At St Leonard's our Christian faith and values form the basis of everything we do. We are 'growing and learning together with God's love'. We are committed to providing an inclusive education for all, enabling each child to learn and develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive.
At St Leonard's we believe that ability to read is fundamental to our children succeeding; enabling them to access the next stage of their education and beyond. The skill of reading underpins everything that is taught and opens the door not only to learning across the curriculum but to many other opportunities in the wider world. We want our children to want to read; to want to become better readers and to know that reading can be a pleasure as well as opening doors to new knowledge. We want our children to experience the feeling of “escaping into a good book”.
We want reading opportunities across our school to be ambitious for all of our children and we ensure that our disadvantaged and SEND children have the same opportunities to experience books and other texts that all other children have.
We want all of our children to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with understanding of what they have read.
We want reading to support our children to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
We intend to teach carefully planned lessons to support the children’s comprehension skills.
We intend to make our school a language rich environment with vocabulary rich reading material and good quality texts for the children to choose from.
We hope to promote confidence and positive attitudes to reading.
Reading is an important part of our curriculum and is an integral part of all of our lessons. At St Leonard's we teach reading through:
Teachers regularly reading to the whole class. They effectively model a love of reading by sharing high quality and inspiring texts with pupils. Teachers will pause regularly and ask questions designed to prompt the children to think about what they are hearing.
Group shared reading activities: We teach Read, Write, Inc storybook shared read lessons. Pupils read from a range of storybooks and non-fiction books matched to their phonic knowledge. We teach our youngest pupils to read by using these resources to read together in group or in whole class activities. Pupils take turns in talking and reading to each other.
Guided Reading and comprehension lessons: We teach lessons which focus on developing pupils’ level of fluency understanding of the text, through discussion, written and oral tasks; and the exploration of new vocabulary. Pupils will be taught to retrieve, infer, predict, summarise, analyse and evaluate texts. We use VIPERS to support with Guided Reading and comprehension.
Reading across the curriculum: We maximise opportunities for pupils to read texts within other areas of the curriculum. These lessons focus on the teaching of reading whilst increasing the pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the topics being taught in History and Geography etc.
Independent Reading: We promote independent reading in class. Our RWI book bag read at home books are closely matched to our RWI phonics reading scheme. Once pupils have completed the Read Write Inc reading scheme and have achieved the expected standard at phonics screening we use a variety of reading schemes to further their reading skills including Oxford reading tree, Ginn and Rigby star. From this point we have a clear reading progression system that runs through the school and pupils are assessed half termly on their reading level to ensure that they are reading the most appropriate books. Teachers talk to the children regularly about their strengths and areas of development, and communicate with parents via children's reading records. Reluctant readers, or those pupils who struggle with reading are continue to follow the RWI reading programme every day to ensure that they make expected progress.
Teacher led daily phonics: (Read Write Inc.) is used from EYFS to year 2. 1-1 tutoring supports pupils that have not met the required standard at phonics screen at year 1 or 2.
In EYFS Reading is taught through shared reading, using large print books and picture books. Pupils are taught the process of reading; learning that words and pictures have meaning. Through a range of practical activities children learn familiar stories. Pupils explore skills such as sequencing, prediction and retrieval. Children learn to confidently blend and segment the Read, Write Inc. phonics set 1 sounds. They begin to read using 'ditties'.
In Key Stage 1, we use Read, Write Inc. for our phonics programme. Phonic awareness helps the development of reading by segmenting and blending sounds. The children will be heard reading individually and in groups using the RWI scheme until this is complete. Moving forward pupils explore vocabulary, prediction, sequencing, making inferences and retrieving information using VIPERS.
In Key Stage 2, we teach reading through a whole class approach focusing on the curriculum domains. We use VIPERS to ensure consistency across the Key Stage. Pupils explore vocabulary, prediction, sequencing, making inferences and retrieving information, ensuring that they are able to make justified responses using evidence from the text. Pupils explore a wide range of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts in their lessons, which are based around age appropriate texts linked to the topic being studied.
