Reading and Phonics
We foster a love of reading through the use of language rich, high quality storybooks. This is reflected in our teaching in EYFS and KS1 through Storytime Phonics and in KS2, where children tackle small amounts of challenging texts to develop their comprehension. In both these sessions, reading aloud is an essential component, so adults will model use of intonation and explain how they might think about a text in order to seek understanding. In KS1 teachers also use a variety of schemes in guided reading to develop phonetic knowledge, reading speed and comprehension. This is continued into KS2 for those children who are not yet secure with their phonics.
Our curriculum is also structured around language rich, high quality texts, as our teaching of writing begins using books recommended by CLPE and their Power of Reading Teaching sequences. Here children learn links between how to read like a writer and write like a reader. Furthermore, we have a fantastic new library, which children regularly visit and time should be given for them to read for pleasure every week.
Oracy and vocabulary acquisition are key elements of our reading instruction. Talk for Writing strategies are used from EYFS through to Year 6 and encourage children to understand key patterns found in texts and develop their strength at performing; changing the way they speak for different situations. In KS2, pre-teaching of vocabulary is regularly used to support children’s understanding of a text they are reading and broaden their knowledge of words.
We use a range of teaching strategies and resources to teach children Phonics. We begin this with children when they are developmentally ready but no later than the start of YR. Here is a useful video to give you more information about what Phonics are:
As children quickly move through the phases for teaching Phonics they will encounter a broad range of technical vocabulary that helps them to understand the different sounds they are learning, for example – diagraphs.
Here is a useful video full of useful tips to help you support your child with learning to read:
Click to view a handy guide for parents about learning to read. It gives some useful ideas to help parents support their child with learning to read. We use Letters and Sounds as our foundation for the teaching of early reading through phonics. Download Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice for High Quality Phonics
10 Tips on Hearing Your Child Read
As parents you are your child’s most influential teacher with an important part to play in helping your child to learn to read.
In most instances, writing at our school starts from a high quality text. Teachers integrate artistic, drama and reading experiences to help explore themes and language before using these ideas to stimulate writing. Teachers support writing development by introducing an outstanding model before discussing the grammatical and linguistic features of why it is a good example. This is adapted and discussed through shared and collaborative approaches to support the children in creating their own example of the text. The grammar coverage as outlined by the national curriculum is taught in context where possible to ensure that the children make meaningful connections to how it can be applied.
How do we teach spelling at St Mary and St Peter?
Spelling in Year 1:
Spelling in Year 1 is taught as an integral part of Phonics teaching alongside decoding words. Teachers use sound buttons, mirroring the dots and dashes in Read Write Inc spelling, to ensure there is a continuity of practice.
Read Write Inc. Spelling has been specially created to meet the higher demands of the new national curriculum spelling requirements and tests. Read Write Inc. Spelling embeds impressive skills in just 15 minutes a day, quickly and effectively filling the gaps in children’s knowledge. To keep children engaged, aliens introduce spelling rules on an exciting online spelling planet and children complete quick-fire activities in their spelling logs. Progress is accurately recorded using practice tests and teachers learn how to move children on quickly.
Here is a short video clip about how the programme works:
- Spelling lessons are 15 minutes every day
- Regular assessments of spelling are made by teachers who will share specific spelling rules that are being studied with parents via the childrens’ school diaries. Parents are encouraged to support their children with spelling at home as much as possible.
- Spelling rules and concepts are introduced by aliens from an exciting online spelling planet
- Fun learning activities teach children adventurous words and build their confidence
- Children are well supported through high-quality resources including workbooks and log books so that the rigour needed to ensure spelling is learned well by every child is in place daily.
- Children are prepared for the spelling component of the 2016Key Stage 1 and 2 National Curriculum Tests
How do we teach grammar at St Mary and St Peter?
We use a highly-structured teaching scheme from Y1 through to Y6 to deliver high-quality lessons in grammar. We believe these help every child meet the higher standards of the new curriculum.
Nelson Grammar is a structured grammar teaching programme that is fully in line with the new National Curriculum for England. A careful spiral progression means that all key grammar and punctuation concepts are introduced, revisited and built on as the course progresses.
