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St John's CE (VC) Primary School

Life in all its fullness

English

At St John’s CE (VC) Primary School we believe that English is a fundamental life skill. English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.

At St. John’s CE (VC) Primary School, our aim is to instil a passion for reading and confidence with words - written and spoken - in all our children

 

Our Reading & Writing Journey

 

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

 

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. 

 

'All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.'

National Curriculum 2014

 

 

Making a Strong Start using Read Write Inc.     

 

Right from the beginning of Reception, we use Read Write Inc. Phonics which is a highly successful English programme created by Ruth Miskin. All Reading Teachers at St. John’s have received training and support from Ruth Miskin Training, rated Outstanding by the Department for Education, to ensure we meet our aim for all children to become confident and enthusiastic readers. The Read Write Inc. Phonics programme is carefully matched to the curriculum, giving every child at St. John’s the best chance of success.

 

Reception to Year 2 children is taught using Read Write Inc. Phonics as the main EYFS and KS1 early reading programme but it is also taught as an intervention for children in Years 3 and 4. In addition to this, Read Write Inc. Fresh Start is a phonics programme with more age-appropriate resources for older children which we use as and when required in Years 5 and 6.

 

Read Write Inc. Progression Grid

Please see the table below for expected progress term-by-term for Read Write Inc. Phonics in EYFS and KS1.

Year Group

Term

Expected Progress in RWI. Groups

Reception

Autumn

October: know most Set 1 sounds and blend orally (Set 1 B)

December: know Set 1 sounds and read words by blending (Set 1 C)

Spring

February: Ditties

April: Red

Summer

May: Green

July: Green/Purple

Year 1

Autumn

October: Purple

December: Pink (know Set 2 sounds)

Spring

February: Orange

April: Yellow

Summer

May: Yellow (know Set 3 sounds)

July: Blue

Year 2

Autumn

Baseline: Blue

October: Blue

December: Grey

Spring

February: Grey

April: RWI Spelling and Comprehension

 

How can you support your child?

During the academic year, we hold regular parent workshops for early reading. We also have more information on the individual class pages. Follow the link below to read out parent booklets for more information on RWI Phonics and how you can support your child at home.

 

              

 

For further information and tutorials on how to support your child in learning to read from Ruth Miskin, go to: http://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/parents/

 

English Lessons

At St John’s, we recognise the importance of the relationship between reading and writing because we know that when reading and writing are taught together, the benefits are greater than when they are taught separately. We believe that the love for reading initiates the love of writing too.

  

 

At St. John’s, we have chosen to teach skills from National Curriculum from Reception through to Year 6 as part of our commitment to ensure all our children have the opportunity to engage with a rich range of quality texts so that they develop into engaged and informed readers and writers, who understand the relationship between reading and writing.

 

A greater emphasis is on teaching reading and writing through the use of high-quality books/extracts and creative teaching approaches. Children are immersed in the text through music, art, drama, discussion and role-play. Other approaches include responding to illustrations, ‘Book Talk’, story mapping and bookmaking. Children take ownership of the text and engage with it deeply. It also enables children to deepen their understanding of texts and provides a meaningful context for writing.

 

We follow a   genre-focused writing approach. The structure is anchored around the writing process and allows our children to master each genre and produce a range of written outcomes as they move through KS1 and KS2.

 

Using an evidence-based process, it places a strong emphasis on creativity alongside the technical aspects of writing. Children are encouraged to draw on their own experiences and interests to write, to create, and to improve their writing skills. The approach fosters a strong sense of child agency, and encourages a deep immersion in the writing process, to help children believe in themselves as writers.

 

 

 

The Writing Process  

 

 

Time is prioritised to focus on developing the writing process with children as they move through school. The key elements of the writing process are planning, drafting, editing and revising, proofreading and then publishing or sharing. 

 

Modelling is a key element in the teaching of the writing process, with teachers using 'think out loud' to guide children through how to craft a piece of writing. By modelling, the expert writer lets less experienced writers in on the big secret … What is going on in the head of a more experienced writer? By modelling, we demonstrate options for planning, strategic problem solving, self-monitoring, reviewing, revising and proofreading. We also show how techniques can be used or applied; we work through challenges and teach good grammar. And we do it all within the context of authentic writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

At St John’s, we are committed to reading aloud to our children every day. 

 

Reading aloud enables all children to access quality texts but it also enables the teacher to model expressive and fluent reading to the children.

 

 

Guided Reading

 

Our guided reading approach is informed by extensive research into comprehension strategy instruction, as recommended by the EEF. The aims of the sessions are to engage with texts, respond to them, talk about them and develop a deeper understanding (comprehension).

 

Once children have completed RWI Phonics, they take part in daily guided reading sessions. During the sessions, we focus on developing the key comprehension strategies through careful modelling and supported practice.

   

The sessions utilise a wide variety of texts and seek to: 

  • Encourage critical and evaluative thinking through use of open prompts, questions and invitations
  • Encourage reference to the text to support their thinking
  • Build towards group dialogue
  • Encourage personal responses from the children
  • Enable children to support their opinions with evidence from the text and to change and adapt their ideas in response to others

 

Home Reading

 

 

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

― Emilie Buchwald

 

 

Evidence strongly suggests that parents and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading.

