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English including Reading and Phonics

At Bracebridge Infant and Nursery School we understand that literacy is a foundation to accessing learning in all other areas of the curriculum and literacy learning is encouraged, developed and supported here with great importance and focus at every opportunity.

 

Literacy has three main aspects: speaking and listening, reading and writing.  Each of these aspects supports the others so all are taught with equal importance.  We strongly believe that high quality phonics teaching and learning and high quality speaking and listening experiences build the strongest foundations for good reading and writing development.

Therefore, as we are an infant school supporting the youngest of learners, we place a strong emphasis on these key elements during each and every school day.  We have literacy opportunities embedded throughout our curriculum and it is used to explore and develop learning in all other subjects. 

 

Speaking and listening

At Bracebridge Infant and Nursery School you will see speaking and listening taking place in every classroom during all lessons as we believe that high quality speaking and listening teaching will lead to high quality learning in all areas of the curriculum.    Many of our lessons across the curriculum require the children to work collaboratively, either in pairs or small groups, which encourages key skills such as listening and responding appropriately and negotiating.  Our literacy topics will usually begin with an emphasis on speaking and listening.  During literacy lessons we use techniques such as drama, freeze framing and hot seating to encourage the children to explore the text they are sharing as a class more thoroughly before they carry out any writing activities.  This allows the children to have developed their ideas about the text before they are asked to write, promoting more thoughtful and interesting written pieces of work.

 

READING

Intent

Following the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum, the school endeavours to engender a life – long love of reading. We provide children with the skills and knowledge in order to enjoy the art of reading.

 

Our curriculum is structured through high quality classical and contemporary fiction and this drives its design. Similarly, non-fiction is layered across the curriculum in order to give children a broad understanding of why writers have chosen particular language or laid out text in a specific way. Moreover, books are sequenced in order to expose children to a variety of social, moral, spiritual and cultural themes so that they are able to develop cultural capital. As a result, texts are selected to challenge prejudice and broaden children‘s understanding of their roles and responsibilities as global citizens.

Different text types are carefully selected, across all year groups, so that children are systematically exposed to a variety of genres.  Moreover, in understanding text variety, children recognise purpose and organisation and learning is carefully planned to enable children to debate, reason and empathise. This is particularly important in closing the speech, language and vocabulary gap, identified upon entry into nursery. Furthermore, through this, timely opportunities are seized to enhance empathy and thus, develop reading comprehension strategies and vocabulary extension.

 

Upon entry to foundation stage, it is our intention to accelerate the progress of the lowest 20% by ensuring children’s phonological accuracy is relentlessly addressed. It is our professional ambition that all children will leave school as fluent, confident readers with a desire to read and enjoy a range of texts.

 

It is our intention that all literature promotes school values of love, compassion,  hope, ambition, equality and  tolerance, thus embedding characteristics of effective learning and citizenship.

 

Implementation

Mastery in phonics is fundamental to children being able to access a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts, across the curriculum. This is achieved by teaching phonics systematically daily, with a relentless drive to address the needs of all learners. From the outset, parents are invited to workshops and practical sessions to demonstrate letter to sound correspondence and promote consistent use of the school’s scheme – ‘Letters and sounds’.  Those children struggling in phonics are never left behind because the school employs a range of strategies to close the gap, including precision teaching, direct phonics and web-based interventions.

Children are expected to read at home and the school reading scheme is carefully matched, in the first instance, to children’s phonic phases.  As children become more fluent, we help them make book choices, related to their interest and ensure that questioning is carefully scaffolded.  

 

Within our context, ensuring children have the cultural capital and experiences to become engrossed and immersed in reading is vital.   This is achieved by selecting specific texts to build upon children’s knowledge and understanding of the world and thus help them to make connections to ideas within texts.  Developing a sense of awe and wonder, through selection of appropriate texts, which promote cultural and moral themes, is core and embedded across the curriculum.

In order to develop reading for meaning, we teach all the reading strands from the National Curriculum as follows:

  • Decoding
  • Retrieving/record information
  • Summarising
  • Inference
  • Predictions
  • Identifying and explaining information
  • Meaning and its enhancements
  • Comparisons within and across texts

 

Children are encouraged to develop ‘book talk’ and explain, retrieve, interpret and summarise their learning, across a wide variety of narrative and non-narrative texts.

Shared reading of whole class texts is consistent across school and takes place at least three times a week.  This gives teachers opportunity to use a ‘sub-conscious’ voice and model characteristics of an effective reader, particularly questioning authorial intent, use of vocabulary and tone.  Moreover, teachers engage children by modelling effective story-telling techniques including intonation and pace.  Whole class guided reading ensures that assessment outcomes are used to target and extend children’s knowledge and understanding of texts. Individual reading takes place for all children in foundation stage and KS1 with additional targeted support for the lowest 20% in KS1 .

