“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” Brian Herbert
Spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting:
A consistently high standard of joined up handwriting and neat presentation are promoted across the whole school, which all children and staff recognise, understand and follow. In Reception, letter formations are taught alongside phonics and once the children have learned their letter formation and sounds, joined up handwriting is encouraged. From Year 1 onwards, all classes are taught handwriting and given opportunities to practice.
We follow a structured spelling scheme. In Early Years, new phonemes are introduced for the first time, teachers will teach the letter name (s), the sound it usually makes, and the accompanying Jolly Phonics action. As children progress in their phonics learning each week will include specific teaching and modelling of the skill of blending and segmenting. FRED is a key component of this teaching, and this will be evident in weekly plans. Children will be given ample opportunities throughout the phonics lessons to use these skills.
Grammar and punctuation learning opportunities are weaved into the literacy lessons, but also taught discreetly at times.
Writing is taught through ‘talk for writing’ (T4W) – this approach develops speaking, listening, grammar and children’s creative writing skills. As a result of this approach, the children are developing into successful storytellers and the quality of writing across the school is impressive. The method focuses on children learning quality texts off by heart so that rich language and sentence structures are embedded and built upon every year. A range of fiction and non-fiction genres are taught, to ensure children are aware of the features of different text types. The three stages of T4W are immersion in the text, innovation and independent application. Alan Peat’s ‘exciting sentences’ are taught discreetly, equipping the children with a bank of varied sentences they may use in their writing to engage the reader.
To develop their reading skills in Early Years, a structured phonics approach is embedded and every child receives 1:1 reading opportunities. In Year 1, daily guided reading sessions are held, with a focus on word reading and comprehension. From Year 2 upwards, reading is taught using a whole class teaching approach. In dedicated reading slots, the teachers use a range of strategies to aid comprehension and encourage reading with meaning. The sessions incorporate whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner and independent work. The children are frequently reminded that to be a good reader, they should read each day. Therefore, in addition to the dedicated teaching of reading, opportunities for ‘reading for pleasure’ are built into the timetable and children are always encouraged to read at home.