Reading is a high priority area of our English curriculum. Reading is a fundamental skill, used to stimulate children's imaginations and learn to acquire a love for books; reading influences the thoughts, feelings and emotions of all of our learners. We carefully monitor the children’s reading at home and encourage parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this in order to support their child’s ongoing development. Our children’s independent reading abilities are monitored so that children are reading texts closely matched to their own abilities and comprehension skills, but Reading Enrichment sessions are planned to provide mastery opportunities for all children – regardless of their own independent decoding abilities – to read texts at and above age related expectations and to share and explore in depth quality extracts, books, and texts.
We aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the audience / reader. Particular attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English: grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. When teaching writing, we cover the transcription and composition requirements of the National Curriculum.
Throughout Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, our writing follows the sentence stacking approach curriculum in place across the school which runs hand in hand with Read Write Inc in Early Years and KS1 for phonics - If children are working below their chronological reading age, targeted intervention and support is put in place. Children in all classes still have access to story time and have a class book for a sustained period: this ensures that reading is correctly modelled to children as well as giving them the opportunity to enjoy being read to in class and in reading assemblies.
We use a range of different schemes for the children to read including Read Write Inc, and the Oxford Reading tree scheme to support our children in developing their reading skills. The books are banded according to their level of difficulty, providing children with a challenging reading experience which also allows them to use their developing phonic and whole word knowledge to read independently. The Oxford Reading tree scheme comprises of a mixture of Fiction, Non-fiction and Traditional tales, which allows children to experience a variety of texts and these are supplemented by various other reading schemes to give the children a broad diet of books to read.
Writing opportunities are sourced and developed based on the class text within each year group. Our curriculum allows children to have the opportunity to explore high-quality texts in depth, enhancing reading comprehension and providing meaningful contexts and purposes for writing in both English and Reading Enrichment sessions. The teaching is flexible and class teachers are then, in turn, able to apply their own creativity to cover the objectives across Key Stage 2. Teachers are given a progressive list of spellings, genres and SPAG objectives to cover within each year group.
Teachers clearly model writing skills and document the learning journey through consistent working walls; and writing sessions which are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals. Children have opportunities to write at length, in extended, independent writing sessions– applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing.
As stipulated in the National Curriculum, grammar is learnt naturally and implicitly through interactions and from reading. Explicit knowledge of grammar is, however, very important, as it gives us more conscious control and choice in our language.
Grammar lessons are taught as part of our curriculum and sequence of lessons. Pupils are taught discrete grammar skills through starter activities, allowing daily opportunities to identify, practice and consolidate grammatical understanding. Opportunities are then provided for our pupils to apply their grammar understanding across 'reasoning' style grammar tasks and in writing sessions. It is class teachers' expectations that, following the sequence of lessons to form building blocks to a piece of writing, pupils will begin to independently apply the grammar skills and content taught and embed these within their writing.
Our teaching of spelling aims to provide children with an understanding of spelling rules through rigorous clear teaching of the rule and spelling detection activities so that children understand the rules and can apply them in their writing confidently at an age appropriate level.