We believe that the development of language through talking, listening, reading and writing (including spelling and handwriting) lies at the heart of the whole curriculum. Pupils’ interest and pleasure in reading is developed as they learn to read confidently and independently and become accurate and analytical readers. Teachers stimulate children’s love of reading by reading to the class as often as possible. As the children get older, this will mean a class story that will be read over a period of days or weeks. By reading like this the teacher not only models good reading, but also introduces children to high quality stories that most could not access on their own.
The Letters and Sounds scheme is used extensively in Reception and Key Stage One as an introduction to phonics and enables children to begin their love of the written word. This scheme is supplemented by other schemes such as the phonic actions from Jolly Phonics. The children have daily phonics sessions, in the lower part of the school, that focus on learning the sounds and then applying them, to begin with in their reading and eventually their writing.
The Oxford Reading Tree is our main reading scheme, which has been enhanced with many other supplementary materials. In Key Stage One, the children take home two reading books at the same time. They will start with two books on the same colour band. When appropriate, the teacher will change one of the books to be from the next colour band- it will be their ‘challenge’ book. They will often need support to read this book fluently on their own. This arrangement will be in place until the child is confident reading the challenge book fluently and independently at which point both reading books will come from this higher band. In Key Stage Two, the children who still need to develop their reading skills will continue with the reading scheme. The children who are secure readers will be able to choose from the free reading books in the library. The reading books may be heard in school, but primarily are for parents to hear their child read daily. All children are encouraged to use the school's library and to take books home regularly. In school children are heard read in weekly Guided Reading sessions. These provide children and their class teacher time to focus on challenging texts that the children could not access fully on their own. Dialogue about the content of the text whether stated in the text or implied; the author’s intentions when they chose specific words, images or structures of the text and links to other works by the author will take place during these sessions and will push the children’s skills and thinking forward in reading. Children are actively encouraged to talk about their opinions and to justify them using the text as evidence.
Writing is practised as a method of communication in a variety of different contexts. We believe children need to be able to speak and listen well before they can write effectively and so we use paired talk, drama and role play as a way for children to articulate their thoughts and develop empathy with characters. This then enables their writing to be more detailed and well thought out. To reinforce writing skills, opportunities are planned to write in the foundation subjects whenever relevant. Teachers plan to teach a range of genres over the year. These can include aspects of narrative texts, poetry, play scripts, persuasive writing, chronological and non-chronological reports, autobiographies and biographies. The skills of composition of the text- which vocabulary to use, punctuation, paragraphing, structuring the writing appropriately for the genre are taught as well as spelling and handwriting. A daily literacy lesson, as well as a guided reading session ensures literacy is given a high priority. During this lesson the teacher will model whatever is being taught so children can see what good writing looks like. The children will be active participants in these lessons as they provide ideas and practice the skills.
In school we use a cursive handwriting script. By year 2 children are expected to have a joined script. This takes time to practice and so we have chosen to start the cursive script from reception to allow maximum time to develop correct letter formation and the ability to join up the letters. The style of writing we have chosen is one designed to support dyslexic children because each letter starts with the pencil on the line. This helps children orientate their letters the right way round.