At Clipstone Brook we recognise that reading is not only the gateway to knowledge but the empowerment to independent, deeper learning. Therefore, reading is a main focus for our school and is threaded through our curriculum to ensure application of skills and acquisition of knowledge. It is important to us to foster a love of reading; be it fiction or non-fiction books, comics, magazines, newspapers, online books or blogs. Children are read to daily in our dedicated story-time, which enables them to immerse themselves in the fantasy worlds of high quality texts. They hear how stories should be read with expression, intonation and passion. Library skills are taught in all classes and the children enjoy making full use of our well stocked library in the school.
What does reading look like in Early Years (Nursery and Reception)?
Reading skills are taught from an early age and at Clipstone we follow the Read, Write Inc. (RWI) phonic programme, which also gives children the skills they need to read and write by the end of Year 1. In Nursery, children learn to recognise and name different sounds in the environment. They then learn to recognise the sound (phoneme) each letter of the alphabet makes. Each written letter of the alphabet is called a grapheme. It is important that your child learns the pure sounds, rather than the alphabet letter names as this will inhibit blending sounds to make words. Children that come directly to us in Reception will be assessed, before starting to learn pure sounds and blending. They are taught in homogenous groups to ensure speedy acquisition of both phonic and reading skills.
What does reading look like at Key stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)?
As children move through the RWI programme they will develop their understanding of comprehension skills, such as retrieval, inference and prediction. By the start of Year 2 or by the end of the Autumn term, we expect most children to be off the RWI programme and on to the Year 2 National Curriculum programme of study. We have additional reading schemes, such as; Oxford Reading Tree, Ginn and Rigby Star to scaffold your child’s reading and comprehension skills until they become a free reader… even free readers have graduated book bands to ease them off gently! In addition to these, we use an online reading scheme called Bug Club. These books contain built-in reading comprehension questions to develop children’s independent use of the skills taught in class. The scheme begins once children have completed the Read Write Inc phonics program and continues throughout Key Stage 2. Choice is an important aspect when selecting a home- reader and therefore we involve children. Our RWI home readers are closely linked to the books they have already read in school and provide additional opportunities to apply their phonic and comprehension skills with handy guidance and questions for parents.
Children that are not making the progress we expect to see will receive 1:1 phonic tutoring by a qualified member of staff. The aim is for all children to ‘catch up and keep up’. Children that come to us from other schools at the start of September or mid-way through the year, will be assessed, grouped and supported with 1:1 tutoring, if required.
What does reading look like in Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4)?
Even in Key stage 2, inspiring, high quality texts are read to the children daily to develop their understanding of language use, intonation, expression and the effect of punctuation.
These books are part of a rich and comprehensive reading programme where the children become acquainted with a wide range of books, such as classic and modern stories, poems, plays and non-fiction texts. These texts are also used for the basis for our writing.
Whole class guided reading sessions develop the children’s comprehension skills.
At Clipstone Brook we encourage children to see themselves as ‘writers’ as opposed to ‘learning to write’. This is then a skill they need to acquire in order to develop, rather than have to learn. Writing is applied across the curriculum to give additional context and opportunities to imbed the skills they have learnt in other areas. Incentives for penmanship and celebrations of their writing happen weekly and great pride in their work can be seen across the school.
What does writing look like in Early Years?
We believe it is important that children learn to write independently from an early stage. This initially starts with developing children’s gross and fine motor skills to ensure they are ready to hold a pencil and have the visual and physical dexterity to start to form letters (graphemes). In Early Years the teaching of phonics, spelling and handwriting complement this process and help to build up muscle memory, speed and accuracy.
Writing opportunities are in every area of our EYFS setting be it construction or the home corner.
What does writing look like in Key Stage 1?
The writing element of our curriculum teaches phonics, handwriting, spelling, punctuation, grammar and composition. The children’s writing is based on the books they have read and gives a context for why they are writing. We feel that it is important to apply writing across the curriculum and therefore we plan cross curricular opportunities to embed growing knowledge and skills through the study of non- core subjects.
What does writing look like at Key Stage 2?
As the children progress through the school there is greater emphasis on composition, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. We use a wide variety of high-quality books to inspire the children and model a variety of types of fiction and non-fiction writing. Children will produce stories, poems, instructions, reports, recounts and persuasive pieces with increasing accuracy and complexity as they move through the school. Through the study of non- core subjects, children are encouraged to write in a range of styles for a variety of audiences.
Across both Key Stages, continuous assessment and teacher judgement is used to ensure planning meets the needs of the children at every step. This enables children to rehearse previous learning and develop new skills at an appropriate pace.
Spelling in Years 2, 3 and 4
Throughout Years 2, 3 and 4, children follow the Read Write Inc spelling programme with a variety of activities to secure the National Curriculum spelling patterns and the statutory spellings for Years 2, 3 and 4. Children learn through fun games, partner work and correcting their own work to ensure the correct spelling is committed to their long-term memory.
Our English curriculum follows the statutory objectives set out in the National Curriculum Framework (2014), which focuses on: reading, writing, grammar, spoken language and composition.
Reading and writing are life skills everyone should have the opportunity to learn!