Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible and we continue this ambition throughout the school as we strive to inspire children to read for pleasure.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and intertwines with our writing curriculum as we inspire the next generation of writers.
Our Writing curriculum is taught through a coherent and well-sequenced Long Term Plan which outlines curriculum objectives to be introduced, developed and embedded each term. In this way, we provide opportunities for children to continually revisit learning that is taught to them in a clear sequence. At Leigh we teach every term from a high quality literary text and teach explicit reading skills and writing skills in every lesson. We believe that all pupils should be taught the key skills and techniques to be able to communicate effectively in their writing and understand how other writers have done the same to inspire their audience.
Our ambitious writing curriculum ensures pupils build upon prior knowledge to master writing and develop their ideas.
Our English Curriculum that enables pupils to:
- develop and express a rich and deep understanding of the wider world;
- explore and respond to moral, ethical and social questions;
- make important links between subjects, to deepen and explore their understanding of other curriculum areas;
- be prepared for success at secondary level and beyond;
A cohesive and well-sequenced curriculum that ensures:
- breadth and depth is achieved through well-sequenced, cumulative units which incorporate revisiting of learning;
- pupils understand the purpose for writing and develop conceptual fluency;
- an ability to write to a high standard across the curriculum;
- pupils are explicitly taught the conventions and grammatical structures of writing and develop confidence in using these independently in extended pieces;
- teaching is firmly based upon current research relating to cognitive science:
- direct explicit teaching of skills and isolated writing encounters to ‘hone’ particular skills;
- extended writing sequences to embed and practice;
- prior learning revisited;
- direct and explicit teaching of Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary;
- High quality and ambitious texts to model and exemplify conventions and grammatical structures.
This academic year, we are introducing a new handwriting scheme as an integral part of our English curriculum. The scheme is called Kinetic Letters and has a multi-sensory approach that develops physical strength and pencil hold so that children are able to comfortably write and develop legible handwriting.
Handwriting is a physical activity that involves movement and recognition skills that need to be learnt and become part of the automatic cognitive skill set of the pupil. To achieve this, the school has chosen the Kinetic Letters handwriting programme.
The programme has four threads.
- Making bodies stronger
- Holding the pencil (for speed, comfort and legibility)
- Learning the letters
- Flow and fluency
The key principles of the programme are:
- Building physical strength underpins handwriting and concentration. This knowledge informs the working positions that children use for writing and the strengthening targets they work on.
- The different components of writing are mastered individually before being used in combination.
- Letters are learnt as movements, not as visual shapes, and movement remains central to developing automaticity in letter formation, flow and fluency.
- Posture is important in developing the correct position for handwriting and so children are taught how to organise their working position and paper position to enable comfortable and fluent writing from the start.
- Correct pencil hold is taught from the start (ie as soon as a tri-pod grip is developmentally appropriate).
We are looking forward to seeing the results for our pupils and know that the approach will help to develop children that are able to write comfortably and at ease.
At Leigh, we build unit of work around quality texts which are rich examples of the genre of text type being studied and contain high level vocabulary and language structures for the children to learn from. We teaching reading, writing and spoken language to meet the National Curriculum requirements inspired by these texts and integrate opportunities to develop vocabulary, oracy work and to gather information. We integrate the teaching of fiction genres, non-fiction text types as well as poetry in various units across the year.
Our teaching team model high quality writing as well as conduct shared and guided writing opportunities to support all students make secure progress. Importantly, children are given opportunities to conduct independent writing to apply their learning and share their ideas and creativity.
For reading we utilise Vipers to progressively teach explicit reading skills across the year and give children opportunities to listen and respond to the class text daily in line with their curriculum. In years 3 to 6, our pupils engage with whole class reading three times a week in order to support their understanding of different text types and develop their journey as a reader. All pupils are introduced to high quality texts as part of whole class reading and the books are carefully chosen to ensure that children are offered a full range of reading material. In addition, each classes enjoys a class novel or story that is read to them by their class teacher.
Books are widely available in classrooms and in our developing school library. Reading is encouraged during children’s free time in order to develop a lifelong love of reading from a young age. Pupils enjoy daily independent reading sessions, whole-class guided reading lessons, as well as a daily time to listen to a class novel. Children are immersed in a range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction. Our PTA are currently in the process of re-designing and improving our school library so that it reflects our passion and belief in the value of reading.
As well as being carefully selected by class teachers to develop pupils’ reading skills such as vocabulary and language comprehension, chosen class texts are also used to inspire the lifelong love of reading. We know that our children learn best when knowledge is linked, so they are always offered and exposed to a range of fiction and non-fiction that complements their learning across the curriculum (for example, in history, geography, science and art) as well as challenging and engaging age-appropriate books on a range of topics and themes appropriate to their age and interest level.
We know that reading is a vital skill to help children grasp the future with excitement and confidence, and developing early fluency and expression through the rigorous teaching of phonics and early reading allows our children to quickly develop into confident and capable readers, making rapid and clear progress. Please see Early Reading and Phonics Page for more information on our Little Wandle SSP.
