What's in Wordsmith?
As you would expect from a service that covers all of your English lesson needs, there’s rather a lot to tell you about. Once you’ve found out more about all of the different strands that go into Wordsmith, make sure you check out our free sample unit to get an idea of the quality of the resources.
Fiction, Non-fiction and Poetry
The joy of reading aloud is central to Wordsmith. All of the texts in Wordsmith have been selected for their quality, power and teaching potential and are the very best models for children’s own writing.
- Carefully selected fiction, top authors selected in conjunction with former children’s laureate Michael Rosen and all of them deal with issues and topics that are great hooks for really meaty, cross-curricular units of work.
- ‘Single voice’ Poetry collections for Key Stage 2 from the likes of Michael Rosen and Benjamin Zephaniah. This approach enables children to familiarise themselves with the poets as individuals, learning about their lives and inspirations to help bring their work to life.
- Non-fiction that's better than a book. It has been explicitly designed to take advantage of all the extra features an eBook has to offer over a print one. Children click on various elements on a page to be taken off to find out more. It’s fun and motivating for the reader, plus it’s even better for developing their research and synergising skills.
Grammar and Spelling
Grammar and spelling is a major focus of the 2014 Primary curriculum for England, and accordingly is a major component of Wordsmith. Grammar is taught in two ways throughout the units of work – as discrete grammar ‘blasts’ introducing and teaching new concepts – and as an integral part of comprehension and composition activities. Children learn how a particular grammatical device adds to the meaning and syntax of a piece, and practice using it to the same effect.
Writing with a sense of purpose. The Ofsted ‘Excellence in English’ report (2011) identified that the best schools ensured that: ‘classroom activities, wherever possible, involved real tasks, purposes, audiences and issues related to the local or wider community. In this way, the curriculum matched pupils’ needs and interests.’
Writing takes on real meaning – and a real sense of excitement – when it’s done for a real purpose and audience. The live units in Wordsmith include activities such as writing a radio play; ‘Ultimate Rap’ (needs no explanation), and 'The Great Debate'. Each one is intended as a project suitable for dissemination via your school website or learning environment. There is also the option to send your project to the Wordsmith panel for feedback - so your children know that their work is reaching a wider audience.
Planning and Assessment
A menu to pick and choose from. Wordsmith gives youa wide and varied menu of lesson ideas and activities, with a huge library of supporting resources, all available at the click of a button. Follow the plans to the letter, dip in and out, or adapt and build on them to suit the needs of your class.
No stone left unturned. The programme has been rigorously checked to ensure it gives a good balance of all the skills you need to teach under the new curriculum, a good spread of genres, and a plethora of differentiated activities.
Formative assessment built in. Formative assessment is an integral part of Wordsmith, with self-checking and peer-marking sewn throughout, plus advice in the teaching guidance around giving formative assessment during group and individual practice activities and compositions. Among the activities for each unit there are plenty of individual writing and grammar tasks that you can collect in for marking, to keep track of individual progress.
Make the most out of your investment in Wordsmith with our professional development courses.
Designed to help you and your staff gain an in-depth understanding
of the programme and implement best practice literacy teaching and learning
across the whole school, Wordsmith professional development is an essential element of your first years subscription. Find out more about the course here...
LEGO Education Storytales
A strong foundation in verbal communication and storytelling is hugely important for future Literacy success. That’s why Wordsmith includes a special resource to help children who start their school life – for whatever reason – with less-than-confident language skills. The children who will benefit from these sessions:
- May be on the special needs register (but not necessarily so)
- May have literacy difficulties
- May have a form of developmental delay
- May not be exposed to rich oral language outside school
- May simply be shy or very young and in a position to benefit from additional small-group activities built around talk, sharing and turn-taking.
Working in partnership with LEGO (R) Education, we created a series of lesson plans using LEGO Education StoryTales blocks and characters. The lesson plans are specifically designed to help children in Reception who need a little extra help with their language development, using those all-important traditional tales for effective, motivating lessons that work on:
- Storymaking and telling
- Speaking and listening skills
- Creating and sequencing stories
Purchase the LEGO Storytales kit here...