 

Key findings from the evidence include:

• Parental involvement in a child’s literacy has been reported as a more powerful force than other family background variables, such as social class, family size and level of parental education (Flouri and Buchanan, 2004 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006);

 

• Children whose home experiences promote the view that reading is a source of entertainment are likely to become intrinsically motivated to read (Baker, Serpell and Sonnenschein, 1995 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006);

 

• Children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued (Baker and Scher, 2002 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006).

Reading Books Coming Home

Access to reading materials at the correct level is vital in setting children up to succeed in reading. Carefully matched reading books will be sent home for your children to read independently or read to you. They will know all of the sounds used in the text because they match the sounds in the books they are being taught in class. This means they will be able to read the text with fluency and confidence – like a storyteller. They will enjoy reading to someone else or to themselves.

 

This does not mean the text is too easy for them – it means they are reading at the correct level. We do not send texts home the children cannot read because we always want them to be set up to succeed in their reading.

EYFS and KS1

What will my child bring home to read?

‘Last and past’ Storybooks or Ditty Sheets: contain sounds and words the children know. This is the Storybook they have just read at school and maybe some they have read before, for extra practice. Please don’t worry that books are too easy. Children enjoy re-reading stories they know well. Their speed and understanding improve on every read. Please have this book in school every day.

Book Bag Books: matched to the Storybooks children read in school and used for extra practice. They include many of the same reading activities that we use in class and include parent guidance. Please have this book in school every day.

Speedy Green Word Cards: challenge your child to read the words speedily. Set a timer – can they beat yesterday’s time? Learning to read these words speedily with help your child to make good progress with their reading in school.

RWI eBooks: these eBooks are for children to read at home after the ‘third read’ of the book in class. At the end of each eBook, there is a short quiz to consolidate the sounds and words encountered in the eBook. This is the Storybook they have just read at school and maybe some they have read before, for extra practice.

 

 

 

What else might my child bring home to read?

Speed Sounds Cards: for children to practise reading speedily. If needed, show your child the picture side of the card to help them remember the sound.

‘Share with me’ Banded Books: this is an enrichment text designed to widen their reading experience. It may contain sounds that your child has not come across yet in their phonics sessions which is why it is a ‘share with me' book. 

Library Books: your child may also bring home a library book to share with you. Read these stories to children, with your children or encourage them to retell the story by looking at the pictures. They are not expected to read the story by themselves. Have a look at our Recommended Reads to see which books your child can read at home too. 

 

KS2

 

Once your child has completed the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme, they will no longer receive a RWI. Story Book and RWI Book Bag Book to take home. Instead, please see the provision below.

 

Colour Banded Book (Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree…) – This book is designed to build your child's fluency at an age-appropriate level and broaden their reading experience.  This book will be changed by their class teacher. Please have this book in school every day.

 

Library Book - This book is to encourage your child to develop their own interest in books and is selected by your child. Read these books with your children or to them. At first, they are not expected to read the books by themselves.

 

 

 

 

Book Bands Overview

 

 

Additional free reading e-books: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/find-a-book/library-page

 

Our Approach to Spelling

We teach spelling patterns to our children so they understand how patterns of spelling are applied to spelling when writing.

 

How are children assessed?

Weekly tests and end of half-termly practice tests assess children’s spelling progress using the same format as the statutory assessments in England. Tracking spreadsheets enable us to record and track individual children’s progress and identify units or concepts pupils might need to be retaught.

 

During the teaching activities each week, a number of assessment opportunities are also planned into the programme. The emphasis is on the importance of learning to spell, rather than being tested on spelling.

 

Our Approach to Handwriting

There are regular timetabled slots for handwriting to ensure that children build up their handwriting skills in KS1. We make the physical process of writing – handwriting – enjoyable from the start, so children see themselves as ‘writers’. We use mnemonics – memory pictures – to help children visualise the letter or join before they write it down. Children need to practise handwriting under the guidance of a teacher so they do not develop habits that will be difficult to undo later so we make sure that handwriting is always a guided activity.

 

 

 

We link handwriting to our Read Write Inc. Phonics in KS1 and there are three handwriting stages.

 

Stage 1

These lessons are taught while children read the Red, Green, Purple, Pink and Orange Storybooks. 

Stage 1a: Children practise correct letter formation.

Stage 1b: Children learn where to place the letters on the writing line.

 

Stage 2

These lessons are taught while children read the Yellow, Blue and Grey Storybooks. At this stage, children learn a mature style of writing that will lead to joined-up writing.

 

Stage 3

These lessons are also taught while children read the Yellow, Blue and Grey Storybooks. At this stage, children learn the two basic joins: the arm join (diagonal) and the washing line join (horizontal) and the two variables for each join.

 

 

There are also memorable phrases that support the children to develop correct letter formation:

 

 

We want our children to be avid readers as we are a reading school.

 

A final thought...

 

Reading is the one ability that, once set in motion, has the capacity to feed itself, to grow exponentially, providing a base from which the possibilities are infinite.

 

Michael Morpurgo

 

 

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