At Brierley Forest Primary and Nursery School, we aim to provide our children with the necessary skills to develop their knowledge and wider experiences. We recognise that reading and writing are fundamental parts of lifelong learning and therefore our staff strive to promote these skills in everything that they do.
Within English, children will develop their oracy skills, learn how to read and expand their vocabulary, developing and applying their knowledge, skills and understanding to writing across the curriculum.
The English Overviews (see attachments below) are used to support teaching and show progression and the links between our reading, writing and the wider curriculum. The reading spines are carefully selected to support the wider curriculum and the diversity of our community, together with supporting children to learn about different cultures, geographically and historically.
In line with the whole school, our reading vision is to enable children to thrive in their reading so they can read any text with fluency and accuracy. It is also our mission to make reading accessible and enjoyable - giving children an escape to a land of awe and wonder that will in turn inspire and develop their writing.
During their early years, children are taught how to read using synthetic phonics. At Brierley Forest, we use the Read Write Inc. approach. This is a DfE validated systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) teaching programme used in more than 5,000 schools across the UK. It is a whole-school approach to phonics that provides comprehension, handwriting, spelling and composition to get children reading, writing and speaking fluently. All children in EYFS and KS1 receive daily phonic sessions, where they are taught the necessary skills they require. Have a look at the Phonics tab on the curriculum page for film clips and more information about this programme.
Reading fluency and accuracy is vital in helping children to comprehend. In KS2 at Brierley Forest, we use the Repeated Oral Reading approach (adapted from Edale Rise Primary and Nursery School). Children hear the reading modelled by an adult, rehearsing tricking words and learning word meaning. In pairs, they then read the same piece of text to each other several times until they are reading fluently and accurately. This approach mirrors that of the reading of books following the Read Write Inc. programme. Repeated Oral Reading takes place daily in reading lessons, but also when reading across the curriculum.
Reading comprehension is developed through the Read Write Inc programme for our early readers, and by using the Literacy Shed + VIPERS approach in KS2. VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts. VIPERS stands for: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarise or sequence.
Whilst completing VIPERS tasks, children are expected to take part in discussions about the text that they are reading. They are encouraged to question and challenge each other to build their own knowledge and understanding.
The Evolution of Writing Instruction (adapted from Transform T&L Applied)
(Lowe, Transform T&L Applied)
The above timeline shows how the emphasis in the teaching of writing has changed. The ‘new’ National Curriculum no longer focuses on a genre approach. As this has evolved, research tells us that we should teach writing as a process to allow children to gain the necessary skills, knowledge and experience that allows them to write for a key purpose and audience.
Writing can be broken down into two parts:
- Transcription – the physical process of writing, for example: handwriting, spelling, punctuation;
- Composition – the generation of ideas, carefully selecting word choice and sentence length; the use of vocabulary and grammar for effect.
Teaching writing at Brierley Forest:
Skills for writing are taught every day at Brierley Forest. This may be as standalone lessons, or as part of the wider curriculum. From EYFS upwards, we are keen that children learn to write for different purposes and audiences, learning that writing doesn’t always include sitting at a table for a specific amount of time.
In line with Transform Trust, and with the National Curriculum’s expectations for composition, we follow a five-stage process to the teaching of writing:
Engage stage: The teacher ‘hooks’ the children in through a stimulus (e.g. launch day, high-quality text, film clip etc). The purpose and audience for writing are clearly set.
Discover stage: Children are immersed in different texts relevant to their outcome; they analyse and explore the organisation and language features. Relevant grammar and vocabulary are taught and the children have opportunities to ‘dabble’, allowing them to rehearse ideas and use appropriate language.
Compose stage: Children are taught to plan effectively and encouraged to complete their first draft – guided and shared writing are used before independent practice.
Evaluate stage: Working together to read aloud writing helps the children to revise what they have written – this may mean adding or removing words or text to improve how it sounds. Children will edit grammar, punctuation and spelling and assess their writing against the year group outcomes and purpose.
Publish stage: Children produce a final piece of writing linked to their audience.
These stages take place over a number of weeks, the length depending on the outcome.
It is clear from research into raising standards in writing that having a clear purpose for writing is essential and that children should be aware of why they are writing from the outset. When chosen carefully, this is a fantastic way to engage children.
Michael Tidd suggested that writing opportunities in the classroom can be grouped into four key purposes: entertain, inform, discuss and persuade. The diagrams below show how Tidd suggests that the purpose is organised in primary schools.
Having a clear audience for writing is essential; children need to know why they are writing, and whom it is for; the audience should be wider than the adults in their class. This works best when children are engaged from the beginning and so consulting with them as to who they would like their audience to be can further develop the content of their writing.
To support with the teaching of writing, a number of schemes are used. These include:
- Literacy Shed Plus
- Spelling Shed
- No Nonsense Grammar
- Letterjoin handwriting
Four days a week, our children are exposed to Words of the Day where they learn a new word, its definition, synonyms, antonyms etc. At the end of each week, the children undertake a philological challenge, where they show their understanding of these words by writing a paragraph with the words in context. Our younger children follow the same principles but are encouraged to talk about their words and learning.
These words reflect the learning that is taking place and so the expectation is that the children use the new vocabulary in their independent writing.
Children are supported to develop and extend their vocabulary across the curriculum. They will use working walls, thesauruses and online materials to help.
Word understanding and spelling are taught using Spelling Shed. The children are tested regularly on the word lists, which align with the National Curriculum. It is expected that children accurately spell known words in their independent writing.
Activities to help learn spelling include the creation of mnemonics, spelling games and quizzes, word searches and looking for shapes formed by the word. Children are encouraged to use dictionaries to correct misspelt words in their independent writing.