Reading and Writing
To motivate our young writers we ensure the writing opportunities are appealing, relevant and purposeful. The children learn the skills of writing in their daily literacy lessons, they then have the opportunity to develop and extend their skills through cross curricular writing activities. Inspiration for writing frequently comes from direct experience, outdoor learning, film, events or even mysteries! Of course great writers are great readers and so a rich diet of reading material is an essential part of what we offer.
We aim to cover a broad range of text types across the key stage, revisiting as appropriate to develop and master skills. Children are encouraged to apply writing skill they have acquired across all subjects. We believe that writing should be of a high standard regardless of which curriculum area it is for.
Early reading skills with: Letters and Sounds, and Ginn Lighthouse/Rigby Star reading schemes
Teachers in Key Stage One build on the strong reading skills developed through the synthetic phonic approach in Reception and follow several reading schemes to widen the children’s reading experience. They regularly send home reading books, and parents are kept fully informed of progress in a reading record book which goes home daily and provides a valuable link between home and school.
We aim to develop children’s independence in reading in Key Stage Two, while maintaining regular adult guided reading sessions. Children are encouraged to discuss and share reading experiences and a large emphasis is placed on reading for pleasure. Children complete their reading record or reading reviews themselves, where they reflect on their reading; what they enjoyed; what words they discovered; how they feel about characters or genres. The note children write support teachers’ understanding of the progress they are making with enjoyment in reading.
Children are also encouraged to complete reading challenges and in Upper Key Stage 2 there is list of books to read before you are 11 yrs old! Many adult helpers enjoy coming into school to hear readers and share reading experiences with children. As you walk through school there is always someone tucked into a happy corner listening to stories.
Our brand new library is a source of great inspiration to read.
Phonics and Spelling
Children Key Stage One receive a consistent approach to phonics using a programme called Letters and Sounds. Every pupil in Key Stage One works through the programme to help them decode (sound out) words that they read and spell. We have a robust assessment and tracking system which ensures all children are challenged and supported appropriately.
All children in Key Stage Two have a dedicated spelling lesson on a Monday morning, during which time they are taught according to the National Curriculum spelling for their year group. During the week in various ways they have opportunities to practise their spelling patterns; Homework lists, Guided Reading rota of activities, Morning work opportunities and handwriting lessons all ensure that children have rich multisensory ways to consolidate their learning of spelling patterns. Classroom display materials, using dictionaries, small group sessions and fortnightly spelling checks all ensure that we monitor and promote progress in spelling. Following a carefully analysed termly test which identifies spelling ages, some children are given individual spelling lists on a regular basis based on their own specific needs and targets.
Grammar and Punctuation
We follow the new National Curriculum objectives for grammar and punctuation. While some areas may be taught or practised in discrete sessions, we largely incorporate grammar and punctuation into all areas of learning. We provide opportunities within a rota of Guided Reading activities, and morning work for children to regularly practise all aspects of their curriculum for Grammar and Punctuation so that they keep their skills ticking over on a frequent basis. The ‘little and often’ practise sessions help to consolidate learning.
Handwriting skills begin with very early fine motor skills developed in a range of ways in Early Years and throughout Key Stage 1. Children learn to write ‘up the hill’ to ensure they can make easy and intuitive joins in a cursive style.
Children take great pride in earning and keeping their handwriting licences in Key Stage 2. Children are offered support through handwriting clubs if they need practise, and great emphasis is placed on high presentation standards. Children are issued with licences but beware... maintain a high standard or your licence might get points on it. Three points and it’s off to handwriting club!
Handwriting is clearly linked to spelling patterns, which supports those whose learning style requires multisensory approaches to consolidate memory.