The curriculum is grouped under the three Attainment Targets for English which are: Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing and includes the systematic teaching of phonics. Key Stages 1 and 2 follow units of work based on the Primary Framework for Literacy while the Foundation Stage follows the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.
In addition, literacy skills are constantly being developed, reinforced and practised in all other subjects.
Every child receives regular guided reading and writing sessions with the class teacher or a teaching assistant. These small group sessions provide opportunities for focused teaching and learning, where children’s specific learning needs and targets are addressed.
Children have daily opportunities to engage in language games and activities to get them going and thinking before writing. They will regularly see the teacher modelling writing and children will contribute to shared writing. We use talk for writing strategies where children are supported in their writing through a variety of speaking and listening activities prior to putting pen to paper. Children discuss their thoughts and talk through features of texts and take part in oral story telling so they are very familiar with a story before they start to write it. Children are taught a variety of text types and are provided with regular opportunities to write their own versions. Some examples are stories, information texts, diary entries, and instructions. Children help their teachers to make a list of what to include in their writing so they know what to use in their own work and this helps them to check it afterwards. At The Grove we use the Nelson handwriting font and children are taught and encouraged to join up their letters from Year 2 onwards. Good presentation is always encouraged and celebrated.
Our approach to the teaching of reading is through group guided reading in class. Pupils also have individual reading books to take home. The books are carefully levelled to support children in their progress and go from book band pink up to book band lime green, when children become free readers. At The Grove we use a variety of reading schemes including Big Cat, Rigby Star, PM books and the ever popular Oxford Reading Tree, to give the children experience of different styles of books and genres (e.g. fiction, non-fiction, poetry, traditional stories).
Phonics is taught daily in the Foundation Stage and in KS1 to support children in their reading and writing. Children are taught all of the main phonemes (sounds) in Reception and are encouraged to sound out words and blend them to read and sound talk words to write them. Children play a range of games to practise these skills and they are reinforced during their Literacy lessons when reading and writing. Phonemes and words learnt in Reception are practised further in KS1 and children also learn more phonemes and tricky words. Support for Spelling is introduced in Year 2 for children to learn more about spelling patterns in words and this is continues as children move into KS2 through daily SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) lessons.
Speaking and Listening
We value children's speaking and listening skills very highly and want to help them develop their communication across the whole curriculum. Some of the strategies we use to achieve this are:
new vocabulary is displayed in the classroom for children to refer to throughout all our topics.
'talk partners' are regularly used across the curriculum
Oral storytelling techniques. This is where children learn a shared story and use actions to remind them of the structure, connectives and content.
Warm up games and activities at the start of our lessons to get the children speaking and listening. For example, children might have to guess what verb is being acted out, or add punctuation to a sentence they have listened to.
Opportunities to orally rehearse what they are going to write using 'talk frames' which helps them to structure their ideas, and provides them with sentence openers and vocabulary related to the topic.
Drama activities are built into lessons. For example, we might hot seat a character from a story, asking open-ended questions to get information for our writing.
All these strategies provide opportunities for children to develop their ability to communicate in different contexts.