At South Borough we place reading and writing at the heart of the curriculum. We believe that good literacy education is pivotal to every area of learning and therefore our teaching aims to equip pupils with a strong understanding of both written and spoken language. We recognise the contribution reading and writing make to the development of a child’s imagination, as well as their understanding of the world, and support and nurture pupils’ progress in order that they are able to communicate ideas, knowledge and skills effectively. All children are encouraged to see themselves as readers and writers and our aim is that every South Borough pupil develops a life-long love of literature.
We have planned our English curriculum using the National Curriculum aims and requirements. By recognising the key role that language and literacy play in enabling children to communicate their thoughts and ideas to others, our daily English lessons provide children with engaging and purposeful learning opportunities. Our English curriculum is well sequenced and builds on knowledge and skills gained as children progress through the primary curriculum.
As we guide children towards progression in reading and developing their own reading preferences, we empower them to communicate ideas and express opinions. With strong evidence that ‘Reading for Pleasure’ is linked to increased educational outcomes, we encourage a passion for reading within our school community. ‘Extreme Reading Challenges’, ‘World Book Day’ and author celebrations are all enjoyed, as is our home reading initiative, which as well as promoting home, school and community links, is a successful way to encourage and celebrate children’s reading outside of school.
Within the early teaching of reading, a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics through the ‘Read Write Inc’ programme is used to develop decoding and speedy word recognition. With a focus on spoken language in Key Stage 1, learning opportunities include role play and retelling of new or familiar stories, providing the opportunity to develop vocabulary orally. As children’s word reading increases, pupils are supported to become fluent, independent readers who show a good understanding of what they have read. Daily reading lessons will then focus on whole-class collaborative reading strategies, including oracy, vocabulary and comprehension. As spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing, children develop their speaking and listening skills through drama, discussion and debate. Children are exposed to a variety of high quality texts in English, and within every lesson children will experience the joy of the written word: either through listening to a text read aloud, by sharing a text, or by reading independently. By immersing children in stories, poems and non-fiction texts, we aim to support the development of vocabulary, language and a love of reading. Technology assisted strategies also support learning In Key Stage 2, where children have access to Lexia to ensure a progressive home/school online reading experience.
Our English curriculum has a focus on teaching children to confidently communicate ideas and express their opinions verbally and through writing. Writing from Years 1 to 6 is taught within a carefully developed sequence of learning, using the Swale Trust Writing Scheme. The scheme ensures children write across a variety of genres and are taught the necessary skills within each genre. Each sequence of writing begins with children actively engaging with a high quality exemplar text (WAGOLL): children are encouraged to discuss the audience, purpose and skills required for each writing sequence, as well as having a high quality example to motivate and inspire. As they identify features and explore vocabulary, children are encouraged to ‘magpie’ ideas to support their own future writing. Immersion in the language and structure of a good quality text, coupled with appropriate teaching of grammar and punctuation supports children in developing the skills needed to create their own written draft. Throughout the writing sequence children are encouraged to discuss their learning with their peers, generating and developing ideas and sharing examples. Children create a draft piece which is both self and peer edited to ensure it is of the highest quality before publishing. Children are aware that publishing and/or performing is an important part of any writing project and are eager to participate in a variety of ways to showcase their writing talents. Handwriting skills through our Pen Pals scheme and spelling through the No Nonsense Spelling programme are taught alongside each sequence of learning to ensure children’s skills develop in conjunction with the National Curriculum requirements.
Teachers use a range of formative assessment strategies to ensure children have the best opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to achieve age related expectations in reading and writing. To ensure there is a clear progression from Reception to Year 6, moderation of writing takes place within year groups throughout the academic year.