The aspiration for each of our children is based upon the need for them to enter the world of work as articulate and literate individuals with a strong love of reading. Competence in reading is the key to independent learning and has a direct effect on progress in all other areas of the curriculum. We want our children to be ‘readers’, not just children who can read.
Teaching pupils to read is arguably the most important aspect of primary education, enabling children to gain insight into the powerful world of imagination and access to the full National Curriculum. Success in reading has a direct effect on the progress made in most areas of the curriculum, therefore it is crucial that we help children to develop their independence, self-confidence and motivation in reading.
We aim to create “readers for life” – children who develop a love of books, who enjoy reading and read for pleasure. Reading for Pleasure is paramount at Forty Hill, and we have whole school and class reading challenges, opportunities for children to read themselves, with partners and with other children across the school on a regular basis.
We all play an important role in helping children to develop into confident readers. We believe that parents play an essential role in helping their child learn to read. In addition to teaching the skills and knowledge needed to read, every class is taught literacy through high quality, challenging texts which are linked to their half termly topic, thus increasing their exposure to a range of engaging and motivating texts throughout the school year.
We teach Daily Supported Reading (DSR) programme in Phase 1. DSR is a scripted program that ensures a varied responsive and consistent approach to independent text reading, on a daily basis in small groups. It is delivered throughout Year 1, as well as being extended into Year 2 at the start of the year to low attaining groups and to Reception after Easter to support the more confident new readers. The more confident readers in Year 2 move on to more traditional Guided Reading sessions, involving reading in a small group, having text-led discussions and moving on to understanding of text, rather than simply the fluency of reading.
We expect our children to be fluent readers by the time they move into Key Stage 2, and therefore our approach to teaching reading evolves into development of expression, comprehension and exposure to a greater range of texts. Children are still given opportunities to read aloud and develop their fluency and expression further, not just in reading sessions but in drama and poetry recital opportunities through literacy or topic lessons.
In Key Stage 2, there are whole class guided reading sessions every morning at the start of the day. As a class the children are introduced to text, and through a carefully planned set of lessons, they will identify and discuss new vocabulary, be explicitly taught a comprehension skill, such as retrieval or inference, then have this modelled in the ‘teacher talk’ lesson then have the opportunity to apply the new skill in the ‘pupil talk’ lesson. Each child has access to a reading/writing frame which provides them with the language they need for each type of comprehension skill and question. This whole class approach enables all children, whatever their reading ability, to have exposure to new challenging vocabulary and texts, be taught explicitly the comprehension skills required in the curriculum and ensure all children are actively involved through lots of talk and modelling.
At Forty Hill CE School, we believe learning to write is one of the most important things that a child at primary school will learn. Not only do children use their writing in almost all other subjects of the curriculum but good writing also gives children a voice to share their ideas, opinions and imagination with the world. We use a variety of learning and teaching styles in our daily Literacy lessons in order to meet the needs of all our pupils. All year groups will teach the relevant objectives for Literacy through a key high quality text, which will often relate to their International Primary Curriculum topic as well, creating cross curricular links and a fluency within all learning each half term.
Texts may be fiction or non-fiction books, picture books or chapter books, poetry or newspaper articles, and these will be the basis for learning and writing content, and may be adapted to suit the particular needs of the class.
Literacy lessons will use a range of creative approaches to support the pupil’s understanding and exploration of the text, such as drama, hot-seating, story maps, speaking and listening tasks, visits to settings, illustration, debates or research.
In addition to these creative approaches, there is consistent teaching of the structure and features of different text types with a link to the grammar and punctuation needed to making their independent writing successful. This will involve looking at good examples of the text type, identifying the key features, creating toolkits for writing, teacher modelling and time to draft, edit and publish where appropriate.
Literacy across the curriculum is encouraged including extended writing in R.E., Science and Topic. ICT is used where it enhances, extends and compliments Literacy teaching and learning, both by teachers and pupils.
Building on their phonics skills, children will be taught spelling rules and patterns using the suggested scheme from the Local Authority which covers the key objectives from the National Curriculum. There are spelling lists for each year group and these will be incorporated into spelling lessons and used for cursive handwriting practice to reinforce letter order, patterns and rules. This may be a discrete lesson which teaches the rules, which is then referred to in Literacy lessons and as a homework challenge in the same week.
At Forty Hill CE School, we are using the highly recommended ‘Letters and Sounds’ synthetic phonics scheme produced by the Department for Education. Children actively engage in the practical activities and the multi-sensory way the scheme is delivered. Phonics teaching is part of the daily routine at Forty Hill and begins in Nursery and continues throughout Key Stage One.
Promoting Literacy at Forty Hill
Throughout our school year, we nurture our children’s love of literacy and provide further opportunities to build reading and writing confidence and its important role in our history and the wider world. This includes our annual World Book Day celebrations, where we focus on a particular author or genre, and children produce a range of work relating to a text. Extra opportunities are given to ‘drop everything and read’ and everyone takes great pride in dressing up as book characters for the day. Other focus weeks and events throughout the year include relevant texts to study, including stories or books of the Bible and tales from other cultures.
Fulfilled: There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favourite book. —Marcel Proust
Healthy: Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him. —Maya Angelou
Successful: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” ― Dr. Seuss