In English teaching we aim to inspire children to be confident and excited readers and writers, who want to learn. This is done by a carefully planned curriculum, which has a range of starting points, and strategies and is linked to the meet the requirements of the new National Curriculum introduced in 2014.
We are currently looking at the new proposed EYFS curriculum ready for the changes in September 2020.
Reading and Writing in EYFS
Reception children carry out a range of early Literacy activities as part of their daily teaching and learning. Children have access to writing materials and wide variety of resources that encourage high quality early literacy experiences. These include: opportunities for speaking and listening, reading, mark making, identification and use of phonic sounds, role play, small world play and activities to develop fine motor control. Early writing skills are also developed though activities such as story scribing.
The children are taught phonics daily, focusing on a sound a day. We use Jolly Phonics to plan for this progression and use the actions and songs to support the children with this knowledge.
Children are able to take home wordless picture books to share with their grown-up at home to help develop their story telling and vocabulary linked to the pictures. Once a child can recall 20 phonic sounds, they are able to take a closely-matched phonics book home which will consolidate learning from the phonics sessions taught previously.
In reading we aspire to foster a love of reading and stories. We do this by giving children access to high quality texts from a range of different genres. We have mapped our reading texts across the federation to ensure that children have access to genres such as archaic texts, poetry, myths and legends and many more! In every year group, pupils revisit these reading genres; this enables children to recall their prior learning of these genres, and develop further understanding of these genres. By doing this the children are able to use these different genres to inform their own reading preferences, and this leads to using the features in their own writing too. The books planned for across the federation offer challenge, aspiration and inspiration for all children, providing them with new, exciting authors, different writing styles and vocabulary the children may not be familiar with already.
Early reading is linked to the child's knowledge of phonics sounds. From EYFS to Year 2 the phonics teaching is mapped to ensure that children make good progress and build on their learning throughout KS1. The books the children take home to share with their grown-ups are linked to their current phonics skills to allow children to consolidate their phonics skills at that stage of their learning. As children progress, we also use, in KS2, accelerated reader to ensure books link closely to the child's reading level and understanding. The teachers will check the outcomes from this resource to inform the planning for those children.
We are continually updating our reading resources, and library books to reflect the needs of the children. Each classroom has a wonderful reading corner to promote the love of reading throughout the federation. Regular opportunities are planned for the children to listen to a class story, read by an adult for enjoyment and pleasure. Adults guide the children into making appropriate reading choices. This ensures that the children are choosing high quality and ambitious texts that are above their 'pay-grade'.
The children use the VIPERS reading domains in every reading session, and these drive the explicit teaching of reading skills. These skills ensure that the children have a holistic approach to their reading comprehension and vocabulary. The children are able to identify which domain they are required to use to inform their answer and this has helped to develop the depth and breadth of the children's reading comprehension. In KS1 the children have actions to remember the skills needed for their comprehension skills.
Children in KS1 have daily phonics sessions and we use Jolly phonics throughout the federation and Jolly Grammar in years 1 and 2. This helps the children to learn sounds to aid their reading and develops their segmenting and blending skills. Phonics Play is used throughout the school, the majority of the games can be accessed at home for free www.phonicsplay.co.uk.
The children have daily Guided Reading sessions focusing on a range of texts to inspire and develop reading skills across year 1 and year 2. These books are matched to the phonics skills taught at that stage in the year, allowing children to embed the phonics skills they have learnt. The children complete activities based on a particular reading skill, for example, comprehension, reading for pleasure and non-fiction texts while the teacher is reading with a group. Each week the children have reading for pleasure time where they can enjoy a range of texts individually, in pairs or small groups. Pupils also receive frequent opportunities to develop their fluency skills.
Each week the children participate in whole-class reading lessons linked to their writing focus or topic using a high-quality text. We have whole class reading lessons which explicitly develop fluency and comprehension skills. Using the reading domains, the children are given opportunities to practise their inference, prediction, summarising, explanation, retrieval and summarising skills. (VIPERS) The children learn new vocabulary from the texts we use which we then look for in their spoken language and their writing.
When writing in English and across the curriculum, we use a wide range starting points, including: drama, picture books, children's fiction and non-fiction, visitors, visits, pictures and video. By providing a variety of inspiring sources, the children are engaged and keen to write. The children write for a variety of purposes and audiences. They also develop their understanding of writing genres for non-fiction and fiction. Careful tracking is in place to ensure that pupils in both KS1 and KS2 have opportunities to write in a variety of genres. The skills of grammar and punctuation are embedded across the curriculum, and children apply these in their writing in all subjects.
Across the federation time is planned each day to discuss the Vocabulary Ninja Word of the Day. Each day there is a new word and definition for the children to learn. At the Infant School the teacher discusses the new word with the children and then the children will say a sentence using the new vocabulary. At the Junior School, the children then embed this new knowledge by writing their own sentence using the word of the day.
Each classroom has a vocabulary dozen display for each unit of work so that we can immerse the children with specific vocabulary for that text and support their understanding of these words. It allows the children to learn and retrieve specific vocabulary to use in their own work.
From Year 2 we follow the No-Nonsense spelling scheme and Years 1-6 use Purple Mash spelling each week to focus on spelling patterns. No-Nonsense Spelling links to the National Curriculum guidelines for Statutory and Non-Statutory words. Where possible, links are also made to learn spelling patterns in reading and writing in English lessons.
In year 1 and 2 the children have spellings sent home based on the phonic sound of the week and also tricky words from Jolly Grammar. From Year 3 the children have individualised spellings and no-nonsense spelling patterns sent home every half term to embed these skills further.
The federation use the Nelson Handwriting scheme to ensure consistency in letter formation and joins between all year groups. The children have handwriting sessions taught during the week to ensure that they are practising their handwriting regularly. Throughout year 1 and year 2 the children are developing their letter formation and starting to learn how to join some of their letters using horizontal and diagonal joins. At junior school there is an expectation that all children use joined handwriting.
In KS1 the children have daily English lessons which are planned to inspire the children's writing. The children write for a range of purposes, for example, work linked to a text, starting with a video clip or an educational visit. There is a focus on sentence structure and grammar to enable the children to write coherently in their written work in English and across the curriculum.
In KS2 the English work is mainly related to a high-quality text linking to their whole-class reading. This allows the children to delve deeper into the text and link their reading and writing skills.
Writing across the curriculum
There is an expectation that the high level of writing continues across the curriculum. The children have similar starting points to the English lesson but these can also include a debate, conscience alley and evaluations of products designed. The children understand the importance of writing for different purposes and by ensuring that the high standards of writing covers all of the curriculum, the children are able to use their writing 'top tips' to edit their work in these other areas.