English / Literacy
Our reading scheme consists of a variety of books collated in coloured bands. Children will be assessed in school using the Benchmark Assessments before moving to a new coloured book band. Benchmark reading assessments check both children’s reading fluency and comprehension (understanding of the book).
Following the coloured book bands children will become ‘Free Readers’. Within each classroom there are Free Reader books which children can choose from to continue to read at home and within school. These books are banded copper, silver and gold. Copper books are more appropriate for children still ‘bridging’ into being free readers and securing confidence with independent reading. Silver books follow on as children continue reading with more independence. Gold banded books are more appropriate for upper KS2 children (Year 5 and 6) with a more mature content.
Guided reading is carried out daily across the school, Year 1 – 6 and in Year R as appropriate to the children’s reading fluency and confidence. Children will be heard read by their teacher once a week. Children engage with reading every day in school including reading activities such as comprehension, reading for pleasure or phonics games.
Across the school children carry out regular ‘Big Writes’. These are usually on a Friday, weekly in Years 3 – 6 and every 2 – 3 weeks in Year 1 and 2. Year R begin Big Writes towards the end of the year as their confidence with independent writing increases. Big Writes are an opportunity for children to carry out independent writing, at length about a given topic. Writing tasks will either be within a taught unit of work or as an opportunity to apply skills previously taught.
Before a Big Write children carry out a VCOP session – with games, activities and prompts for Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation (VCOP). Children are then given an extended time to carry out their independent writing. During this time the atmosphere in the classroom is calm, focused and quiet.
We aim for Big Writes to be an opportunity for all to achieve at their own level and plenty of praise and celebration always follows a Big Write!
Phonics and Spelling
Children are taught phonics through the Read Write Inc. programme in Year R and Letter and Sounds programme in Year 1 and 2. Phonics is taught every day discretely in Year R and KS1. In addition, opportunities to apply reading and writing skills are regularly provided within curriculum subjects.
In KS2, children are taught spelling through a number of different methods such as investigating spelling patterns.
All year groups carry out weekly spelling tests. Typically, words are set on a Friday and tested the following Friday and can also be found in the Pupil Zone section of the website. We aim for all children to be applying their spelling knowledge within independent writing.
Please see additional resources which you can use to support children with spelling and phonics at home.
Grammar and Punctuation
In KS2 children experience a short discrete daily grammar and punctuation session. The sessions are fun and interactive. These skills are also embedded within taught literacy sessions and we aim for children to be applying their grammar and punctuation skills within all writing carried out.
In KS1 grammar and punctuation skills are taught in context within literacy sessions. In Year 2 children will also be taught some discrete skills within spelling/phonics sessions.
Please see additional resources which you can use to support children with grammar and punctuation at home.
Children are taught to write with a cursive script using entry and exit strokes from Year R. Children are then taught to join their handwriting in Year 1 and 2, as appropriate to each child. All lower case letters are joined, capital letters are not joined.
In KS2 when handwriting is presented in a neat and controlled way with letters written in a consistent size and ascenders (letters which raise above the line) and descenders (letters which descend below the line) clearly formed, children will receive their pen licence. This means they will be able to write using a handwriting pen (pencil will always be used for mathematics).
Once a child has earned their pen licence this will stay with them as they move into a new year group (for example from Year 3 to 4). However, it is common practice for all children to begin a new year writing in pencil while children are reminded of school presentation expectations and show they can still maintain these expectations. All children who have already earned their pen licence should receive it back within a fortnight of starting in their new class.