English subject coordinator – Mrs Spencer
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At Moat Farm Infant School, we aim to promote high standards of language and literacy by ensuring pupils have a strong understanding of spoken and written language. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening so they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. We aim to develop their love of literature and interest in words through widespread reading for enjoyment. We want our pupils to enjoy and understand language, especially vocabulary, as this will support the effectiveness of their writing as well as their competence. We believe that children need to develop a secure basis in literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We want all pupils to leave Key Stage 1 reading and writing with confidence and understanding. We want them to use a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning, including monitoring and correcting their own errors.
By connecting our British Values through the teaching of English, we explore issues that affect us all in our lives and this helps the children develop skills they will need to be effective citizens e.g. tolerance and respect are modelled through debates and discussions.
Speaking and listening
Children are encouraged to develop their speaking and listening skills through role play, discussions and debates. These extend the children’s vocabulary, strengthening the connections with their learning in English, foundation subjects and maths. These communication skills are further developed through class discussions, paired and group work about reading books and in all lessons.
In EYFS, children begin to use anticlockwise movements and retrace vertical lines with a pencil and begin to form recognisable letters. Children develop good control and coordination in gross and fine motor skills. In Year 1, children produce writing with clear spaces between words. Most letters are correctly formed and orientated, including lower case, capital letters and digits although there may be some inconsistency in size. By Year 2, all letters and digits are consistently formed and of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another. Spacing is appropriate to the size of letters. Children begin to join letters using pre-cursive joins.
Word Aware and Word Workout
At Moat Farm Infant we understand that listening to stories, poems and rhymes feed children’s imagination, enhance their vocabulary and develop their comprehension. We make words a priority: appreciating authors’ use of vocabulary, having a multi-sensory approach, playing word games, singing, nursery rhymes, role-play etc. We teach vocabulary every day, through songs, games and linking new knowledge to what is already known.
Phonics (reading and spelling)
At Moat Farm 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 Nursery/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, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Moat Farm 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 Moat Farm Infant School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they 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 reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
In EYFS, children are taught the letter graphemes as they learn the sounds in phonics and are encouraged to have a go at writing by sounding out words and recording the sounds they hear. This takes place during teacher-led sessions and there are also plenty of opportunities during child-initiated sessions, with a range of materials and writing prompts available.
In Key Stage 1, the teaching of writing is also linked to the current curriculum topic so that children are immersed in the topic and they are provided with a range of stimuli including relevant vocabulary, books, PowerPoint images, pictures etc.
We follow the 2014 National Curriculum for guidance as to what is taught in each year group and, from this, have devised units of work based on different genres. We ensure progression in complexity of tasks and expectations for each year group.
Grammar and punctuation, together with the structural features of each genre, are then taught through a series of lessons, starting with the basics of sentence construction including full stops and capital letters. Children begin to identify word classes early on (noun, verb, adjective and adverb) and use this understanding in their writing. Teaching builds term on term and year on year using prior knowledge. Children are taught to edit and improve their work using a red pen, before writing it out neatly.
Teachers provide regular constructive feedback through marking, which also promotes reasoning about the work that has been completed. Children are encouraged to assess their work through discussions with their peers and teachers.
The 2014 National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
Our intent aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We teach English (phonics, reading and writing) daily from Reception class to Year 2 and base the content of our curriculum on National Curriculum guidelines. We provide many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion, but also ensure that cross curricular links with topic work are woven into the programme of study. This enables the children to apply the skills they have been taught in different contexts.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
– We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language.
We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 3 of the Autumn term.
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace.
Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week
We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
- are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
In Reception these sessions start in Week 5. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
In Year 2, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.
The decodable reading practice book will be set online to ensure success is shared with the family.
Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.
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. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
Lesson templates, Prompt cards and How to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.
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 Moat Farm Infant School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
Every classroom has a reading area 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 Nursery/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.
The school library is made available for classes to use at protected times. Children across the school have opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author webinars and national events etc).
We monitor the impact of our writing provision through termly assessments, in-house and external moderation, lesson observations and monitoring of English books. Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching, as well as intervention, to support and enable the success of each child. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards. The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches support the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others.
Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
Assessment for learning is used:
- daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
- weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
Summative assessment is used:
- every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
- by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
- with any child new to the school to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan provide appropriate extra teaching.
Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.
Ongoing assessment for catch-up
Children in Year 2 are assessed through:
- their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment
- the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds placement assessment
- the appropriate half-termly assessments.