 

Wherever possible, children’s vocabulary is acquired and enhanced as part of shared, guided and individual reading

 

The reading environment is planned to engage and promote a range of books (to include high quality authors) with a strong emphasis on parental partnerships

 

Impact

On-going formative assessment takes place within each reading session against the assessment focuses.  This includes: teacher observations, questioning, discussions and marking and feedback of reading journals. These outcomes are fed forward into timely teacher intervention and subsequent planning to ensure gaps in knowledge are closed and progress is not limited.

End of term assessments are used to track progress and to identify gaps in the following reading strands, as follows:

  • Inferences with evidence
  • Retrieval
  • Words in context
  • Summarise main ideas
  • Enhanced meaning
  • Comparisons within a text
  • Related content

Outcomes from end of term assessments are used to identify gaps in knowledge and will inform future planning.  Pupil progress will also identify precise actions and objectives for targeted focus children, including the lowest 20% who are not likely to meet end of year expectations and/or not making expected progress. 

We recognise that quality first teaching in reading is the essential first step in improving outcomes for all children.  With this in mind, we ensure that teachers and teaching assistants are kept up to date on the latest initiatives and news.   In response to monitoring, evaluation and review outcomes, weaker areas in staff subject knowledge and pedagogy are developed through the school’s CPD programme

 

PHONICS

Intent

At Bracebridge, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our children to become lifelong readers and have a love of literature.

 

We recognise that mastery in phonics is fundamental to children being able to access a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts, across the curriculum. We aim to achieve this by teaching phonics systematically with a relentless drive to address the needs of all learners.

 

Implementation

We use synthetic phonics and follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme; this is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. ‘Jolly Phonics’ materials are used alongside ‘Letters and Sounds’ to support visual, kinaesthetic and auditory learners. In addition to this, children are taught sight words linked to the National Curriculum.

 

As part of this, children have daily phonics sessions in small groups where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their starting points and developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge.

 

Children in Nursery begin with Phase 1, which provides a range of listening activities through play, to develop their listening skills and in the Summer Term are exposed to Phase 2’s ‘satpin’. Progress is tracked at the end of each term.

 

Children move into Reception they continue to build upon the listening activities and are introduced to Phase 2, which marks the start of systematic phonic work. Grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced. The process of segmenting whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught, writing the letters to encode words. Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover sounds represented by more than one letter, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage just one grapheme (spelling) is given for each phoneme.

 

On entry into Reception, parents/carers are welcomed into school and supported through parent teacher workshop on phonics and early reading. Supplementary resources and guidance are provided and parent/carers are directed to the school’s website for further information, such as links to activities and recommended apps

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Children enter Year 1 with a solid foundation in Phase 3 enabling them to quickly progress in to Phase 4, where they start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase. Whilst in Year 1, children will complete Phase 5, broadening their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn alternative pronunciations and spellings for graphemes they already know.

 

It is expected that children entering Year 2 will recap Phase 5 and begin Phase 6, which develops a variety of spelling strategies including homophones (word specific spellings) e.g. see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary. Also the accurate spelling of words containing unusual grapheme-phoneme correspondences e.g. laughs, two. .’

 

Many activities take place which promote pre-reading skills. Children become aware of print in their environment and match pictures and words. Language comprehension is developed by talking and reading to the children. Initially, as children learn to read, they are given a picture book with no words with the intention that they will share the book and take part in a conversation generated by the pictures. Gradually as the children's knowledge of letters and sounds develop they begin to phonetically decode words.

 

 The first books given are books, which are fully phonetically decodable and linked to the phonics phase the child is on so their learning is practised and reinforced at home. Children are able to take an additional book home, which exposes them to phonics beyond their phase to share and read for pleasure. Our reading books are organised into coloured Book Bands.

 

At Bracebridge Infant and Nursery School, we fully understand that all children learn at their own rate and, as such, our lessons are differentiated to ensure that all the children’s needs are met within each session. This enables us to effectively deliver any additional support or challenge that specific groups may need at the appropriate level.  This may be done through extra support within a whole class session or through separating the children into smaller, more differentiated groups with different activities and outcomes planned for each.   

 

 

Impact

Ongoing formative assessment takes place within each phonics lesson.  This includes: teacher observations, questioning and discussions. These outcomes are fed forward into timely teacher intervention and subsequent planning to ensure gaps in phonological knowledge are closed and progress is not limited.

