Literacy and Reading statement
English at St. Kenelm’s C.E Primary School
We are committed to developing literacy skills through uniting the important skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening through an engaging curriculum. We believe that developing a good literacy understanding is a fundamental life skill.
Further Information: For more information on this, or on anything in our main Literacy Policy, please see Miss Houghton or Mrs. Thomas who will be happy to talk through our ethos.
We teach children to read initially by a synthetic phonics approach supplemented by a variety of means as children’s skills develop. We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ as a means of planning and assessing the children and we track their progress through the phases using our online tracking system. Phonics is taught daily in discreet sessions through KS1 and up to phase 6, and of course is referred to in Literacy and handwriting sessions, but also in other subjects to fully embed the learning.
Teachers use many different strategies to teach phonics, tailoring the learning to different learning styles as we do in all of our lessons. Various resources from Jolly Phonics, Big Cat phonics and Smart Kids help teachers to use lively and engaging teaching methods to help the children learn each of the 44 sounds found within the English language as well as teaching sound-blend words for reading (decoding) at the same time as developing spelling and handwriting skills (encoding).
Phonics lessons are fun and interactive; games are played in class, graphemes written on the playground, activities are set from phonics websites and ‘Bug Club’ is used for teaching and individual tasks.
Additional support is offered to children in Key Stages 1 and 2 who find Literacy difficult in the form of small, tailored intervention sessions and additional phonics support following the Letters and Sounds model.
Children have the opportunity to select from a wide range of good quality reading books from a variety of reading schemes, from a well-stocked book-banded library that bridges into Key Stage 2 and their own class libraries. Where children are reading within the coloured levels, this is tracked by teachers. Having access to Bug Club, Children have the opportunity to access a wide variety of texts in electronic form also. We use a variety of book such as Oxford Owls, levelled “Big Cat Phonics” and “Comics for Phonics” scheme books. We know that variety ensures children are exposed to new and exciting formats of texts.
Children who are learning to read are encouraged to read a text more than once to practise decoding skills and ensure understanding. The value of parents and other family members helping children with their reading cannot be overestimated. Children are expected to take books home regularly from the class library and school library.
Parents/carers are encouraged to take an active role in their child’s progress through regular reading with their child at home. Every child in school has a reading diary that is a two-way communication between school and families. Teachers collect these diaries to monitor progress. We have many incentives for reading everyday as we believe that this is when children really develop confidence and a love of reading.
As children are learning to read, they are regularly heard in school on an individual basis by an adult for additional practise of their levelled home/ school reading book. In Key stage two, teachers also conduct ERIC (Everyone Reads In Class) sessions. Throughout the school, we ensure that reading skills are taught and honed through our reading into writing sessions as part of our literacy sequence for the week.
In all year groups children have a wide range of abilities, and we seek to provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. Staff have high expectations that all children can achieve to the fullest of their potential. Wherever possible, learning support assistants work in class, supporting specific individuals or groups of children. Where children are seen to be making less progress or achieving below the age-related expectation, focussed interventions are put in place to support them.
Writing including vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and spelling:
A variety of opportunities are provided across the curriculum for children to develop their writing skills. Literacy units are planned so that they link to learning in other areas of the curriculum, thus providing a greater understanding and contextualised approach. All classes base their literacy sequences on high quality text that allows the children to read and write as an author does.
Children write in one book for literacy and geography/history sessions as we feel that this supports them to make links across the subjects and increases expectations for their writing in non-literacy specific lessons.
From the Early years in school, we embed the idea of the sentence and children become confident in understanding what verbs are. We then build on this knowledge in line with expectations for their year group as set out in the National Curriculum 2014.
In line with the new curriculum expectations for spelling, vocabulary, punctuation and grammar, (V.G.P )children have weekly discreet V.G.P and spelling lessons to practise their skills in this area. The objectives in these lessons link into the literacy sequence for the week and are re-enforced throughout other lessons.
Children are taught spelling in line with the 2014 National Curriculum. Spelling lessons further embed and develop the children’s phonological awareness. In Key Stage 1, children develop their ability to spell accurately using the 44 phonic sounds. The emphasis is placed on learning how to spell and the application of this knowledge rather than being a test of memory.
From Years 1 – 6, children are assessed on their Year group spelling list. Alongside this, children are taught the spelling rules that they are expected to be familiar with for their age. Spellings are sent home weekly in years 1-6 and in school are tested by way of dictation within a sentence. Records are kept of how children are progressing with their spellings and resources such as word mats and working walls are available in class to support the children in remembering them.
Speaking and Listening skills
Children are provided with regular opportunities to develop the essential skills of speaking and listening. This is done through discussion, drama and specific listening activities in pairs, groups and as a class. Good oral work enhances pupils’ understanding of language in both oral and written forms. We particularly aim to ensure that children are learning to speak in an accurate grammatical form and we look to model this through the adults in school. We find that opportunities arise in a cross-curricular subject sense and children are able to use their skills in a transferable manner.
From the Foundation Stage, children are taught cursive letter formation and joins following the lead-in cursive style, which enables children to develop a clear style of handwriting. We believe that this gives many benefits to the children including less frequent letter reversals; increase in phonological awareness and can also promote spelling by developing muscle memory when writing words.