There are weekly grammar-specific lessons that are enhanced throughout all other lessons where key messages are reinforced by teachers and support staff. The scheme allows teachers to deploy fine-pitched formative assessments:
Continuous marking and feedback of children’s grammar – whether this be written or spoken
Check-ups: short tests which occur on average every half term. These tests re-cap learning from a range of units to ensure that children are retaining their knowledge
Improve Your Writing tasks: short written tasks that help assess how well children can apply their grammar knowledge in context.
Practice Papers for Year 2 and Year 6 to familiarise children with the format of the new National tests. These papers draw on grammar knowledge for the whole key stage.
How do we teach handwriting at St Mary and St Peter?
Early Years Foundation Stage
Children will be taught correct formation before they are expected to practise it. All handwriting learning undertaken in the Foundation Stage will be in pencil (though children will have experience of using a variety of writing tools as part of the general curriculum on a daily basis).
Handwriting will focus on the accurate formation of both capital and lower case letters using a variety of approaches. Teaching will focus initially on patterns and those groups of letters identified as easy letters and also easy words.
Key Stage 1
During Key Stage 1 children will consolidate their learning during the EYFS to ensure that they are confident and consistent in using skills they have learnt in handwriting. Children’s progress will be monitored according to the national curriculum requirements (see section 3).
By the end of Year 1 it is expected that most children will be able to use correct letter orientation and proportion in a style that demonstrates connections of letters (a ‘lead-in’ or ‘beginning flick.’) as a precursor to cursive writing. It is expected that most children will have developed a cursive handwriting style by the end of Key Stage 1.
Presentation of written learning
- A learning objective and date both underlined (these may already have been prepared by the teacher and then stuck in the book during the early months of Year1).
- Use of a sharp pencil for all work, letters to be in a cursive script that includes lead and end flicks so that it leads into joining up very smoothly.
- As children progress through Year 2 they will be encouraged to have developed a cursive and joined handwriting script and will be rewarded in achieving this by being given their Handwriting certificate and pen.
- Children should be encouraged to draw one line through a mistake and write the correction in the next space.
Key Stage 2
During Key Stage 1 children will consolidate their learning during KS1 to ensure that they are confident and consistent in using skills they have learnt in handwriting. Children’s progress will be monitored according to the national curriculum requirements (see section 3).
By the end of Year 4 it is expected that all children will use cursive handwriting for all writing except where other special forms are required.
Children should build up speed and ensure consistency in size and proportions of letters, and spacing between letters and words.
By the end of Year 6 it is expected that all children will have a good level of control and independence in their writing, to have developed their own style that maintains the key elements a good handwriting style should have and to write with a flowing hand which is legible and time efficient.
Presentation of written learning
- A margin, learning objective and date both underlined in pencil, use of a pen (blue or black) with joined up handwriting for all work (writing and Maths), use of a pencil for drawings, diagrams or lines.
- Children should draw a line through any mistakes and write the correction in the next space.
Left handed writers
At least 10 per cent of the population is left-handed – a slightly higher proportion of males. There is no need for left-handed children to be disadvantaged when writing if a few simple strategies are employed:
- Model letter formation, sky writing, etc. specifically for left-handed children, with your left hand.
- Make sure that left-handed children sit on the left of right-handed children, otherwise their writing arms will clash.
- Put a mark at the left side of the page to indicate where writing begins as some left-handed children mirror-write from the right
- Left-handed children usually need to have the paper slightly to the left of centre of their body and should be encouraged to tilt their work clockwise so they can see what they have written.
- Experiment with seat height – some left-handed children may need a higher seat to view their work clearly and to prevent the elbow locking into their side as they work across the paper.
- To avoid smudging their work left-handed children should be encouraged to position their fingers about 1.5 cm away from the end of their writing implement. The pencil should sit in the ‘V’ between thumb and forefinger, sitting parallel to the thumb. The wrist should be straight.
Writing from left to right is more difficult for left-handed children. They should, therefore, be given more attention in the classroom to ensure that they do not learn bad habits of position, posture and pen hold which will deter a fast, fluent and legible hand.
Please view our Handwriting Policy for more information: Handwriting Policy SPRING 2015