Teaching and learning in reading & writing
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Alongside our phonics scheme (Read, Write, Inc), we encourage a love of reading and a passion for knowledge and books. Children across school, take home books to read for pleasure, as well as using them to practise their reading skills.
All children read to an adult at least once a week and as part of this session they are given an opportunity to talk about the book and answer questions. We use a reading online program called ‘Accelerated Reader’, which ensures that children are reading books at their level and helps them to continue to develop their skills.
Each week, children read as part of a whole class session. This is called ‘Shared Reading’. In these sessions there are group discussions and interrogations of texts to help children understand more about the text itself as well as how it’s written. This is called ‘reading as a reader’ and ‘reading as a writer’.
A love of reading is promoted in the classrooms in a range of ways. We read and explore a range of high quality texts which form the basis of our English lessons. In the summer term, classes study an author such as William Shakespeare or Roald Dahl which promotes and celebrates literature. Additionally, we have introduced ‘Non-Fiction Fridays’ during which children are immersed in a wide range of factual books to enhance their learning in the wider curriculum.
In Nursery & Reception, children are supported via a range of activities to develop the motor skills required to be efficient writers. Activities include ‘Dough’ and ‘Funky Fingers’ sessions where children are encouraged to mark make using a variety of materials both in the classroom and beyond. As children progress through Foundation Stage, they receive guidance on letter formation. Displays, prompts, resources and examples of writing can be found throughout the indoor and outdoor classroom environments to promote these skills and motivate pupils.
We have adopted the Literacy Counts scheme of work ‘Read to Write’. This is the teaching of writing through carefully constructed units which leads to improved outcomes for children. The high-quality literature studied paves the way for children to produce their own high-quality pieces of writing across the curriculum.
Writing is taught using a variety of strategies based on concepts of imitation, innovation and invention. When children begin work on a particular genre, they are provided with opportunities to become familiar with the features of the genre by examining samples of writing. They gain an understanding of the language and structural features which, for example, make a story a story!
Children begin to apply the key features they have identified within activities including Talk for Writing, where children may be involved in re-telling a story or, for example, presenting a persuasive argument verbally. When children progress to producing their own pieces, they have an awareness of the key features of the genre. This enables them to assess their own writing to check that they have included key features.
Many texts link to other areas of the curriculum which helps build a rich curriculum where intent and implementation ensures a positive impact on pupil outcomes and support the links that children make between their learning. Children are given a wealth of writing opportunities and apply their writing skills in other areas of the curriculum, including subjects such as History, Geography and Science.
Each week, pupils take part in an Extended Write session which allows for the specific teaching and revision of vocabulary, punctuation and grammar skills which are key features of the genre being taught. These lessons are a combination of short activities and shared or independent planning opportunities followed by independent writing time. The short activities provide children with the opportunity to manipulate language, learn key writing skills and build towards their final piece of writing. Planning stages are used effectively during lessons to provide a framework for writing and support independent ideas. When writing, pupils are encouraged to cross out, make additions, edit and self-correct their writing which allows the children to work as real authors, improving their work within a single writing session.