At Damers we place great importance on the teaching of reading. We recognise it as a vital basic skill that impacts on a child’s achievement across the curriculum, across school and throughout their life. We are determined to get it right for every child so Damers prioritises reading and invests heavily in books and specialist support.
We teach children to read using the synthetic phonics approach. Children learn the sounds that individual letters and groups of letters make (phonemes) and are taught how to blend them together to read words. This begins early in Foundation where teachers monitor the children’s progress carefully and keep in touch with parents/carers about how this is going. A systematic approach is used throughout the school based on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. Children have a discrete 15 -20 minutes phonics teaching every day because we know little and often really makes a difference.
Alongside the strategies taught to decode words sits the skill of comprehension. Children are taught how to make sense of what they read during whole class shared reading , through small guided group work with the teacher and then they practise this skill when they read independently. In KS1 children have two guided reading sessions per week and in KS2 one. Children take home a reading book to practise at home. Alongside this we keep a Home/School Reading Diary. In here parents will find tips on how to support their child with reading and some of the things their child will be working on in reading that year.
We recognise that whilst phonics is the best approach to learning to read and works for the vast majority of our children we need to look at other strategies for children who have not experienced the success we would like. In Year 1 we are lucky enough to be able to employ our own Reading Recovery teacher. Mrs Godfrey works intensively every day with individual children as well as supporting a number of Teaching Assistants who have been trained to deliver specific reading intervention programmes. Our overall aim is to ensure that all our children leave Year 1 in a strong position to broaden their reading further in Year 2. Any children in Key Stage 2 that need further specific support are able to access the Better Reading Partners intervention programme.
In terms of resources each classroom has a well developed book corner where children can select a book and read quietly in a den, under a giant leaf or on a comfy seat. Books have been chosen in consultation with the children so we can be sure there is something that appeals to everyone.
In our Learning Zone you will see many coloured boxes of books. These colour coded books make up our school ‘reading scheme’. Books are colour banded, by sticker, according to the Reading Recovery Book Bands system. Each colour band contains both fiction and non-fiction. There are phonic based books at the earlier levels and poetry within each band. Books are from the Rigby, Heinneman and Oxford publishers; giving children breadth and interest in different authors and illustrators.
Children have opportunities to practise their reading through ICT and use the Reading Eggs online resource which they can also access from home. We have recently purchased Junior Librarian and hope to have this up and running soon to support our newly redeveloped school library. Children will be able to access Junior Librarian from home, leave book reviews and find out what other books they may be interested in borrowing.
Writing lessons focus on the development of handwriting, punctuation, grammar and the creative process which brings this together to make a piece of writing. There is a strong emphasis on developing writing skills and teachers model how to structure and organise writing so that it engages the reader. Children are given the opportunity to write imaginatively, record information, express themselves accurately and to use an adventurous and wide-ranging vocabulary. Punctuation and grammar are taught as an integral part of this process and spelling strategies are taught throughout the school. The teaching of phonics and spelling aims to show pupils how to become natural and accurate spellers. Children in Foundation and Key Stage 1 are taught developmentally appropriate spelling strategies using the Letter and Sounds approach as part of their daily phonics sessions. Key Stage 2 builds on the approaches introduced in Key Stage 1, with an emphasis on developing confidence and independence. It is expected that pupils assume increased responsibility by identifying their own spelling errors, making reasoned choices about likely alternatives and using a range of resources for making corrections. Children receive 3 interactive spelling sessions a week. Drama and story telling are often used as part of planning for writing activities to help children develop their creativity. Teachers plan rich and varied writing tasks, which often relate to the topic being studied at the time. Children who need support in developing their writing skills in Key Stage 2 are able to access the Write Away intervention programme.
This area of the curriculum focuses on children’s ability to communicate well. This aspect of literacy includes the development of speaking and listening as well as drama and group work. Speaking and listening well is an important life skill and we teach these skills during reading and writing lessons as well as elsewhere in the curriculum. Children who need support in developing their spoken language are able to access the Talking Partners intervention programme.
Below are the National Curriculum (2014) statutory requirements, for each year group. All documents are from the National Curriculum (2014) as produced by the DfE and are Crown Copyright.
|Years 3 & 4|