Literacy and communication skills lie at the heart of our curriculum. At the start of each new curriculum theme all children are given a novel to read for enjoyment during holidays and as a basis for their learning in the forthcoming term.
- Our termly curriculum themes provide the content for our writing.
- Children learn to write a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres.
- Every two weeks, children produce an independent piece of extended writing.
- Each writing genre is started with an ‘experience’ to allow to children to have a personal knowledge of what they are expected to write about.
- Children learn to write as writers, thinking about the process of crafting a text – planning, writing, redrafting and publishing.
- A ‘Star Writer’ is chosen from each class every two weeks and their work is celebrated on a display.
- Children have Writing Journals where they can record personal and creative writing.
- Daily spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons help learners to produce technically accurate writing.
- In Reception and Year 1, children begin to learn to read through Daily Supported Reading.
- Every class from Year 2 upwards has 30 minutes of guided reading every day. Every child will have at least one session per week reading with an adult as part of a small group.
- Teachers teach reading using the reciprocal teaching model (SPIQE)
- Every child has a home reading and library book. They are encouraged to rea at home every evening and record this in a home journal.
- The Reading Recovery programme is used to support learners who find reading challenging in Year 1.
- Daily phonic lessons are given daily in the foundation stage and in KS1 and some children from KS2.
- Reading for pleasure is promoted across the school through experiences like Big Read and themed, interactive book corners.
Children at Colvestone will secure automatic decoding skills and progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure. The ultimate goal of learning to read is comprehension.
To achieve this, practitioners and teachers are clear about which activities are designed to teach children to acquire word recognition skills, and which will help children develop high-level comprehension skills.
At Colvestone, pre-reading skills are taught using synthetic phonics and the school follows the government published program ‘Letters and Sounds’.
Letters and Sounds
(outlined in ‘Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics Primary National Strategy 2007)
Letters and Sounds is designed to help practitioners and teachers to teach children how the alphabet works for reading and spelling. Systematic, high quality phonics teaching and is needed for children to achieve the goal of reading. Letters and Sounds is designed as a time limited programme of phonics work aimed at securing fluent work recognition skills for reading by the end of Key Stage 1 and as an intervention in Key Stage Two.
This provides us with a multi-sensory approach that accommodates all learning styles. The children are taught within the phase that is appropriate to their level of development. The phonemes (sounds) are systematically taught before the children are shown how to blend them for reading and segmenting them for writing. Alongside this the children are taught the ’high frequency words’ (those words which do not entirely follow the phonic rules).
Colvestone has implemented the programme whereby six structured phases are followed. In Letters and Sounds the phases are deliberately porous so that no children are held back or unduly pressured to move on before they are equipped to do so.
Organisation of Phonics
Currently Phonics at Colvestone is taught as a discrete lesson throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.
How will groups be organised?
Currently we have 3 class teachers and 6 teaching assistants (TAs).
Groups will consist of a maximum of 10 children, where TAs are leading the learning and class teachers will deliver to larger groups.
Children are grouped according to the outcomes of on-going assessments.
Currently planning is undertaken by class teachers. Each class teacher will be responsible for a phase and plan accordingly. These plans will be shared so that they can be used in the smaller groups, delivered by the TAs.
Staff receive regular training in the teaching of phonics which enables them to deliver interesting, interactive sessions that engage and motivate the children.
Speaking and Listening
- ‘Talk Partners’ are used to help children communicate with each other and discuss tasks.
- ‘Talk for Writing’ is an important tool for teaching children how to write. Pupils are encouraged to learn a piece of writing or story off my heart. This helps with internalising the structure and helps to generate ideas for writing.
- Speaking and listening activities are incorporated into daily lesson planning across the curriculum.
- Learners from Upper Key Stage 2 take part in debates with children from other schools.