Teaching full stops in KS1 can seem easier said than done!

    Published: 08 February 2021

    The success of our Fixing Full Stops CPD course got us thinking about how we could support KS1 teachers with some of the very successful techniques that we are promoting in lower KS2. Of course, the first key consideration is the fact that we are not ‘fixing’ full stops in KS1…..we are teaching our children how to use them securely before they embark upon their KS2 journey. It forms part of core English skills learning in KS1 and we know that no matter how much teaching and learning time is spent on this fundamental skill, there are some children who still find this tricky.

    The reasons for a child experiencing difficulties with demarcation of a sentence are varied and it is worth looking at where there might have been gaps in a child acquiring this learning from Year 1 and from EYFS despite our best efforts.

    For example - end of EYFS expectations as follows:

    ELG Speaking

    They use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events.

    ELG Reading

    Children read and understand simple sentences.     

    As we can see, for some children, more time may be needed to develop spoken language using correct tense to link events. Having well planned, structured conversations modelled and remodeled is certainly worth considering. These children may need more time dedicated to hearing sentences from texts read aloud, reading simple sentences and discussing why it is, in fact, a sentence. Some pupils may not even be ready for the term ‘sentence’. They might need more time discussing the fundamental basics of what is contained within a simple sentence.

    The whole notion of why they need to remember a capital letter and full stop could seem like an entirely abstract concept if they do not hear the flow, rhythm and feel of sense of a sentence. It also might be worth considering the pupils’ understanding of the terms, ‘letter’, ‘word’ and ‘sense’. This should, in some way, help to give an idea of their readiness to understand the basic concept of a sentence.

    There are two key considerations here:

     How ready are some pupils in KS1 able to understand that sentences must begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop when they have no notion of what a sentence is?

    Who are those pupils who speak, read and write towards age-related expectations but are still not fully secure with sentence demarcation (capital letters and full stops)?

    We need time to consider who these children are and why they are still struggling with full stops as well reflect upon practice, as we aim to enable as many children as possible to secure this vital skill.

    Our ‘Securing Full Stops in Years 1 and 2’ course aims to explore this further as well as exemplify some tried and trusted strategies that we know work. Teachers who have used some of the recommended techniques, which are systematically ordered in terms of cognitive readiness, have found them to be hugely successful. What is even better, is that they have shared examples of how some of the practical strategies have stimulated them further to develop creative ways of engaging children such as ‘Walky Talky Proof Reading’.

    Look out for HfL’s spring 2021 Securing Full Stops in Years 1 and 2. The training will offer an opportunity to explore each technique in more detail, with practical examples, and consider how the techniques have been incorporated effectively into a Focused English Plan which delegates will receive as part of the training.

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