To enable children to use their knowledge and understanding of the English language confidently, now and in every aspect of their future lives.
Literacy in the Early Years
We begin teaching children the individual phonemes (sounds), which make up words, when your child is ready to and not depending on the class they are in. This ensures that your child becomes an independent reader as soon as possible. In nursery we begin teaching children the individual phonemes through informal and funs games. In reception children begin Read, Write Inc which provides a systematic program for children ensuring that they learn the basic phonetic skills of blending sounds for reading and segmenting sounds for writing. This program ensures that by the time your child leaves year 1 they are able to write and read fluently. Information about the Read, Write Inc program can be found here.
In years 2 to 6 we use the Accelerated Reader program which allows teachers and parents to monitor children’s independent reading and provides incentives for children to read regularly. Research shows that children make most progress when they read for at least 20mins every day and have good levels of comprehension of the books they are reading. To ensure children are reading the correct books children take short tests which tell them which book levels they should be reading. You will notice that the books your child is coming home with have small stickers on the front cover. These stickers refer to the level of difficulty of the book. Children read the book and when they have finished they take a short quiz asking them 8 – 10 questions about the book. We are then able to track the children’s reading to make sure they are reading regularly and that they are reading books at the right difficulty level. The system provides us with lots of fun facts such as how many words a child / class or even the whole school has read as well as allowing us to see how they are doing with their quizzes. Each week we reward children who have taken 6 quizzes and got a pass rate of 85% or more. The more children read and score good comprehension marks on their quizzes the more rewards they get!
During guided reading sessions, the children will be completing a range of activities to develop their reading ability and inference skills. Children will be grouped according to ability and will access a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. During the week the children will be asked to complete a pre-reading task, where they will be given a range of questions about their text and they will make notes which they will use during the following session with their class teacher. Children will then write the answers to these questions in a more formal way. They will also complete a vocabulary activity during one session and an opportunity to read their books at a pace.
Writing across the school
Reception and Year 1
In Reception children are taught writing through the Read, Write Inc program focusing on the first set of High Frequency Words and how to write simple CVC (Consonant / Vowel / Consonant) words in small focus groups. Practitioners also plan for a wide range of engaging activities which encouraged to write freely and independently in their free play.
In Year 1 the children continue with the Read Write Inc program building on their knowledge of phonemes so that they are able to develop the key skill of segmenting which allows them to write independently.
Years 2 – 6
In Years 2-6 we are teaching the children writing through the Talk for Writing approach which enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style. Schools that have adopted the approach have not only increased their children’s progress but have found that both children and teachers love it.
Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version. It build on three stages of teaching:
1) Imitation – the children learn a text and the language they need
2) Innovation – the children adapt the model text with ideas of their own
3) Invention – the children create their own text using the language and skills that the model taught them.
The Talk for Writing approach was develop by Pie Corbett, an educational writer and poet. He is well known for promoting creativity in the classroom and has experience as a teacher, head teacher and OFSTED inspector. He regularly lectures on education around the world and the UK government consult with him as an educational advisor.