Being able to read well matters. It can significantly impact on success in school and beyond. It takes them into imagined worlds far beyond their own experience, and make possible endless opportunities to explore new areas of learning, thinking and ideas. The power of reading is immense, and we want children to be able to take full advantage of the benefits, pleasure and enjoyment that it has to offer. We aim to develop positive attitudes towards reading so every child thinks of themselves as a reader and has fostered a love of the written word in all its various forms. We wish to create a community of readers that share, enjoy and promote reading as a skill and desirable past time.
We teach whole class guided reading from Yr.2 upwards. Furthermore, all classes have a wide range of texts from a variety of authors: we have recently reassessed our reading curriculum to ensure that the books feature characters, and are written by authors, from a range of backgrounds, particularly those with SEND and those from ethnic minorities-children need to see themselves and their friends in the books that they read. These are read to them throughout the year; this helps to promote reading as a desirable past time and something that should be valued and treasured.
We use VIPERS from the Literacy Shed to support children with their reading comprehension skills. VIPERS are a range of reading prompts based on the 2016 reading Content Domain Areas (CDAs) found in the National Curriculum Test Framework. Each classroom will have the Reading VIPERS displayed in the reading area of their classroom and the class teacher will make explicit links to the skill the children will be learning about. This gives all children across the school a common language to discuss their reading knowledge and understanding.
Reading to the Children
Our goal is to motivate children to want to read so they will practice reading independently and, thus, become fluent readers. That happens when children enjoy reading. At the end of every school day, the class teachers will read and share high quality texts to your children at a level which is beyond their reading age. This ensures that we continue to develop their vocabulary and understanding of characters and plot far beyond their reading level. It also gives them access to worlds and experiences different to their own.
The impact of our English curriculum can be clearly seen across the school through children talking about their love of reading, the quality of texts the children are reading, the quality of teaching across the school.
At Foxhole Learning Academy, we aim to develop children who are clear, effective communicators who respond to their audience and the context appropriately, and in doing so have the opportunity to write in a widening variety of forms for different purposes using appropriate grammar forms. Additionally, we develop their ability to spell correctly, using the Spelling Shed scheme, and to write in a cursive style of handwriting, supporting children of all abilities through appropriate modelling and scaffolding to enable them to express themselves through writing.
We currently use the Literary Curriculum for writing from Yr. 1/2 up, this immerses children in a literary world, therefore creating strong levels of engagement to provide meaningful and authentic contexts for primary English.
Children become critical readers and acquire an authorial style as they encounter a wide-range of significant authors and a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Some year groups use The Literacy Shed for particular units too.
Each class in the school has daily writing sessions as it is integral in all other areas of the curriculum. The Foundation Stage follows curriculum guidance for literacy and children have the opportunity to write on a daily basis through own choice and structured adult led tasks throughout the environment. We encourage the children to write independently from an early age. All children who complete RWI lessons have daily opportunities to use and apply the skills taught within the scheme. In EYFS, we also use Greg Bottrill's Drawing Club as a stimulus for writing.
Writing units generally follow the following structure:
Children are fully immersed in the genre that they are learning and skills are taught explicitly. This may include:
- Text analysis of the writing purpose
- Reading and identifying text and structural features of the purpose/genre. From this a writing toolkit is made by the teacher and/or children to use when they are writing.
- Discrete, explicit teaching of grammar/ punctuation features needed for the writing purpose.
- Teacher modelled, group or individual planning of the text to be written
- Modelled Teaching of skills on a class text:
- Teacher instructed modelling of text including sentence structure to show how the grammar/punctuation objectives can be embedded into the text.
Independent writing from the children incorporating all skills learnt. They draft, proof-read and edit and then peer assess using the SURPRISES editing tool from the Literacy Shed. No teacher input is given at this stage: all work is completely independent of adult intervention.
Children then complete their final draft in their Progress books and work is marked using the Babcock assessment grids for their year group.
Whole School Write:
Once a term, the children in all year groups are given a single prompt, it could be a picture or a video from the Literacy Shed and they all produce a piece of writing based on that. The writing is then displayed so that a clear progression of skills can be seen across the school. There is always much excitement when the display goes up, and the children love to stop and read all the pieces.
The quality of our children’s writing, including content, range of genres, grammar and handwriting can be seen not just in English books but also in the wider curriculum.