Our English policy can be found here.
It is our intent that children will read widely and often at home and school for pleasure, for information and to expand and enhance their knowledge and understanding across all subjects. They are immersed in a reading curriculum that is rich and varied. Teachers model expert reading and use quality texts for children to interrogate. Through captivating imaginations, it is our aim that our children are motivated to apply progressively advanced skills that are transferrable to the digital and global world. Our children not only learn to read, but they also read to learn: reading is at the heart of our curriculum.
It is our intent that children are inspired by high-quality literature and a range of stimuli, which makes readers engage with and enjoy writing. Writing for a variety of purposes and audiences, the children apply progressively more complex skills to communicate ideas fluently and with interesting detail in a range of genres. Vocabulary is also ‘taught not caught’ through demonstration writing and, therefore, the children will have a highly developed repertoire of words using meaning seeking strategies, which extend detail and description. Writing in our school is well-organised and structured, which includes a variety of sentence structures. The children’s excellent transcription skills ensure that their writing is well-presented and punctuated and spelled correctly using their knowledge of spelling patterns and rules. Throughout the writing process, our children will edit and redraft their work, responding to feedback from teachers and peers.
We prioritise the development of early reading by putting reading at the heart of our curriculum. Using robust and systematic teaching of phonics, we provide an effective transition into independent reading, which subsequently encourages our older pupils to read widely and often. Phonics is an essential tool, but we are aware that, whilst phonic knowledge enables pupils to decode words, it does not teach them to understand meaning. We achieve this by providing opportunities for our pupils to sing, hear and engage with stories and rhymes, to gain an understanding of what words mean through early, verbal comprehension. Children in EYFS and Year 1 engage in three reading practice sessions per week. These solid and secure foundations are then built upon to enable the children of Lutley to be fluent, confident readers, fostering a love for reading.
Phonics is an essential ingredient in learning to read. Children begin phonics lessons on entry to the Early Years Foundation Stage. At this point, all children begin work on phase two of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme of study.
Children are assessed at the end of each half term unit and data is inputted onto the online Little Wandle Phonics Tracker. Assessments enable teachers to assess each pupil's phonics ability by instantly recording whether a child can successfully pronounce the phoneme or word. Results for each assessment are recorded in class/phonic groups, which in turn tracks pupils' phonics ability over time to allow teachers to monitor and implement targeted intervention to aid phonic progression.
Reading Book Scheme
Little Wandle resources are used in EYFS and KS1, in order to support every child on their reading journey to develop a strong phonic knowledge and a love of reading. As they progress through each phonic phase, children will become fluent readers through high-quality fiction and non-fiction banded books. Each fully decodable book is expertly aligned to each child’s Little Wandle journey to ensure all pupils in EYFS and KS1 move from decoding words to reading fluently and for pleasure. Each pupil’s reading journey is tracked to ensure systematic progression for each pupil by their class teacher.
Guided reading - EYFS to Year One
Reading at Lutley encompasses the teaching of guided group reading in which the responses are verbal, in addition to the whole class teaching of reading in which the children record their responses in reading journals.
Collins Big Cat for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised have devised fully decodable books matched to our programme progression to ensure every child has access to a book they can read. All children in EYFS and Year 1 participate in three reading practice sessions each week. Children focus on decoding, reading with prosody and comprehension. Children need to be given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned, by reading fully decodable books. Reading sessions are well-planned and executed to enable children to become confident readers who read with understanding.
High-quality texts used from our reading book scheme are taken from the reading age of the child to ensure that the pitch is appropriate.
Whole class reading - Years Two to Six
Children from Year 2 upwards, who are fluent readers, access whole class reading. Staff plan for daily 45-minute, whole class reading sessions to provide opportunities for objectives and content domains to be met. The children's learning in a session focuses on one skill from VIPERS. In addition to this, fluency is practised and developed through daily teacher guided groups. Children explore reading skills and fluency through a range of stimuli, including high quality texts taken from the ‘Pie Corbett Reading Spine’ and the Trust Canon, alongside targeted questions linked to VIPERS in their reading journal.
How do we promote fluency and reading for pleasure?
