Being able to read is central to every aspect of life and our wider curriculum. Children begin their reading journey with daily phonics sessions from Reception and throughout KS1 using the Letters and Sounds programme. Many parents who wish to support with phonics at home may find the PhonicsPlay website useful. As children’s phonic knowledge and decoding improves, they progress through an engaging range of reading books that are banded to develop the skills and strategies appropriate to their stage. The Project X books have been especially motivational for many of the children. For those requiring additional support, phonics continues into KS2. For the majority of children, the emphasis in KS2 shifts to a range of comprehension skills. We teach this through weekly Book Talk, where the children practise traditional comprehension skills along with lively discussion and reasoning based upon a range of sources, including challenging longer texts, wordless books, animations and film clips.
We teach the children cursive letter formation and handwriting from Reception. This means that as they progress through Year 1, they are already familiar with the tails, flicks and upstrokes required to join their handwriting without needing to be re-taught. As a result, we expect many of our children to be fluently joining their handwriting by the end of Year 1.
We teach the aspects of spelling, vocabulary, punctuation, grammar and extended composition of fiction and non-fiction texts through Pie Corbett’s Storytelling model. This is highly interactive for the children, immersing them in engaging topics and themes, such as ‘Would You Have Survived The Titanic?’ or ‘Are Dragons Real?’ The teaching cycle involves a week of immersion in a model text type, thoroughly learning its features and structure through visual maps, actions, choral rehearsal, wow days and practical activities. Week two then focuses on supporting the children to ‘magpie’ the structure and features we learned in the first week and adapting them to a scaffolded, shared class version with significant alterations to the content and context. In the third week the children are then able to apply all of the skills they have learned independently. Subsequently, we revisit the different genres of writing in cross-curricular scenarios such as history or science, where relevant, to ensure that the children can apply their learning in context and at a distance from the initial teaching with less teacher support. This distance, cross-curricular writing and application of skills is what we base our assessment judgements on as it is a great showcase for what they are really secure with and what they need more support with.
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