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.
In line with the whole school, our reading vision is for children to learn to adapt and persevere when challenged. We believe that reading will cultivate and nurture their imagination through exposure to a range of genre. As children read and learn, we hope to enhance life experiences and aspirations for travel, developing ideas for future careers. We know that reading will also improve mental wellbeing by providing an escape to a fictional land of awe and wonder.
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. Whenever they read, they will have the skills to clarify unknown words and phrases, question what is happening, summarise and predict. Opportunities to further develop vocabulary are also taken when appropriate as the children learn new words and how these are used in context.
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. When school is fully reopen, parents/carers will once again be welcomed and encouraged to join us to learn how they can support their child in developing their reading skills.
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.
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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 quality texts, pictures or film clips, which are often linked 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 and learning. 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.