We want children to have full access to the curriculum to enable their life-chances whatever the background.
We want children to be successful at reading and to feel positive about it.
We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. We want children to use word recognition skills to read with fluency and confidence, including sight recognition to read familiar words and phonic skills to decode unfamiliar words.
We want children to: read widely and frequently; have stamina; discuss reading; be active readers-use metacognition and self-regulatory strategies; to ask questions in their head as they read; to use prosody (tone and expression); be good at comprehending; able to read quickly, accurately; and use language comprehension skills to understand the text. We want them to talk about the text, write about it and use their own experiences to help their understanding.
By the end of Year 6, we want them to find reading effortless, to be fluent, confident and independent.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
- We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language.
- We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
- Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
- We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
- Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
- We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace.
- If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.
Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week
- We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
- The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- Decoding-practise digraphs/reading words and clarifying with pictures; chn read independently-adult taps in, feeds back any common difficulties
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression-repractise the sounds and words, read fluently again; adult models tone and expression and chn do after
- comprehension: practise words and tricky words, teaching children to understand the text by asking questions.
Year 2 follow the Little Wandle model of guided reading 3 x a week with any additional phonics lessons needed.
In KS2 each strand is explicitly taught: predicting, inference, clarifying, retrieval and summarising-described and modelled before children practise them with feedback.
Children are taught to be active readers: to be aware of what they are thinking in the moment of reading; to puzzle over what they have just read; to look for clues to build meaning; to stop themselves if they don’t understand what a word means; to be aware of what they do well and what they need to improve; to make pictures in their head and add to them as they read; use background knowledge, make connections to their own experiences; to organise their thoughts using graphic organisers; and to draw, annotate and write independently about their understanding of the texts.
Phonics has improved across school: gaps in sight recognition and understanding has narrowed.
Pupils are more confident with reading out loud and using intonation and expression.
Pupils are more able to identify strategies for each strand and are more active-they talk about it, puzzle over it and seek to clarify words they don’t understand.
Children are more able to back up their ideas with evidence.
Children are reading for pleasure and there is a culture for reading across school.
Our priority is to create fluent writers with all the skills and knowledge they need to be confidently literate in life. We believe that language provides the foundation of thinking and learning and so ensure that all classrooms are language-rich, with children engaged in high-quality dialogue. The complexity of vocabulary that the children use increasingly develops throughout school. In order to ensure that all pupils learn to be confident writers, we encourage children to write creatively whilst teaching key writing skills systematically. By the end of Year 6, we want them to find writing a positive and exciting experience, to be creative, fluent, confident and independent.
We use Talk for Writing across school to develop speaking and listening, reading and writing. The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher modelling shared and guided writing to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully. Linking in with reading and the reading tiers, powerful vocabulary is drawn out from the children and makes their writing exciting and clever.
Each half-term a new book is chosen-one that interests the children and that will generate the skills needed. Themes and ideas are explored, observations, wonders and inferences are made. Using the pictures from the book, vocabulary is developed, sentences are built and narratives are created. Predictions on characters are developed, descriptions of the settings are formed. Once the story is read to the children, they practise re-telling it using sequencing, class text maps or individual ones, with actions, word games and role-play. A model text is introduced, language structures and grammar punctuation are explored. Children begin to generate ideas for their own version, lots of discussions take place, shared writing occurs, before children begin drafting independently. Editing and improving takes place before the children produce their final piece of creative writing.
Pupil’s knowledge and understanding of vocabulary has increased.
Paired talk has improved confidence and speaking and listening skills.
Progress is clearly shown from the beginning of each half-term to the end.
Children are learning six new books each year, as they progress through school.
Children are becoming increasingly confident and independent at creative writing.