Literacy

The teaching of reading, writing, and spoken language, is based on the guidance set out in the new 2014 National Curriculum.   

Reading

Intent

We teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Foundation and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

We value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

Implementation

Daily phonics lessons in Foundation and Year 1

Children in Foundation and Year 1 have daily phonics lessons.  We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day.  Each Friday we review the week’s learning to help children become fluent readers.

Children in Foundation are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.  

Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Daily Keep-up lessons

Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.

Any child in Year 2, 3 or 4 who is not fully fluent at reading are assessed using the Little Wandle assessments to identify gaps that need to be taught.  Keep up resources are used during regular teaching.

Teaching reading

In Foundation and Year 1 we teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.  We use books that are matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle assessments.  Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:

  • decoding
  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text. 

In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books. 

In KS2 whole class reading is taught so that all children are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote.  These sessions take place 4 times a week.

Home Reading

In Foundation and Year 1, the decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.  A reading for pleasure book also goes home for parents to share and read to children. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.

Children in Years 2 – 4 take home books from our banded 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. The majority of books are from the Collins Big Cat scheme and give children breadth and interest in different authors and illustrators.

Ensuring Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Damers First School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.  Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. The school library is made available for classes to use once a week. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).

Impact

Assessment 

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.  Assessment for Learning is used daily within class to identify children needing Keep up support.  Summative assessment is used every six weeks to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed.  The assessment tracker is scrutinised to narrow the gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.  

Statutory assessment

  • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Writing

Intent

Writing is a major part of the curriculum and along with reading, listening and talking, makes a significant contribution to the development of children as thinkers and learners.

Writing involves a set of complex skills that will not develop without structured teaching and practice. At Damers School we are using a variety of approaches and resources.

We value writing and strive to achieve high standards from all children, within a positive writing ethos. Literacy skills empower individuals to unlock their potential as independent lifelong learners. They have a significant impact on self-esteem, motivation and aspirations for the future. Being literate equips young people to be proactive in their own learning and to articulate their thoughts. In this way they grow in an understanding of themselves as individuals and as members of society.

Implementation

At Damers we have developed a core text map using high quality texts from the CLPE Power of Reading scheme.  The books have been carefully chosen by staff to create a rich cohesive writing curriculum for the children as they move through the school whilst incorporating our Harmony values.  Progression in writing skills have been mapped out for each term and each year group to ensure that children develop their skills as they progress through the school.

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 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 in years 2-4 receive 3 spelling sessions a week following the progression in the  No Nonsense Spelling scheme.   Drama, storytelling and other talk for writing strategies are often used as part of planning for writing activities to help children develop their creativity.  

Children at Damers are given the opportunity to take part in local and national writing competitions and projects on a regular basis.

Impact

We hold regular moderation meetings within our PPA sessions and also take part in the No More Marking national tasks which provide us with year group specific reports that are then used to inform our future planning and teaching.  These reports provide us with a useful data set, looking at the attainment of different groups within the school, considers if the children are working at age related expectations, and gives a writing age.  In years 1-4 the SWST test is used to give a spelling age.

Book Looks, lesson drop ins, year leader moderation events and pupil progress discussions also provide opportunities for assessment discussions with staff. 

Spoken Language

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.

Links

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.

 Year 1    
english-yr1-overview-link english-yr1-spelling-link english-links-yr1
 Year 2    
english-y2-overview-link english-yr2-spelling-link english-y2-vocab-link
 Years 3 & 4  
english-y34-overview-link english-yr3-4-spelling-link
english-y3-vocab-link english-y4-vocab-link