APPROACH TO ENGLISH
At Aston Lodge Primary School, we teach our Literacy through the Success for All approach. Success for All (SFA) teaches children to become strategic readers and writers, starting from when they are in Foundation right up to Year 6. It also covers all aspects of literacy – reading, phonics, comprehension and fluency, and writing.
During their time in Foundation, children are exposed to a range of phonics activities which train the eye and hand so children learn how to read and write the letters that represent the sounds they have learned.
Once children have learned the basic sounds and can blend some words, they are ready to be introduced to the Kinder Roots Shared Stories. These are short phonetically regular books that the children learn to read through a structured process. Foundation phonics is not the only way children are exposed to reading; we also read aloud a wide variety of children’s literature through the story tree time. Furthermore, we provide phonetical- awareness activities, especially through rhymes and songs which allow ample time for children to explore books of their choice and engage in creative writing.
KEY STAGE 1/KEY STAGE 2
Reading is a fundamental life skill and is at the heart of our curriculum. We aim to give children opportunities to become critical, thoughtful readers through using relevant and inspiring texts within our SFA sessions. We encourage our children to access a wide range of quality texts (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) both independently and as material related to the wider curriculum. We believe that a love of reading can open minds, inspire and encourage our pupils to dream big.
During SFA sessions, children will have the opportunity to delve into a range of high quality texts which match their reading ability. Children are exposed to ‘treasure hunts’ where they are developing their understanding of how to answer a range of comprehension questions. There will be plenty of opportunities for the children to discuss the texts with peers or as a group to further their understanding.
All children in school have an individual reading book which can be changed regularly and taken home. Partnership with parents is important; the reading diary helps us to maintain links and continuity between home and school. Reading books in school are organised through the ‘book banding’ system to enable children to choose books at an appropriate level of difficulty and to make progress through the bands.
Teachers’ assessments of reading are based on their professional judgments and evidence from SFA sessions, as well as standardised materials. We want the children to be avid, enthusiastic readers, so Reading for pleasure is promoted in school through events and activities such as Book Week, book fairs, displays, assemblies, author visits and competitions. We are committed to giving children time to read and be immersed in reading.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling can be some of the trickiest skills for our young learners to grasp. Because we are aware of these, we endeavour to teach these skills in context and with a purpose so that the children are able to apply them when they are needed.
Spelling is approached in a number of ways throughout school, including using phonic knowledge gained through SfA, using the Planit scheme of work and teaching age appropriate spelling patterns using games and the interactive whiteboard. All pupils have their own spelling booklet with statutory spellings. This allows pupils to learn spellings at their own pace and identifies exactly what level pupils are working within. Pupils spelling knowledge is tested weekly and recorded onto a tracker.
In Key Stage 2, the focus is on learning and applying spelling rules and patterns, followed once again, by an individualised test on up to 10 words per week.
Throughout school, punctuation and grammar are taught discretely using the Planit scheme of work and then the children apply those skills in their independent writing linked with topic themes.
We use the ‘Martin Harvey’ scheme of work. We are aware that legible, fluent handwriting is another important life-long learning tool. From EYFS, a minimum of three 15-minute sessions per week is focussed on developing a fluent written style. Our young writers are exposed to lots of fun activities to build muscle strength, develop fine motor skills and select a dominant writing hand. This then develops into mastering the correct pencil grip, handwriting position, followed by accurate letter formation. Once lower and upper case letters are formed accurately, line guides are introduced and children begin to practice pattern forming. This is followed by early joins in letter families and finally whole words. When our children have a fluent, joined style, they are rewarded with a ‘Pen License’ and are able to use a handwriting pen for their work. In Y6 the children are expected to apply their own fluent and unique style.