Each class uses different displays to help the children improve their vocabulary and grammar skills. A great emphasis is placed across the school on the development of literacy skills through a wide variety of teaching and learning approaches. Our English curriculum aims to produce children who are literate, articulate, responsive, creative and independent and provides the pupils with opportunities to develop the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening as effectively as possible.
To enable teachers to do this effectively, the school follows the teaching framework laid down by the newly revised National Curriculum. This framework provides teachers with guidance on areas of learning for children from Reception to Year 6.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and we ensure our English curriculum gets children into books right from the start. From the important foundations using our systematic and structured Phonics program to our Library and ‘Teacher VIB shelves’ (Very Important Book Shelves)- we make sure our school oozes books at every turn. Reading whole class quality texts as a basis for literacy and many other subjects makes sure that children are exposed to the best in children’s literature and a full range of genres. Many books studied are the first in a series in order to encourage children to develop reading on for pleasure. Poetry, non-fiction, digital texts and picture books feature through the English syllabus from EYFS to Year 6.
We use the systematic Read Write Inc program for our phonics teaching. Sessions run for daily in small groups where children are taught to recognise sounds, read decodable green words, red tricky words and alien words. They then practise spelling these words and writing them down. Children are taught to apply their phonics skills and improve fluency through the Readwrite inc story books in used during these sessions.
All staff receive training and regular updates and development days to ensure continuity and increase staff confidence in delivering theses sessions.
Children’s progress in phonics is closely tracked and children are regularly assessed and regrouped as appropriate. The Reading leader tracks progress and identifies children who require 1:1 intervention which is then implemented in order for children to catch up.
EYFS/KS1 Home Reading Books
Home reading books are phonics based and exactly match our phonics program to ensure books closely match the sound being taught in lessons. Children take these home and parents are encouraged to support their children in reading these. There are also activities and questions for them to complete in the front and back of the books.
Children progress through the reading levels is again closely tracked and once the reach the higher levels of the KS1 reading scheme they are moved onto the Accelerated reader program which enables us to match them on the correct level books whilst also tracking their comprehension of what they read.
Children are rewarded as they move through the different book colour levels. Once on the Accelerated Reader program children earn points for reading different books and are rewarded when they hit their targets.
KS2 Independent Reading Books
From KS2 onwards, children use the Accelerated Reader program to track progress and encourage them to read. Online Star tests identify children’s current reading levels and guide children to choosing books at an appropriate level. On completing books children take a short comprehension quiz and aim to score 100%. Various incentives run throughout the year where children can collect tickets for each 100% scored and are rewarded for this. This helps to incentivise reading and keeps children motivated to read and quiz.
Books can be chosen from our well stocked library, class reading corners, teacher VIB shelves (Very Important Book Shelves) or books from home. Children keep a record of their own progress in their reading record books where they note down scores and write book reviews.
We use a whole class approach to guided reading in KS2. Whole class sets of books sourced from Durham Learning Resources are used. Texts are carefully mapped to link to books studied in Literacy lesson by genre, theme or Author. Several sessions a week are given over to reading the book and class discussion. One session a week is planned to teach a particular reading skill from
Vocabulary, Inference, prediction, evaluation, retrieval or summarising known in school as VIPERS. These lessons consist of a model question and practise questions for children to complete. Other written tasks may be used to further their understanding of the text. On a weekly basis VIPERS activities are used based on film clips, adverts, picture or text extracts as additional independent practise of these skills.
We encourage children to be creative and to write for a variety of purposes. We encourage children to view writing as enjoyable and purposeful and to share their work with others in the school. However, we also consider the teaching of grammar, spelling and punctuation to be very important and will encourage children to present their work concisely and neatly. Children are encouraged from an early age to develop a fluent and joined cursive style of writing. Much emphasis is placed across the school on the quality and standard of children’s written work and presentation.