We believe that writing is strengthened by instilling a love for reading within our pupils. We value the importance of reading to supplement writing, providing a purpose and a context to writing. We believe that pupils who are provided a reason for writing demonstrate flair and effective writing composition, leading to high quality outcomes.
Every half term, the English curriculum is taught by studying a high quality text where writing opportunities are derived from this. Each week, the children are taught to develop an understanding of the texts through reading comprehension - exploring the key themes, events, and plot of the texts being studied. From this element of the curriculum, pupils are taught the grammar from the National Curriculum which is taught to correspond to the genres being written as part of the writing process. Children are then supported in how to apply the grammatical content taught in identifying features of a high quality modelled text, before progressing to plan, write and re-draft a written piece which is fit for purpose and audience.
Throughout this process children receive regular feedback from both teachers and their peers in the writing process; class teachers provide guidance and feedback during lesson times in order to ensure this has maximum impact on pupils' outcomes.
Based on our belief about spaced and distributed learning, genres are revisited and build up on throughout the primary phase and grammar elements are embedded through regular retrieval practices. We moderate our teaching assessment of writing regularly within and across other schools to ensure that our assessment is accurate.
PHONICS AND READING
Reading is complex and therefore our teaching and implementation of phonics teaching, guided reading session and additional interventions are reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that our phonics and reading program meets the need of our pupils
At Christ the King Primary School we use the Department of Education approved document ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’ for our teaching of phonics. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive throughout reception to Year 2. All children have discrete, daily phonics sessions in small groups where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt. This small group approach allows children to learn at their pace and build in daily, weekly and monthly retrieval practices to ensure that children are becoming fluent in reading by the end of year 1. Additional afternoon session are being taught to children who need extra time to learn some of the 44 phonemes, because as a school we believe this foundational knowledge is the base for future success. We ensure that our teaching staff receive regular training and updates so that they can deliver high quality sessions to all our children.
Through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound.
Children who are struggling with fluency past the middle of year 2 are enrolled in a 1:1 reading intervention program to ensure that all our children will leave primary school as fluent readers.
In year R and 1 guided reading is taught three times a week. The main objective for this guided reading session is to develop fluency and prosody so that they are able to apply their decoding skills automatically and with greater accuracy and fluency, enabling their working memory to be freed up to focus on comprehension. We use the the Little Wandle Guided reading session and use the phonetically decodable books recommended by the programme.
From Year 2 onwards we believe that reading skills need to be taught explicitly through a well-tailored and constantly reviewed whole school approach. Guided reading takes place every day for a minimum of 30 minutes, incorporating age-appropriate, challenging texts which are rich in vocabulary.
There is a clear focus on core comprehensions skills. This strategies aims to develop depth in the pupils responses at every age. The clear structure of our guided Reading sessions reflects our understanding that reading is “active” and the clear planning structure supports staff in delivering high quality reading sessions and ensure children have time to practise skills and embed their knowledge on how to answer different questions in line with our pedagogical philosophy.
SPELLING AND HANDWRITING
Whilst we ensure that there is a language rich English curriculum, we priorities and regard the mastering of foundational knowledge as crucial in the younger years. Therefore, we teach handwriting and spelling discretely as well as give pupils plenty of opportunities to practise their skills.