A curriculum rich in literacy provides our children with the opportunities to speak with confidence, listen to others respectfully, read and write in a range of contexts and for different purposes. Our English learning links to all areas of the curriculum, and we place emphasis on high standards of oracy and recording of work in all core subjects.
High quality texts form the basis of our school reading spine, which plans progression in the range of texts used. We are fortunate to have a library which is well resourced to support our broader curriculum, and acts as a springboard to developing reading for pleasure for all of our children.
Phonics is taught four times a week in EYFS and Year 1 as outlined through Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics as well as supplementary materials from Phonics Play and Jolly Phonics. In Reception the children learn two or three sounds per week. A picture with an action, and a song, story or jingle help children learn each different sound. Each child is provided with a ‘Sound book’ which they take home to practise and consolidate the sounds taught in school. We use a range of active learning and interactive strategies to enable the children to become confident with phonics and letter formation.
‘Letters and Sounds’, ‘Phonics Play’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’ provide a detailed teaching programme with games and resources to support our teaching of Phonics. It prepares children for learning to read, by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. Once initial sounds are known, children move on to blends such as th, ch and sh. Children progress through the Phonics scheme, learning additional blends, consonant digraphs, vowel digraphs, spelling rules and alternative pronunciations. Children learn to read and write phonemes and to apply them independently. Spelling investigations focus on phonics taught.
In Year 2 phonics is taught three times a week. In KS2 the key words and spelling rules for each cohort as listed in the National Curriculum are planned for and taught over the course of each year so that each year group has the opportunity to learn all of these by the end of Year 6. Pupils learn about spelling through a range of strategies including: online resources, Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check; implicit tasks in reading and writing, focussed tasks in reading and writing, teacher exposition, games and investigative approaches.
When children begin school Phonics teaching covers letter shapes and sounds, and hearing and saying the sounds in words. Sound books are introduced during the first few weeks of school for children to practise at home. Children then apply letter sounds to the words they read and begin to blend sounds together to formulate words. Words which are not easily ‘sounded out’ are learned by sight. Tricky words are sent home on flashcards so that children can practise reading them easily and at speed.
Children have access to books from a range of reading schemes and progress through the coloured book bands. ‘Real books’ provide additional reading material. Children are provided with a range of fiction and non-fiction books which are changed regularly to aid progression with their reading. Children start learning comprehension skills, understanding how a story is sequenced, discussing story language and characters types. Children read individually with the teacher, teaching assistant and parent helpers or read as part of a group in Guided Reading sessions.