Moving from phonics to fluency, Accelerated Reader continues to support each child’s love of reading, as well as continue to develop their fluency through their primary education. Accelerated Reader is a programme we use to ensure that each child in KS2 has a reading book that will comfortably challenge pupils of all ages and abilities, while continuing to support their vocabulary acquisition and fluency of reading. Each half term, pupils undertake a short assessment called a ‘Star Test’ on a computer, in order to inform their class teacher of their level of comprehension, which in turn allows their teacher to help each child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice. Half termly, each child will be given a new ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) range from which they can select their daily class reading books within. After each book they read within their ZPD range, they will complete an online quiz and receive immediate feedback on their comprehension of the book, which motivates them to make progress with their reading skills. Their first book will be at the lower end of their ZPD range and as they achieve and succeed with each book they will move towards the higher end of their range.
‘50 Year Group Reads’ Challenge
Becoming a lifetime reader is based on developing a deep love of books. At Lutley Primary School, our children read widely and often. Across the whole school, children engage with our bespoke, personalised reading challenge: ’50 Year Group Reads’ Challenge. Each year group has a list of 50 high-quality texts to promote reading for pleasure. With a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books to choose from, pupils are encouraged to read and complete book reviews both in school and outside of school. Pupils who read 25 of the recommended books for their year group, along with their completed reviews, will receive a certificate. New releases and trending books within our reading challenge are showcased within the KS1 and KS2 library.
End of Day Reading Experience
We acknowledge the importance of sharing stories with children at all ages. At the end of each day, class teachers create an ‘End of day Reading Experience’ for children. This may consist of the teacher reading the class reader, the bookworm reading the class reader, shared reading in groups or independent reading. This is to encourage a love of reading in our children. Many stories are shared through the progression of excellent texts using the ‘Pie Corbett Reading Spine’.
Each class elects a bookworm at the start of an academic year. This is a pupil who demonstrates a great love of reading and acts as an advocate in our school. These children carry out many important responsibilities, from organising Book Fairs to leading assemblies, recommending new texts and developing the reading repertoire of pupils across the school.
At Lutley Primary School, we have adopted ‘The Write Stuff’ approach to our teaching and learning of English to ensure clarity to the mechanics of writing. Following a method called ‘Sentence Stacking’, the approach places emphasis on sentences being ‘stacked together’ chronologically and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. Within each genre studied by the children, they will learn to sentence stack, focusing on the style of the author and impact of words and sentences most appropriate for that particular genre. All genres covered within writing sessions are those as taken from the Genre Overview on our Writing Progression Document.
Within each writing lesson, pupils learning is ‘chunked’ into three distinct parts for a writing lesson; initiate, model, enable. The initiate stage is a time to inspire: through the use of a stimulus, pupils are immersed in a rich language discussion and activities to provide a wealth of vocabulary to aid their writing. The model stage is the chunk whereby the teacher demonstrates the thoughts and processes of a writer and articulates writing choices. The enable stage is the opportunity for pupils to showcase what they can do within particular writing parameters known as The Three Zones of Writing: FANTASTICs, GRAMMARISTICs and the BOOMTASTICs.
The Three Zones of Writing are essential components to support pupils in becoming great writers. Through the nine idea lenses known as the FANTASTICs, pupils focus on intended purpose of a sentence. The GRAMMARISTICs allow pupils to focus on the grammar element of writing which focuses on sentence structure, grammar rules and punctuation. The BOOMTASTICs allow pupils to capture and create a vivid visual for the reader through the use of poetic devices. Throughout the writing process, children edit and redraft their work in response to feedback from their teacher and peers.
All My Own Work
The children complete an extended piece of writing titled ‘All my own work’. This is completed at the end of each half term into the children’s personal AMOW books. There is an allocated genre list that must be completed by the end of the academic year. The genres listed are for the relevant half termly AMOW assessment points only. In addition to this, staff assess one additional piece of extended writing each half term, these are completed in the pupil’s English book and learning journey.
Each child has year group specific targets for reading and writing. These are kept in their individual home/school planners. Both staff and pupils are able to indicate areas achieved by the child and next step targets towards each target. Staff use these in lessons as a measurement of achievement.
Speaking and Listening
All staff model Standard English in the classroom. Staff promote and build in opportunities for active speaking and listening in the classroom and English curriculum. Speaking and listening form the foundations of literacy development and plays an essential role in enabling children to become effective writers.
