The skills of reading and writing are essential for life-long learning. Having an understanding of the written word allows children to access and understand the world around them. Our intent is to ensure quality first teaching of English throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1 and 2, so that children achieve, or exceed, national expectations.
We believe that a quality English curriculum will develop children’s love of reading, writing, oracy skills and support pupils to access all areas of the curriculum.
At the heart of the Early Years Foundation Stage is the teaching of early reading, which includes a systematic approach to the teaching and learning of phonics. This continues into Key Stage One allowing them to become confident and fluent readers. We strive to immerse all of our children in a language rich environment; ensuring that they have the linguistic skills required to succeed in life. We will inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening. This will support them with developing a positive attitude towards communication in all its forms, independently expressing their opinions, emotions and their ideas.
Our children will be inspired to have 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 believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. A secure basis in oracy and 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 our English curriculum, we strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. The English Curriculum at Christ Church is supported by research from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). This teaching of reading and writing is enhanced by the choice of core texts from the Power of Reading scheme that is guided by CLPE. By using research and cultural capital to children's learning, the children understand the value of English to them now, and in their future.
CLPE Core Text
English at Christ Church
Reading and writing have a high profile at Christ Church. We believe that teaching children not only to read and write successfully, but to enjoy the journey, is key in enabling them to reach their potential. This will also help them to develop a lifelong love for English.
Over time, children gradually build their bank of well-known texts, supplemented by picture books, novels, poems and non-fiction books. Gradually this living library of language begins to equip the children with the words they need to express themselves. In the same way, the ability to manipulate that bank of texts increasingly enables children to create new versions and become inventive, blending and experimenting. The Power of Reading texts are simultaneously used for developing children's reading and writing skills as a way to immerse them and develop their cultural capital. Therefore the teaching of writing follows a "5 Stage Sequence process " of immersion of a text, the planning of the identified genre, drafting, editing and improving and finally publishing' of children's writing.
Constant shared and independent writing also develops writing habits within the class community of writers. The community of writers are continuously celebrated across and around the school. The aim is that each year, new strategies and techniques are introduced, building on previous learning and giving children confidence as fluent readers and writers.
Writing Linked to Core Text
In EYFS we have been reading Lost and Found by Petr Horacek.
Using this text, we have written a simple sentence to create a lost and found poster.
In Year 3 we have been reading Stig of the Dump by Clive King
Using this text, we have written a Newspaper Report all about the first sighting of the main character Stig- a Stone Age Man living in the modern world.
In Year 6 we have been reading The Silver sword by Ian Serraillier.
Using this text, we have written a diary entry from the perspective of the main character, Joseph Balicki, expressing his thoughts and feelings about being separated from his family and escaping the concentration camp of Zakyna.
Reading at School
At Christ Church we have a whole school commitment to make sure that every child is able to read and read well. We want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of books. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books.
Here at Christ Church Erith early reading is taught through Read Write Inc. Read Write Inc. Phonics is a systematic synthetic phonics programme with a whole- school approach to teaching early reading and writing, designed to ensure progress for every child, in our school and to teach every child to learn to read. Staff at Christ Church of Erith inject their lessons with energy and enjoyment, from teaching our children their first sounds to developing fluency and comprehension. During the early reading phase, our children learn to read sounds and blend them into words. They apply their phonic knowledge to read and comprehend Storybooks that are carefully matched to the sounds they know. The aim of Read Write Inc. Phonics is for children to learn to read early. By the end of term 2 in Year 2, our children are able to read stories with fluency. They also learn how to form letters using mnemonics to help them, learn to spell correctly using their Fred fingers and they learn to compose their own writing - drawing upon ideas from the story they’ve just read.
While our children are learning to read, they work daily in assigned progress groups to master each level of phonics and reading. Our staff regularly assesses and re-group children. This allows our children to progress through the phonic stages fluently.
One-to-one Fast Track Tutoring is implemented to support identified children to keep up. We accelerate the progress of these children with one-to-one tutoring every day.
