At St Philip’s we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and spoken language. We aim to inspire a habit of reading widely and often and to really enjoy doing so. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
The Teaching of Reading
We want children to love reading and to achieve this we give them a range of opportunities and techniques to learn.
Phonics is taught daily from the start of Reception to Year 2 and beyond: children begin to learn the relationship between the sounds they speak and the words they read and write through the Jolly Phonics scheme and the DfE Primary National Strategy document ‘Letters and Sounds’. This uses a multi-sensory approach to learning phonics and enables parents to support the children’s learning of phonics at home. Children’s specific level of phonic understanding is regularly assessed and teaching adapted accordingly.
The school builds on the Teaching of Phonics to teach the children to read effectively by using the ‘Oxford Reading Tree Scheme’ and ‘Collins Big Cat Phonics’ which is colour coded according to the children’s development in Reading and phonics. This enables the children to choose their own books within their colour band to maintain their confidence in reading independently and to others. Children are also encouraged to read books from their class books.
Children are taught and encouraged to use a wide range of strategies when reading for example:
• Phonics ( sounds and spellings)
• Word recognition and graphic knowledge (words, shape of words, word families and letter strings)
• Grammatical knowledge (punctuation, parts of a sentence, use of language etc.)
• Contextual knowledge (picture clues, using prior knowledge etc.)
• Inference and deduction
In Years 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, all children have access to Accelerated Reader, a computer based programme that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading. Pupils pick a book at his/her own level and reads it at his/her own pace. When finished, they take a short quiz on the computer – passing the quiz is an indication that they have understood what has been read. AR gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results which the teacher then uses to help the child choose books suited to their progress.
Popular children books are on the Accelerated Reader programme so children can select from the wide range of books in classrooms and the school library. Pupils wishing to look up titles that are part of Accelerated Reader can search through over 25,000 books on www.arbookfind.co.ukor use MyOn to access a range of electronic books.
Children can see what books they have read and how they did. It also gives them suggestions on what to read next based on their interests and ability. Children see a sunflower or graph, depending on their year group, which builds up as they pass quizzes.
Children can build their reading skills and stamina, and are not put off by books that are too basic or too demanding for them. They also have fun completing quizzes and earning points along the way towards individual or class targets. Struggling readers are well supported, and high achievers are encouraged to read books that really engage and challenge them. Teachers can track children’s progress book by book, and tailor recommendations to a child’s individual needs. Above all, children are highly motivated and inspired by successful reading.
In addition to Accelerated Reader, children have regular Guided Reading lessons with their teacher to learn the different skills needed at their specific level of Reading. Children who require it, receive one to one or group interventions with their reading. All classes experience a class book or novel being read to the class, with the high quality writing, syntax, vocabulary and other features being discussed.
We promote and value the volunteer Reading Buddies who come into school throughout the week to share a book with children from across the Year groups- and especially those children who do not have an opportunity to read with someone out of school.
Reading Challenge (Years 1,2,3,4 and 5)
The Reading Challenge is an opportunity for children to read books and do activities which have been specifically selected for each year group with the ultimate purpose of the challenge being to develop a long lasting love of reading. These challenges also link with the End of Year Expectations in Writing.
The Teaching of Writing
Children are given the opportunity to write through a variety of different texts and platforms. Our teachers use creative approaches that build imagination and give time for oral rehearsal. We ensure that children are exposed to quality texts, including visual and digital. The children are read quality literature, in order to model rich vocabulary and a range of writing styles. During lessons, children are shown shared and guided work to model the craft of writing with the embedded teaching of phonics, grammar and spelling within the writing process. Children are given time to plan, edit and share their ideas, and to receive and respond to effective feedback from adults and their peers. Through topic and cross- curricular works, children are provided with meaningful opportunities to write for real purposes and audiences.
A toolkit used in every class to help support children’s understanding of Literacy and Grammar:
Whole school Literacy Toolkit
A consistent, whole school approach to a cursive style of handwriting is taught across the school. At St Philips we teach the cursive script. Cursive script 2015
The Teaching of Spelling
Each class has weekly spellings that are taught, sent home and tested each week. The children are given feedback on these tests and the teachers also assess spellings in their day to day assessment of writing.