Reading and Writing
Literacy skills are essential to our ability to communicate effectively. Our aim is to equip all children with the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills to enable them to become confident and effective communicators with a love for language, reading and an ever-evolving understanding of the world around them. The English curriculum includes reading, writing (transcription and composition).
Phonics Schemes in EYFS and KS1
- Phonics is taught in differentiated groups from EYFS to Key Stage 1 using an adapted version of Tower Hamlets ‘Letters and Sounds.’
- A programme called ‘No-Nonsense Phonics’ is used as an intervention for those who cannot access Letters and Sounds.
- Children who do not achieve the required phonics skills by Year 2 will continue with additional phonics learning as appropriate in KS2.
Reading across the School
- Children practice their reading skills daily. Depending on where they are in a unit of English and the particular needs of the class, this may be in a whole-class shared reading session (using a key text from the unit) or in a guided reading session (carousel model).
- Shared reading – a whole-class, teacher-led reading session using a key text or texts from an English unit. The teacher explicitly models the skills required of that particular year group/group of children, including, but not limited to: decoding, reading with fluency and expression, noticing key literary and organisational features of the text-type, commenting on the writer’s choices and the effect on the reader (“Book Talk”).
- Guided reading – a more instructional approach that involves an adult working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar reading behaviours and can read similar levels of texts. The class are typically grouped according to need and take part in a rotation of reading or other English based activities over the week (carousel model).
- During reading sessions children will practice a range of skills. Over a term children will practice their reading skills (shared or guided) across a range of genres – fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
- Group and whole-class reading sessions help children to: Develop and trust their own ideas and interpretations, talk effectively about a book, deepen their understanding and shift their ideas by thinking together as a group and moving comprehension forwards.
- In EYFS and KS1 (or beyond if needed) children read books at their phonics level. We use ‘Phonics Bugs’ books for children as they move through the sets in phases 2 and 3 before moving onto banded books when children are ready for them. A combination of phonics assessments, benchmarking and teacher assessments are used to determine which level children are reading at.
- Classes also have a ‘class-reader’ to ensure that they are read to daily and to provide them with the opportunity to hear a good model of reading, take in what is being read (without having to decode themselves), to aid comprehension as well as being able to think about the writer’s choices and the effect it has on them. It is a time of day that children look forward to and helps to encourage a love of reading.
- Classes have timetabled slots in the school library (fortnightly).
- Enrichment activities that take place include: Book fairs, author visits and competitions as well as the celebration of key reading events such as World Book Day.
- Reading records – it is school policy that children read at least five times a week and keep a record of this in a log which is signed by parents.
- Reading Awards – children have bookmarks that fill up with stickers depending on how many times they have read at home in a week. They receive awards as the complete a bookmark. First blue, then bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
- Accelerated Reader is a programme used in school (KS2 and some children in KS1) that assesses children’s reading level and provides teachers with a diagnostic assessment of their reading skills and comprehension. Books are levelled and labelled in book corners and in the library. Books attached to Accelerated Reader come with quizzes that children take online to assess how well they have understood a book they have read.
- Children take home two to three books. One levelled or book-banded book and one ‘free-choice’ book from the book corner. They also take books home from the school library.
- Please use the documents below to help with home reading:
- For more guidance on our principples for reading please see attched policy on 'Reading at Kobi'.
Writing is structured around two areas: transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in writing).
- The Nelson Thornes programme taught from Year 1-6.
- Handwriting is taught in 2 x 15 minute slots per week and expected to be applied in all subjects
- Handwriting is modelled by all teachers and ATs as well as in print and in displays.
- From EYFS – Year 1 spelling is taught daily through phonics. From Year 2-6 spelling is taught as part of the English curriculum. It may be as a starter for an English lesson or taught more discreetly.
- Spelling is set as part of homework each week across the school and children have a spelling test once a week. The words that children take home are taken from the National Curriculum objectives and are words that they ‘just have to know’.
- For children who need it, interventions are used to give them extra practice and different strategies to learn to spell the words they need.
Talk for Writing
We use the Talk for Writing approach which follows the process of imitation, innovation and independent application. The first stage involves exposure to lots of examples of the text type and enables children to imitate and explore the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they start writing. Children are provided with a model text and a range of engaging activities to first rehearse the tune of the language they need, before being shown how to craft their writing in the same style (innovation). Teachers plan in opportunities to revisit the text-types children have been taught so far in other subjects such as history or science to provide the opportunity to independently apply what they have learnt.
Writing is modelled by teachers to demonstrate a range of skills, processes and procedures. By ‘thinking aloud’ as they write, teachers give children insights into the writing processes writers use to compose text, as well as provide them with a completed text which can serve as a model for the students’ own writing. Depending on the year group and expectation teachers model planning before writing, developing ideas, making word choices, using spelling strategies, sentence composition and proofreading/editing.
Shared writing is: "a blend of demonstration and participation, enabling children to understand what being a writer means." The whole class contribute to creating a piece of written work together, through oral work, writing ideas on mini whiteboards or taking part in drama activities. Shared writing is used as an opportunity for teachers to model and discuss the writing process.
Guided writing involves a teacher working with a group of learners on a writing task. The aims of the task are to support learners and help their progression based on previous learning about the writing process.
Our literacy curriculum contains three poetry units a year whereby children are taught the skills of reading and writing poetry.
- Children read and perform poems from heart in every year group as part of performance poetry
- There is an extended poetry library in book corners for children to choose from.
- We celebrate National Poetry Day by holding a ‘poetry slam’ and inviting children to take part in a poetry competition.
Speaking and Listening
- Children’s speaking and listening skills are developed and assessed in many ways. For example, through class and group discussions, P4C sessions, drama, presentations, poetry recitals and other performances. Learning partners/talk partners are used to provide children with ample opportunity to share, explain, test and develop their ideas.