Participation Partner work is critical in helping children to progress. Our children practise everything we teach them and answer every question with a partner. This keeps our children working and thinking throughout the lesson and gives us a chance to check whether we have explained things clearly.
Home engagement is valued highly here at Christ Church of Erith and further supports the progress of our children to read. Each week, children take home their Read Write Inc. Storybook and corresponding Book Bag Book. Our parents are encouraged to support our pupils through the use of the virtual classroom which is tailored to meet the skills of our pupils. In addition, regular parental workshops are facilitated by our staff to further support our aspirations of ensuring all of our pupils become readers.
Additionally, children will read individually with their class teacher on a weekly basis, where they are given various opportunities to improve their reading skills, such as inference and comprehension by talking and coming to conclusions.
Read Write Inc.
As children progress across the school to develop their reading stamina and fluency skills, they are taught reading skills using our whole-class approach. The daily teaching of Reading Skills incorporates a core-text approach that is developed on interactive book discussions (Book Talk) with a core focus on learning and developing vocabulary from Early Years Foundation Stage across to Year Six. Children are exposed to a wide range of literature and non-fiction texts from the Power of Reading, which are inextricably linked to our writing process. Explanations, modelling and support from the teachers for different aspects of reading, including fluency allows pupils to think deeply and discuss a range of rich and challenging texts. The sessions incorporate teachers reading aloud, pupils reading independently as well as paired reading. The teachers model intonation, expression and thought processes for reading and reading comprehension.
Fluency is further developed across KS2 by children being provided with a carefully selected Collins Big Cat book.
Keeping all pupils reading
To nurture the love of reading, the school incorporates the following strategies:
- adults reading aloud regularly, including in class and at the end of the day (Drop Everything and Read)
- informal book talks
- regular library use
- Inviting reading environments in each class
- Pupils reading together and sharing books.
Christ Church aims to ensure that all children leave Christ Church being able to read. This includes children with moderate to severe SEND and complex needs. The reading curriculum is adapted to equip and progress the children to develop their fluency and comprehension skills. They learn to read, write and progress towards attaining functional literacy.
Reading at Home
All children will bring home a reading book suitable to their current reading level on a weekly basis. In addition, we encourage pupils to select a book to read for pleasure from a variety of genres.
Parental support is hugely important for developing their reading skills, confidence and understanding. Even if your child is an independent reader, it is still important for you to read with them, listen to them and discuss the books they are reading. Children are expected to bring their reading Records into school for monitoring on a daily basis.
How to support developing readers at home
- Try to listen to and read with your child regularly, 10 minutes a day is better than a longer session once a week. It can help if a regular time is set aside so that it becomes part of a routine.
- Find a quiet place to share books where you can feel comfortable and relaxed – learning to read needs to be a positive experience - build their confidence by praising their efforts.
- Encourage your child to have a go at reading words, by using phonic skills to read any unfamiliar words, and by working on building up their sight vocabulary.
- Talk about the meanings of words to help to develop your child’s understanding and use of language.
- Encourage your child to read a range of texts such as stories, newspapers, comics, labels, poetry, non-fiction, tickets, signs, leaflets etc.
- Read books to your child as well; if they see you enjoying a book it will encourage and motivate them to want to learn to read.
- Ask them questions about the text to develop their understanding.
Read Write Inc. Parent Films
The skill of handwriting needs to be taught. The foundations are laid from a very early age through the development of gross and fine motor skills.
The handwriting policy at Christ Church is based on a style that is quick and easy to learn. It should be neat, legible and fast. Children should eventually develop the ability to produce letters without thinking. An automatic style releases the brain to concentrate on other ideas, i.e. spelling, grammar, syntax, style and content.
World Book Day
We all came into school dressed as our favourite book characters, and took part in lots of fun activities throughout the day. We enjoyed teaming up with our book buddies in different year groups and also inviting our parents in for Books and Biscuits.