Literacy - the skills of reading, writing and communicating - are at the heart of our curriculum. Children learn how to read and write in line with the National Curriculum 2014 and this is done in a range of interesting and inspiring ways.
Phonics / Spelling
All children have a daily spelling or phonics session, which is taught at a level appropriate to them. We use the letters and sounds scheme to support our planning of phonics. This gives all children the chance to learn to read and spell phonetically, before moving on to learning spelling patterns. We use the Read Write Inc materials to support our teaching of spelling in Years two to six. We know that not all children learn to read and write at the same pace, so we have a one-to-one spelling intervention for some children called ‘Five Minute Box’. This allows children who are taking the first steps to reading and writing an opportunity to master the basics, before joining a phonics group.
Alongside learning how to decode words and use spelling patterns, we know that children need to experience reading whole texts. In this way, children will have the chance to apply their decoding skills, while improving their comprehension: reading for meaning.
To support this, we offer children a daily reading session, which will include opportunities to engage with a text (both fiction and non-fiction), answer questions about it, respond to the text in creative ways and read with the teacher in a guided group.
Children also experience having stories read to them by adults and for many children, shared story time is the highlight of the day! Our main aim is to develop a love of books and a love of reading in all our children.
We want all children to value books and use them to become fluent readers themselves. This is why every child has a reading book to take home. Books are finely graded to match reading ability. Finally, children have the chance to engage with a range of fiction and non-fiction through their literacy lessons and across the curriculum. For example, through Research Projects in history and geography, children will read about all sorts of things; volcanoes and earthquakes, rainforests, the Romans and the Egyptians. We are in the process of creating a school library and cannot wait for this to be up and running so pupils can further develop their love of reading.
We provide daily opportunities for children to learn how to spell. Beyond this, we know that children need to learn the skills of being a writer and to allow this to happen, we run daily English lessons. Children are introduced to texts – fiction and non-fiction – around all sorts of themes and ideas. Any text is appropriate (including photographs and video clips) as long as it does one job in particular: inspire children to write.
All children have writing targets which enable them to focus on the particular writing skills they need to develop. The teaching of these skills is at the heart of each literacy unit, with short writing opportunities throughout, building up to a final piece of writing inspired by the text/s studied.
We follow ‘talk for writing’ as a planning model, which means children plan and rehearse their writing through pictures and images, embedding the structure of sentences before they attempt to write them for themselves.
Speaking and listening
Opportunities to express points of view, challenge the views of others, listen respectfully and attentively and speak in extended sentences run through our entire curriculum. We know that children need to be able to communicate with each other at all phases of their lives and learning these skills as soon as possible sets them up for a successful future.
In all subject areas, children are expected to justify and explain, reason and challenge. In addition, taking part in a half termly P4C discussion provides children with the opportunity to take part in an interesting debate. We use video and green screening to enhance a range of speaking and listening opportunities. QR codes are used in some classes to link electronically to this learning.