At Durham Gilesgate Primary School we see English as the foundation of our curriculum. Our main aim is to ensure that every single child makes good progress in the three areas of reading, writing, and speaking and listening. It is our aim for all children to join secondary school with the skills and knowledge that they need to access the Key Stage 3 curriculum.
At Durham Gilesgate Primary School, our intention is that children learn to read from an early age, that they develop confidence, fluency and understanding across a range of genre and that they develop an enjoyment for reading.
We recognise the importance of reading as a key to unlocking the curriculum because reading skills will enable children to follow their own interests, carry out research and delve deeper into subject knowledge. Thus we give reading the prominence that it deserves, not only by teaching reading skills but also how reading us used across the curriculum.
We encourage reading for pleasure which helps children to develop lifelong skills. We encourage home/school partnerships by sending new books home regularly with a reading record, where parents are welcomed to record any messages about reading with their children. Regular assessments of reading enable teachers to support children at individual levels on the reading journey.
Phonics is taught in a sequential programme of daily lessons across Early Years and Key Stage 1, it is also taught in Key Stage 2 if children have gaps in their phonic knowledge. Teaching is organised in groups that are differentiated, according to children’s phonic awareness and development and this organisation is supported by rigorous assessment. We follow the Letters and Sound programme providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. However as we have hearing impaired pupils in all out year groups teaching can incorporate elements from other phonic programmes, for example we may use some of the Jolly Phonics actions to support the learning of our Hearing Impaired children.
A very small minority of children with an additional need might not learn using phonics and some of these children may be taught using queued articulation to support speech sound production and phonic development, others might be learning to read by sight and through the repletion and overlearning of key vocabulary.
Phases of the Phonics Programme
- Children in Nursery begin with Phase 1 which provides a range of listening activities through play, to develop their listening skills. Progress is tracked at the end of each term.
- As children move into Reception they continue to build upon the listening activities and are introduced to Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonic work. Graphemephoneme correspondence is introduced. The process of segmenting whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught through practise writing and saying
the letters to decode words.
- Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover sounds represented by more than one letter, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage just one grapheme (spelling) is given for each phoneme.
- When children enter Year 1, they consolidate their knowledge of Phase 3 sounds to ensure they have a secure understanding. They then continue into Phase 4 where they start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase. It is expected that children will enter Phase 5 as they progress through Year 1, broadening their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant.
- It is expected that the majority of children entering Year 2 will start Phase 6 which develops a variety of spelling strategies including homophones (word specific spellings). spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary. Also the accurate spelling of words containing unusual grapheme-phoneme correspondences eg
- The school spelling programs complement the phonics learning from Year 1 through to the end of KS2. The spelling of high frequency and tricky words are taught continuously throughout the phases. Words from the National Curriculum word banks are also present in the school spelling program and are learnt weekly.
Reading beyond phonics
In Early Years, many activities take place which promote pre-reading skills. Stories are read to children on a daily basis to and the environment makes sure that children become aware of print in their environment and that they can match pictures and words. After phonics is introduced children will take home reading books and these have been book banded and also coded in terms of phonic development to help ensure that each child will be able to read a book with a high degree of accuracy. Every children from reception through to Year 6 will take home an independent home reading book and we like children to read to an adult at home a minimum of three times each week. Reading records are provided so that adults can indicate how much has been read and if the child has liked the book. Each time a child reads at home, they receive a sticker on their reward chart; when a full side of the chart is complete, children can choose a prize.
Guided reading takes place on a daily basis where children have the opportunity to work in small groups with a member of staff in guided reading sessions, or be doing a directed reading task in class. This provides pupils with further opportunities to explore challenging texts, discussing vocabulary, sentence structure and text to deepen understanding. Learning objectives in guided reading are informed by analysis of Rising Stars reading assessments.
Books selected by the teacher in guided reading sessions will be more challenging than those taken home in independent reading. This is because guided reading is where teachers challenge children, teach skills, develop new vocabulary and help children develop a more in depth understanding of the texts that they read. Teachers might use a variety of strategies to support the teaching of reading because we have a diverse range of pupils in our school and we recognise our children are individual and therefore can require different approaches to secure their learning and skills.
In addition to guided reading, all children take part in ERIC time (Everyone Reading In Class) where every class reads independently for ten minutes every day.
We expect that the majority of children will achieve at age related standards in reading at the end of each year. We recognise that some children may not achieve this standard but we will expect that they have made good progress from their starting point. We also recognise that some other children will exceed age related standards and we will have deepened learning for these children. We encourage children to read regularly both inside and outside of school for pleasure and we expect that children will discuss books with excitement and interest.
We firmly believe that at Gilesgate Primary School, if we support pupils in establishing a love for reading and expose them to high quality vocabulary, this has a significant impact on pupil’s ability to become authors and developing their own, individualised style of writing. We will also expect to see achievement rise across the curriculum as children will be better placed to read around a subject and carry out research.
As a school we recognise that reading is fundamental to the writing process, because children write successfully when they have a full understanding of the features of specific genres and a strong vocabulary. We believe that pupils who are provided with a reason for writing will demonstrate flair and effective writing composition and a clear understanding of the writing process in order to establish themselves as an author in their own right. This leads to high quality outcomes across the curriculum. It is our intention that writing is an integral part of our curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across all subjects so that they write as historians in
history lessons and as scientists in their science books.
In Early Years Foundation Stage children have writing materials provided for them through continuous provision. For example there will be pencils, pens and paper in all areas so that children can start to make marks in their play. We will find this in a construction area where children might be making an attempt at a label for their model, in the home area where they might be making a shopping list or in the maths area where they might be using early attempts at number formation. As children move through Early Years Foundation Stage they are taught letter formation and which letters represent the sounds that they are learning in phonics. As they move through reception and into Year 1 children will learn alternative graphemes and by the end of reception we expect the majority of children to be able to write simple sentences independently.
Through Key Stages 1 and 2 our curriculum is implemented through sequences of high quality lessons that build upon skills previously taught. Each lesson develops grammar and punctuation, knowledge and understanding. By accessing a broad range of text types, children learn how to identify the purpose and audience; plan and write an initial piece of writing with a clear context and purpose before evaluating the effectiveness of writing by editing and redrafting. Teachers model examples of effective writing, whilst focussing on rich vocabulary, enabling children to be successful in their own writing, therefore applying their writing skills to the wider curriculum. We are explicit in teaching children new vocabulary both in English lessons and through curriculum subject and the teaching of writing and development of vocabulary are supported by classroom display and WAGOLL (What a good one looks like) boards.
The impact on our children is improved achievement in writing; where children make good progress and transfer skills. With the implementation of writing taught thoroughly in both Key Stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2. As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing
standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives. Children are proud of their achievements and enjoy seeing their work displayed on the WAGOLL board, which is shared in celebration assemblies. We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.