We aim to inspire and encourage children to become confident and competent writers while also developing their skills in English Grammar and promoting a love of Reading. In order to accomplish these aims, we constantly strive to expose our children to a wide range of high quality texts that reflect our Creative Curriculum topics, texts that allow the children to explore a range of writing genres that engage the children across a broad spectrum of contexts, allowing them to relate and share common experiences to enhance the learning of each individual.
Children are taught writing through genres that are linked wherever possible to their Creative Curriculum topic and these normally last 2 – 3 weeks.
There is an inspiration lesson and a high quality text is shared with the class at the start of a genre. Children then deconstruct the text, looking at what grammatical, language and composition features constitute the text.
SAMPLE DECONSTRUCTED TEXT HERE AND SUCCESS CRITERIA. From this children write a success criteria together with the ‘ingredients’ for a successful piece of writing. Throughout the topic, children are given many opportunities to write and to edit and improve their own pieces of writing.
Grammar and spelling are taught through these genres. Children are taught to plan, edit and publish their writing. Through the use of the success criteria, children are also supported in self assessment. Where possible, grammar is integrated into the writing genres, or on occasion, may be explicitly taught English grammar. We also teach lessons which relate to the use of grammar and follow a clear spelling programme. This relates to the spelling sound, pattern, prefix or suffix which has been taught in the week.
At the end of a topic, children write and publish their own final piece of writing based on all they have learnt during the genre of writing.
How do we teach handwriting?
At St Gabriel’s we have high expectations for handwriting in all subjects, ensuring that the high presentation standards in Literacy are reflected across the curriculum.
In Reception the children are taught to form individual letters correctly. In Year One the children are encouraged to write on the line, begin to make their handwriting smaller, using finger spaces so that their work can be clearly read.
In Year One and Two the children who are ready are taught how to join up their writing using a cursive style and by the end of Year Two it is expected that most children will be joining up in all their work.
In Key Stage Two the aim is for all children to be writing in a neat joined-up style. Children who achieve this receive a pen, which we hope is achieved by the end of Year 3
To teach pupils to decode effectively we teach synthetic phonics, using the Letters and Sounds scheme. Phonics sessions are taught daily.
All pupils in Reception and Key Stage One:
- Have a discrete twenty minute session of phonics, which may be streamed within the year group to ensure a close match between the taught curriculum and a child’s current needs.
- Are encouraged to use blending and segmenting as their first strategy when reading and writing.
- Are assessed on a half-termly basis. Groups are taken by teachers and Teaching Assistants. Children learn that our alphabetical system has 44 phonemes (sounds) and throughout Reception and Key Stage One they learn how to represent these sounds with different graphemes (the way the letter is written). Children learn how to blend and segment these sounds to read and write. This consistent approach to phonics enables the children to access many books and prepare them for a Phonics Test which occurs at the end of Year 1. This test is also repeated for Year 2 children who were unable to reach the pass mark.
Alongside this the children learn high-frequency words or ‘tricky words’ which cannot be sounded out or are words that the children haven’t learnt yet.
In Key Stage Two, if children still struggle with reading then the phonics programme will continue as necessary in conjunction with other interventions.
Useful links to help your child:
Reading in Key Stages 1 and 2
Children benefit from 30 minutes guided reading teaching each day. Guided reading activities and sessions are planned according to a carousel, enabling children to read at least once a week with another adult. And for children of all abilities to be challenged appropriately. When children are not reading with the adult, they will be completing activities related to the book they have been reading and will be linked to an objective and reading skill (for example information retrieval or inference etc) The focus of Guided Reading at St. Gabriel’s is reading for meaning, retrieval, comprehension, inference and deduction.
Children have a class reading list specific to their age group with a selection of stretching books. LINK TO CLASS READING LIST This ensures that pupils read widely and often at a high level. The pupils have to read at least one book per term from the list. Children are expected to read daily at home and have their reading log signed by their parent or carer.
Children have access to class libraries, a well-stocked school library and half termly visits to Pimlico library.
We believe that pupils with access to a variety of texts learn to read and enjoy reading. We also encourage the enjoyment of reading through such activities as exploring whole class texts together, meeting authors , visiting publishing houses, dressing up during World Book Week , imaginative reading displays and book corners and linking different creative activities to books we may be reading.
Children in KS2 undertake weekly reading comprehension lessons to explicitly teach principles of inference and deduction of unseen texts.
School has partnerships with different volunteer reading organisations including Beanstalk, Random House and the National Audit Office. And also welcomes local volunteers. Pupils who are working towards national expectations in reading, will get the opportunity to read with a reading volunteer. If a child is working towards national expectations, interventions will be put into place (for example the Rapid Reading programme, buddy readers, further adult support).