Getting children reading is a priority at our school. All our teachers are commited to reading for pleasure and this is promoted in their classes by the creation of inviting book corners and providing an up to date collection of quality reading material - both fiction and non-fiction. The teaching of reading through a shared experience of texts is at the heart of what we do. Our aim is for all pupils - irrespective of their needs, abilities or background - to learn to read fluently and with understanding. Once children can decode text effectively, we build word recognition and develop comprehension skills in order to produce secure, confident, independent readers who enjoy and understand the benefits of reading.
Children begin learning to read as soon as they arrive at our school. We follow a structured phonics and spelling programme which is designed to enable all children to develop effective reading and writing skills. Children from Reception to Year 4 take part in a phonics/spelling session for the first twenty minutes of each day, working at a level appropriate for them. In Years 5 and 6 children focus on spelling patterns and conventions building on these foundations. Children are taught strategies to help them learn spellings. The use of shared reading experiences through class stories and poems expose children to a wider range of vocabulary, syntax and sentence structure
We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme throughout EYFS and KS1. Once the children start in our Reception class they begin a structured programme building on from the basics covered at playgroup.The children learn through a fun interactive approach using a variety of resources. As children move through KS1, they progress through the Letters and Sounds programme, learning how to read and write a range of words and phonemes. They are taught in carefully chosen groupings to ensure every child can reach their potential, and they are regularly assessed to ensure that they are in an appropriate group. Teachers drwa upon their observations and continuos assassmrnt to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify those children who may need extra support.
Once a child is secure with Phase 5 of Letters and Sounds, they move onto our spelling programme (typically in Year 2 or 3). We use the ‘No nonsense Spelling’ programme to build on the phonics skills the children have developed and to introduce them to new spelling patterns and features, such as prefixes and suffixes. Children will continue work on phonics in Year 3 if their decoding skills are not secure by the end of KS1.
By KS2 we expect all children to be ready for whole class reading sessions that are undertaken daily.The focus here is vocabulary development, the creation of setting, character and mood, the development of specific reading skills and immersion in a wide range of texts. These lessons use the class novel as a stimulus for deeper thinking and link a range of fiction and non-fiction texts in order to further develop contextual knowledge and understanding.Through these texts, children look at the ways that authors use vocabulary, grammer and puntuation to contol the reader and are encouraged to use these skills in their own writing.
By Upper Key Stage 2 the children have an excellent grounding in the phonic and spelling skills they need, and this is built on by the Year 5/6 teacher. At this stage, spelling patterns are revised, more complex words are introduced and there is a greater focus on grammatical structures in preparation for the Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar test which children sit in Year 6.
Extra support with phonics and spelling is provided for children as necessary. Teacher Assistants work with children one to one or in small groups to deliver intervention programmes (these currently include Dancing Bears, Apples and Pears and Bear Necessities).
Reading for pleasure is a very important aspect of our school's curriculum.The ability to read confidently is a key life skill and is linked to life chances. Therefore, we strive to ensure that all children meet age related expectations so that they are ready to meet the challenge of secondary school with confidence.
The essential characteristics of a successful reader are:
Excellent phonic knowledge and skills.
Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum.
Knowledge of an extensive and rich vocabulary.
An excellent comprehension of texts.
The motivation to read for both study and for pleasure.
Extensive knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts.
We aim for all children to be able to write interestingly in a range of forms depending on it's purpose. Children write to entertain or inform the reader using sentence structures and precise vocabulary linked to the text type. The teaching of writing in our school uses the Talk for Writing approach. This enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.
The approach has many other advantages, with strong links to oracy, reading comprehension, analytical thinking and organisational study skills (metacognition). It breaks the writing process down into manageable, explicitly taught chunks and provides pupils with opportunities to practise skills repeatedly – but in different contexts. This aligns the approach with key principles of cognitive science. The approach also places emphasis on pupils’ understanding of the writing process, with planning and revision being key aspects that are explicitly taught in order for pupils to use them independently. Again, this develops pupils’ metacognition and prepares children for the next stage in their learning.
Our schools underpins work in English work using a reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction that all children experience and draw upon. Imaginative units of work are developed to create a whole-school plan that is refined and adapted to the needs and interests of the class. Teachers use Talk for writing, the Literacy shed and Authorfy materials to help plan and deliver a curriculum that is adapted hers from planning and preparation so that they can focus on adapting their teaching for children’s learning.
Teaching is focused by initial assessment. Generally, teachers use a ‘have a go’ task. An interesting and rich starting point provides the stimulus and content . The aim of this is to see what the children can do independently at the start of a unit, drawing on their prior learning. Assessment of their writing helps the teacher work out what to teach the whole class, different groups and adapt the model text and plan. Targets can then be set for individuals. By the end of the unit, an independent task is set on a similar type of writing with an interesting stimulus.
Sentence-level activities are covered in every lesson. The same activities can be used across year groups (where appropriate), with the pupils’ application of curriculum content driving the level of rigour and challenge. Within these activities, teachers have the chance to develop precision and nuance in relation to syntax, grammar and language use. The activities also help to develop an understanding of sentence boundaries and punctuation for use in both reading and writing.Teachers model the writing process so that children can see how words are crafted into sentences and how the organisation of these forms paragraphs with a beginning a middle and an ending.
We measure impact through learning walks, book scrutinies, blog work, formative and summative assessment, feedback and pupil/parent/pupil voice. Staff and subject leader meets termly to evaluate progress.
The essential successful characteristics of a writer are:
The ability to write fluently and with interesting details on a number of topics throughout the curriculum.
A vivid imagination which makes readers engage with and enjoy their writing.
A highly developed vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details and description.
Well organised and structured writing, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
Excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented and punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
A love of writing and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values.Confident writers are able to present their ideas to an audience and require a numerous of skills; spelling, handwriting, composition and imagination.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening form the basis of our ability to communicate. These skills need to be valued and nurtured. The children present their ideas and opinions in all areas of school life – having your opinion listened to has a direct impact on a learner’s confidence.
We provide opportunities for children to speak and listen in a variety of contexts. It begins in EYFS when children are asked to talk about things that are important to them. We teach children how to be a listener and how to take turns in speaking. We use a system of Talk Partners across the school which has enabled children to work with others to support each other in learning across the curriculum. Children are encouraged to share their work with a variety of social groupings. They organise and present Worship sessions, Everyone takes part in school plays at festivals.
In Key stage 2 we use a drama specialist teacher to develop speaking and listening skills further so that by the time children are in Year 5 and 6 class they are taking part in Youth speaks competitions, School Council leaders, the Mock Trials and presenting work at the Everyman theatre for Cheltenham Literature Festival.
We measure the impact of this through the children's work, learning walks, presentations, pupil/parent/teacher feedback.
The essential characteristics of successful communicators are:
An exceptional talent for listening attentively so as to understand what is being said.
A rich and varied vocabulary that gives clarity and interest to conversations.
Clear speech that can be easily understood by a range of audiences.
An excellent grasp of the rules used in English conversation, such as tenses and the grammatical structure of sentences.
A highly developed ability to tell stories that capture the interest and imagination of the audience.
A delight in initiating and joining conversations.
Respect for others when communicating, even when views differ.
To encourage, promote and practise good communication, we take part in initiatives such as the Mock Trials, Youth Speaks and drama productions.