At St Joseph’s we believe that a quality Literacy curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in Literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in Literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident word readers by the end of KS1. As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum. We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.
Teaching of reading
Reciprocal Reading is an interactive and systematic approach to teaching comprehension that helps children to develop personal understanding of any given text. It encourages interactive dialogue or discussion between teacher and learners – that once established – enables groups of readers to explore, question and discuss the meaning of a range of text in collaborative independent groups. Children need to be explicitly taught the reciprocal reading strategies and be made aware that they travel from one reading activity to another. There are five roles within Reciprocal Reading that the children must carry out as follows:
Boss-Decides who will do each job. Tells the group what to read. Invites each ‘worker’ to do their job after reading each chunk. Makes sure everyone is joining in.
Predictor: Use what they have read or clues from the illustrations to help figure out what the group will learn or what will happen in the text. They can change their predictions as they read on.
Questioner: Ask questions which will help the group to understand what has been read. Thinks of questions to ask as they read the text.
Summariser: Tells the group what they have read in their own words. Only tell the important information, not the little details. Keep it as short as they can. It is a reminder of what has been read so far.
Clarifier: They must clarify whenever they:
– Read a word they don’t understand.
– Find a sentence that doesn’t make sense.
– Are confused by what they have read.
In St Joseph’s we introduce the children to these roles and what they need to do when assigned that role using the characters
Teaching of phonics
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At St Joseph’s, we use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Our staff teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. All children in Reception, KS1 and, where necessary, KS2 have daily phonics sessions in small ability groups where they participate in speaking, listening, spelling and reading activities that are matched to their current needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Timely intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels as soon as their needs are identified.
We recognise that systematic, high quality phonics teaching is essential, but additional skills and opportunities are needed for children to achieve the goal of being a well-rounded reader, namely comprehension. When children have completed the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme, reading is developed during guided reading, using high quality texts and focused skill teaching. Strong links are made between reading and writing. Children read and enjoy high quality fiction and non-fiction texts, which (where possible) are linked to their topics across the curriculum. All children read aloud daily during phonics or guided reading; in addition to this they read at least once more a week with teachers, teaching assistants and reading volunteers; the focus being on the lowest 20%.
Furthermore, our children have Reading Champions who listen to them read as often as possible; these are volunteers.
Teaching of writing
We are proud to be able to say that Talk 4 Writing is embedded within KS1 and KS2. We strongly believe that children need to be able to orally rehearse and perform before writing.
“Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version.”
Please find below our progression of skills documents for fiction and non-fiction writing.
These aims are embedded across our Literacy lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised Literacy curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our teachers plan as appropriate to their classes, but also ensure that cross curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for Literacy 2014.
The national curriculum for Literacy aims to ensure that all Children:
● read easily, fluently and with good understanding
● develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
● acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
● appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
● write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
● use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
● are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
We view reading as the golden thread that is woven in to all aspects of our curriculum. We want our children to be competent and confident communicators and readers.
We use the Early Years Foundation stage and the National Curriculum statements as a basis.
These are that
Children should acquire and confidently use new and varied vocabulary,
Children actively build upon their knowledge,
Children make links between known and new vocabulary
Children understand the shades of meaning in similar words.
In addition to daily Literacy lessons, children excel in early reading through the use of the RWI programme from reception to year 2 and continue to develop a range of reading skills, as well as a love of reading through the school and class libraries along with the RWI home reading and book bag books
We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. We also provide a wealth of enrichment opportunities, such as sessions with local authors, visits from book shops, librarians and entering and running poetry and creative writing competitions. This ensures that children benefit from access to positive role models from the local and wider locality.