Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening
The key to pupils’ success is being able to read and we believe that all children will learn to read regardless of their background, abilities or needs.
At Selwyn, the aim of the reading curriculum is to provide every child with the opportunity to experience a wide range of engaging, high-quality texts from which they can acquire new and varied vocabulary and to support them to become enthusiastic, fluent and motivated readers who can successfully comprehend the texts that they experience.
For our school, reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves.
Providing children with the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently, with understanding of what they have read, begins in the nursery setting and is built upon through daily lessons from Nursery (phonics focus) – Y6, and where necessary the provision of additionality for those children who may require it.
Reading across the curriculum enables teachers to provoke thought within our children and for children to apply the skills learnt in reading lessons to a wide range of genres and text types.
The reading curriculum links closely with our writing curriculum; we use a text-based approach that enables us to create opportunities for reading, discussion and writing within reading and writing lessons.
High quality texts are chosen which have a wide variety of themes, characters and opportunities for children to explore the world around them and beyond. Gaps in knowledge and understanding due to our local context and the diversity of children’s backgrounds have been considered when planning and implementing the reading curriculum.
Lessons are approached consistently in Y2 – Y6 with children being provided with the opportunity to: experience daily modelled reading by the class teacher; investigate language; explore a range of question types; experience unseen texts online; apply their knowledge independently and refine their own reading skills.
Children are provided with the opportunity to become fully immersed in the text that they are reading over a week or longer learning journey and each text is then used in the children’s writing lessons to support ideas and composition. Opportunities to explore language in different contexts are a priority in every reading lesson from Reception – Y6 to develop children’s understanding and narrow the language gap for our learners.
- In Nursery, reading sessions take place daily. They have a phonics focus and are centred around the adults being excellent models of reading out loud. The texts are linked to the week’s writing focus and planned play activities.
- In Reception & Y1, children have the opportunity to: listen to the teacher read out loud; read out loud as a class or individually; answer retrieval questions about the shared text; make links to other stories and apply phonics learning. The texts for the children’s reading lessons are linked directly to the sounds being taught in phonics that day with a focus on application of knowledge.
Developing a love of reading
Children in Reception to Y6 have the opportunity to visit the school’s library every week where we have an extensive range of titles and authors for them to choose from. For those children at the early stages of reading, the books that they choose from the library are for parents to share with them at home. Children developing their independent reading skills in fluency and comprehension are encouraged to choose a range of books which are accessible to them.
Daily reading aloud for pleasure is timetabled for every classroom. This is an excellent opportunity for the class teacher to be a positive role model of reading to their children whilst those in their class enjoy listening to and immersing themselves in a range of different stories.
Our nursery classrooms use high quality texts as part of themed learning each week. Children hear stories read out loud throughout their sessions and also have the opportunity to choose their own books to share with a friend or an adult. Children are provided with picture books to share each week with an adult at home.
Our aim at Selwyn Primary School is to encourage children to be independent writers for a range of audiences and purposes across different text types. Pupils will be taught to apply their writing skills across all curriculum subjects and themes which have been carefully developed around quality, challenging texts. Inspiring writing is modelled through unpicking excellent text choices, which engage our pupils to become thoughtful, creative and inventive writers.
The focus on language development in children’s reading lessons is put to use in children’s writing with the emphasis on extending their vocabulary to enhance their pieces and engage the reader.
Pupils learn to persevere in the learning of writing skills through demonstrating their confidence and knowledge of spelling and grammar in all writing opportunities. Handwriting and presentation are practised and demonstrated consistently across the curriculum. Pupils take pride in their work and this is celebrated throughout our environment and rewarded each half term.
The aim of the writing curriculum is to provide children with sound grammatical knowledge which will enable them to write effectively in a variety of styles and for a range of purposes and audiences.
- To build upon children’s knowledge and understanding from Nursery to Y6
- To enable children to confidently apply their knowledge and skills across the curriculum
- To provide children with the opportunity to develop a rich and varied vocabulary
- To ensure that those children with English as an additional language receive additional support (Phonics, social literacy)
- To enable children to become confident and fluent writers
- To enable children to develop their own, individual writing style
- The objectives of the National Curriculum are closely followed and expectations of understanding in each year group extended to ensure that the skills learnt in spelling, punctuation and grammar are embedded and transferred into writing and children become proficient writers. Lessons are carefully planned for a one week journey in Reception & Y1 and a two week learning journey in the rest of the school so that skills are taught, embedded, revisited and then developed in a sequential way which promotes learning and retention of knowledge and skills. To ensure that children understand the link between reading & writing, writing lessons are timetabled to follow reading sessions in all year groups.
- In the Early Years, children have the opportunity to write each day with an initial focus on letter formation linked closely to phonics learning and then onto the structure of short sentences linked to a quality text. The curriculum is progressive in terms of content and time spent in a writing lesson.
- Learning journeys will focus on a specific writing style to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of the key features; to improve their sentence structure and make language choices which work within the context of the genre that week. Grammar tasks are provided each day to build children’s knowledge and understanding of word and sentence structure to enable them to become confident and proficient writers.
- At the end of each half term, children produce a special piece of writing for their ‘writing journey’ books which follow them throughout their time at Selwyn and document their progress from Reception to Y6.
- Teachers’ subject knowledge is strong and they present themselves as successful and creative writers each day whilst modelling to the class. Handwritten models, alongside pictorial supports as necessary, are an expectation throughout the school in all lessons.
Spelling is an important skill both in and out of school. Spelling rules are explicitly taught each week in the ‘basic skills’ focus lesson, handwriting sessions and through modelled and shared writing. There is an expectation that children will spend time at home learning their spellings each week.
We start to teach letter formation in Nursery, with children refining their writing as they progress through Key Stage 2. Neatly presented work and correct letter formation is a continual focus at school.
Speaking and listening
Children at Selwyn have opportunities to carry out speaking and listening activities built into daily class practices and whole school events that run throughout the year, in addition to extra-curricular enrichment activities.
These include: drama activities such as hot seating, end of term assemblies and debates as part of ‘Votes for Schools’.
Developing children’s understanding of spoken English and the narrowing of the language gap is a key element of the school’s early years curriculum.