Reading and phonics
Our approach to phonics is set out in detail on the phonics page. Phonics is taught daily and is the main approach to teaching reading.
We aim to provide a rich variety of reading materials for our pupils, and to promote a love of reading and stories. Children in school have stories read to them often, and we see this as a vital part of developing story language and vocabulary. We have a selection of books in our classrooms and a brand new school library.
Our main reading scheme is Bug Club, and the books are allocated online.
The books are linked to our phonics scheme and carefully chosen by the teacher to reflect the correct level of phonics for each child.
We also have some physical books which are phonetically decodable and have recently invested in physical copies of the Bug Club books.
In Year 2, children who are fluent readers progress to banded books.
In addition to Phonics, reading comprehension skills are taught through weekly sessions, which may be individual, group or whole class lessons. The key skills taught are: Vocabulary, Sequencing, Retrieval, Predicting and Inference. The teachers select texts for these which may be online, physical books or extracts from books.
How is reading assessed?
Phonics is assessed regularly through the school year (at least every 6 weeks). Reading is assessed against the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum age related expectations – this happens at the end of every term. Ongoing formative assessment will support the children “moving up” a reading level on banded reading books or on Bug Club. Click on the "Impact" shield to see the age related expectations.
Spelling is linked to our phonics teaching. Tricky words (those that can not be spelled phonetically) are taught alongside phonic sounds each week, and these are practised within reading books and in phonics games.
In Year 1, lists of spelling words are sent home, which are taken from the key words for the year group from the National Curriculum. Spelling tests are not done in Year 1, but words learned are encouraged in children’s writing.
In Year 2, spelling forms part of the Phase 6 phonics. Lists of words are sent home and tested weekly.
In Reception, letter formation is taught daily with the phonics lesson, and reinforced in adult led writing and mark making sessions. There is also a focus on gross and fine motor development to support the children to have the core stability and hand strength to be able to grip and manipulate writing tools.
In Year 1, the children continue to refine their letter formation, concentrating on consistent letter size, correct orientation of the letters and ensuring that the writing is sitting on the line in preparation for joining in Year 2.
In Year 2 the children learn the various letter joins and begin to write with legible joined writing.
In Reception, children are encouraged to write letters as soon as they are taught in phonics sessions, putting these together to make words. Children should be writing phonetically. Children are encouraged to write sentences, simple stories, lists and labels amongst many others. There will be writing and mark making opportunities within the continuous provision.
In Year 1 and Year 2 children’s writing is often linked to the topics and texts studied. There is an expectation of correct use of capital letters and full stops to demarcate sentences. Children have an English book, where they complete preparation for their writing (such as grammar exercises or story plans) and a Writing book where children complete longer pieces of work. Writing can be fiction or non fiction.
How is writing assessed?
The teacher will assess a range of work produced by the child, including longer pieces of writing and any writing from topic work. They will assess this termly against the age related expectations of the National Curriculum or Early Years Foundation stage. Children’s use of spelling and grammar forms part of this assessment. Ongoing formative assessment and feedback supports the children to progress.
Click on the "impact" shield to see the Age Related Expectations.
How do we know the English Curriculum is effective?
Children are able to read and enjoy texts, and progress through the phonics and reading schemes. Children’s assessments show they are understanding what they are reading and developing the skills taught to read for pleasure and for information. Children are enthusiastic and accurate writers.
How often should English be taught and for how long?
Phonics should be taught daily for 20-30 minutes at a minimum. Guided reading should be taught no less than twice weekly, depending on the age of the children. English lessons should be daily for around an hour.
How does English link to other subjects including PSHE?
All of the topics taught have texts which are used in English. Children use their reading and writing skills to record their thoughts in all other topics.