At Bradwell CE Infant School, we provide our children with a high quality English curriculum that gives them the foundations to speak, read and write fluently. Our English curriculum is based around carefully chosen quality key texts. We are committed to ensuring our children become confident and enthusiastic readers who read widely and often, for both pleasure and information. We want our children to be successful readers by the time they leave our school and research shows that when phonics is taught in a consistent, systematic way it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. We believe that confident speakers become confident writers and we place a big emphasis on developing oracy skills, not just within English but across all subjects.
By placing books at the core, we are allowing teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum. The national curriculum states that:
‘‘This guidance is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.’
This would suggest that a context for learning is vital – and this is where our chosen approach can support teachers with ensuring that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose.
We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful and to feel authentic. Whether these are short or long and that the audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity: our aim would be that that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach and we would always model the tone and level of formality. This sits comfortably alongside the following statement from the English national curriculum:
‘The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.’
At Bradwell CE Infant School, we use 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' to plan and provide engaging phonics lessons every day. In phonics, we teach children that each letter of the alphabet represents a different sound and that these sounds can be put together to make words. Our children learn to recognise all the different sounds and combinations that they might see when reading or writing.
Our phonics teaching begins in Reception and follows a specific sequence that allows children to build on previous phonic knowledge and master distinct phonic strategies as they move through the school. It is our aim that every child will leave Bradwell Infants as a confident and enthusiastic reader with a love of reading.
How we teach phonics
In Reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within the Little Wandle phonics programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session each Friday. Phonics teaching starts in Reception in week 2 of the first autumn term, ensuring that all chidlren make a strong start. By the end of Reception children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 4. By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 5. In Year 2, lessons are taught daily to chidlren where appropriate, following the model of Littel Wandle, plugging specific gaps as identified through assessment. For children who are at risk of 'falling behind', we teach 'keep up' sessions following a set model to address specific gaps in reading. These are short sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and taking place at least 3 times a week.
Reading practice sessions
Children across Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 apply their phonics knowledge by reading fully matched decodable books in small group and individual reading practice sessions. Children will read books in a progressive sequence until they can decode unfamiliar words confidently.
Supporting your child with reading at home
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home. there are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:
Reading practice book
This book has been carefully matched to your child's current reading level. if your child is reading it with little help, please do not worry that it is too easy. Your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.
Listen to them read the book. Please gove them lots of praise and celebrate their success. if they can't read a word, read it to them. Once they have finished the book, talk about the story together.
We want your child to become an enthusiastic lifelong reader. In order to do this, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. They choose the sharing book for you to enjoy together. Please do not expect your child to be able to read the sharing book alone. It is to be read to or with them. Talk about the story, the pictures and characters, use different voices and explore facts in a non fiction book. Have fun!