- English is at the heart of the whole curriculum. Our children will leave the Primary Phase as skilled communicators with a passion for the spoken and written word having been exposed to a wide range of high-quality texts and speaking opportunities.
- Our ambitious and challenging curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all our children and will progressively build skills, knowledge and understanding in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and handwriting.
- Through exposure to a broad range of engaging texts, combined with the teaching of the necessary skills to decode and understand the texts they read, children will develop a life-long love of reading. They will leave the Primary Phase as enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers.
- Children will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to master the craft of writing. Writing opportunities will be inspiring, enjoyable and with genuine purposes and outcomes.
- All children will leave the Primary Phase with a rich and varied vocabulary to apply in their written and spoken language which will give them the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
- The expectations in English will permeate all areas of the wider curriculum so that standards of communication are equally high in every subject
At Locks Heath Infant School, we teach the children the skills to be able to read and comprehend through our careful and considered provision. Being a confident reader will provide children with the cultural capital to succeed in life.
It is vital that children develop a love of reading that lasts a lifetime. Research shows that children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers. Our role as the adults in our children’s lives is to be positive role models promoting a love of reading for not only the social and academic benefits it brings but also the sheer pleasure it brings. We believe that school and family members should work together to create a reading culture. Reading is at the heart of our school.
A ‘Reading’ School
Opportunities for reading by…
Reading within phonic lessons
Reading within the curriculum using quality text drivers
Reading within the wider curriculum
Reading for pleasure within the classroom using the book area
Weekly Library sessions
Opportunities for reading to..
Literature is probably the most powerful medium through which children have a chance to inhabit the lives of those who are like them. All children need to imagine themselves as the main protagonist in a story: celebrating a birthday, going shopping, being ill, having a tantrum, worrying about a new sibling, being the superhero, going camping, visiting the seaside and having adventures.
Children also need to learn about the lives of those whose experiences and perspectives differ from their own. Choosing stories and non-fiction that explore such differences begins to break down a sense of otherness that often leads to division and prejudice.
Daily story time is focused on enjoying stories. Children are read stories at a level above those they can read for themselves.
Book Talk Books
At Locks Heath, each year group has a core bank of stories that are shared with the children through ‘Book Talk.’ There is one book chosen each week and for each half term the books link with the schools Learning Values and SMSC character in focus. The books have been chosen to introduce children to familiar authors, allow them to experience rhyme and repetition, explore key themes, empathise with characters, experience different cultures, be aware of their place in the world, understand environmental issues, be exposed to heritage texts and enjoy poetry. Teachers know the stories that the children have read before and can use this knowledge to discuss recurring themes for example. These stories are read and reread to ensure familiarity and understanding.
An event for Year One children to promote reading for pleasure and the importance of story times.
Celebration of World Book Day across the whole school community.
Opportunities for reading with..
Reading skills and behaviours are explicitly taught through:
1:1 conferencing sessions
Whole class reading
Small group reading sessions
Strong parental involvement through:
Early Years Parents in lessons-Reading focus.
Year One Parents in lessons focused on phonics and supporting parents with how we teach the skills of decoding.
Year Two Parents in lessons focused on supporting reading comprehension skills.
Reading workshop focused on comprehension.
Home school reading diaries to support conversations between home and school.
Assessments regularly sent home and parents meetings to discuss progress and next steps.
At Locks Heath, we use Floppy Phonics, a rigorous systematic synthetics phonics teaching programme. A clear progression for the teaching of phonics has been mapped out across the school. Children receive a direct and focused daily phonics lesson, which is ambitious for all. Children are explicitly taught knowledge of the alphabetic code and how to segment and blend in order to read words. Teachers are clear about objectives for any session and make sure that the children understand them. They expect all children to participate throughout phonics sessions and make the most of the time for teaching. Teachers use resources that maximise the number of words children read and spell. Children practise using the knowledge they have been taught in previous lessons until they can use it automatically, thus freeing up their capacity to learn new knowledge. Teachers support the children to connect the new knowledge with their previous learning and demonstrate new learning in bite-sized chunks. Children are given opportunities to apply what they have learnt. Assessment is ongoing and is used to determine next steps clearly, including identifying children who might need immediate extra support.
