“You can make anything by writing.” -C.S Lewis
At Leverton Primary School, we want to produce children who are able to write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes whilst developing their own individual flair. We want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and to apply spelling rules correctly and use neat handwriting. We aim to expose our children to a wide range of vocabulary so that they are able to decipher new words and then use them appropriately, enabling them to apply their English skills to all areas of the curriculum.
Writing is taught throughout the school using a developing structure of the ‘Talk4Writing’ approach. We teach children to imitate and innovate writing before becoming independent writers with their own writing style. As a school, we also incorporate Alan Peat sentence types in our planning and teach the children how to use them in their own writing to vary sentence types.
Writing is taught as a whole class. Planning is based upon a rich text and follows the theme of all the learning over a two-week period. The text is read daily throughout this time, so the children are fully immersed and can join in with confidence. A model text (usually in response to an exciting ‘hook’) is shared, learnt, written and innovated by the children. Each week, children work in small, adult-led groups to develop their skills and strategies to promote independence. Children are taught to form letters in the print style with fine motor control supported through activities that promote hand and core strength in addition to visual perception. Spelling is taught discretely during ELS (Essential Letters and Sounds) phonics lessons. Independent mark making is promoted from the earliest stages within the learning environment. As children role-play, they write in real-life situations which encourages them to see writing as purposeful which also develops independence.
Key Stage 1 and 2.
Writing is taught whole class, with planning based upon a rich text that is usually linked to the topic (unless this compromises the text quality). Teaching strategies throughout a unit include modelled, shared and guided writing. Lessons involve the children working collaboratively to support all to achieve using personalised strategies and differentiation, with dedicated lesson time directed for the children to self-assess, peer assess and edit to improve their work.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation are taught in phonics and English lessons. Often, these elements are taught discretely at first but then within the writing lessons, so the skills are embedded and in context for the children.
Handwriting is taught discretely in the first term, for 10 minutes daily, to set the expectations for the year group. Following this, misconceptions are addressed within lessons or through support groups. The pre-cursive style is taught in Year 1 and perfected in Year 2 with a focus on letter joins, until writing is fully cursive. Children should write in the cursive style in Key Stage 2.
The intended impact of our delivery of writing is that all pupils enjoy writing across a range of genres, can write for a range of purposes and audiences and become confident and effective communicators. They will amass a varied vocabulary that they can use across the curriculum and can apply spelling rules and grammatical concepts in their work. We also aim to ensure that our pupils are proud of their writing and have opportunity to see it on display and shared with others in the school and with their families. Looking forward, we intend that by the end of Year 6 children are confident in crafting a piece of writing, which holds them in great stead for secondary school and their future ahead.
At Leverton Primary School we believe that reading is an essential skill which enriches the lives of children above all else. We are committed to enabling children at Leverton primary to become lifelong readers. The heart of our strategy ensures that children learn to read effectively, leading them to read for pleasure. To foster this love of reading, we pair imaginative activities with high quality texts that provide appropriate challenge for children. We also follow our phonics scheme with fidelity, allowing all children to access books that they can decode. Our dedication to phonics allows children to keep up, rather than catch up.
As a school we approach our reading lessons consistently as we follow a whole class guided reading format. Every year group has a guided reading style lesson each week. Within our guided reading lessons, we ensure that children are given opportunities to explore each reading skill (listed below), with a differentiated activity. All children are able to access the text through strategies such as pre-reading, re-reading, echo and choral reading. During echo and choral reading, teachers model how to read a piece of text with prosody and the class are given the chance to echo this. Children are also given opportunities within guided reading lessons to link their reading skills with their writing abilities, often asked to create a range of responses to a text.
Key Stage 2 have daily guided reading lessons, following a consistent weekly structure. Each year group have a text that they focus on, exploring a different chapter each week. This allows children to develop a love and greater understanding of the text.
EYFS and KS1 have daily phonics lessons following our Essential letters and sounds (ELS) scheme, with afternoon sessions also happening across Reception and Year 1 which focuses on the needs of the class. Within EYFS and Key Stage 1, children will be exposed to the key reading skills during their story time but will be asked focused and planned questions at least twice a week.
After the ELS programme:
KS2 has targeted interventions, particularly in Year 3, to help close gaps. There is also an increased chance for the lowest 20% of readers within Year 3 to be heard read by an adult. Every member of staff, including volunteer readers, have received the same training to ensure that the expectations are clear as well as ensuring every reading experience with a child is effective. Following on from ELS, we follow the Oxford Reading Tree scheme across the school which sees children progress through the coloured bands until they become a free reader.
Reading for pleasure takes place a minimum of twice a week in every class. The reading for pleasure text for each class is displayed around the school and the purpose of this time is to help foster a love of reading within the class. We use areas such as our ‘Reading bus’ or outdoor learning spaces during these times. Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) takes places twice a week in KS2 and Sustained Silent Listening (SSL) takes place twice a week in KS1. This is to build children’s stamina within reading. During SSR the teacher has the opportunity to read with the lowest 20% of children, pupil premium children or those that do not read at home.
The desired impact of Reading at Leverton is that children view themselves as readers. We understand that reading is the key to all learning and enriches the lives of children. We want children to leave Leverton viewing themselves as lifelong readers.
As a result of our phonics programme we want children to leave Key Stage 1 as fluent readers. Children will then have the opportunity to develop their fluency and comprehension within reading as they progress through our school.
We assess reading throughout the school using NTS assessments, which we then use to identify gaps and to inform our planning. We also track progress in relation to our ELS programme, using the phonics tracker programme. Additionally, teacher’s set targets based on their judgements when listening to children read as well as assessing the work they complete within guided reading lessons.