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 and discussion.
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. By giving this context to their learning, the children understand the value of English to them now, and in their future.
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.
Children across all key stages at Christ Church are taught English using a' Talk for Writing' approach. Not only does ‘Talk for Writing’ embrace the importance of a language rich environment in which to inspire our curious minds, but it also allows our teachers to embed the children’s learning through a creative and engaging context. Talk for Writing teaches our children the ‘key ingredients’ of all text types so that they are able to continue on their path to become life-long, independent learners. More information about Talk for Writing can be found here.
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.
Constant shared writing also develops writing habits within the class community of writers. The aim is that each year, new strategies and techniques are introduced, building on previous learning and giving children confidence as writers.
Children’s writing is both shared and celebrated in school in a variety of ways:
- Writer of the week
- Writer’s Hall of Fame classroom displays
- Weekly Sharing Worships
- Class worships
- Peer evaluation
- Poetry Slams
- ‘English All Stars’ Blog
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 through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, and during their weekly guided reading session.
In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach, alongside teaching sight vocabulary. Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is on understanding and comprehension. Children will read individually with their class teacher on a weekly basis as well as participate in group guided reading sessions, where they are given various opportunities to improve their reading skills, such as inference and comprehension by talking and coming to conclusions. In addition, at Christ Church we have our school dog Otis, whom children often have the opportunity to read with. This encourages even the most reluctant readers.
Reading at Home
All children will bring home a reading book suitable to their current reading level on a weekly basis. We aim for all children to work through the CCCE book-band system as quickly as they are able to in order for them to become a fluent, competent reader. We encourage children to change their book regularly and expect them to read at home daily.
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, and bookworm certificates are given when children reach given milestones on their reading journey.
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.
Our school’s phonics programme, Read Write Inc, is both stimulating and challenging. It teaches the skills of reading and encourages children’s thinking which creates enthusiastic, life-long readers who share in the joy of reading.
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Synthetic phonics is taught on a daily basis in EYFS and Year 1, using the stimulating yet challenging phonics programme, Read Write Inc. It teaches the skills of reading and encourages children’s thinking which creates enthusiastic, life-long readers who share in the joy of reading.
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.
In Reception, classes learnt the story of 'Can't You Sleep Little Bear?' by Martin Waddell. They immersed themselves in the story, including reading with big Bear in the Bear Cave and fetching lights for little bear.
In Year 2, children enjoyed reading ‘Monkey Puzzle’ by Julia Donaldson. They enjoyed the repetition and use of rhyme and, using talk for writing skills, they were able to innovate the story by changing it to squirrel puzzle. In addition, they learnt about the use of expanded noun phrases, which helped them to further improve their writing and they also changed the story of Cinderella into Cinderboy.