Most importantly, we want our pupils to love reading – whatever their age. From Reception, we read with the children every day fostering a love of all types of books; we ask our parents to do the same.
We teach key phonics skills using Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc phonics programme from reception upwards to equip our children with the necessary skills to be confident free readers as they grow older.
Further up the school, we use Shared and Guided Reading to strengthen reading comprehension skills; this approach focuses on the skills of predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. Through this approach, our pupils are exposed to a rich and wide variety of texts everyday whilst also developing independence in how they evaluate and discuss texts with their peers.
Our writing is closely linked to our termly topic themes; this approach gives the children even more time to learn about their topics whilst also providing a meaningful output for their work. Core skills in spelling, grammar and punctuation are taught through writing sessions, embedded in the learning rather than separate – this provides a meaningful context for their use. Handwriting practice ensures all writers present their work beautifully. We want our young writers to master the English language with a strong control of grammar and punctuation but also a rich, imaginative bank of vocabulary. With these skills and experiences, we believe they can be the authors, poets, editors and journalists of tomorrow.
Confident public speaking and the ability to listen with focus are incredible tools to have. As such, we plan frequent opportunities for our children to speak to wider audiences, be it to a group, a class or in assembly; we hold high expectations for all in terms of speaking with volume, clarity and confidence. In our compassionate school we all value the need to listen to others – not just so we can better understand their views and opinions, but so we can strengthen ours.
At the end of Year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to an appropriate standard. (Year 2 children will be taking this test in the Autumn Term as they were unable to take it at the end of Year 1 due to the pandemic)
There are 40 words in the screening check which children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of ‘real words’ (e.g. ‘mud’) and ‘non-words’ (e.g. ‘splog’) and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words.
Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session, but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis.