At Bishop Bronescombe, it is our aim that children are taught and have opportunities to express themselves and develop their understanding of the world through their speaking, listening, reading and writing.
At Bishop Bronescombe, we want children to become avid readers who engage in high quality reading opportunities that are both enjoyable, challenging and cross- curricular. We aim to ensure all children have access to a broad range of high quality reading materials & opportunities, which will enable them to become lifelong, independent and confident readers who read for pleasure and information. We want our children to be able to read fluently and widely and express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read.
It is our intention that children use their rich and varied reading experiences to inform their writing. We aim to expose our children to a wide range of ambitious vocabulary (through reading and writing) which they are expected to apply in their speaking, listening and writing. We want children to have opportunities to write for a range of audiences and purposes using the grammatical accuracy, application of their spelling and phonic knowledge and the use of a cursive handwriting style appropriate for their age.
We follow the National Curriculum objectives to ensure children are making progress and achieving attainment for their appropriate age:
At Bishop Bronescombe, the development of reading begins with the systematic and rigorous teaching of phonics using Read, Write, Inc. in order that children build a knowledge of phonemes and graphemes, as well as an increasing recognition of sight words, so that they can become readers as quickly as possible. Reading books at this stage are consistent with their assessed phonic stage and allow children to apply their phonic knowledge at home. In addition, children have a ‘challenge reading book’ where other reading strategies can be employed and children are exposed to a greater range of vocabulary and genres. Children also have a weekly library book, which encourages reading for pleasure and meets children’s individual interests and preferences. There is a clear expectation made to both children and parents that children should read at home at least 4 times a week; provision is made, in school time, by teachers, TAs and volunteers, for children who do not have that opportunity.
Alongside the continuing teaching of strategies to develop word reading (identifying prefixes and suffixes, silent letters, homophones, common exception words etc), reading comprehension skills are developed through high quality questioning based on the national curriculum programme of study in both guided group reading sessions and whole class reading sessions. A focus is made in both group and whole class reading sessions on the skills of reading aloud fluently and strategies for understanding the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary. In addition, our ‘Word of the Week’ offers further opportunity for children to consider the morphology and etymology of words that they may come across in the reading. Regular reading assessments are made using standardised tests and teacher assessments and intervention group work is provided for both individuals and groups of children based on need.
Texts for group and whole class reading sessions are selected by teachers to ensure children are exposed to the range of genre as contained in the National Curriculum Programme of Study, to meet the interests of children and to make links to learning to other areas of the curriculum.
In order to develop reading for pleasure, daily early morning reading gives opportunities for children to have sustained reading for a period time. Reading records for children in KS2 include a list of recommended reads that are age-appropriate and ‘free- readers’ have been banded in ability levels to support children’s choice of reading materials. Class teachers read a class-reader daily to their children in order to model the excitement and pleasure that reading offers. The school learning environment aims to reflect the value that the school places on reading. New reading material is regularly added to the reading stock based on children’s preferences and recommendations as well as to ensure breadth, challenge and variety.
Whole School reading events, such as World Book Day, Share a Book Day and visiting authors emphasise the importance that our school places on the pleasure of reading and a love of books. In addition, training for parents and carers in phonics and reading is provided by the school as a means of supporting parents in their role of helping their children develop their reading at home and to demonstrate the importance we place on reading.
At Bishop Bronescombe the development of writing begins with the understanding and application of phonic knowledge to writing words as they sound. Alongside phonic knowledge, correct cursive letter formation is taught and a wide range of opportunities to apply their knowledge of phonemes and graphemes to writing for different purposes are provided in the EYFS. The ‘Get Writing’ scheme is used in KS1 to support children’s understanding of the link between reading and writing and to practise the application of the spelling, grammar, punctuation, composition and proof-reading elements from the National Curriculum Programme of Study.
The focus of written outcomes is based on four purposes – to entertain, to inform, to persuade and to discuss (and any appropriate combination) – which are addressed progressively across the school. Additionally writing composition is taught across the school using a teaching sequence that incorporates many of the elements of ‘Talk for Writing’ and focuses on making decisions as a writer based on the purpose of the written outcome. The teaching sequence will generally include:
- a stimulus for writing, e.g. a short film, a real-life experience, an extract from the class book;
- an analysis of the written genre to identify the structure and language features required for the purpose and audience of the writing and create a ‘toolkit’ for writing;
- use of role-play, role on the wall, hot-seating, improvisation, discussion and vocabulary banks;
- organising ideas using planning templates or story maps;
- the writing phase, step-by –step using modelled writing and shared writing leading to guided and independent writing.
- Opportunities to assess own writing against the ‘toolkit’ or success criteria proof-read, edit and improve written outcomes.
Writing outcomes are generally linked to other areas of the curriculum to assist children with the writing content; children also have opportunities to write about a subject that interests them.
The school also uses the ‘Let’s Think in English’ strategy, which focuses on the importance of higher order skills such as inference, deduction and analysis to support understanding In English. Written outcomes from studying these units follow the teaching sequence set out in the lesson guidance.
The grammar and punctuation elements of the National Curriculum are taught both discretely as part of an English lesson, identified in the text analysis and included in the toolkit, modelled explicitly during modelled and shared writing and used by children in their written outcomes: the correct terminology for grammar and punctuation is used by teachers, teaching assistants and children. The range of vocabulary used by children in their writing is enhanced by the use of the ‘Word of the Week’ by both teachers and children in their spoken and written language; use of vocabulary ‘banks’ developed by teachers and children as part of the teaching sequence, in particular the use of any necessary subject-specific or technical language in their writing; work on synonyms and antonyms, use of thesauri and vocabulary displayed as part of the classroom learning environment.
The transcription skills of spelling and handwriting are taught discretely following the National Curriculum Programme of Study and using additional commercial materials. A cursive script is taught from Foundation Stage and this is modelled by teachers and used in the classroom environment; it is expected that children write using the cursive script. The exception is that children spell words correctly in their written work, use a dictionary, the learning environment or a spelling buddy to find the correct spelling or to make corrections to spellings. A list of spelling non-negotiables is listed on working walls in each classroom and children have access to the common exception words and the word lists for KS2 for reference.
At Bishop Bronescombe we recognise the vital role that spoken language has in developing learning and understanding across the curriculum. Children are taught to ask and answer questions to increase their understanding; to use spoken language to express their feelings and ideas to use the appropriate spoken language to discuss, explain, justify, hypothesise and analyse across the curriculum. Sentence stems for spoken responses are provided in some curriculum areas, e.g. Maths to support children’s responses. When responding to questions or adding to other people’s contributions, children are encouraged to stand to speak to acknowledge the importance of oral contributions to learning.
In reading sessions, children are taught to use appropriate standard English to discuss predictions, inferences and opinions from the texts they are reading and to make recommendations to peers.
Drama activities such as hot seating, role play, and conscience alley allow children provide children with opportunities to express themselves orally in preparation for written tasks and to explore the thoughts and feelings of people and events across the curriculum. Poetry and play performances and presentations across the curriculum to audiences give children the opportunity to practise speaking fluently, audibly, with intonation, expression and using the appropriate level of formality.