Our Book corners, are inspiring and planned to promote reading for pleasure. Every book corner will contain a range of texts which are well-organised by genre and theme. Children will be able to find books for the class author for the term, revisit their favourite stories, enjoy recommendations from adults and their peers, satisfy their thirst for knowledge with reference books related to their RE, Science, geography or history topics.
During the year, we celebrate Book Week and encourage children to share their favourite books by their favourite authors and invite them all to the book fair where they have the opportunity to browse and select books with their family. Our incredible PTA runs events such as the wishing tree, where children and teachers create books wishes and the school and local community grant them and in doing so continually invest in new literacy works for our children.
Across our entire curriculum, we embrace computing and the use of apps to compliment the teaching of our curriculum and we are introducing Accelerated Reader in January 2023 to further our English intent for Year 2-6. Research shows that Accelerated Reader enables teachers to target instruction and accelerate reading growth for students of all ability levels as well as supporting teacher to monitor and manage independent reading practice.
AR has the ability to:
- Personalise and guide independent reading practice.
- Develop lifelong readers and learners.
- Tap into unlimited access to all quizzes and enjoy online support.
- Increase school-to-home communications.
We believe that reading development is a combination of explicit teaching as well as lots of practice! AR encourages differentiated reading practice to create strong readers.
Each child is given a ZPD and asked to choose an appropriate book from their level. After reading each book, they can then take an online quiz to earn points towards their target. In their reading time, children have access to ipads which they can use to take their quizzes.
We encourage all parents to get involved with their child's reading. The link below opens the 'At Home' page where parents can log in and see their child's progress using the user name and password. Parents will be receiving information about this over the Autumn Term as we launch this program.
Handwriting Scheme - Kinetic Letters
Our handwriting scheme will be taught three times a week across the school. Time will be blocked to ensure that children solely focus on their handwriting.
The Kinetic Letters programme begins in Reception and is used from Reception through to Year 6. By the end of KS1, each pupil should be working at the national standard and most should be working at a greater depth. Children will be using some of the strokes needed to join letters; teaching this will start in Year 2.
Pupils in EYFS and KS1 will spend at least 20 minutes three times a week on activities that are part of the Kinetic Letters programme. Handwriting is taught in discrete sessions, separate from Phonics. Thereafter time allocation to maintain handwriting development and increase speed and flow, will be regular but at the discretion of the class teacher so long as appropriate progression continues to be made.
By the end of KS2, the vast majority of pupils should be working at a greater depth than the expected standard, the exceptions being those pupils who started their primary education elsewhere, and statemented pupils. Pupils should be clear about what standard of handwriting is appropriate for a particular task (e.g. quick notes or a final handwritten version). Handwriting practice takes place in sessions outside of English lessons, since handwriting underpins the majority of curriculum areas and is integral to writing.
How much reading must my child do to make good progress?
Research shows that children should read for at least 20 minutes a day to make good progress.
What scores should my child be getting on their quizzes?
Children who score over 85% on their quizzes make the best progress.
How can I help my child reach 85%?
If you child is struggling to reach 85% correct, ask them questions about the book as they read it. If it's a shorter book they could read it twice to ensure they've read it thoroughly. Each quiz should be taken within 24 hours of reading to ensure it's fresh in the child's memory.
Children at Leigh love reading; they love talking about books; they love discovering new characters and worlds; and they love finding out new information. Through their participation in our engaging, creative and vocabulary-rich reading and writing curriculum, underpinned by high quality texts from inspiring authors, our children are becoming confident readers and writers who love reading for the pure pleasure.
The outcomes of our reading curriculum ensure children are well-prepared to succeed in the next stages of their education and as adults in the workforce of the future.
We regularly review and monitor the impact of our curriculum through Pupil Voice, learning walks and book scrutiny as well as data collection from our formative and summative assessments.
At Leigh Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. Children are taught daily phonics sessions and intervention is provided daily to support children to 'keep up'. In addition, children read 3 times a week or more in reading practice groups or 1:1 to allow them to apply taught skills of fluency, prosody and comprehension.
Our Pupils in Early Years love books. They explore them across their continuous provision whether it be in the outside classroom; in their book corners with puppets and their theatre; in their role play corner or in their creative area. Books permeate their daily school life and they love taking home their decodable reading practice book to ensure success but also their wealth of inspiring sharing books on a range of non-fiction topics as well as wonderful fiction texts.
The Early Learning Goals for English in the Early Year Framework are:
ELG: Listening, Attention and Understanding
✓ Listen attentively and respond to what they hear with relevant questions, comments and actions when being read to and during whole class discussions and small group interactions;
✓ Make comments about what they have heard and ask questions to clarify their understanding;
✓ Hold conversation when engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with their teacher and peers.
✓ Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary;
✓ Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate;
✓ Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.
✓ Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary;
✓ Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories;
✓ Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.
ELG: Word Reading
✓ Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs;
✓ Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending;
✓ Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.
For further information on Reading and writing in the foundation stage please visit the EYFS curriculum tab and Early Reading and Phonics.