01 Mar

  • By karenunwin

We were incredibly lucky to be visited by the Year 13 English students in Year 3. Below is a write up from their English teacher, Mrs. Hunt and the Year 13 students sharing their experiences of coming back to Primary. It was truly wonderful to receive them.

How do young children learn to read and write?

Year 13 students have been studying how children from newborn to age 11 learn to speak, read and write for the new-style A level exam, which they will be sitting in June. It was time to put their knowledge into action.

Recently, they have been focussing on orthography (handwriting) and spelling so Miss Wonders kindly agreed to let the students observe her Year 3 class learning spellings and practising their handwriting.

The older students observed how the children held their pencils, how they wrote the letters and what sort of spelling errors they made in their own writing. They also listened to Miss Wonders and Mrs Unwin speaking to the students to see how adult encouragement and advice encouraged children to make progress.

Finally, Year 13 read a children’s story, ‘Duck in a Truck’ to the class as at treat for all their hard work in the first part of the lesson.

I would like to thank Miss Wonders for all her support with this unit of work. The students will be using their knowledge in their mock exam on 1st March. We then hope to re-visit Year 3 to focus on another area of writing next term before the A level exam in June. – Sarah Hunt

Visiting the year 3 group allowed me to gather evidence and explore some real life examples of how children learn to write and how their writing style develops. This helped with the CLA part of my A-level course because it allowed me to appreciate how the students used spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as the extent of their motor skills and fluency. – Marcus Blake

Going down to Year 3 really helped to put theory to practice, and helped me to identify the different techniques the young students used when spelling and handwriting.  Also, I did not know before the visit how high the level has become since I was in primary school.  They were labelling all kinds of word classes – some of which I only cemented in my memory last year! – Keziah Biggs


On Friday 17th February, 7 Year 13 English Language students found themselves in the Year 3 classroom, perched on chairs that were designed for occupants of at least 10 years younger, which was mainly reflected in the substantial lack of distance between the seat of the chair and the floor.  But despite the restricted seating, the learning that went on in the classroom was, as always, extensive.Whilst the younger students concentrated hard on their spelling and handwriting (I noticed quite a lot of tongue protrusion), the older ones were analysing their handiwork (often with handwriting that was a whole lot worse!).  To the amazement of many, it was embarrassingly difficult to find spelling mistakes in the year 3’s exercise books (Indiana Spencer was a major criminal in making our investigation so hard), and the complexity of the written work left us astounded. It was particularly interesting to see how feedback was given to the students, and it appears that Miss Wonders has, well, worked wonders (pun might be intended there) when it comes to encouraging students to put their best foot forward and take their writing to the ‘next step’. However, the most helpful part of this educational experience for me was to see what actually goes into the children’s language development from an ‘adult’ and ‘sociolinguistic’ point of view, and how language isn’t just something that ‘happens’ but takes a while to develop and fully understand.  By studying Year 3 at work, it helped me to realise how much effort it takes, and comprehend not only the processes of child’s language development, but how writing and understanding needs a lot of input.  It was intriguing to compare the children’s work over time, and see how they have progressed since the start of the year, both in handwriting and spelling, not to mention the quality of the work produced!

Many thanks to Miss Wonders and her year 3 class for letting us intrude. Beatrice Scott