In every lesson children will:
• revise GPCs taught in earlier sessions
• be taught new GPCs /consolidate
• practise reading words containing those GPCs
• be taught how to read common exception words
• practise reading ‘decodable’ phrases, sentences and books that match the GPCs and exception words they already know.
The Floppy Phonics programme has a wide range of supportive materials so that children are actively involved in reading and spelling on a daily basis.
Children learn grapheme-phoneme correspondences using the Floppy Phonics interactive teaching book. Children read sound books in school which mirror the interactive teaching book, read words using the activity sheets and read additional books matched to their phonic level in class. At home, children read an eBook, which has been personalised to match the phonic sounds they are working on. These books have phonics at the heart of decoding.
Fluency is of paramount importance. Children do not ‘race’ through texts but instead read and reread them. Accurate decoding is ensured before the children move on. At Locks Heath, we have a wide range of engaging texts which all link to the Floppy Phonics scheme. The books appeal to all readers. There are books about super heroes, alien adventures, traditional tales and books that promote the development of vocabulary.
Children receive a 1:1 or very small group conferencing session with an adult because we believe in giving quality time to each child so they can read and discuss their books. The aim of the conferencing time is to ensure children’s decoding and fluency are progressing and for teachers to really know the needs of each individual and address them on a personalised level.
Teachers record the children’s next steps and strengths in a class folder, which is linked to the Hampshire reading domains. This allows teachers to keep a record of the children’s strengths and next steps. They are able to assess stronger domain areas and can tailor the conversations around books to the domain areas each individual needs to work on. The teachers also record what they have worked on in the conferencing session in the home reading diary and give areas for parents to support at home.
Home Reading Books
The National Curriculum states that children should read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them to use other strategies to work out words. Decodable books and other texts make children feel successful from the very beginning. They do not encounter words that include GPCs they have not been taught. If an adult is not present, they are not forced to guess from pictures, the context or the first letters of a word or its shape. Decodable books and texts that children read run alongside or a little behind the teaching of the GPCs, so that they always feel a sense of achievement when they are asked to read such books.
Children access the following provision in order to develop as readers.
A ‘Learning to read’ phonic e-Book
This is the ‘teacher pick,’ book. There are a range of titles available which match the sequence of sounds that the children will have been taught and are cumulative in their inclusion of sounds. While children may be able to read more complex texts, in order to do so, they will be using other reading strategies. If they were to encounter an unknown word, they would not have sufficient phonic knowledge to decode the word using purely phonics. By accessing a phonics book, we can ensure that phonics will be at the heart of decoding. We have chosen Floppy Phonics for the wide range of texts on offer which engage all children and support language development. Below is a brief summary to explain the differences between the titles.
Floppy Phonics Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fully Decodable Books that the children can read independently
Word Sparks: Fully decodable texts which focus on tackling the word gap. Each book has a number of focus words highlighting key ‘Tier 2’ vocabulary. These words are important for children to learn. While they are not often used in everyday language, they are found in lots of different written contexts.
Project X: These texts are engaging and are designed to address the gender gap.
Traditional Tales: Fully decodable texts with retellings from around the world that introduce children to their literary heritage.
Alien Adventures: Exciting space adventure books to engage boys and ignite a love of reading.
Hero Academy: Decodable texts encouraging children to become reading superheroes.
This is the ‘child pick’ book. This book will be within the child’s capabilities but may have words or graphemes that the children have not learnt before meaning that they cannot rely purely on their phonic knowledge to decode and will need some support from an adult.
Love to read-Library Book
Each week, the children will access our library so that they can choose a book to enjoy at home with their family.
Parents and carers are informed every step of the way about their child’s phonic learning when the children bring home completed activity sheets in their individual phonics folders. These folders go between school and home so that the parents know what the children have been learning at school and can reinforce this learning at home.
Whole Class Reading
In addition to 1:1 reading and reading within phonics, whole class reading is also taught to explicitly teach skills and reading behaviours. This allows fluent readers to be challenged by developing their comprehension and allows developing readers the opportunity to be exposed to quality texts above those they can read for themselves and to engage in talk around books.
Provision for children who are not on track.
