English (reading & writing)
At Alsager Highfields, we endeavour to create a love of reading.
At Alsager Highfields, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling all our pupils to become lifelong readers and enjoy reading for pleasure. We believe reading is key for academic success and we believe that all children should have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. When our pupils leave Alsager Highfields, we want them to be avid readers, who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of progressive text types, genres, and authors and for them to make informed opinions about their favourites.
How is our curriculum designed and implemented?
Starting in EYFS, 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, children have daily phonics sessions in small, differentiated 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 phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge. Read, Write Inc. groups are monitored by the Early Reading Lead, English Lead and Headteacher half termly.
When children have completed the RWI scheme, they start to read books from our library and our KS2 reading scheme; Accelerated Reader. Children on Accelerated Reader are expected to select books from within their ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development). Reading records are used to correspond with home as well as record reading activity over the week. Children are asked to start recording their own daily reading in school from year 2. Children who access Accelerated Reader have their attainment closely monitored so that we are certain the reading material is pitched at the correct level and that it is being understood.
Guided Reading-The teaching of reading will happen through our guided reading sessions. Guided reading will take place daily. Each child will have a weekly guided reading session. Each guided reading session will have a different content domain focus. Guided Reading books are chosen by the teacher from a wide range of books. During this session, the teacher will check the children’s reading diaries and ensure that children are reading books within their ZPD.
Reading for Pleasure takes place on four days (Guided Reading takes place during the fifth day). We believe that active encouragement of reading for pleasure is a core part of every child's educational entitlement, because we know that extensive reading and exposure to books makes a huge contribution to children’s vocabulary, understanding and subject knowledge. Reading is promoted through the use of our school library, class reading areas and whole school assemblies. Children can choose books from their specific ZPD. Our well stocked library has a wealth of books to choose from and children can read books from home that are within their ZPD. As well as reading books from their ZPD, children are encouraged to read books from the ‘Recommended Read’ box in their class. Children are expected to take a quiz on books read within 24 hours of finishing the book.
Children take a Star Reading test at least 6 times a year and this progress is closely monitored and intervention put in if the data shows any concerns. In between data rounds, the English lead closely monitors the ‘At Risk’ group of children for each class. The ‘Intervention’ group will have assistance in selecting books, as well as having additional reads with adults throughout the week. The ‘Urgent Intervention’ group complete an intervention.
We expect children to have a reading age comparable or higher than their chronological age. This is monitored regularly through the reading dashboard on Accelerated Reader. It is normal for children’s levels to fluctuate slightly over the year and for ZPD ranges to go up or marginally down, but as long as the overall picture shows an upward trajectory then there is no concern. For children to be assessed as ‘on track’ in reading, we expect that children have a reading age comparable with their chronological age, are reading regularly and are passing quizzes. For children to have met Age Related Expectations (ARE) in reading at the end of the year, they have to have met their year group NFER reading standard and to have shown evidence of working at this level during guided reading sessions. GDS standard also needs to be evidenced in the same way.
Children not reading at ARE are given lots of support in order to narrow the gap. Books are bought specifically for poorer/disengaged readers and children given autonomy over book choice, often selecting their own books from catalogues. Incentives are given to encourage poor/disengaged readers and children are often given a reading ‘buddy’ in order to have a positive reading experience with another child. Buddies usually come from an older class.
Children are read to each day by their class teacher. This could be a book that the teacher recommends to the class or a recommendation from a child.
Each classroom has a Recommended Reading Box that the children can choose from if they wish.
Reading is integral to our English lessons, and work is produced around a ‘class text/texts’. This enables deeper understanding of the literature and allows children to use their knowledge of the books in a range of genres.
Reading is pertinent to all areas of the curriculum and so our class texts are sometimes linked to history/geography/science topics as well as other areas of the curriculum.
Teaching within the subject is strong and promotes the acquisition of key knowledge, building on prior learning; through observations, work scrutiny and pupil discussions
What we aim to achieve from our reading curriculum is:
We will develop a strong culture of reading and children will read for pleasure.
Children will make good or better progress from their own personal starting points.
Children will be fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1-this way, children can focus on developing their ﬂuency and comprehension as they move through the school. By the end of Key Stage 2, they will have read and will be able to read a wide range of texts fluently and with a good level of understanding.
At Alsager Highfields, we endeavour to create a love of literacy. Writing is an integral part of our curriculum and it is our intention that our children are provided with an exciting curriculum which promotes a love of writing and develops a clear understanding of the writing process. Our aim is for the children to establish a belief that everybody is an author, and that each child sees themself as an author in their own right. We want our children to want to write and to enjoy the writing process.
Through our book- led curriculum, children are exposed to high quality literature to inspire their own writing. We believe that writing is strengthened by instilling a love for reading within our pupils and we value the importance of reading to supplement writing, providing a purpose and a context to writing. It is our belief that children who are provided with a reason for writing demonstrate flair and effective writing composition, leading to high quality outcomes. We aim to foster our children’s interest in writing and to offer a reason and context for writing which enables the children to write for purpose and audience.
We aim to take our children on a learning journey which enables every child to leave our school with the skills of a writer. Our intention is for our children to:
· Enjoy the writing process.
· Write for purpose and audience.
· Structure and organise their writing to suit the genre.
· Be provided with the opportunity to plan, draft, re-draft, edit their writing, assess their writing, and set their own targets.
· Think about the impact that they want to have on the reader and know how to achieve this.
· Have a wider range of vocabulary and a growing awareness of words and language.
· Write with fluency and have an author’s voice.
