Reading widely feeds pupils’ imagination at Coldean Primary School. We actively promote wider reading through exposure to a variety of quality texts in lessons and in class libraries, top book lists in the newsletter, regular book browses in school, fortnightly visits to the local library (Years 1-6), access to digital texts through Bug Club (Years R-6) celebrating World Book Day and our “100 Books to read before you leave Coldean.”
We also promote good quality literature through drama and plays, including annual productions of classic stories such as “Alice in Wonderland”, “A Christmas Carol” and “The Jungle Book”, and through performances by visiting theatre groups.
In Nursery, a love of books is nurtured and developed in a range of ways including sharing high-quality texts during group story times and providing exciting opportunities for the children to access and explore books within the environment; both independently and alongside their peers and key workers. Alongside a text-rich environment the children are taught Phase 1 “Letters and Sounds”.
In Reception, the teaching of “Letters and Sounds” is continued as the children work through Phases 2, 3 and 4. Phonics teaching, Guided Reading using fully decodable texts, whole class story sessions, quiet reading times and opportunities for the children to explore a wide variety of good quality texts within the environment all contribute to the understanding that the groups of letters on a page make up words and that these words carry meaning.
In Key Stage 1 word reading is taught through daily phonic/spelling and Guided Reading sessions using fully decodable texts, until at least the point where children can read almost all words fluently. Our word aware approach, designed to enrich children’s vocabulary, is delivered through daily Talk through Stories.
Reading is taught as a whole-class lesson from the spring term of Year 2 and throughout Key Stage 2, for fluent readers (non-fluent readers continue with the fully decodable books). The children experience a daily reading lesson where they access the same text. Every child has quality class teacher directed input four times a week in order to accelerate progress, not only in reading but also in spelling and grammar as the children’s exposure to texts increases.
Writing across the primary phase is focussed around a key, high-quality text and taught in a three-phase structure. This allows children to immerse themselves in the text, and discover the language and organisational features. The children then build on key skills using the text to support and inspire, finally leading to an independent outcome. Children are exposed to a wide range of text types. It is vital that our children are able to write for a range of purposes and in a range of styles to assist their communication skills throughout life.
Quality first teaching is supported by focussed resources and working walls within the classroom. We understand that reading, writing and oracy are closely linked and, as such, ensure that children are given opportunities to practise and refine all three areas of English during the school day. The teaching of writing incorporates the teaching of grammar and spelling.
Enhancing the teaching of English plays an important part of our School Improvement Strategy and as such staff receive regular research-based training to ensure that our children have quality first teaching. This also enables staff to support and challenge with Wave 2 and Wave 3 interventions to ensure that the needs of all pupils are met.
A wide range of assessment information collated and tracked by staff and children enables diagnosis of learning gaps, celebrates success and secures excellent progress to be made by all children.
Our English Curriculum should ensure that children leave Coldean:
- with a love of reading. They are able to reference a wide range of different authors, from different literary traditions and genres.
- with a love of writing. They should be able to express their opinions and their creativity in writing that is well structured, clear, technically accurate and interesting to read.
- able to express their opinions verbally; to understand how to engage – and disagree – with others clearly and articulately.
- having made the best possible progress as a result of consistent, Quality First Teaching and (where appropriate) additional interventions.
- confident to try new things, experiment with their writing, take risks, and continue to expand their experience of reading.
- feeling that their efforts were valued and their opinions heard. That they have had a chance to find their ‘voice’ and were encouraged to use it.
Training, planning and teaching our English curriculum should ensure:
- Highly knowledgeable and skilful teachers able to formatively assess pupils’ learning through analysis of their oracy, reading and writing.