We follow the guidelines set out in the National Curriculum Framework which focuses on: Reading, Writing, Grammar, Spoken language and Composition.
At St Leonard's we have a commitment to ensure that all children achieve their full potential, have a positive attitude towards reading and a love of books. Through a carefully planned programme of teaching and learning, children progress from hearing and recognising sounds in the environment, through segmenting and blending the sounds in words, to developing comprehension, fluency and resilience in reading independently across a range of topics and genres.
The introduction of words of the week and high quality texts across the curriculum supports this ideology by inspiring our children to read more in order to broaden and deepen their knowledge. This prepares them well for future study as they transition to middle school.
We use the Read Write Inc synthetic phonics programme in Early Years, Year 1 and year 2 to accelerate early reading, writing and spelling and to give our pupils a great start to their reading learning journey. Pupils read lively phonic books which are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words.
Group guided reading sessions take place within the classroom setting. This is part of a rich and comprehensive reading programme where the children become acquainted with a wide range of books, such as classic and modern stories, poems, plays and non-fiction texts.
Children select their own reading books from a variety of reading schemes including Oxford reading tree, Ginn and Rigby star. We have a clear reading progression system that runs through the school and we regularly assess the pupil's progress against this in order to implement additional support and/or challenge. Teachers talk to the children regularly about their strengths and areas of development, and communicate with parents via children's reading records.
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 opportunties to use our well stocked library in the foyer of the school.
At St Leonard's English writing is fundamental to all learning across the school curriculum. We help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively, accurately and creatively through written language and equip them with the skills to become lifelong learners. We deliver the National Curriculum through our Curriculum supplemented by other appropriate resources such as Read Write Inc Spelling, Nelson Handwriting and Herts for Learning plans to achieve the standards of creativity, accuracy, fluency and resilience our children deserve to be successful learners in their follow on schools.
Daily Phonics (EYFS and KS1) – Early reading and spelling is taught primarily through the Letters and Sounds synthetic phonics programme and also by regular reading with an adult to develop decoding and comprehension skills. Lessons teach phonetic spelling patterns in line with the national curriculum. Monitoring and Assessment for Learning strategies inform planned interventions and highlight any gaps in knowledge, ensuring that all children make progress
Spelling - Read Write Inc. (RWI) activities are used in Years 2-4 to teach the spelling patterns specified in the National Curriculum and each unit is taught over a one or two week period. Children complete dictation linked to the current spelling pattern and this may be child or teacher-led in KS1. In KS2, a teacher-led dictation of curriculum words and spelling patterns is completed during alternate weeks.
Skills – children learn to write in different genres within these sessions. This includes identifying structural features of different text types and developing writers’ voice through the use of VCOP (Vocabulary, Conjunctions, Openers, Punctuation). GHaSP (Grammar, Handwriting and Spelling) elements are also taught in skills lessons and/or within discrete lessons. Children learn to apply these principles in all their written work.
Handwriting - children learn and are then expected to apply correct letter formations and early joins by the end of Year 1. In Year 2, joined handwriting becomes the focus and most writing should be joined correctly and consistently across all written work. When this is evident, 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. We use the Nelson Handwriting scheme.
Extended Writing- Children are given time to plan their writing which provides an opportunity to share ideas with their peers. There is a focus on verbalising ideas before writing and shared or modelled writing is included in this session. Children are encouraged to include RWI and curriculum spelling words in their plans, as well as that particular week’s grammar focus. Each week an opportunity is given for children to write independently for a sustained amount of time, appropriate to their age. Afterwards children are encouraged to independently edit and improve their work as well as responding to feedback from teachers and/or peers.
We have an extensive range of ICT resources including software for our interactive whiteboards which further enhance the teaching of writing throughout the school.
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.