Our approach to reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar
At Roche we feel that reading is the cornerstone to progress in so many aspects of learning. Whilst we encourage parents to read with their children throughout their time at school, we also commit time in school to read. Firstly, we dedicate time to individual independent reading to promote fluency and engagement, utilising the Accelerated Reader scheme with all children as soon as they complete Read Write Inc phonics. Accelerated reader offers a competitive element to reading, which encourages children to read as much as possible but also as deeply as possible. The Accelerated Reader system enables children to regulate their own progress and push themselves to read and achieve more. It promotes reading for meaning and develops comprehension skills alongside enjoyment and greater engagement in what they are reading. It also gives us clear information to share with parents about their child’s progress. Secondly, we have ‘shared reading’; an initiative that sees each class reading three times a week as a group using whole class sets of texts so that every child has a book in their hands enabling the class to read, discuss and enjoy the story or information together, and in particular develop vocabulary. This initiative begins during Year 1 and carries on throughout the school. Each text has a meaningful rationale such as being a great topic link, or providing a rich stimulus for writing. In addition, our frequent written comprehensions give teachers information on what skills the class have and need in terms of comprehension meaning that they can tailor the questions to these domains giving the class opportunities to practise and apply the appropriate knowledge and skills, and ultimately progress.
In Reception class, we value the ‘five-a-day’ read-aloud programme, which sees the children engaging in five texts (stories, narratives and information texts) each day.
This immerses the children in the sounds and experiences of the stories, and is a great precursor to the shared reading initiative we employ in the other classes. It sparks and develops children’s levels of concentration and attainment in reading and writing, as well as their enjoyment and, ultimately, their love of reading!
Throughout the school, there are lots of rewards and incentives to recognise individual and class progress in reading.
We teach phonics throughout Foundation Stage, Key stage 1 and this continues in Key stage 2 for those requiring additional support and catch-up. Our principle aim of phonics is to develop the skills to read fluently, as well as to build firm foundations of vocabulary. Progress in phonics is assessed by the Phonics Screening Test in Year 1, where children are tested on their phonics ability (2019 document attached). We teach phonics through the Read, Write, Inc Programme. Children are assessed every half term and grouped according to their progress. Those who are not making enough progress are immediately put on a catch-up programme to prevent them falling behind. Children’s reading books are closely matched to their phonics ability which helps them apply their learning and develop reading fluency. Parents are briefed about the scheme at the beginning of each year when we have our parent briefings.
The focus on phonics becomes a focus on spelling of key vocabulary as the children progress through the school where we use the Read, Write, Inc Spelling program. We run workshops for parents of children in Reception class to show them ways of supporting and developing reading with their children at home. These are well attended. We are proud to have a number of volunteer readers in school who regularly come in to work with children. We always welcome more!
Carefully planned opportunities to embed writing run throughout our curriculum, with varied curriculum launches (starting points) and landings (final purposes), and some leaps in between! These ignite an excitement for the topic and in turn the writing that accompanies it. We have worked hard at Roche to develop a rich and robust English curriculum, which is committed to opportunities for progression and consolidation, primarily based upon our ‘editing and drafting’ programme. This programme champions the idea of fluency of writing, as well as development, as does our ‘writing conferencing’ initiative, which sees pupils working one to one, or in small groups, with their teacher to address the areas that are pertinent to them.