We want all our children to discover and develop a deep and genuine love of reading and writing while they are on their learning journey with us and to use those passions and the skills acquired to have happy, fulfilled and productive lives. That starts from the moment they walk through the door on their first day in our schools, whether that be in Reception Class or higher up the school. Throughout their time with us, and when they leave to move onward in life, our children are imbued with the joy and endless possibilities that reading and writing can bring, as well as the ability and understanding to use those skills effectively, rigorously and with confidence. In doing this, we give them the one thing that will make the most difference to their academic futures:
‘Reading enjoyment has been reported as more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status’ (OECD, 2002).
‘As with reading, the evidence suggests that enjoyment of writing is related to attainment’ (Clark, 2012)
In English we focus our learning through the lens of high quality texts, with the children being exposed to a diverse range of genres and authors, and utilising the skills acquired through our topic links. Our English curriculum is centred on the extended writing model, culminating in ‘published’ pieces of work across different writing genres. The children always write with purpose and for an audience and know that they are doing so. Writing is linked with, and taught through, a text or texts linked to our topic.
We ensure the children have regular exposure to high quality texts to use as models for their writing. Our teachers regularly employ high quality modelling of writing and the writing process, and the use of ‘thinking aloud’ to demonstrate how we think as writers during the process, and why we make the language choices we do. We promote, teach and incorporate the ‘magpie’ strategy into every classroom, where the children learn to ‘borrow’ from other writers, thus creating a rich resource for the children to use in all their future writing.
We teach the standardised cursive script model with all children’s writing from KS1, because research shows that the early teaching and learning of cursive script correlates with higher overall academic attainment (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6366728/).
We prioritise early reading across our federation of schools, with an emphasis on the effective teaching and learning of phonics, using the systems and strategies outlined in our Early Reading and Phonics Policy. We ensure all children are exposed to a rich variety of reading experiences on a daily basis, including independent reading for pleasure, with a choice of high quality texts. We will provide challenging reading comprehension/guided reading exercises regularly, with incisive and varied questioning as key, and success strategies specifically taught (using VIPERS to ensure consistency of questioning).
Reading at home is vital to your child’s reading development and progress. Just ten minutes a day will make a huge difference to their growth. The acronym VIPERS is a prompt to help us remember the key reading skills children need to develop in order to read successfully both academically, and in a wider context. They are accompanied by question stems pertinent to each element of the skill set. The links below relate to KS1 and KS2 specific VIPERS. When reading with your child, use of VIPERS question stems to discuss the text will help ensure high quality and productive questioning, similar to the child’s experience when reading at school. We will read to the children every day, promoting and valuing the status of the class reading book. We will celebrate our children’s writing through prominent displays, emphasising quality, progress and/or effort. Half termly, every child will ‘publish’ a final draft of independent writing in their writing portfolio, ‘My Writing Journey’.
Our English leader is Mr Scott.
We assess our reading and writing by the use of both formative and summative assessment. ‘Key performance indicators’ are used for every child to monitor their progress and to ensure they are developing the technical skills they need to read and write effectively. As well as summative data recording and ongoing teacher assessment, we track the quality and progress of writing in ‘real’ terms using the children’s writing portfolio, which follows them throughout their school career. We aim to ensure all our pupils make expected, or better than expected, progress in writing from KS1 to KS2. We strive to increase the number of our children in each year group who achieve ‘greater depth’ in writing, to national levels or above.
We ensure systems are in place to deliver robust and effective phonics teaching in early reading, the impact of which is measurable in our own data sets with us having an upward trend in phonics screening check and being above national average for last 2 years. In addition, the number of pupils achieving age related expectations or greater depth in reading has continued to be a strength of the school despite the impact of the pandemic.
Finally, a love of reading and writing is apparent throughout all our schools, through both the environment and by talking to the children, and every child is exposed to a rich and varied range of texts for diverse purposes on a daily basis, as well as inspirational opportunities to write.
Here are some examples of our wonderful writing from Autumn Term:
Charlie, Year 5.
Oscar, Year 4.
Connie, Year 3.
Below are some links to websites that promote and support a positive attitude to reading and writing.