We have high expectations for reading outside of school and celebrate success through our reading reward scheme 'Have you read at home 3 times this week?' We encourage a love of reading by taking part in national and local reading celebrations e.g. World Book Day and the Library Service Summer Reading Challenge.
Library skills are taught in all classes and the children are given opportunities to use our well stocked library in the foyer of the school.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.
Pupils in reception and year 1 are assessed at least termly on their progress through the phonics scheme.
Frequent formative assessments take place against the VIPERS domains and the common exception words (NC 2014) to ensure that pupils continue to make progress in reading once they have completed the phonics scheme.
Summative attainment in reading is measured using a range of statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally.
• Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
• Half termly checks to ensure that progress is being made and intervention is planned for those pupils who need additional support.
The school measures impact through:
Read Write Inc. Phonics depends upon children learning to read and write sounds effortlessly, so we make it simple and fun.
The phonic knowledge is split into two parts.
First we teach them one way to read and write the 40+ sounds in English. We use pictures to help, for example we make ‘a’ into the shape of an apple, ‘f’ into the shape of a flower. These pictures help all children, especially slower-starters, to read the sounds easily.
Children learn to read words by sound-blending using a frog called Fred. Fred says the sounds and children help him blend the sounds to read each word.
Then we teach children the different spellings of the same sounds. For example, they learn that the sound ‘ay’ is written ay, a-e and ai; the sound ‘ee’ is written ee, e and ea. We use phrases and actions to help them remember each sound for example, ay, may I play, a-e – make a cake?
In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want your child to read them effortlessly.
Set 1 sounds are the initial letter sounds. They are taught in the following order.
m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk
There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high. When children learn their Set 2 sounds they will learn:
Every speed sound has a list of green words linked to it, so your child can ‘sound out’ and ‘sound blend’ words containing the new speed sound they have just learnt, for example s-p-r-ay = spray.
When learning their Set 3 speed sounds they will be taught that there are more ways in which the same sounds are written, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.
Once the children are confident in recognising initial letter sounds and blending these into words, they will begin to read ditties, followed by story books.
Before they read the story, they sound out the names of characters and new words, practise reading any of the ‘tricky red’ words, and tell them a thought-provoking introduction to get them excited about the story.
Then, the children read the story, several times, to focus on reading the words carefully; reading the story fluently and reading with understanding.
Staff read to the children, often, in order to model fluency and expression. We talk to the children, as we read, commenting on the characters and events and sharing our thoughts about the story. This modelling of our thinking encourages the children to do the same, thus helping them understand what they are reading more fully.
We use just two simple activities: Fred Fingers to spell regular words and Red Rhythms for tricky words.
Fred Fingers are used for spelling. Children hold up the hand that they do not write with. They sound out the word they are spelling and put up the correct number of fingers for the word.
For example: k-ee-p = 3 sounds = 3 fingers.
We teach tricky words with Red Rhythms. We say the tricky letters in a puzzled or annoyed voice and build the letter names up into a rhythm, for example, s-ai-d.
Your child may begin to use terminology that you are unfamiliar with - this glossary of terms may help!
Green words are words that can be broken down into sounds, and blended together to read.
Red words are words that cannot be broken down. These are taught explicitly, and are words that children need to read by sight.
Your child will be encouraged to sound out words that they cannot read. We call this “Fred Talk”. Fred is a frog that joins the children in every session and he can only talk in sounds!
t-i-n = tin
Phonic screening test
Children complete a phonic screening test in Year 1. If the children do not achieve the pass mark in Year 1, they will be retested in Year 2.
During the test, children are asked to decode both real and nonsense words.
Read Write Inc fully prepares children for this test, including the ‘nonsense words’ that we call ‘alien words’. Asking children to read these alien words requires the children to demonstrate their decoding skills.
At St Leonard's we believe that ability to write is fundamental to our children succeeding; enabling them to access the next stage of their education and beyond. Our curriculum has been designed to ensure that pupils enjoy and take pride in their writing and have passion and enthusiasm for it.
