At Widden Primary School, we recognise the fundamental importance of English teaching and learning and strive for excellence in all aspects of English. Our aim is simple: to ensure that our pupils leave us able to read, write and communicate in a manner that means they will be able to enjoy and make the very most of their future opportunities as learners in any curriculum area. We believe that children learn best when they are engaged, safe, comfortable and happy and as such we intend to ensure that their English skills are never a barrier to their achievements and successes throughout their learning journey.
'There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot in treasure Island" - Walt Disney
During the school day, every child has an opportunity to read independently or alongside an adult and at length in their classroom amongst their peers. For children working at an early reading level, choose books from any of their classroom reading areas. They are given time to enjoy reading these books. We have established a wide selection of books for all classes that children can enjoy at home and at school alongside their families.
Children are expected to read their books every week night at home to improve the fluency of their reading. Children’s home reading is tracked; in EYFS and KS1, children’s reading records must be signed by an adult. In KS2, children are able to sign their own reading record to indicate that they have read at home. Parents are encouraged to support children with their reading journey and reading activities are available weekly on our learning platform, Seesaw.
WHOLE CLASS READING
In KS2, reading lessons take place daily with the class teacher across the school, where children are exposed to a wide range of appropriate texts - these can be short stories, extracts from novels, poems or non-fiction texts. Children have the opportunity to read these texts over the weekend as part of their homework and practice the fluency of their reading with their family as well as grasp an understanding of the text. At the beginning of each week, children are engaged in whole class, small group or paired discussion/reading about the core text. These sessions are crucial to teach and model the skills of reading and to analyse the composition of texts. As the week progresses, children will be involved in a range of activities alongside their class teacher to build and extend their reading and comprehension and be supported to answer questions related to vocabulary, inferring, predicting, explaining, recording, retrieving and summarising skills (VIPERS). VIPERS is a key strategy we use across the school to ensure success in reading comprehension. Many opportunities are also given during these sessions to extend their oracy skills and practice recording their answers correctly and independently.
We have implemented book challenges across KS1 and KS2. Teachers have carefully selected books that children should have read by the end of their primary education. There are a wide range of books matching the varying abilities of children in the year group. Each year group has a different number of books as part of their challenge and children can collect ‘points’ depending on the book that has been read. Prizes are given to pupils who have collected the greatest amounts of points at the end of the year.
At Widden Primary School, we recognise the impact of reading to children and ensure that this is part of our daily routine in all classes. Books are selected that may link with their topic and are shared with the children daily. Additionally, children are read other stories and books in assemblies with other classes. This is an opportunity for children to be exposed to a wider range of books from authors the children may not have heard of and foster their love of reading.
One of the strategies we use in EYFS, Years 1 and 2 to boost writing is 'Talk for Writing' developed by Pie Corbett. This programme enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through immersion activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing which shows them how to craft their writing using a similar structure.
These are the key steps that we follow to help our children become successful writers:
Children learn a model text through actions and story mapping.
Children will now change the imitated story to incorporate their own ideas, changing key elements but keeping a similar structure.
Children will now write their own stories inspired by their model texts.
Big Writing is an approach to teaching writing and raising writing standards that focuses on the importance of talk and oral rehearsal. Accurate basic skills; spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting are encouraged and practised daily. Over the course of the week, children are exposed to new themes and topics. Spellings, punctuation and grammar is practised daily, ideas are explored, high standards for writing are modelled through shared writing and towards the end of the week, children work towards writing independently for a sustained period of time in a relaxed and purposeful writing environment.