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 AND PHONICS
Following the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum, the school endeavours to engage a life – long love of reading. We provide children with the skills and knowledge in order to enjoy the art of reading.
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.
We use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Read Write Inc. is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. As part of this, all children in Reception and KS1 have daily phonics sessions in small groups where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their 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 stages, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge.
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 – 'Read, Write Inc.' Those children struggling in phonics are never left behind because the school employs a range of strategies to close the gap, including precision teaching and 1:1 interventions for the lowest 20% of children.
Through class reading sessions, reading is developed using high quality texts (which we call our Favourite Five) in order to build up comprehension, language and promote and instil further a love of reading. Strong links are made between reading and writing- children read enjoy high quality fiction and non-fiction texts, which are linked to their topics across the curriculum. Children also continue to develop their reading fluency skills, building upon their phonics knowledge and skills.
We recognise and promote the importance of a rich and varied vocabulary- teachers ensure that new and difficult vocabulary is pre-taught and accessible for all the children to deepen their learning and understanding of books.
Children are expected to read at home and the school reading scheme is carefully matched, in the first instance, to children’s phonic phases. Children will also be provided with a 'reading for pleasure' book to share with their parents at home; a high quality text that promotes further a love of reading, making the power of reading a family affair.
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:
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.
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
On-going formative assessment taken directly from Read, Write Inc takes place half termly. These outcomes are fed forward into timely teacher intervention and subsequent planning to ensure gaps in knowledge are closed and progress is not limited. Our Reading Leader is responsible for ensuring this assessments are accurate and timely
Outcomes from end of set 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, result in movement of groups regularly and accordingly including the lowest 20% who are not likely to meet end of year expectations and/or not making expected progress. 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.
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.
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.
Following the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals, at Bracebridge Infant and Nursery School, we believe that all children should acquire a life – long love of writing, with at least the basic skills they need to continue into the Key Stage 2 phase of their education. We provide children with the knowledge and skills in order for them to become effective communicators in the world beyond the classroom. We are resolute in our belief that no child should be left behind. We know that at least 40% of our children enter our school with poor or little language skills. Therefore, specific teaching of tiered vocabulary is at the forefront of our teaching across all subjects, so that our children become language rich writers.
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 by the end of Year 2.
We have an abundance of wonderful cross curricular opportunities to inspire pupils through high quality reading texts with language rich vocabulary; films, artefacts, memorable, first -hand experience and visitors, which make sure learners enjoy writing. Excellent teaching and tailored high quality support to ensure all children make outstanding progress is a primary focus.
Writing lesson are designed to be ambitious for all, with any children falling behind age-related expectations identified and receiving quality first teaching followed by time-tabled intervention. In addition, children who don't grasp a concept within a lesson, receive same day intervention in order to endeavour to keep them on track and ensure they make the expected level of progress.
Children are given many opportunities for independent writing within literacy lessons and throughout the curriculum. In EYFS,children learn initially how to hold a pencil and sit correctly so that they can begin to form letters, words and sentences in line with our phonics teaching. Once children have accessed speed sounds, the Reception children, in Read, Write Inc (RWI), where they also learn to form letters and use their FRED fingers to spell phonetically, then move onto the reading and writing element of the scheme. This is taught in reading ability groups across Reception and Key Stage 1.
IN KS1, children are taught to hold a sentence, learn and use grammar, punctuation and spelling, as well as write with increased stamina across a range of genres. Additionally, children have opportunities to write across the curriculum, which leads to greater independence of writing across the genres. This enables learners to find real life reasons and purpose for writing; recent examples include, a report about the Great FIre of London and poetry about jungle animals
Half termly assessments monitor children's progress in RWI. Children's independent writing is assessed throughout in-school and cross school moderation meetings using the expected standards/goals for specific year groups.
In Year 2, children receive an end of Key Stage teacher assessed grade, stating whether they have:
-not met the end of Key stage expectation
-are working towards the end of key stage expectation
-have met end of key stage expectation
-have exceeded end of key stage expectation
These end of Year 2 assessments are moderated internally and externally by experienced practitioners.
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; all as part of RWI. Specific handwriting sessions happen to the whole class daily in Key Stage 1 but there is an expectation that handwriting is considered during all writing activities.