High quality phonics teaching secures the crucial skill of word recognition that, once mastered, enable children to read fluently and automatically thus freeing them to concentrate on the meaning of the text. As a school we follow the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme. From Nursery to Year 2, Read, Write, Inc is taught discretely every day. In Key Stage 2, phonics interventions take place to enable all children to be fluent readers.
The following link demonstrates correct pronunciation of all phonics sounds and is linked to our teaching of phonics.
English in Early Years Foundation Stage
In Early Years, the curriculum is guided by the ‘Prime and Specific Areas of Learning’ covering Communication and Language and Literacy. The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage is followed to ensure continuity and progression from the Foundation Stage through the next stage of education where a bespoke English curriculum (based on the National Curriculum) is followed from Year 1.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage; Communication and Language and Literacy is taught within the seven areas of learning inter-connecting to children’s physical, emotional and social development. We know that children learn best when activities engage many senses and when they are happy and confident. At Bedford Hall, Reading is 'inescapable.' A love of books, stories, rhymes, poems, songs, sounds and words beings in our 2 year old nursery provision moving up through the whole school and is developed through planned and incidental work. Structured play activities provide valuable opportunities for children to:
- Engage in conversation with other children and adults
- Be exposed to a rich range of vocabulary and language structures
- Share music, songs, poetry, stories and non–fiction
- Experiment with writing for themselves through making marks, personal writing symbols and conventional script, transcription and composition
- Apply phonics knowledge and skills within all seven areas of learning
English in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
English is delivered using a personalised English Curriculum based on the National Curriculum.
English is based on books (Book as a Hook) to expose children to a wide range of texts, genres, authors and poets which link with our key school drivers and develop their cultural capital. The book itself, or themes from the book, are used to drive activities where objectives from the curriculum are met in composition, spelling, grammar and punctuation. ‘Books as Hooks’ captures the children’s imagination and encourages them to become fluent, thoughtful and creative writers. Each unit starts with a ‘hook’ and then the children journey through the book completing different genres of writing with specific audiences and purposes. Teachers use progressive milestones 1, 2 and 3 to ensure objectives are taught and revisited on a two-year cycle to enable deeper learning and knowledge retention to happen.
Approaches to Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening permeates the whole curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. Children are encouraged to speak in a range of contexts and as they grow older, adapt their style of speak appropriately. Children have regular opportunities to debate, discuss and present to an audience, both formally and informally.
A Communication lesson is taught each week from Year 1 to Year 6 where the teacher reads a text, which is linked to our school key drivers of Culture, Diversity and Possibilities or our school vision of ‘Do all we can’. These books are ones that may not otherwise be accessible to the children as readers. As well as introducing children to a variety of genres; shared reading enhances the teaching of comprehension skills and challenges children to explore a text on a variety of levels. This is used as platform to encourage wider reading, discuss themes, broaden vocabulary and ask and answer relevant questions.
The other part of the lesson is focused on speaking and listening. The teacher will use a real life event (current news) or a fictional event (possibly from a class book) to allow for the opportunity to reflect, debate and discuss a key question which is based on a spiritual, moral, social or cultural angle.
This lesson, along with English lessons, enables children to immerse themselves in reading.
Approaches to Reading
Shared Reading takes place regularly during English and Communication lessons.
Discrete comprehension lessons take place each week. A teacher-led taught comprehension lesson takes place in which the seven content domains of reading are covered. This lesson is followed up by an application session. In this session, children apply the taught skills they have learnt.
Children are given the opportunity to read every day; listen to the teacher read in daily class story time, and to share books at home. Individual reading books are provided to all children following the Read, Write, Inc reading scheme or Rising Stars Reading Planet Book Bands. For children accessing Read, Write, Inc Phonics, their reading book will be a book from the Read, Write, Inc Reading Scheme which links to the current sounds they are learning. Teachers ensure children can confidently read 95% of the text to build fluency. Once children have a sound phonetical knowledge, they access a banded book leading on to free readers. In addition to these books, children take home a book from the school library which, for younger children, an adult can read to them. The purpose of this book is to promote a love of reading and exposure to a wider range of text types and vocabulary. Home-school liaison is achieved by having regular parental contact through the child's reading diary.
We encourage children and parents to foster a love of reading together and encourage daily reading through our Reading Championship. Children in Years 1-6 will have the chance to earn Bronze, Silver and Gold badges through earning championship points for daily reading at home.
Teachers or teaching assistants will read one-to-one with children each week across school. Where required, children are given additional opportunities to read and share a story with an adult or older child.
Children from Reception upwards also have access to the Rising Stars ‘Reading Planet’ scheme which provides access to book-banded books and wider reading books. This resource also used to support our Remote learning offer.
Each year Bedford Hall Methodist Primary School has a book fair from which children and parents are invited to buy new reading materials to develop an interest in reading.
Please click the link below for Oxford Owl advice for parents reading:
For Ebooks that can be read at home:
Approaches to Writing
All children have the opportunity to take part in shared, guided and independent writing tasks during English sessions. Guided writing is teacher-led and is an essential component of a balanced writing curriculum providing an additional supported step towards independent writing. Guided writing is planned in regularly and is targeted towards groups of children according to their individual needs. It is used to support children during the different stages of the writing process.
In the Foundation Stage, children are encouraged to use emergent writing and phonics knowledge to write freely. The children see writing modelled by the teacher in shared writing sessions and phonics lessons. By the end of Reception, children should be confident with their phonetical knowledge and apply this to spell simple words and write simple sentences which can be read by others.
Within Key Stage 1 and 2, children are taught to write in a variety of genres, for a variety of audiences.
Punctuation, grammar and spelling are taught discretely within English lessons and link to the text being studied at the time. Additional grammar and punctuation sessions are planned in each week to reinforce learning and address any misconceptions.
The Letter Join Handwriting Scheme is used across school. Handwriting is taught regularly within focussed handwriting lessons and across the curriculum. Children in Reception and KS1 are taught to use a printed handwriting font, which correlates with and supports their phonics graphemes. In KS2, children are taught a cursive handwriting font.
Spelling strategies are taught across school focussing on a weekly spelling pattern. These sessions are followed by a spelling test at the end of the week. The National Curriculum Spelling Bank and Twinkl Spelling Scheme is used as a resource for this.
We believe that children who have a fluent, cursive script are more likely to become good spellers. Therefore, children are given their weekly spellings on a letter join spelling and handwriting sheet. In KS1, children are expected to look, trace and copy their spelling words and are given 5 sentences to trace with their spelling words in context. In KS2, children are given a spelling list and are expected to trace and copy sentences which include all of their spelling words in context. We believe that this will make spellings more meaningful and purposeful.
During English (and phonics lessons in Key Stage 1) all children learn the sounds of letters and letter patterns. Children use sound mats, word banks and dictionaries to support them when spelling unfamiliar words.