In reading, the children begin by having wordless books. This is to encourage their story language and prediction skills. Children are taught phonics daily. We follow the Letters and Sounds Programme for progression. This is supplemented by the Jolly Phonics to teach the children actions for the sounds. As the children learn their sounds in daily phonics sessions, we start to send worded books home, containing high frequency words like, “look”, as well as words the children can chop and blend using their knowledge of sounds. As well as chopping and blending skills, we also put emphasis on developing the children's comprehension of what they are reading, making sure that they are able to answer questions about the characters, plot and what might happen next. Throughout the children's time in Reception, they will learn around 100 high frequency and tricky words. These are learnt through daily practice in our phonics sessions, and consolidated through practice at home with parents.
KEY STAGE 1
Much of the focus is to develop confident readers. Children continue to be taught a programme of phonics teaching from the Letters and Sounds programme. They continue with the 40+ main speech sounds in English and the letters that represent them. They continue to learn to blend sounds together to form words. They read aloud, listen and talk about a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. They retell stories and predict what might happen next in a book. They explain what has happened in a book. By year 2 children will become increasing fluent readers. At the end of year 2, all children will sit the National curriculum Tests for Key Stage 1. These will include two short reading tests, a grammar and punctuation test, and a spelling test of 10 words. The PM levelled reading programme of coloured book bands is used throughout KS1 and lower KS2. This is monitored by teachers and teaching assistants. Children will be assessed individually before moving to the next coloured band.
KEY STAGE 2
Children continue to work through the PM levelled reading programme. Once all levels are completed, children then become a Free Reader and choose from a suitable range of books from the class library corner, the school library or appropriate books from home. Children will begin to tackle the decoding of more complex words, including those with more complex spelling patterns. They read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction and experience different forms of poetry. They use dictionaries to find the meanings of words. They become familiar with and learn to retell traditional tales. Children ask questions, make predictions and summarise what they have read. They take part in discussions about reading and find and record information from non-fiction texts. They begin to identify how words are chosen for effect and start to use these in their own writing. As they reach year 5 and 6, children learn poetry by heart and make comparisons between different books. They read a range of modern and classic fiction, as well as texts from other cultures and traditions. They make book recommendations and participate in discussions and debates about books. At the end of Key stage 2 all year 6 pupils sit the National Curriculum Reading test - a one hour reading test which is externally marked.
How you can help:
Set aside a regular time to read each day –Listen to your child read and make time for your child to listen to you read to them. Even older children and more confident readers benefit from and enjoy being read to. Make it an enjoyable time. Let your child see you reading. Discuss together what you have read. Visit the school library or the local library together to choose books. Encourage your child to collect vocabulary from their reading to use in his/her writing (e.g. different words for “said”, “went”).
Good readers make good writers. An ability to read well is an advantage when tackling written problems in Maths and for research in History and Science. Try to prioritise reading in your busy family schedule.
If your child is a reluctant reader, audio books with a read-along text are ideal. Ask your child’s teacher for help. Click on the Lovereading4kids link for ideas for books.
Speaking and Listening
Early Years and Key Stage 1
Children are taught to listen and respond to adults and other children, ask questions to extend their understanding and learn new vocabulary related to topics or daily life.
Key Stage 2
Children use discussion and conversation to explore and speculate about new ideas. They begin to recognise when they need to use Standard English. They participate in performances. They begin to consider different viewpoints, responding appropriately.
How you can help:
Encourage your child to talk about what they have been doing; what they have read or even what they have watched on TV. Get them to retell favourite stories. Encourage them to make up plays and perform them. Learn and recite poems together.
At the Early stages of writing children are encouraged to make marks with meaning, for example drawing lines and shapes that the child can explain and put meaning to. As they develop and learn their sounds in daily phonics sessions, the children are taught how to correctly form each letter of the alphabet using the pre-cursive script. Children are taught to use lower case letters which start with a lead-in stroke and finish ready to join to the next letter in readiness for cursive writing. Children are encouraged to hold a pencil correctly and name the letters of the alphabet. From here we encourage the children to chop and blend words so that they can write them, starting with simple words like sat and sit. Once the children have become more confident in the formation of the letters and writing simple words, they learn the structure of a simple sentence, including finger spaces, capital letters and full stops. We provide a range of opportunities for the children to develop these skills, through writing for different purposes, including list writing, stories and information books.
Key Stage 1
Children learn to plan out sentences aloud and then write them using joining words such as “and”. Children are taught to write letters of appropriate size, using spaces between words when writing. They write about real events and personal experiences. They begin to use some simple punctuation and re-read and edit writing to check that it makes sense.
Key Stage 2
Children use examples of writing to help them structure their own similar texts. They plan out sentences orally and select adventurous vocabulary and use paragraphs to organise ideas. They develop character and settings through detail and description, extending sentences using a wider range of conjunctions. In year 5 and 6 this becomes more developed.
Grammar is taught throughout the school as part of the writing process. Children are expected to use the correct grammatical terminology, as well as be able to recognise different word classes and their function.
Children are taught spelling rules in weekly spelling lessons. They are encouraged to apply these rules in their writing and are given opportunity to practise these rules at other times during the week, either during the lesson or for homework. A variety of strategies, including memorisation, is taught. Spellings are tested through spelling tests, dictated sentences or by the monitoring of spellings in writing. In addition to the spelling rules, there is a word list of key spellings that children are required to learn in each year group.
At the end of Key Stage 2 all children sit a 45 minute grammar and punctuation paper which includes a 20 word spelling test. This is externally marked. Writing is teacher assessed across a range of writing throughout the year.
How you can help:
Writing: Encourage good conversation and regular reading at home. Read aloud to your child, as this will help him/her to access a higher level of vocabulary than they can read for themselves. Good language skills lead to good writing. Encourage your child to write stories and poems at home and bring them into school to share.
Spelling: Use a range of strategies from the school website to help your child practise spellings.
Grammar: gently correct your child if he/she uses incorrect spoken English. Pick out different word classes, for example, verbs, adverbs, adjectives and nouns in reading books. Look out for incorrect use of punctuation – especially plurals and apostrophes – in public places and discuss.
If your child is identified as working below the expected level for the year group, he/she may be selected to take part in intervention groups such as spelling or reading recovery. Please see Mrs Pedley (Special Educational needs co-ordinator) if you have any concerns.
If you would like any help to support your child with reading, writing, spelling or grammar, contact the office or your child’s teacher. Look out for parent workshops – see the newsletter for details.
Look out for Learning Link activities which may be sent home with ideas for how to help your child at home.
If your child is identified at working above the expected level for the year group, he/she is encouraged to place greater focus on the quality of writing, evaluating the effect of language and stylistic devices. He/she is encouraged to experiment with writing and to be more adventurous in vocabulary choices. In reading, he/she will be encouraged to have a greater appreciation for both fiction and non-fiction, inferring meaning and taking a more critical approach, examining authorial intent. In upper Key Stage 2 there are opportunities for able writer workshops with other schools in the area.