· Display fluent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well-presented, punctuated and spelt correctly using strategies taught to them.
· Re-read, edit, and improve their writing so that every piece of writing they produce is to the best of their ability and better than the last using self-regulation.
How is our curriculum designed and implemented?
At Alsager Highfields, we use a book led approach to writing and children develop their skills by exploring a whole range of genres using high-quality texts. We focus on exploring a range of models of writing and use these to help the children to self- regulate their own writing. We not only develop a real enjoyment of writing in English lessons, but teachers are also encouraged to use other areas of the curriculum as a stimulus for writing.
Teachers work alongside the writing lead to develop a long-term overview and medium-term plans of writing units for the year- these include fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. The plans are designed to be progressive in specific skills being taught as well as cover a range of age appropriate text types across the year.
A cycle of lessons for each unit is carefully planned for from the correct year group’s Programme of Study from the National Curriculum. Teachers will be aware of the prior learning that needs to be secure from previous year groups to ensure new content can be understood. The medium-term plans are then broken down into smaller steps to ensure lessons are driven by sharp learning objectives that are progressively linked and teachers are clear about the purpose and audience of each unit.
Children are taught the grammar from the National Curriculum and it is planned and taught to correspond with the grammar required in the genres being written. Children are supported in how to apply the grammatical content taught by identifying features in a high-quality modelled text, before progressing to plan, write and re-draft a written piece which is fit for purpose and audience.
We use hands on experiences to stimulate writing in EYFS and a book led approach in KS1 and KS2 to support the learning process and to practise and embed new skills and knowledge in the different genres.
Children learn to write in the EYFS through a combination of adult-directed activities and child-initiated play. They are provided with a variety of resources to encourage writing e.g., mark making tools, paper, clipboards, post-it notes, etc. The learning environment supports writing through play in multiple ways e.g., sign in sheets for role-play areas, writing orders, menus, registers, recipes, invitations. Alongside play, teachers will encourage children to begin to write through more formal planned writing activities based around topics linked to children’s interests. Teachers model writing during whole class carpet sessions, RWI sessions and in group work. Children are taught how to write their name initially, followed by all letters with the correct formation. They learn to spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters, progressing on to writing simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others. The development matters (2020) guidance is used to guide curriculum planning, which supports holistic learning and development alongside the statutory framework for the EYFS.
Key Stage 1
The children in Year 1 will follow a book led curriculum- which will act as a stimulus for writing. The focus will be on engaging the children to write and to give them the opportunity to write sentences and then sequence sentences to form short narratives. In Year 2, the children will continue the book led approach and will write for purpose. They will write narratives about personal experiences and those of others (real and fictional). The children will write about real events where possible. Planning of writing in Key Stage 1 will ensure that the relevant areas of Grammar are taught and implemented.
Key Stage 2
As a school, we use high quality texts to stimulate our teaching of writing in KS2. We also aim to use memorable experiences as a focus for children’s writing Children use self and peer assessment and teachers and children set goals for their writing, evaluate what they produce and positive behaviours are reinforced. Our aim is to encourage children to take ownership of their work and to give them the opportunity to write a wider variety of genres of writing.
The process that we have adopted in Key Stage 2 is:
· Grammar session- introduce the grammar that will be required in the writing of the chosen genre.
· Identifying the features of the text. Using an example of the genre to be studied, children will identify the features in the text. The children will analyse the text in terms of purpose, structure, and language features.
· The teacher will model the planning process and will model writer thinking and then the children will plan their own piece of writing.
· The teacher will model write paragraphs and the children will then write their own.
· Children will be encouraged to write one paragraph at a time and edit and polish each paragraph before moving on to the next.
What we aim to achieve from our writing curriculum is:
· Children will have a belief that everybody is an author.
· Children will be secure in basic skills.
· Children will know the features of genres and will write for purpose and audience.
· Children will have an extensive vocabulary.
· Children will write for pleasure.
· Children will work collaboratively and independently to share ideas.
· Children will be able to self-regulate and set their own targets which are accurate and help their writing to progress.
Assessment is used to track children’s learning and provide teachers with up to date and accurate information about the specifics of what children do and do not know. This information allows teachers to adapt their teaching, so it builds on children’s existing knowledge and focuses on the next steps they need to make to progress.
Assessment in writing is continuous. From the beginning of every lesson, teachers will be assessing prior knowledge through assessment for learning to identify the current stage and next steps in learning. Teachers will facilitate to ensure that misconceptions are dealt with immediately and high attaining children are challenged appropriately. We will provide a personalised and flexible curriculum for individual children that may need reasonable adjustments- these adaptations increase access to the lesson content enabling them to reach their full potential.
Effective marking and feedback are an important element of teachers’ responses to children’s learning. This may be given either orally during live marking or in written format during a marking conference but is always:
· Celebrates success.
· Compares what a child is doing right now with what they have needed to improve before.
· Provides specific guidance on how to improve as their next step.
We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
· Tracking of knowledge when genres are revisited.
· Pupil discussion about their learning- pupil voice.
· A cycle of work that gradually releases scaffolding and promotes independence and self-regulation.
· Book monitoring termly.
Assessment is an ongoing priority, and we work closely as a staff to work collaboratively with each other to moderate writing within school. We also moderate writing with other schools and with local authority moderators. Staff in Years 2 and 6 attend moderating writing courses annually to keep abreast of any changes.
By the end of their time at Alsager Highfields, children will have experienced a range of high-quality texts and genres of writing and be able to write for a range of purposes and audiences.