Communication, Language & Literacy

'Teachers should develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.'

DfE (September 2013)The National Curriculum in England (Framework Document),p10. London: DfE, © Crown Copyright 2013

At our school encouraging children to develop their language from an early age is of key importance. Using language starts as soon as children enter our nursery through the repetition of familiar songs and rhymes. Children very quickly learn the basics of communicating enhanced by a carefully planned phonics programme throughout the early years and key stage one. By key stage two more emphasis is placed on more complex spelling rules and the introduction of a foreign language (French). 

Our school’s procedures for reading:

We have implemented the Read Write Inc. programme, which teaches early readers the key phonic skills they need to progress. This is taught daily at 10:40 – 11:00 across school in differentiated reading groups.

Children who have completed the RWI programme are taught daily spellings, using the RWI spelling programme.  Every child in school takes home two reading books- their own choice of book from the library which is changed by the child and chosen according to their interests and a scheme book, which is changed daily by a member of staff.  The scheme book is phonetically decodable and children can read with at least 95% accuracy.  Once children have progressed onto ‘free choice readers’ guidance is given but the book is chosen by the child.

Every child has a home/school reading diary, for adults at school and home to record their child’s reading. Reading is part of our homework and we do encourage children to read daily.

Every class chooses a core text to be read daily, which inspires children and feeds them with a variety of language.  Each classroom includes an inspiring reading area to encourage children to spend time reading a variety of texts.

All children from reception upwards take part in guided reading, differentiated across the key stages.

Reading is assessed using The York Assessment of Reading Comprehension (YARC), ensuring every child has a reading age which is then compared to their chronological age. Phonics assessments are used every 6 weeks and guided reading is assessed against end of key stage outcomes on a weekly basis. At the end of each term children are tested in their reading using Cornerstones comprehension tests and given a standardised score.

More information about RWI can be found here, including rhymes for letter formation and the sequence we teach phonemes in:

Our school’s procedures for writing: 

Ensuring that children can write is a core priority at our school. We teach children the skills to be confident and able writers applying their skills across a number of different topic areas.

Children’s handwriting is assessed to ensure that children are forming lower case letters, capital letters and numbers correctly. In response to their results, children are given targets of individual letters to work on. Letters are taught in ‘families’ and children progress onto cursive script once confident in the basic formation of letters.

A variety of non-fiction and fiction texts are taught and assessed each term and marked against year specific assessment targets.  Children are given the opportunity to respond to these assessments using 2 stars and a wish, draft and edit work reaching a final piece that they are proud of

SPAG (spelling and grammar)

Our school has been working on improving spelling, grammar and punctuation across school.  We work hard to ensure that spellings are consistently embedded and applied into writing. The Read, Write, Inc. spelling programme has  been implemented across school, from year two upwards and is a natural continuation from the phonics scheme. This is taught daily from 10:40 -11:00.   Children are regularly assessed throughout the year.

Year One and Foundation teach their own bespoke spelling rules and common exception words. Spellings, based on the taught spelling unit, are sent home for children to learn and are tested each Friday. In KS1 SPAG is taught as part of our weekly literacy but at times as an individual lesson.  SPAG in KS2 is taught weekly.  

Speaking and Listening

Children are given regular opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills, including class debates, show and tell, discussions, talk partners and visitors in school. Celebration Assembly is a brilliant opportunity for every child to feel confident in speaking out loud.  Children are encouraged to express their opinions and explain their ideas. Drama and performance is incorporated in all classrooms throughout the year and children work together to create a Christmas and End of Year Performance.