Hi I’m Eliza Bates and I’m a Year 1 teacher and English Lead.
I trained to be a teacher at West Hill in 2011, and loved it so much I haven’t left!
When I’m not teaching, I like relaxing on my houseboat, listening to music or reading poetry. I am passionate about protecting our planet and help our eco warriors to strive for a greener future.
At West Hill, all children learn to write through using an approach called ‘Talk for Writing’. Talk for Writing was developed by the author Pie Corbett. This approach centres on children learning quality texts off by heart so that rich language and structure is embedded and built upon in every year group.
Talk for Writing starts with enjoying and sharing stories. Throughout the school, we place a strong emphasis on children reading stories and enjoying a range of literature. Through regular reading, we want children to build up an extensive and rich vocabulary for use in their own writing.
When writing, there are three stages: imitation, innovation and independent application. During the initial 'imitation' stage of Talk for Writing, children learn to tell a story off by heart. They retell a text with expression and actions, using a story map to support their retelling. At the 'innovation' stage, children adapt the story, for example by changing the character or setting, to write a supported piece of writing. Finally, at the ‘independent application’ stage, children write their own independent piece.
Fiction and non-fiction units are taught every half term. The overview for genres to be taught and texts to be used are on the whole school overview.
At West Hill we want children to become lifelong readers. We support this by promoting reading for pleasure alongside the teaching of phonics and comprehension skills.
To teach children comprehension skills in KS2, West Hill follows a whole class reading approach. This helps children understand what they are reading. It develops a genuine love and passion for reading and allows children to access texts that they may not be able to decode yet. We ensure children are reading a variety of text genres, pulling from a selection of high quality and inclusive texts.
Daily sessions are taught, focussing on a different text each day. Children work as a whole class to answer questions. These questions cover all reading skills including summarising, predicting, inference and retrieval.
Whole class reading encourages:
• Imaginative thinking – in many cases, there are no wrong answers
• Expressive answers - children give reasons for their opinions
• Confident voice - children speak in full sentences
• Critical thinking - children learn to use the phrases 'I agree because…' and 'I disagree because…'