6 September, 2019

Welcome back to a brand new year at Ulverley. We hope that it will be an exciting and prosperous one for you.

We know that there will be challenges ahead, not least financially as austerity continues to bite. However, we know that together we will be able to achieve our goals as a community by believing in others, being willing to compromise, showing support and appreciation, being kind and respectful, being positive and doing what is beneficial.

These have been my themes in this week's assemblies as we've spoken about "Belonging". We've talked about fitting together like the pieces of a jigsaw to create that bigger picture where everyone plays their part and helps others to do the same. As Sister Sledge sang,

"We are family...

High hopes we have for the future

And our goals in sight,

Have faith in you and the things you do,

You can't go wrong...

This is our family jewel."

You will shortly be receiving your children's first reading books of the year. We have spent a lot of time and effort during the summer rebanding our books so that children can get a deeper and more meaningful understanding of reading. We also spent time on the first training day of the year considering the intricacies of reading so that we are better able to teach it.

The books are now in age appropriate bands, from Lilac to Black and each Year Group has their own colour based upon the nationally recognised scheme. The purpose of these bands is to support the child's word recognition skills whilst allowing a much deeper comprehension of what they are reading.

Rather than racing through the books based purely on word recognition and phonic skills with a superficial understanding of what the content is, we want our children to gain greater language comprehension skills and a deeper, broader knowledge and understanding of the world as a whole.

Reading is a complex activity and requires many strands to knit together for a proper mastery of it. As well as letter-sound knowledge, decoding and word recognition, readers need to activate word meanings, understand sentences, make inferences, monitor their own comprehension and understand how a variety of texts work to allow them to successfully access them.

In order to do this, they have to read a broad range of books. The new organisation through the bands will help to achieve this. Whilst we appreciate that this might appear strange at first, we ask you to bear with us as you see your child's understanding, vocabulary, mastery and comprehension grow.

We will also be offering more guidance and workshops to parents throughout the year as we cointinue to work as a community in the best interests of our children.

Have a great weekend!