The emphasis is on keeping children on track with their phonic knowledge. Teachers carefully monitor phonic knowledge and implement extra sessions for those children who require extra support. To enable children to keep up, those identified are given opportunities for extra practice, either in a small group or one-to-one. In these sessions children work on consolidating the work the children have already met in their main class or group phonics session. They use the sheets and sounds books that they have encountered in their phonic lessons to ensure consistency of approach that match the principle of the Floppy Phonics synthetic programme. The resources used in the children’s phonics lessons are sent home so that parents can consolidate the weeks learning with their child. Children with significant gaps have personalised provision to support closing the gap.
Assessment for Learning
Teachers continually assess gaps in children’s knowledge using the Floppy Phonics tracking system as well as the Hamphire Assessment Model for Reading. Teachers assess word reading and their acquisition of phonics. The ability to apply this knowledge in order to decode words is crucial and therefore teachers check that children cannot only recognise the sound in isolation but in words too. Comprehension is also assessed.
Information about the children’s prior attainment is passed between year groups so that teachers can provide the next steps in the children’s learning with immediate effect.
Key Stage One teachers assess reading using the Hampshire Assessment Model domain areas.
Pupil progress documents celebrate the small steps of progress and provide information about the next steps and how provision will be adjusted.
All teachers and leaders undertake careful monitoring to ensure that all children make progress- carroll diagrams, year group moderation, pupil progress documents, SEN and Pupil Premium profiles, Year Group action plans, pupil conferencing and book looks for key groups of children.
Reading and Talk
Whilst decoding can be learnt through a synthetics phonics scheme, language comprehension and composition are developed by talking, listening to and talking about stories, and by learning poetry and songs. At Locks Heath, we foster a language-rich environment in which adults talk with children throughout the day. Spoken language runs through the National Curriculum programmes of study for English and all seven areas of learning and development in the revised Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework. Back and forth talk across the curriculum is the aim of reducing the language gap between children from language-rich homes and others.
The progress of children depends on adults engaging them in high-quality dialogue and direct teaching so that they can:
• articulate what they know and understand
• develop their knowledge across all areas of learning, using the vocabulary they need to support learning.
Critical to this are children’s back and forth interactions with adults: These form the foundations for language and cognitive development. The number and quality of the conversations they have with adults and peers throughout the day in a language-rich environment is crucial.
These back and forth interactions involve the adult in:
• thinking out loud, modelling new language for children
• paying close attention to what the children say
• rephrasing and extending what the children say
• validating the children’s attempts at using new vocabulary and grammar by rephrasing what children say if necessary
• asking closed and open questions
• answering the children’s questions
• explaining why things happen
• deliberately connecting current and past events (‘Do you remember when…?’)
• providing models of accurate grammar
• extending children’s vocabulary and explaining new words
• connecting one idea or action to another
• helping children to articulate ideas in well-formed sentences. To develop and extend children’s language takes careful, deliberate planning in each area of learning, with opportunities built in for plenty of repetition.
Children need to be taught when to listen and to know what good listening looks like.
Ways of supporting good listening include:
• Deciding on a signal to alert children to listen.
• Showing children what good listening looks like through the teacher’s own behaviour: ‘Wait a minute, I need to listen carefully, ‘ or ‘Let’s be quiet so I can concentrate on what you’re saying.’
• Reinforcing and praising good listening, with examples: ‘I could tell you were going to say something interesting,’ or ‘You must have listened carefully during assembly yesterday to have remembered that!’
Talking with a partner and giving feedback
When children talk, teachers have high expectations and encourage the children to articulate their ideas in well-formed sentences, by scaffolding, extending and developing their ideas. They all need to practise their skills of listening to, talking with a partner and giving feedback to the group.
Children take part in plenty of paired talk. Pairing children with their partners, ready for responding together, encourages them to discuss a question, problem or idea and agree on their joint response. Because their answer belongs to both of them and they will have practised it first, they grow in confidence when asked to respond in front of others. The teacher chooses which pair feeds back to the group, rather than responding only to pairs who might raise their hands to make sure that all the pairs are ready to contribute. If children think they might not be selected, they might not engage fully. By establishing strong routines for responding to questions and suggestions, children are more likely to pay attention because they know they will be expected to respond; the teacher will know what they have understood, because they will have listened carefully to what the children have been saying and will have heard any misconceptions.