Our aim is to ensure that pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently; write in different styles and for different purposes and audiences; develop a wide vocabulary and a solid understanding of the grammar rules and terminology appropriate for their age group.
Writing is an important part of our curriculum and is an integral part of all of our lessons.
At St Leonards we teach writing by:
Ensuring each writing unit is planned in accordance with the national curriculum objectives using the Herts for Learning writing planning frameworks and assessment materials to support.
Where possible linking writing units to the topic, so that children can benefit from the links and deepen their understanding.
Where possible using ICT to improve children’s communication skills and to give a different platform to present / perform their work.
Carefully mapping the progression of writing skills throughout the year to ensure coverage of a variety of genres. Grammar and punctuation rules are taught both discretely and as part of English sequences of work to fit to the writing genre. In the long-term plan, teachers carefully match the national curriculum objectives to writing genres, to ensure that new terminology taught, can be applied in context.
Herts for Learning plans, including 'Take One Book' and Hamilton Trust units are used to ensure continuity and progression of skills and to link to learning topics.
Supporting pupils to develop positive attitudes and stamina for writing through regular extended writing opportunities. Each week an opportunity is given for children to write independently for a sustained amount of time, appropriate to their age.
Encouraging pupils to plan, draft and edit their work using purple polishing pens/pencils.
Providing vocabulary resources within all lessons to support children understanding of rich and challenging vocabulary. Children are challenged to use these within their own independent writing.
Celebrating good writing by nominating a Writer of the week. The writing is displayed for the children to enjoy and share in each classroom.
The RWI spelling programme is used during Year 2 onwards (once the RWI phonics programme is completed). For those children still needing phonics intervention, this is carefully planned for assessing their gaps.
Desktop resources are used to support children to apply the spellings they have learned through the Read Write Inc phonics programme.
Common Exception Words are displayed in class and the children are encouraged to use these in their writing. Regular spelling assessments of these words are undertaken and those pupils needing additional support take part in precision teaching interventions to support long term memory and application of these in written work.
Older pupils are taught to use a dictionary to support spelling.
Pupils from year 1-4 take home weekly spellings to practice based on what they have been learning.
As part of the RWI phonics programme, correct letter formation is taught from Early Years and practiced each day.
Nelson Handwriting is introduced from year 1 and from Year 2 joined handwriting becomes the focus when pupils are encouraged to use joins learned across all written work. When they use these correctly and consistently children are rewarded with a pencil of perfection. In KS2 children learn to join all of their handwriting and are expected to apply this to all written work. When this is achieved, a pen licence is awarded.
Attainment in writing is measured consistently throughout the year. At the three assessment checkpoints, progress is tracked, using the Herts for Learning teacher assessment frameworks, which have been taken from the National Curriculum.
Herts for Learning and Local Moderation Exemplification materials are used. We also use the 'No More Marking Comparative judgement to support our moderation in writing nationally.
For those children who have yet to access the Year 1 statements, pre key stage statements are used.
Termly moderations take place, to quality assure judgements made. These are either in house, or as part of a cluster of local schools. We use the Assessing Primary Writing (No more marking- Comparative Judgment) to support with writing moderation.
Termly unaided writing is added to a pupil's writing folder and formally assessed. Assessments are recorded on the Target Tracker monitoring and assessment programme.
End of Key Stage writing: teachers will assess a selection of pieces of writing in Year 2, using this to inform reported Teacher assessment judgements. Exemplification materials are used to support judgements made.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar: For those year groups, using RWI spellings progress is assessed each half term.
SPAG SATS assessments may be used to assess pupils at the end of Year 2
Termly common exception word assessments and regular monitoring of pupil's work inform individual pupil's spelling targets.
We believe that every child should be able to speak confidently to different people and listen to what others have to say. The children are encouraged to listen and respond, to present and to question in a variety of spoken activities across the curriculum and within their community. We recognise the importance of the spoken language within the whole curriculum and we aim to develop the fluency and confidence of our pupils so they are well prepared for their next steps to middle school.
Read Write Inc Tutorials to help you to support teaching phonics at home