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; developing and applying their understanding to writing across the curriculum.
During their early years, children are taught how to read using synthetic phonics. Children receive daily phonic sessions, where they are taught how to blend for reading and segment for writing. Teachers follow the principles of Letters and Sounds and use Jolly Phonics to supplement their teaching and resources. Lessons are adapted to meet the needs of individuals. In addition, children are taught how to read 'tricky words' and how to notice nonsense words.
Blending and segmenting skills are reinforced and referred to throughout the child's primary experience to help them to notice and read new words.
Reading comprehension is developed using the Reciprocal Reading approach. Children learn how to infer and predict from information presented to them. They move on to being able to retrieve, explain and summarise what they have read. Opportunities to further develop vocabulary are also taken when appropriate as the children learn about new words and how these are used in context. Daily reading lessons are planned, enabling the children to take on specific roles that develop their understanding, independence and confidence for reading and for speaking.
At Brierley Forest Primary and Nursery School, we are fortunate to have a Learning Cafe, which is home to the school's library and allows children to develop reading for pleasure in a comfortable environment. All children are assessed and assigned a book band, which enables them to progress in their reading through a challenging, but accessible text. We have listened to our pupils and have recently replenished the area with high-quality texts following their recommendations. Parents/Carers are welcomed and encouraged to join us to learn how to support their child in developing their reading skills, and to enjoy listening to the children read.
At the end of every day, the children listen to modelled reading by an adult. Children are encouraged to select books that they would like to hear. They reflect on and evaluate what they have heard, making links to other books by the same author, similar themes, their project etc.
Skills for writing are taught daily in English lessons. These skills are then applied to writing across the curriculum. In all year groups, writing units are built on a quality reading book that links to the project/science they are learning about. Children are taught the sequence of skills required to enable them to achieve a specific outcome. The length of time that this takes is dependent on the age of the children and the genre.
We believe that the reflection and evaluation of writing is key to becoming a good writer. From the early years, children are taught the skills they need to be able to re-draft and edit writing. This begins with noticing spelling and punctuation errors in their own writing, building up to concisely re-drafting and editing that considers the specific genre, the child's audience and purpose. Following this, children produce a 'polished outcome' which they are especially proud of.
Vocabulary: Four days a week, our children are exposed to Words of the Day where they learn a new word, it's 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. Praise is also given if the children independently use these words within their writing.
When re-drafting writing, children are supported in using thesauruses to find appropriate synonyms.
Spelling: Word understanding and spelling are taught using Spelling Shed. The children are tested regularly on these, alongside other words from the recommended national curriculum year group word lists. Children are encouraged to use dictionaries to correct misspelled words in their writing.
Homework: Our approach to home is project-related. The children receive a Homework Menu at the beginning of each new project. Reading and writing form an element of this, which may include writing a letter, a short story, a non-chronological report or undertaking research. In addition, it is expected that children learn spellings on a regularly basis. They will be tested on these, but most importantly, they will be checked whether they can independently transfer this knowledge into their writing.
It is our expectation that all children read at least five times each week. This is to help promote a love for reading, develop their reading stamina and pace, as well as continuing to progress with their understanding of reading. Parents/carers are encouraged to question their child(ren) about what they are reading.