Our English curriculum has its foundation in early reading in Year R and guides and supports children of all ability towards achieving success. Effective phonological skills are consolidated with language comprehension which together develop confident, fluent readers. Our aim is to ensure that all children rapidly become confident, fluent readers and accomplished writers, with an embedded love of reading and the ability to access the full KS2 curriculum.
Children’s enjoyment of reading is harnessed through an extensive range of considered enrichment activities including Reading Champions, visiting authors, visits to children’s bookshops and children’s literature festivals, participation in World Book Day and ongoing engagement in our well-stocked and maintained library.
|What we do.
Phonics (reading and spelling)
At Bagshot Infant School we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
As a result, we aim for our children to be able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Bagshot Infant School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
At Bagshot Infant School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, we aim for them to read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
|How we do it and how do we ensure progress
|Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week
Once children are reading books at Phase 5 and above, they progress onto Collins Big Cat books which are levelled readers that systematically increase the level of challenge, vocabulary and stamina as the children work through the bands until they are independent readers at the end of Year 2.
A decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share, read and enjoy with their children.
Additional reading support for vulnerable children
Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.
Ensuring consistency and pace of progress
Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress.
Our Progression of skills documents can be read here
|How we assess.
Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
Ongoing assessment for catch-up
|How we make reading enjoyable.
Ensuring reading for pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Bagshot Infant School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school. As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
Our school library, in its dedicated, purpose built space is at the heart of our reading for pleasure culture. It holds an extensive and broad range of up to date children’s literature, carefully curated to capture the interest of our young learners. The library is made available for classes to use each week and is enjoyed by all.
Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events. Reading Champions are chosen each week from every class and rewarded for their reading efforts with a book prize. Termly reading champions represent the school at national events such as literature festivals and bookshop shopping sprees.
|What we do.
|Our aim is to provide children with key transferrable writing skills, built upon from Reception and throughout Key Stage One, that prepare them for the next stage of their education. The teaching of writing begins with a high-quality text which hooks the children and captures their imagination. They are then provided with various reasons for writing in a range of different genres. Writing across all subject areas is encouraged, allowing learners to apply their skills in cross curricular contexts.
|How we do it.
Writing is mainly taught using Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ model. High quality texts are used in lessons structured over two or three-week units, in a sequence based on:
Familiarisation with the genre (text type)
Capturing ideas (oral rehearsal)
Structured and differentiated daily English lessons are planned and develop the children’s understanding of language and text structure using drama, body actions and text mapping. Teacher modelling of the writing process provides children with the scaffold they need for their own independent writing. Opportunities are presented to write for a range of audiences and purposes, and weekly sessions are included for children to write at length, increasing their stamina for writing.
We view English in our reception classes as an integral part of the school’s work. The format for the daily lesson is similar to that used in the rest of the school. As the reception class is part of the Foundation Stage of the National Curriculum, we relate the English aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals, which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. We give all children the opportunity to talk and communicate in a widening range of situations, to respond to adults and to each other, to listen carefully, and to practise and extend their vocabulary and communication skills. They have the opportunity to explore words and texts, to enjoy them, to learn about them, and to use them in various situations.
Reception and Year 1
Spelling is taught systematically using the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ scheme. This focuses on the auditory recognition, visual recognition, blending (reading) and then segmenting (writing) of separate sounds (phonemes & graphemes) in words. The phonemes and graphemes taught are divided into six progressive phases. Children will receive daily phonic sessions in Reception and Year 1. By the end of Year 1 children will have reached the end of Phase 5 in the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ programme and have covered the spelling rules in Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014. At the end of Year 1 children undertake the Phonics screening check.
In the Autumn Term, Year 2 children continue with Phases 5 and 6 of ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ before moving on to ensure coverage of the spelling rules in English Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014. Children who are not progressing with their spelling as quickly, or who did not pass the Year One Phonics Check, continue with daily phonics sessions.
In Years One and Two, a weekly differentiated list of spellings are sent home for the children to learn with an adult, practising spelling strategies taught in school. In Year Two, the children are also expected to write spelling sentences/stories for each word as extra spelling practice. A spelling test/dictation will take place weekly.
Writing depends on fluent, legible and eventually, speedy handwriting.
Throughout Reception, children have access to a range of activities that develop their fine motor skills with activities to get young hands ready for the physical act of writing. Cursive handwriting begins to be taught near the end of Year 1 once the teacher has judged that a child can make the basic letter shapes correctly.
Handwriting practice takes place daily in Year 1 and Year 2. High standards of presentation are expected from all children.
|How we ensure progress. (skills)
When planning units of work, teachers use their knowledge of the end of year expectations for the year group they teach, alongside our ‘Progression of skills: writing’ document to ensure progress from Reception through Key Stage One. Children’s progress in spelling, grammar, sentence and text construction, and handwriting is tracked.
Our Progression of skills documents can be read here
|What we want children to remember from each unit. (knowledge)
|We aim for our children to:
|How we assess writing
|Teachers use ongoing daily assessment to inform next steps for learning. Each child is assessed against either Foundation Stage or National Curriculum attainment targets for writing. Independent writing assessment tasks are used to assess writing at the end of every half term. All year groups complete the same task to allow moderation of work across the school. Progression across year groups is ensured using our ‘Progression of skills: writing’ document. Whole school, learning partnership and local authority moderation of writing between year groups takes place, ensuring robust and consistent judgements of progress.
|How we make writing enjoyable.
We ensure that we use quality, engaging, carefully chosen texts as starting points for teaching writing to enthuse the children to write in a variety of genres and styles.
Drama and role play are built into lessons to stimulate ideas and vocabulary. Writing tasks are split into manageable units to gradually improve children’s stamina for writing and ensure success even for the most reluctant writers.