We believe that English is at the heart of the whole curriculum and as such have high expectations of our pupils in all areas of this, including reading, writing and speaking and listening. Children’s abilities are developed within an integrated programme of reading, writing, handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammar across the curriculum in order to make them skilled communicators, fluent readers and expressive writers.
Early reading is taught through the use of our Read, Write, Inc programme. The children are assessed and are placed into phonics group which match the child's reading ability. During the Phonics lesson, pupils will be taught speed sounds, will read words containing the taught sound, read words that they are familiar with, will read story card words and red tricky words as well as reading fully decodable texts. Pupils are assessed on a half termly basis to ensure that that they are making progress.
Pupils who find it more difficult to pick up early phonics skills receive interventions to help them catch up and keep up with learning. Phonics is currently taught in EYFS, Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3. In Years 4-6, pupils who are not able to access the KS2 curriculum, are supported in lessons through scaffolding and receive FFT interventions. (See details about Phonics-Read Write Inc below)
EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 partake in Talk Through Stories which is designed to enrich reading, promote a love of reading as well as widening and developing the children's knowledge and understanding of challenging vocabulary. During these sessions, pupils listen to the story, join in with key phrases, discuss characters feelings and actions and define key vocabulary. Vocabulary lessons are taught in addition to the Talk Through Stories sharing story books time.
To promote a love of reading, all classes have ERIC time where pupils have the opportunity to read for pleasure, sharing books and authors with their peers and teachers. In addition to this, all classes have story time where the class teacher will read a class text / novel to the children.
In Years 2-6, pupils also take part in whole class reading. Pupils are exposed to a wide range of texts and extracts. During these sessions, pupils will practice taught skills from each reading domain to develop their knowledge and understanding of the text. One session each week focuses upon developing the children's knowledge and understanding of key vocabulary / unfamiliar words. 2 days are spent upon developing their retrieval and inference skills and the last two days are spent developing the children's comprehension of the text.
Further opportunities for reading are implemented throughout our curriculum. Writing sessions are centred around a key text. Pupils also read within foundation subject lessons to develop their knowledge and understanding of key Topics / themes or for research purposes. We use recommended texts from UL and the School library Service to support us with offering a broad range of challenging texts to our pupils.
Reading at home is promoted and is an expectation throughout our pupil's time with us. All pupils take home a fully decodable reading book (those on our phonics programme) or take home a book banded book appropriate to their reading ability. In addition to this, all pupils take home a fiction and non-fiction text (of their choosing) to promote a love of reading. Parents record on Boom reader when then hear their child read. Teachers also record on Boom reader when they have listened to individual readers throughout the school day.
As a school, we also partake in World Book Day, have authors visits, complete the Year 1 and Year 5 book awards and take part in the Year 6 Literature quiz each year.
Phonics – Read Write Inc
All children in EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Year 3 learn Phonics through Read Write Inc. sessions, which take place daily. We started using the scheme in September 2022 because it is an approved synthetic phonic scheme with a proven track record. We receive advice and support from ULT as it is their preferred scheme and work alongside the Springhill English hub to ensure that the scheme is taught well and children are making good progress.
The programme focuses on teaching sounds and the letters that represent them. This skill is essential for children to read and spell words accurately.
The Read Write Inc. programme is structured into three sets:
Set 1 - which focuses upon the teaching of single letter sounds and some of the most common diagraphs - sh, th, ch, qu, ng and nk
Set 2 - ay, ee, igh, ow, oo, oo, ar, or, air, ir, ou and oy
Set 3 - ea, oi, a-e, i-e, o-e, u-e, aw, are, ur, er, ow, ai, oa, ew, ire, ear, ure, tion, tious/cious
Pupils across Years R-3 are grouped homogeneously, according to their progress through the programme. When the children have secure phonic knowledge / completed the phonics programme, they are placed into a reading fluency group where they practice reading using a story-teller voice.
Pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and common exception words. These books are fully decodable to enable the children to practice reading fluently.
Throughout the school, writing is taught daily and staff use the current curriculum objectives when planning. Where possible, children’s writing is linked to other areas of the curriculum so that children have opportunities to practise and apply their skills in a range of contexts.
In line with the 2014 National Curriculum, children are taught to articulate ideas and structure them clearly in speech and writing. Initially, teachers will support pupils’ developing ideas by modelling the planning and writing process, allowing children lots of opportunities to orally rehearse their ideas, so that children feel confident when applying their writing skills independently.
When writing, pupils should understand the following:
- There is a purpose to their writing.
- There are a range of text types; each with their own features and conventions to be applied when writing.
- Their writing must make sense and flow.
- The need to pay close attention to spelling, punctuation and grammar when working in order to improve the sense and clarity of their work.
- Writing is a process which allows for changes and edits to be made. This editing could be done independently, with a peer or with an adult throughout the process. Children know that it is important to listen carefully to any advice given at this stage and that they should act upon it as best they can.
- A wide range of interesting and exciting vocabulary should be experimented with to engage the reader and make their writing more effective.
- They can look at and make use of teacher models and the learning environment to aid their work.
- That writing is an enjoyable activity with great value.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)
Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) are taught every day in addition to writing sessions across key stage one and two. Teachers model how to apply these skills during writing lessons and pupils are expected to practise these skills in their own writing too. In addition to this, teachers highlight how other authors have used these features in their writing too during reading sessions to help children understand how and when to use these features effectively and with purpose.
At the Victory Primary School, children begin to learn cursive script from early years, where appropriate in line with the 2014 curriculum. Handwriting is taught in a lesson and then practised and encouraged in all aspects of the curriculum thus promoting understanding and application.