Communicating clearly and effectively is a vital part of our daily lives allowing us to achieve success in learning, relationships and work. The skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing are at the core of our literacy curriculum.
A daily literacy lesson takes place in every class in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. This provides children with a balance of teaching which focuses on:
- children’s understanding of texts as readers;
- using quality texts to inspire and as models for writing;
- grammar and punctuation;
- phonics and spelling.
Children need a range of skills which they can use as they progress through the school. This is achieved by using quality texts over a number of weeks in order to provide opportunities for:
- shared reading to understand and explore texts;
- shared writing to model what writers do;
- storytelling to internalise text structures;
- speaking and listening activities to ensure children find a voice, have something to say and can communicate clearly;
- investigations to find out more about sentence construction, punctuation and spelling.
Teachers use a range of strategies to make these whole class sessions interactive and interesting, including paired talk, story-making, use of whiteboards and drama. Children are given the opportunity to follow-up this explicit teaching, so they can try out what they have learnt and make it their own in a variety of real reading and writing activities.
We believe that reading is an essential skill and that our children should learn to read not only for knowledge, but for pleasure. There is a whole school approach to the teaching of reading and children are taught a range of strategies to support their progress. These include decoding words using phonics, developing a sight vocabulary of key words, using pictures, contextual cues, and reading to the end of a sentence before going back and tackling an unfamiliar word. Equally important are the skills of comprehension and an awareness of style, text features and use of language.
Our class libraries are welcoming and well stocked with a range of quality texts; new titles are added regularly to reflect the interests of our children.
In KS1, we have colour coded books which are used to target specific phonic knowledge and reading skills. These books are used for guided reading sessions led by the teacher. Each week, children take home a colour coded book chosen by their teacher and a ‘real’ book of their own choice.
In KS2, books are organised by genres and all guided reading books are levelled. Children read independently and in guided reading sessions led by a teacher. Teachers discuss and share texts with children on a daily basis, through literacy lessons, story-times and through all curriculum areas.
Children are taught according to the Letters and Sounds programme in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.
Daily phonics lessons last for 15-20 minutes and directly follow the phases and teaching programmes detailed in Letters and Sounds. All phonics lessons include revision of previous learning, teaching of new sounds/ tricky words, and application of new skills.
Each phonics lesson includes the key skills of blending for reading and segmenting for writing.
Children are taught how to read and write graphemes and develop their blending and segmenting skills. They are also taught ‘tricky’ words which are not phonetically decodable. Some children will receive additional support in 1:1 or small groups, in addition to whole class phonic sessions.
More information on our reading and phonics can be found here: Reading and phonics
How Parents can help
Parents have a vital role to play in supporting their children to be good listeners, communicators and readers. We ask parents to have lots of quality conversations with their children and to help build their child’s vocabulary.
In Reception, parents are invited to settle their children at the start of the day and are welcome to spend the first 15 minutes of the day sharing a book with their child.
We have an amazing library of Storysacks and each Reception child chooses one sack to take home each week. We ask parents to share the storysack and enjoy the activities, games and books with their children.
In Years 1 & 2, parents are invited into class once a week to Share a Story sessions, where parents and children enjoy books together.
In all year groups, parents are asked to read to their children, to listen to their children reading aloud, and to discuss the content of their reading, ideally five times a week.