At Queen’s Park Primary School, reading is at the heart of our curriculum. All of our topics are planned with key texts or groups of texts carefully linked to the topic or theme.
Nursery Rhymes in the EYFS
Children in our nursery are taught nursery rhymes throughout the year so that they know a range of them off by heart by the time they enter reception. In reception, these skills are built on through the London Music Masters Bridge Project which provides children with the opportunity to build upon their knowledge of nursery rhymes as they learn how to perform them to an audience.
In Nursery, we teach phonics through the Letters and Sounds scheme. We begin by teaching them simple games which increase their awareness of sounds. We begin teaching children the individual phonemes (sounds), which make up words, when they are in Reception. This ensures that your child becomes an independent reader as soon as possible. The scheme we use in Reception is Read, Write Inc, which provides a systematic program for children ensuring that they learn the basic phonetic skills of blending sounds for reading and segmenting sounds for writing. This program ensures that by the time your child leaves year 1 they are able to write and read fluently.
Daily Guided Reading (EYFS, Year 1 and 2)
In addition to the Read Write Inc scheme, we also ensure that each child reads with an adult through guided reading. This daily session is a systematic and responsive lesson that allows all children to succeed, and not only builds on their reading strategies, but also promotes independence and fosters reading for pleasure. Whilst still focusing on decoding, children in EYFS and Key Stage One also learn important reading skills like predicting, retrieving and sequencing.
Whole Class Reading (Years 3 – 6)
At Queen’s Park, we believe that reading and writing go hand in hand. Whole class reading sessions allows reading to be integrated into English lessons more and ensures that reading is no longer seen as a ‘stand alone’ lesson. Meaningful links can be made between the texts chosen in guided reading and the writing units, allowing a deeper understanding of the overall theme or topic being studied.
In these sessions, we use a mixture of carefully selected non-fiction and fiction texts. Sometimes we may use our class reading book whilst we may also use extracts from other texts.
Delivering the teaching of reading in this way means all children are exposed to high quality modelling from the teacher every day before having the opportunity to practise the skill in small groups or independently. The main skills taught weekly in whole class lessons are
· How to infer
· Understanding vocabulary in context
· Summarising texts
· Predicting based on evidence
At Queen’s Park, we are proud to be an Accelerated Reader school. In years 2 to 6 we introduce the Accelerated Reader program. This is a computer based program which motivates children to read frequently. Children are tested every term to identify which books they should be choosing to take home so that they are challenged without finding the books too difficult to cause frustration. When they have finished a book they take a short quiz using mini ipads, laptops or computers in school to see how much of the book they have understood.
We have a number of prizes and incentives to encourage reading. A weekly trophy is awarded each week to the child in Key Stage One, Lower Key Stage 2 and Upper Key Stage 2 who have scored the most points. The class who has spent the most time reading at the end of each term is awarded an extra break time. Finally, there is an exclusive club for children who become ‘Word Millionaires’ or ‘Mini Millionaires’. Children in Upper Key Stage 2 must read one million words to join; in Lower Key Stage 2, the target is five hundred thousand words and in Key Stage One, the target is one hundred thousand words.
Children in our Early Years are encouraged to begin mark making and explore making shapes using different materials from the very first day. To support children with developing the fine motor skills that they will need to become proficient writers, we use a program called Write Dance in Nursery. Write Dance uses rhythmic and then melodic pieces of music so the children can follow and learn specific movements to develop their physical skills including, balance, coordination, flexibility and stamina.
In Reception children are taught the first set of High Frequency Words and how to write simple CVC (Consonant / Vowel / Consonant) words in small focus groups. Practitioners also plan for a wide range of engaging activities which encouraged children to write freely and independently in their free play.
Reception and Year 1
In Reception and Year 1 the children are taught how to write using the Read Write Inc scheme building on their knowledge of phonemes so that they are able to develop the key skill of segmenting which allows them to write independently.
Years 2 - 6
In years 2 – 6 we have developed our own English program which is linked to the National Curriculum. This program outlines the content of the National Curriculum in each term for each year group so that we ensure that children are taught all of the skills which they require to be confident writers. These skills are:
Spellings will be sent home for children to learn which are linked to the curriculum objectives. This will be supported by activities and lessons in class. Each class will have its own timetable for testing spellings but these will usually happen once per week.
By Year 6, children are expected to join their writing neatly and form their letters carefully and consistently, as outlined by the National Curriculum. We teach handwriting using the Nelson scheme from Year 3 onwards although letter formation is taught from Reception onwards. Children are taught specific joins before forming words. When children are consistently joining and forming letters correctly in all of their books, they will be awarded a ‘Pen Licence’ and a handwriting pen. Children from any year group can be awarded a pen.