English is one of the core subjects at Tetney Primary School and is taught in the morning every day. Pupils in Reception and Year 1 are taught English following the Read Write Inc scheme, which delivers fast-paced aspects of all aspects of English (spelling, phonics, handwriting, reading and writing) in an hour daily.
From Year 2 upwards, pupils are taught English lessons. These will usually consist of a starter on an aspect of English (such as spelling patterns, descriptive language, word classes or new vocabulary) followed by focused work around an aspect of reading, writing or drama.
There may also be additional Guided Reading, vocabulary or spelling sessions during the afternoons, depending on the class.
Children have the time and support to learn and apply learnt skills throughout their time at Tetney and, from Year 2 upwards, use blue pens to edit and correct errors in work either independently or with some direction from a staff member.
The Question Matrix is very useful for constructing questions when listening to a child read.
Some questions can be thought of by using the words in the top-left corner of the grid (e.g. 'What is the colour of the boy's hair?', 'Where is Dad in the picture?', 'When did Mr Stink make that noise?' or 'Which animals can you see?'). These are called 'literal' or 'retrieval' questions, as they ask a reader to find and retrieve the information that has literally been given to them by an author or illustrator. This is sometimes called 'reading on the lines' as the information is there.
Higher-order questions can be made by using the words towards the bottom-right corner of the grid (e.g. 'Why would Harry react that way?', 'How might you have reacted if you were there?', 'Why might Charlie be running home with the ticket?', 'Who will Charlie tell first and why, do you think?'). These questions fall into two categories:
- 'deduction' questions, which ask a reader to consider what the author has told them and what could be implied by that (as these require more careful thinking about what is on the page, this is sometimes called 'reading between the lines');
- and 'inference' questions, which ask a reader to think about what has been implied and use their wider knowledge of the world to understand what the author might mean (this is sometimes called 'reading beyond the lines').
For example, a character in a book may step outside and put up their umbrella. The implication is that it is raining (which would be a deduction) but a reader could make the inference that the setting is Britain as the reader knows that it frequently rains in that country.
Questions used in school, both for our assessment and for national tests such as SATs, use a range of these questions. We therefore suggest having this matrix to hand when spending time listening to your child reading and playing an active role in that by asking questions, which will push their understanding of a text much further!