English sits at the heart of our curriculum – it is through language, story and text that children learn to form concepts, connect ideas and express them. Through literacy, in all its forms, children learn to both make sense of the world and shape their place within it.
Across both writing and reading, we place a heavy emphasis on developing a child’s vocabulary. By the time children leave Year Six, the limited word hoard they arrived with in Reception will have expanded enormously, giving them the language they need to understand sophisticated texts and express themselves in a wide range of contexts.
We believe that reading is the vital link for children to become confident writers. We use high quality texts and follow a text-based teaching approach throughout the school to engage our learners.
We aim to use high quality books that offer opportunities for empathy and can aid philosophical enquiry, where children see their cultures, families and relationships reflected, as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.
By placing books at the core, we allow teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum. Our chosen approaches ensure that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose.
Reading Intent, Implementation, Impact
At St George’s CE Primary, we believe that ability to read is fundamental to our children succeeding; enabling them to access the next stage of their education and beyond. Our curriculum has been designed to ensure that pupils have opportunities to develop a love of reading. Our aim is to ensure that pupils gain a thirst for reading a range of genres and participating in discussions about the books; exploring the language used by different authors and the impact the written words have on the reader. Our curriculum has also been designed to ensure that pupils not only read for pleasure but to use books to research and gather new knowledge to extend their understanding
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At St George’s CE Primary School, we use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Our staff teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them.
All children in Reception, KS1 and, where necessary, KS2 have daily phonics sessions in small ability groups where they participate in speaking, listening, spelling and reading activities that are matched to their current needs.
The Reading lead assess the children at least half-termly and the teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Timely intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels as soon as their needs are identified.
We recognise that systematic, high quality phonics teaching is essential, but additional skills and opportunities are needed for children to achieve the goal of being a well-rounded reader, namely comprehension.
Once children have completed the Read Write Inc phonics programme, reading is developed during daily whole class reading sessions, using high quality texts and focused skill teaching. Pupils explore vocabulary, prediction, sequencing, making inferences and retrieving information using VIPERS.
Strong links are made between reading and writing. Children read and enjoy high quality fiction and non-fiction texts, which (where possible) are linked to their topics across the curriculum.
In Key Stage 2, we teach reading through a whole class approach focusing on the curriculum domains. We use VIPERS to ensure consistency across the key stage; Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarising (VIPERS). Children also continue to develop their reading fluency skills, building upon their phonics knowledge and skills.
The daily reading session in KS2 begins by introducing key vocabulary, the teacher models reading a section of the text before asking the children to complete a series of focused reading comprehension activities based with a taught key skill focus. Once a week, the teacher completes a reading conference with a selection of children in the class.
As well as a daily reading lesson, all classes are also exposed to a daily class reader during story time, for pleasure, to excite and engage the children, and to expose them to new and varied vocabulary.
Reading at home is encouraged and promoted through class incentives and parental engagement sessions. Children working on the Read Write Inc. programme take home a ‘book bag book’ matched directly to their current phonics level; the book that they have read within their phonics session that week and they an additional book to share with their family at home.
Following this, children are guided to choose an appropriate take-home reader from the levelled books within each inviting class book corner. We expect family members at home to read these books with their child frequently and make comments in their child’s reading record.
The Impact of our Reading Curriculum:
We want to instil a love of reading in all children. By using engaging texts in English lessons and in learning across the curriculum, children are exposed to a range of genres and styles. By creating reading rich environments and celebrations across the school year, we want children to see that we are all readers and it is a skill we all need to learn.
As a result of our reading ethos and a rigorous approach to the teaching of reading, our children will:
- achieve high quality outcomes
- make outstanding progress in relation to their individual starting points
- Read widely and often across the curriculum and be able to extract information from different genres of text. Children will be able to apply their phonics knowledge to decode unknown words and by re-reading texts, will gradually build their fluency.
- Reach their potential in all areas of the curriculum as they will be able to apply their reading skills to different subject areas.
- Learn new pieces of vocabulary and gain creative ideas from fiction texts. After listening to inspiring stories, children will be able to transfer ideas into their own writing and be motivated to use higher level vocabulary.
The school measures impact through:
- Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
- Half termly Read Write Inc. assessments to closely track attainment through phonic stages.
- NFER testing to measure attainment against a national standardized score from spring term in Year 1.
