At Town Lane, we believe a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of literature through our carefully chosen texts and promote a habit of reading widely and often. Our goal is for the children to learn to read so they can read to learn and access exciting wider learning opportunities. Through our book led curriculum, we foster pupils’ interest in writing and offer a context, which enables the children to write for a purpose and an audience. We encourage pupils to write creatively and be adventurous with their use of language. In order for these aims to be realised, it is our intent to equip our pupils with the knowledge and skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar to enable them to write confidently, fluently and with enjoyment. We aim to develop the children’s competence in spoken language and listening to enhance the effectiveness of their communication across a range of contexts and to a range of audiences. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop reading, writing and speaking and listening skills and encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school.
We believe that all children should have equality of opportunity and should be able to access the curriculum regardless of race, religion, gender or ability.
During Year 1, our teachers will build on work from the Early Years Foundation Stage, making sure that pupils can sound and blend unfamiliar printed words quickly and accurately using the phonic knowledge and skills that they have already learnt. Teachers will also ensure that pupils continue to learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and revise and consolidate those learnt earlier. The understanding that the letter(s) on the page represent the sounds in spoken words will underpin pupils’ reading and spelling of all words. This includes common words containing unusual GPCs. The term ‘common exception words’ is used throughout the NC programmes of study for such words. Alongside this knowledge of GPCs, pupils will develop the skill of blending the sounds into words for reading and establish the habit of applying this skill whenever they encounter new words. This will be supported by practice in reading books consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and skill and their knowledge of common exception words. At the same time they will access their year group spine of carefully selected books so they can hear, share and discuss a wide range of high-quality books which aim to develop their love of reading and also broaden their vocabulary. Pupils will be helped to read words without overt sounding and blending after a few encounters. Those who are slow to develop this skill will be given opportunities to have extra practice.
Reading at home
We have reviewed our school library and the books that children take home for reading practice following guidance from the Department of Education. For many years, we have found the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme extremely successful for teaching phonics and early reading across the school. Due to this, we have recently purchased new RWI books for the children to take home to read. Children in the Reception, Year 1 and some children in Y2 now bring home at least two corresponding RWI books per week which are closely matched to their current phonic knowledge.
At home, we would like children to read the books that have been carefully chosen by their teacher as many times as they can. These lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and, as your child re-reads the stories, their fluency will increase. The aim is for your child to be able to read the books fluently by the end of the week. Please ensure that all home reading books are returned to school so that other children can benefit from reading them.
These books will be supplemented with two books from our library (fiction story books and nonfiction information books) for children to share with an adult or older sibling. These books will probably not be fully decodeable for your child yet so the expectation is not for your child to read this book themselves. We believe strongly that children will develop a love of reading through experiencing success when reading at home and having quality story time with a wide range of books.
The best way to help your child achieve well in reading, and indeed across the curriculum, is to hear them read and share and discuss a variety of reading materials as often as you can. We urge you to read as often as you can at home. Our reading challenge continues so keep recording each reading session that takes place at home. This is to develop and embed those good reading habits that will help them to be successful in school and beyond.
If you have any questions related to this please contact Mrs Holmes, our English leader.
In the National Curriculum it is acknowledged that pupils’ writing during Year 1 generally develops at a slower pace than their reading. This is because pupils need to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing.
Any pupils who have entered Year 1 who have not yet met the early learning goals for literacy will continue to follow our school’s curriculum for the Early Years Foundation Stage to develop their word reading, spelling and language skills. However, our pupils will follow the Year 1 programme of study in terms of the books they listen to and discuss, so that they develop their vocabulary and understanding of grammar, as well as their knowledge more generally across the curriculum. If our pupils continue to struggle to decode and spell, they will be taught to do this urgently through rigorous and systematic phonics, reading and writing programmes. The chosen programmes we use are recognised to be highly effective. We use 'Read, Write, Inc. programmes in order for children to catch up rapidly. Our teachers ensure that their teaching develops pupils’ oral vocabulary as well as their ability to understand and use a variety of grammatical structures. We give particular support to pupils whose oral language skills are insufficiently developed. Town Lane Infant School uses the WellComm speech and language programme, for diagnostic purposes and to address any identified language gaps. The National Curriculum sets out clear statutory guidance and pupils will be taught the skills and knowledge they require in order to meet the expectations.
For more information please contact Mrs Holmes