At St Edmund’s, we recognise that reading and writing are key skills for pupils to develop for their future. Each week we focus on spelling, grammar and handwriting lessons, as well as exploring a variety of texts and offering varied writing opportunities. We also seek to create a love of reading and a creative outlet in writing.
We believe that Reading is the gateway that opens doors to all subjects. We recognise that Reading is essential for our pupils to be successful in learning and life.
Reading begins in the Foundation Stage through sharing whole-class books (Power of Reading) and books with simple or no text so that children can learn how to tell a story using images. There is an emphasis on children learning to decode through daily phonics teaching (Letters and Sounds) and developing their sight vocabulary for common exception words.
In Guided Reading, the children are introduced to basic comprehension skills and expected to give verbal responses. They will also be taught such skills as:
- Turning the page.
- Looking at picture cues.
- Locating the title and following the words from left to right with their finger.
Children and parents have access to differentiated online books at home, through the Bug Club platform in both the Foundation Stage and Year 1.
In Key Stage One, children continue learning to decode through daily phonics teaching (Letters and Sounds) and developing their sight vocabulary for common exception words. Reading strategies are established through individual Reading with a teacher, teaching assistant or adult helper. Each child will be listened to read every two weeks. Those that require extra support become target readers, who are listened to three times a week. This intervention continues up to Year 6.
In Year 2, children are introduced to VIPERS. VIPERS focus on specific comprehension skills such as vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarising. Each week the guided reading session will focus on a different skill. Year's 2 to 6 use VIPERS, but work at various stages (Stages 1-6). The higher stages use more challenging texts, ambitious vocabulary and focus on ALL of the VIPER skills, whereas the lower stages may focus on the more specific, initial comprehension skills.
Guided Reading provides an opportunity to teach reading in relation to pupil groups' differentiated needs and introduce a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. It also provides children with strategies for answering a range of comprehension questions in their classwork and test situations, with adults modelling the different answers.
Home reading policy
In St Edmund’s, the children choose a Home reading book once a week and can also access their book online as an e-book. We use a Collins “Big Cat” scheme which corresponds with Letters and sounds and replicates class teaching of grapheme/ phoneme correspondence and common exception words. This scheme delivers progression, supportive questions for parents, is visually exciting and links to the children’s real life personal experiences. The children experience fiction, poetry and a wide range of non-fiction texts. Teachers assess the suitability of Home reading books for pupils once every half term. Each pupil has a “Reading record book” which maintains weekly communication between parents and carers and teachers and teaching assistants. Each child also takes home a library book of their own choosing every week.
Recommended Reading Lists
Reading Skills Map
We recognise that writing is integral to all aspects of life, and we endeavour to ensure that children develop a lifelong, healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards writing. The skill of writing enables pupils to communicate with themselves and others while documenting and conveying their knowledge and ideas. Building on experiences, it encourages expression and higher-order thinking. Thus, creating a writing culture in our school ensures our children are given the best opportunities to build their capacity and confidence in a range of writing styles.
Writing skills underpin most elements of the school curriculum and are an essential life-skill. Considering the fundamental importance of writing in everyday life, we are driven by developing each learner’s writing ability.
The writing curriculum at St Edmund’s is based upon the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum 2014. A long-term plan provides a yearly overview of the units of the National Primary English Framework. Medium-term plans map out each term and how the units fit in with the year group’s curriculum topic choice. Short-term plans (Units of Work) give weekly, and daily details of key objectives taught within each unit and the purposeful, cross-curricular links that will provide the context for that learning and teaching.
Writing Skills Map
The children's writing will be assessed at the end of each English unit through an extended piece of writing. This will give each child the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have learnt and developed. It will be assessed against Ros Wilson's Big Write Standards For Writing (Years 1, 3, 4 and 5) or TAFS (Years 2 and 6).
Speaking and Listening
Pupils are provided with varied opportunities to speak and listen to each other, developing their confidence, reasoning and vocabulary. Children may be asked to retell a known story, to debate a topic, or to give a talk on a chosen subject. When exploring a text, pupils will sequence events, retell or dramatise the story, predict the outcome or provide opinions on the book. When writing, younger pupils are encouraged to verbalise what they want to write to understand the patterns of sentences and the function of questions and commands.