The strands of speaking and listening are as follows:
- Talking to others - Talk in purposeful and imaginative ways to explore ideas and feelings, adapting and varying structure and vocabulary according to purpose, listeners and content
- Talking with others - Listen and respond to others, including in pairs and groups, shaping meanings through suggestions, comments and questions
- Talking within role-play and drama - Create and sustain different roles and scenarios, adapting techniques in a range of dramatic activities to explore texts, ideas and issues
- Talking about talk - Understand the range and uses of spoken language, commenting on meaning and impact and draw on this when talking to others
Each of these areas are planned for in the weekly teaching sequence. Staff utilise these skills and select as appropriate activities that meet the overall learning objective. Children have the opportunity to develop their speaking and listening skills through a range of strategies and a rich speaking and listening environment.
Spelling sessions are taught daily in each year group. As a natural progression from phonics, The No Nonsense Spelling Programme is used in Years Two to Six and is a comprehensive yet accessible progression in the teaching of spelling. Guidance, rather than prescription, is provided on how to teach the strategies, knowledge and skills pupils need to learn. The focus of the programme is on the teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spell- ing conventions – patterns and rules; but, integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings. Exploration of spellings and word play are recorded in spelling journals.
Successful learning of spelling happens both at school and at home. In order to support each child further with their spelling, half-termly spelling parent guides are available in order to help parents to support their child’s use of the strategies, knowledge and skills pupils need to learn new spellings. Each guide will contain the spelling rules being taught that half-term by each child’s class teacher, as well as previous rules to recap with children. To support with the learning of the spellings, a range of learning strategies are also provided, which have been taught in school for children to practise in their homework books to support their learning of spellings.
Punctuation and Grammar
Teachers follow the National Curriculum for the teaching of punctuation and grammar. Using the Lutley Grammar non-negotiables, the skills are broken down for each year covering:
- Word level
- Sentence level
- Text level
This provides the structure for planning individual lessons and a clear progression of skills from year one through to year six. All of these areas are integrated into the teaching sequence. Staff in Years Two and Six also utilise the CGP revision books for additional tasks to support this learning.
We use the Kinetic Letters scheme of work to ensure the outcomes our pupils achieve are the following:
- Having fluent, legible and speedy handwriting that can be performed automatically, so that the attention of the brain is on the content of the writing.
- Having the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation.
- Having competence in transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition.
- Writing clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- Having a comfortable and efficient pencil hold and working position.
Our aim is to make handwriting automatic, so that all the attention of the brain can be on the content of work.
Pupils in EYFS and Year One will spend at least 20 minutes at the beginning of each school day on activities that are part of the Kinetic Letters programme. Handwriting is taught in discrete sessions, separate from Phonics. Thereafter, time allocation to maintain handwriting development and increase speed and flow, will be regular but at the discretion of the class teacher so long as appropriate progression continues to be made. Handwriting practice takes place on the 6-lined (or 3-lined if appropriate) Kinetic Letters white boards, with a transition to books via the ‘practice patch’. In KS2, the teaching of handwriting takes place at the start of each English lesson.
Much of the time, sessions are taught to the whole class with differentiated targets; reinforcement may take place in small groups and/or individually.
Progress is tracked half termly using a range of evidence, including the following:
- Teacher observations
- Evidence in writing books, reading, phonics and spelling journals
- Phonics tracker online assessment tool
- Accelerated reader star tests
- Statutory tests (SATs) in Year 2 and Year 6
Teachers and children assess in each lesson against a learning objective and the learning is broken down into smaller steps of success, so that each child can understand their successes and next steps. Children receive support and extra challenge through the use of tutorial time at the start of each day. Children receive feedback on their work and respond to gap tasks to scaffold learning further or further deepen their understanding.
Children and teachers reflect on successes and next steps in reading and writing through a half termly learning review meeting. This is recorded in the children’s planners and shared with parents.
Our English curriculum facilitates sequential learning and long-term progression of knowledge and skills. Teaching and learning methods provide regular opportunities to recap acquired knowledge through high quality questioning, discussion, modelling and explaining to aid retrieval at the beginning and end of a lesson or unit. Regular practice of skills will provide children with the confidence to apply these in a range of independent situations whereby they have the chance to show what they have internalised. The range of reading and writing situations we provide will enable all children to alter their long-term memory and knowledge more, remember more and be able to do more as readers and writers.