Being able to read is a hugely important skill and here at The Stour Academy Trust, we believe the key to enabling children to learn is a rich, cross-curricular approach with a high focus on reading for pleasure, combined with the consistent teaching of progressively more advanced skills. The children in our schools are enthusiastic readers and are given many opportunities to engage with and discuss a variety of enjoyable and high quality texts in discrete guided reading sessions, English lessons and in other areas of our Creative Curriculum; our children not only learn to read, they read to learn!
Daily guided reading lessons take place in every class and these run in a carousel throughout the week, with children reading appropriate, yet challenging texts for their stage of learning. During these sessions, several skills are taught from the National Curriculum for that year group and opportunities to apply these skills independently are given. Along with daily guided reading lessons, we also have a class reading book that links with the wider Creative Curriculum which much of our writing is based on and during the week will have a reading focus during our English lessons.
Children learn to read through a variety of approaches and we know that teaching and providing opportunities to practise all of them ensures all children are able to learn in the way that works for them. Our children learn how to retrieve information, draw inferences, make deductions, make predictions and learn to analyse and evaluate a wide range of texts. We acknowledge that phonics is highly important and it is taught twice daily from reception to year one, before transitioning into spelling in year two. Phonics lessons are interactive and lively, ensuring the children have fun and learn at the same time.
Our reading rich environment fosters much discussion about books and authors; each class has a book to study each term as part of the wider Creative Curriculum, and classroom doors are decorated based on these. We have an excellent library which we keep updated so that there are always new and exciting books for the children to engage with, and we encourage home reading with rewards for children who are reading consistently at home. Reading encourages a wider vocabulary, as children are exposed to words they haven’t heard before, as well as feeding their imagination and creating interest and enthusiasm.
Speaking and listening
At The Stour Academy Trust, speaking and listening is a core part of our curriculum, supporting learning in all areas. Discussion between pupils is encouraged throughout all lessons to share ideas and deepen understanding. Ambitious vocabulary is modelled by members of staff so pupils have examples on which to model their own communication. We have high expectations of listening skills which are carefully developed in their school time, frequently checking that children are fully understanding and processing every situation.
Developing children’s writing is a priority in our trust, with our Creative Curriculum being key in captivating our pupil’s attention and motivating them to write. At the start of the week, a hook is always given, creating a context for the children to write and igniting their imagination. This cross curricular approach also means that our children are fully immersed in a topic and able to draw upon learning from lessons outside of writing time. Children apply progressively more complex skills from their year group’s National Curriculum objectives in a range of genres and write for a variety of purposes, ensuring that they are publishing their work termly.
Handwriting is an important focus in the 2014 curriculum and children begin to write in a cursive, joined up style in Early Years. We have a daily focused handwriting session where children are discretely taught letter formations and apply this in writing words and dictated sentences focusing on spelling, punctuation and grammar.
EGPS (English grammar, punctuation and spelling) is taught throughout English lessons and other areas of the curriculum when children are writing. A weekly focus is planned for in grammar and punctuation but previous skills are consistently revisited, building up the bank of National Curriculum expectations. Spelling is taught through the No Nonsense Spelling series, using the revisit, teach, practise, apply format, with Reception, Year 1 and 2 also doing Super Spell, a high frequency word learning programme.
Parental involvement is incredibly important in literacy learning and there are several ways you can support your child at home including:
- Reading to your child
- Listening to your child read and asking questions about what they have read.
- Playing spelling games with your child
- Encouraging writing for different purposes e.g. postcards, diaries etc
- Talking to your children about different experiences they have will also help broaden their vocabulary.
Click the links below to view the progression in English across the year groups.
Click the link below to find out more about the English national curriculum