- Pupil Voice to assess learning
- The statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally.
Writing Intent, Implementation, Impact
At St. George’s Primary, we believe that ability to write is fundamental to our children succeeding; enabling them to access the next stage of their education and beyond.
Our curriculum has been designed to ensure that pupils enjoy writing and have passion and enthusiasm for it. Our aim is to ensure that pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently with a joined, legible and increasingly efficient handwriting style; write in different styles and for different purposes and audiences; develop a wide vocabulary and a solid understanding of the grammar rules and terminology appropriate for their age group. We aim that children will be able to spell accurately through the explicit teaching and investigation of spelling rules.
Our curriculum has also been designed to ensure that pupils are able to express themselves creatively and to communicate effectively with others.
At St. George’s CE Primary School, we believe that learning to write well for a range of purposes and audiences is fundamental to the wider success of children. We use ‘The Literary Curriculum’ to support our teaching of writing.
The Literary Curriculum is a complete book-based, thematic approach to the teaching of primary English that places children’s literature at its core. As a whole school approach, it provides complete coverage of all National Curriculum expectations for writing composition, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as well as coverage of spelling.
Through immersion in high quality texts, children become aware of the language skills of a writer and use this as a model for their writing. Using this model, children develop greater competence in the conventions of spelling, punctuation, sentence structures and text organisation. All plans lead to purposeful application within a wide variety of written outcomes and they support teachers in their delivery of exciting and engaging lessons. Where possible, writing units are linked to a foundation subject so that children can benefit from the links and deepen their understanding and each week children complete a longer written outcome in a foundation subject to embed writing skills for a variety of purposes.
- Children are given opportunity to write and learn spelling rules through the ‘Read Write Inc’
- Children are exposed to a number of key texts to inspire early mark making and oracy through 4 English carpet sessions a week.
- Children complete focus tasks in English
- Children are encouraged to apply their phonic skills to write independently across play based provision.
Across KS1 and KS2:
- We deliver four weekly sessions with lessons inspired by the Literary Curriculum and on one day a week children complete an explicit spelling investigation and longer written outcome in a foundation subject.
- Within English lessons, Children will focus on different types of texts: fiction, non-fiction and poetry. There is a variety of books used including picture books from Reception up to Year 6.
- Children will have opportunities to write a length but to also complete shorter writing tasks.
- The writing tasks have a focus on thinking about whom the audience is and what the purpose of the task is.
- The writing tasks are meaningful and cover a range of genres such as, but not limited to: a story, diary entry, newspaper article, persuasive argument and a letter.
- Throughout the unit of work, there will be grammar and punctuation lessons linked to their writing tasks to make these lessons more meaningful and purposeful.
- Time is spent on preparation for writing. Some of the pre-writing activities we use to support and prepare the children for writing include: drama strategies such as hot seating, conscience alley and freeze framing; developing characterisation through role on the wall; ‘stepping a story’ and visualisation
- Writing is appropriately scaffolded so that all children can succeed, through oral rehearsal, word banks, modelling, drama, planning organisers etc. Oracy skills are modelled and developed to help all children express themselves coherently and effectively prior to writing.
- Children will be taught to self-correct, edit and improve their writing and that of others. Evidence of this can be found in books, in blue pen.
Across the whole school we use the Letter-join programme to provide a consistent approach to the teaching of handwriting.
In Reception, as part of the RWI phonics programme, correct letter formation is taught and practiced each day. This is complemented through daily fine-motor skill activities and handwriting sessions from Letter-join.
When children reach Year 2, they are taught to use cursive handwriting. Handwriting sessions occur frequently each week from 4x weekly in KS1 to 2x weekly in Upper Key Stage 2.
As a result of our writing ethos and a rigorous approach to the teaching of writing, our children will:
- achieve high quality outcomes
- make outstanding progress in relation to their individual starting points
- leave our school with the skills they need to be a confident writer, but most importantly with an ability to communicate both verbally and through their writing
- enjoy writing and view themselves as effective, competent writers
Attainment in writing is measured constantly throughout the year. At three assessment checkpoints, progress is tracked. Termly moderations take place, to quality assure judgements made. These are either in house, or as part of a cluster of local schools.
End of Key Stage writing: teachers will assess a selection of pieces of writing in Years 2 and Year 6, using this to inform reported teacher assessment judgements. Exemplification materials are used to support judgements made.