At Woodfield Primary School we recognise the crucial importance of studying the English language. We want pupils to leave our school as independent learners who are confident in all strands of learning. We strive for them to have the ability to speak fluently and write legibly, with the appropriate use of Standard English, in order to communicate their thoughts and ideas succinctly. We also wish to foster an enjoyment of reading and to widen their repertoire of reading materials, including non-fiction, poetry as well a range of fiction, including examples from our literary heritage. We believe that this will help our children to deal more successfully with other curriculum subjects, while enriching their lives beyond school. The teaching and learning of language skills are, therefore, given a high priority in our curriculum.
We understand that despite new forms of oral and visual communication, the written word is more important than ever in economic and social interaction. As the world becomes more complex, we need to equip our children to be able to use reading and writing effectively to thrive in their daily lives. Reading literacy is needed to function well in adult life, whether in fulfilling personal goals, progressing in the labour market or participating more widely in society. Pupils who enter adult life with low reading skills have fewer life chances and we must do our utmost to eliminate this from our children’s futures.
Approach to Writing
We have recently changed our approach to the teaching of writing with the overarching aim of using established authors and high-quality texts to model and promote high standards. We based this on the Teaching Sequence for Writing which engages our children in purposeful and contextually relevant writing activities which we believe will increase their confidence and develop their writing skills and a positive attitude to writing.
We understand that effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar – all of which are covered in our planning sequence. We try to find exciting and engaging writing opportunities for children to practise and apply their skills across a range of text types and for different audiences and purposes. Who knows? Our children could be the authors of the future!
Here are some of the novels we have used to inspire our writing through our novel study approach:
Approach to Handwriting
This begins in the E.Y.F.S with mark-making and patterns. All pupils are given access to a wide range of writing tools and mediums to practise the early fine motor skills. The needs of left-handed children, or those with physical difficulties are also taken into consideration and where necessary are accommodated with resources or specific intervention. Pupils are encouraged to develop fluent lines of correctly orientated letters from an early age and emergent writing is encouraged. We believe that discrete handwriting sessions where children’s formation and pencil grip can be readily overseen should take place at least once a week and more frequently in the Foundation Stage. Correct posture and positioning of paper or books are also emphasised during these sessions. Letter formation and handwriting is taught and modelled using a range of resources. The national expectation at the end of Year 6 is that children will join their handwriting.
We follow the Martin Harvey scheme to teach individual letter joins and cursive style. This begins in Year 2 with discrete lessons following a clear scheme of progression. As the children move up through the school they are encouraged to think carefully about the presentation of their work and to develop clear, legible and fluent handwriting.
Here are some examples of the letter formations we use:
We follow the Jason Wade scheme of Sounds and Syllables approach for the teaching of spelling. This follows a five-step sequence:
- use a spelling voice
- snip into syllables
- segment into sounds
- target tricky spellings
- lock in spellings
This scheme covers all the necessary elements of the National Curriculum and compliments the work we do on phonological understanding.
Approach to Reading
The approach to the teaching of reading at Woodfield Primary school has been developed from an understanding of the five elements which lead to successful readers:
- phonemic awareness
- vocabulary development
Children are encouraged to read on a daily basis both in school and at home. Our reading scheme supports developing readers and follows the Oxford Reading Tree levelling system. For children reaching the end of the scheme with good decoding skills, we have a set of carefully chosen novels to introduce them to free reading literature which will increase their independence.
Each year group has tiered books (mild, spicy and hot) available in their classrooms, for children to access constantly. These books are high quality, from renowned authors, have appropriate vocabulary and sentences structures and pose a challenge to the reader and foster enjoyment.
Here are some examples of the books available for our children in KS2: