s homework individually if needed.

Government guidelines mean that it is the responsibility of the school to set homework which provides opportunities to practise skills and extend learning, however, homework is not compulsory and should not cause any stress to children or parents. Homework is not normally set when a child is absent from school due to illness or family holiday, as the child needs to be in school to understand the work that is set, and well enough to complete it. If a child has a lengthy absence which could include hospitalisation, the class teacher and SENDCO will liaise with the family and other parties regarding home tuition. Teachers will respond to homework with praise, discussion in class, and sometimes with conventional marking. Additional help will be given in school where families are not able to support children with regular practice of skills such as reading, spelling and tables. More important than the opportunities to practise skills and knowledge, is the interest that parents show and value they give to their child’s learning, so please. . . .

  • Ask your child what they learnt at school today
  • Show interest when your child reads to you
  • Find a story or non-fiction book and read to them regularly
  • Help them to practise flash cards, times tables or spellings
  • Find out their class homework routines and help them to complete work
  • Visit places of interest with your child, which may be linked to school learning
  • Allow your child to use Sumdog and School 360 on the internet – login details are normally found in the planner or homework book
  • Encourage your child to write his or her own letters, birthday cards etc
  • Involve your child in practical maths, weighing and measuring, adding up money, estimating how much will be needed and solving maths problems

Homework will take different forms depending on the age and ability of each child. You can find further details by following the year group links on this page.

Reading

Children from Reception to Year Four bring home one or more reading books to share with an adult each week. Children in Reception and KS1 will often bring home sound or word cards to learn. We ask parents to literally “flash” these to help your child’s instant recognition. If you keep these handy you can flash the words four or five times a day and you will be amazed how soon your child remembers them. We hope we can rely on home support to give the children additional practice and encouragement. Teachers hold SHARE meetings to explain our reading approach and there can always be individual opportunities to discuss how best to help your child with reading.

From September 2016 we have decided to select an agreed reading book for every child, regardless of reading ability, therefore no child will be a “free reader” for the following reasons:

  • To give children the maximum opportunities to read at an instructional level with adult support
  • To give parents and children the message that no child at Abbeyfields has finished learning to read, and that regular practice and adult involvement are still very beneficial
  • To share the approach with other local schools – for example, at the 3 Rivers middle schools, children will undertake an assessment when they start in Y5, and be allocated a level of books to read. They will also have a comprehension test on completion of each book.

All children have an allocated reading book, from either a conventional reading scheme, a graded “early reader” or a fiction or non-fiction book at their interest level. Please don’t worry about any marked levels or reading ages as these vary from publisher to publisher and aren’t very helpful. There is some choice involved especially for the more able readers. Children are expected to read from the book either at home or at school every day. Children also read other materials such as instructions or information texts throughout their lessons each day.

One of the most important areas in which parents can help accelerate a child’s progress with individual attention is in reading. We all want our children to master the decoding of words quickly so that they are no longer “learning to read” but instead “reading to learn” as well as for enjoyment. Some children need more practice with decoding or in understanding what they are reading, so we may need some patience rather than rushing to work through a reading scheme and worrying about the “level” of a reading book.

There are three key elements which will help your child to make the best possible progress in reading, which are reading miles (time spent reading,) adult attention and selecting books at the correct level.

  1. Reading miles

    Quite simply, children need to put in the time, and read lots of words on a regular basis. Repetition helps – so teachers may give you a small pack of flashcards to read over and over again, or ask your child to read through the same book two or three times. We will give children many opportunities to read words and sentences throughout the school day and ask that you read with them, or ask them to read alone then talk to them about their reading, for ten minutes a day, as many times as you can manage each week. Regular reading builds accuracy and fluency, and also helps with spelling, punctuation and ideas for the child’s own written work.

  2. Adult attention

    Phonics is an important part of reading, and lessons, particularly for children working on “Read Write Inc, but it is also necessary to recognise “sight” words, and to recognise the value of reading for purpose and pleasure. English lessons, and lessons across the curriculum, will practise and develop reading skills with sufficient support to make it successful. “Higher order” skills such as skimming and scanning (to gain an overall impression or find a specific piece of information) and reading critically and analytically (to find evidence or consider an argument) are also taught in English lessons and need to be refined with further practice. School staff will work with children individually and within small groups, as well as whole class teaching. Parents and other family members are invaluable in providing additional individual attention, both for accuracy of reading and to discuss what has been read.

  3. Correct level of reading materials

    Children should be reading at 95 – 100% accuracy, and working out the missing words with a little adult help or by guessing in context. Older children should be encouraged to use a dictionary to check the pronunciation and meaning of new words.

    If children are reading at 90 – 94% accuracy – they will need close adult support, helping to build up or otherwise work out the pronunciation and meaning of a difficult word. This is the level of challenge that our Read Write Inc books will offer – children are taught new phonic and word attack skills, and are prepared to read the new words in isolation before they meet them in the text.

    If the children can read only 89% or fewer of the words independently – the text is too difficult to help them learn to read. Even with adult support the child will be reading too slowly to develop fluency and comprehension, is likely to become frustrated or believe that reading is a decoding-only activity with no comprehension or enjoyment involved.

FAQs

 

If you have specific questions about your child’s reading, you should always speak to your child’s class teacher. They are the best people to explain the situation or sort out a problem, as they have an overview of the class expectations as well as individual performance. If there is another member of staff working regularly with your child, they may be invited to speak to you, or Mrs Halliford (as Special Needs Co-ordinator and English subject leader) is happy to become involved.