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Literacy

As a school, we are committed to the high quality teaching and learning of Literacy. Having good literacy skills are vital life skills to have and we believe strongly in equipping children with the necessary skills and confidence that they will need to become lifelong learners. We promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and developing their love of literature through widespread reading for pleasure.

 To achieve this aim we teach the programmes of study from the National Curriculum (September 2014) which are split into:

  • Spoken Language;
  • Reading and
  • Writing.

Topics are used as a context for teaching the fundamental skills above in the EYFS, KS1 and KS2. We use Read Write Inc (Ruth Miskin) to teach a synthetic and rigorous phonics system as well as Big Reading (Andrell Education) to teach key reading skills. A cursive handwriting approach is taught throughout the school and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling lessons are taught frequently to secure basic skills.

Regular assessments are carried out in Literacy to identify gaps in the children’s learning, which can be subsequently planned for. We use the National Curriculum criteria to assess children’s reading and writing and the RWI assessments to assess phonics.

Reading

Read Write Inc

To teach early reading skills we use a synthetic phonics scheme called ‘Read Write Inc.’ The programme gets children reading quickly, accurately and fluently. Every child’s progress is tracked through on-going assessment and children are grouped by ability, so they all learn rapidly and at the right level. Lots of partner work means that every child participates in the whole lesson. The programme develops from the 44 initial phonemes that the children need to know, which then develops into blending, segmenting and looking at graphemes for spelling.

Big Reading

To be a reader, means much more than just being able to decode a book, so when a child can decode a text, we then turn them into a real reader.

Big Reading teaches the key skills for reading with rigour - applying the reading for pleasure principle too. The key skills below are taught through: talk, collaboration and fun!

Key skills for reading

  • READ – phonics, sight words and other decoding strategies
  • R – Retrieve
  • E – Explore
  • A – Analyse
  • D – Deduce and Infer

Friendly characters eg Rex Retriever, Expi Explorer, Ansa Analyser and Dood Detective are used to support the teaching of the skills above.

Skills in written comprehension are also developed as the children pass through the school and Cracking Comprehension (Rising Stars) is planned into each year group to help prepare pupils for end of key stage tests. Here the teacher models all assessment focuses and the children are able to practise and apply the reading skills they have learnt.

Writing

The teaching of writing has a clear progression throughout the academy and by the end of Year 6 children are able to write across a range of genres, applying their knowledge of grammar, punctuation and spelling and thinking as an author. Throughout their time at the academy children develop their skills in both fiction and non-fiction writing. They apply their writing skills across the curriculum.

Writing always starts with an exciting and engaging stimulus. For example: a visit, visitor or story and it is usually linked to the topic that the children are working on. Reading is strongly linked to writing and children learn how authors make their writing effective. They practise key skills relevant to the writing they are working on, including the use of punctuation and grammar, before producing a first draft of their writing. The skills of editing and re-drafting writing are taught (thinking about the purpose and audience of the writing too) the children then create final drafts of their writing, which are often published for a purpose.

Grammar, punctuation and spelling

This part of the curriculum acts as an essential part for good writing. The children follow the progression in the National Curriculum; with key content being taught explicitly in each year group. We use the ‘Active English’ system to provide both visual and concrete references to grammatical terminology, which gives children a solid foundation of knowledge to build on. They can then consequently, learn how to combine these elements into their writing for both grammatical accuracy and improved composition.