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Saturday, 1 February 2014

The success of Friday books

In September 2014 I began a new challenge, teaching in year 2. This was a first for me as these were the youngest children I had ever taught. 

Thankfully I had, the previous academic year, discovered the joys of Pinterest. Pinterest provided me with no end of ideas and inspiration ranging from reading buddies to Friday books. 

I have blogged about Friday books before but really felt they needed a mention again as now we are almost mid way through the year and I am even more impressed with the idea. 

Every Friday my pupils write a letter home to their adult telling them about all of the things they have done in school that week.  It helps keep the parents informed and provides the children with the opportunity to do a piece of independent writing each week. 

The writing the children complete in their Friday books is always the same format, a letter, which I believe then allows them to concentrate on the content, their handwriting and spellings etc. 

The only input they get from me is a recap of lessons taught, some tricky spellings on the board and a focus which links in with a 'word, sentence level or phonics' activity that we have completed that week. This weeks focus was singular pronouns which they had just learned about. 

The letters are not marked at all but myself or my T.A. read through what they have written as they finish. This is more in a proof reading capacity, looking for missing words etc. 

This week I decided to ask some volunteers to let us all look at what they had written on the class Visualiser. We compared what they had written this week with what they had written at the beginning of the year and I was absolutely blown away! I had chosen children of a range of writing ability yet they had all, without exception made huge progress. 

Most of them began in September, with short sentences without any conjunctions. They were basically just writing a list of what we had done. 

Now, they are writing full sentences joined with because, but, so. They are also adding thoughts and feelings and even writing in paragraphs!

I am so proud of them and genuinely think they would not have made as much progress without the Friday books. 
I think Friday books would work for any age group so why not give them a go?