The YR/KS1 Reading and Phonics scheme
Reading is taught through systematic synthetic phonics and the school is following the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme. These schemes are introduced in the Foundation Classes and then continue to be used throughout Key Stage 1. Children are streamed by ability from Year R and assessed at regular intervals to ensure that they are placed in the correct groupings. Children that need more support acquiring phonic skills follow The Sounds Discovery programme. These groupings meet daily to work on Reading and Phonics. The children also have weekly guided reading sessions where they are given the opportunity to apply the phonics skills they have been taught. All children begin on the Dandelion Reading Scheme in the Foundation Stage and may continue on the scheme into Year 1. When they are ready, they progress on to ‘hall books’ which are banded according to their level of challenge. At this stage, children have access to a wider range of books and can begin to make choices on which books they would like to read. All reading books are sent home for children and parents to enjoy. We also engage learners and parents and carers in our celebration of reading days such as ‘World Book Day’ and ‘Roald Dahl Day’, where children and adults read and explore books together through Reading Cafes.
All staff at Litcham School Primary Phase are committed to developing English skills through uniting the important skills of reading and writing. We teach children to read initially by a synthetic phonics approach supplemented by a variety of means as children’s skills develop. The children have the opportunity to select from a wide range of good quality reading books from their own class libraries and the dedicated school library. We use Junior Librarian to track reading and monitor book selections. Senior pupils run the library every morning and lunchtime to allow all children access. We regularly have authors visiting the school and our library is overseen by the Secondary Phase which has brought excellence in our library practice.
The development of early reading and writing skills is an important focus for the school and children’s progress in reading and writing is carefully monitored. A variety of opportunities are provided across the curriculum for children to develop their writing skills. For example, writing books, writing short stories, letters, poems, instructions, notes, lists and diaries.
To help children progress in their learning and understand what they need to do to improve, the teachers set challenging, individual and whole class writing targets for all pupils. We use ‘Writing Windows’ to show progress over time and for our teacher assessment.
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. Our school takes pride in whole school drama productions which have included, in previous years, productions on the theme of the centenary of the First World War.
The teaching and support staff at Litcham School Primary Phase have worked hard to ensure that the statutory programmes of study for the new curriculum, which came into effect from September 2014 are well resourced and planned for.
Litcham School has always provided high standards of language and literacy and will continue to provide a high-quality of education in English. Besides the teaching of the curriculum, the school is committed in planning for all learning and other broader experiences for the inclusion of all pupils.
The content of the National Curriculum programmes of study for English is divided into specific areas of development for consolidating pupils’ spoken language; reading; writing; grammar, spelling and vocabulary. At Litcham School Primary Phase, these areas of development for the pupils are not unfamiliar in the teaching of English and have always been part of good classroom practice. Each morning pupils spend 30 minutes investigating and improving VCOP (Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation), this is then fed into discrete English teaching. Each Friday ‘BIG Write’ is undertaken by all KS2 pupils, allowing them to write independently and at length in a variety of styles, covering a wide range of topics.
Staff training and support allows our pupils to have access to the highest standards of teaching and provision. We are expanding the work we do across the school and with other schools in the cluster.
The school will continue to set high expectations for all pupils with challenging and motivating activities. Children’s progress will be assessed rigorously and frequently against ambitious targets. Every child will be given every opportunity and experience to achieve.