 

Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow for movement between ability groups, and children move phonics phases when it is felt necessary to meet their needs. Children are regularly moved onto the next Book Band when their fluency and understanding show that they are ready. Children move through the Book Bands until they reach the required standard to become a Free-Reader, choosing a book to read from our well-stocked school or class libraries.

 

The national Phonics Screening Check is performed in June of Year 1. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2 with additional support.

 

Pupil progress will also identify precise actions and objectives for targeted focus children, including the lowest 20% who are not likely to meet the required standard of the Phonics Screening Check.

 

We recognise that quality first teaching in phonics is the essential first step in improving outcomes for all children.  With this in mind, we ensure that teachers and teaching assistants are kept up to date on the latest initiatives and news.  This is through continuous professional development by outside providers and within school (such as local authority networks and TA training).  In response to monitoring, evaluation and review outcomes, weaker areas in staff subject knowledge and pedagogy are developed through the school’s coaching/mentoring programme.

 

WRITING

Intent

Following the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals, the school endeavours to engender a life – long love of writing. We provide children with the knowledge and skills in order for them to become effective communicators in the world beyond the classroom.

 

It is our intention to ensure that reading and writing are interconnected so that children can make purposeful links across their learning. It is for this reason that we place a significant focus on the study of literature from across the ages and across genres. Vocabulary rich books are chosen to both stimulate and challenge the children, leading to high-quality writing outcomes.

 

Children will be given opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes to write effectively for a range of purposes and audiences. They will develop this knowledge around three key aspects:

  1. Authorial intent (purpose)
  2. Precise and ambitious use of vocabulary
  3. Tone

 We want children to write clearly, accurately and coherently and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. Furthermore, we recognise that handwriting is part of our daily lives; it is on show to others and may be used to make judgements about us. Therefore, we encourage our children to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a good, joined, handwriting style.

 

Implementation

The curriculum has been designed to ensure that children are given systematic and frequent planned opportunities to enhance their composition of key text types. For the lowest 20%, tailored differentiation focusing on key tenets of spelling, punctuation and grammar develops a progressive knowledge of words, phrases and clauses.

 

In EYFS, we provide children with a range of experiences, across the curriculum. Practitioners use incidental observations and feed forward planning in order to promote emergent and developing writing, either through continuous curriculum or discrete teaching sessions

 

Children are given many opportunities for independent writing within literacy lessons and throughout the curriculum.  These opportunities take place through both teacher initiated and child led activities.  Great importance is given to any writing or mark making that the children partake in throughout the whole school day.  In Key Stage 1, we use the concept of VCOP and  BIG Writing to encourage the child to complete an independent extended piece of writing weekly based on a given topic or theme. Furthermore, our cross-curricular teaching approach encourages independent writing from our children across the curriculum.Transition is planned carefully in order to close historical gaps that emerge in speech and language and physical development and so may hinder progress, in writing, of the bottom 20%. .

 

Spelling is taught systematically to ensure that children understand the link between phonics teaching and phonically plausible spellings.  As children move into Y2, sight words are spelt with increasing accuracy and there is an increasing focus on word origin and etymology to support spelling of polysyllabic words.  

 

Writing is always taught within meaningful contexts and usually follows oracy activities and rehearsal including drama, debate or reciprocal reading activities.  Often, this leads to a variety of word, sentence and whole text activities so that children shape the language and structure that they need for writing.

 

Impact

On-going formative assessment takes place within each writing session and, against layered success criteria children mark their entry and exit points.  Children develop independence and use ‘next steps’ or 'editing time' to make corrections, sometimes from additional scaffolds provided to enhance or reinforce their learning and there is regular opportunity to do this. Outcomes are fed forward into timely teacher intervention and subsequent planning to ensure gaps in knowledge are closed and progress is not limited.

 

Ongoing assessments throughout the term are used to track progress and to identify gaps in the following writing strands, as follows:

  • Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

Outcomes are used to identify gaps in knowledge and will inform future planning.  Pupil progress will also identify precise actions and objectives for targeted focus children, including the lowest 20% who are not likely to meet end of year expectations and/or not making expected progress. 

 

Handwriting

We use a progressive scheme for handwriting in every class. The aim is that the majority of children will be using joined up writing fluently and accurately by the end of year 2.  In the Early Years Foundation Stage, letter formation is first introduced alongside the children’s phonics learning to provide them with a multi-sensory approach. Specific handwriting session happen to the whole class daily in Key Stage 1 but there is an expectation that handwriting is considered during all writing activities.


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