At Heaton Park Primary and Nursery School we celebrate books and always strive to encourage a love of books and reading in our children in families. We provide the children with many daily opportunities to enjoy and share books with others.
Our whole school provides the pupils with a language rich environment enabling pupils to access reading of different types on a daily basis. Each classroom has an inviting reading area with a wide range of reading materials to support all reading abilities.
In Early Years and Year 1, during Guided Reading sessions with a teacher, children read carefully selected books (fiction and non-fiction) from a range of published reading schemes (Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat Readers, Rigby Stars, Pearson’s Phonic Bug and Project X) matched to their current reading ability. Every child is heard to read in this manner on a weekly basis and explicitly taught the skills needed to develop their reading further. Pupils are also given the opportunity to explore these books independently to enable them to practise these skills.
In Year 2, children begin to start the transition from small guided reading groups to whole class reading with a focus on comprehension skills. This prepares them for the more formal assessments and approach to reading in Key Stage 2. Children that require additional guided reading, also continue with this.
Other reading opportunities throughout the day occur through a wide range of activities such as whole class ‘shared reading sessions’ focusing on a text (fiction and non-fiction), story time when books are shared and enjoyed, opportunity to listen to books in class listening areas, text linked to cross-curricular work and Computing. By ensuring that our children read a wide range of texts we are confident that we are meeting their preferred learning style. Throughout Key Stage 1, we also have our much loved ‘5 a day’ books. These are books that are each shared with the children daily.
Reading in Key Stage 2 is approached as a whole class with pockets of children working in smaller groups dependant upon their ability. Reading to Learn lessons take place 4 – 5 times a week with some children having additional where required. Reading to Learn lessons incorporate texts of a longer length, such as chapter books (especially up in Upper Key Stage 2), text extracts, poetry and non-fiction texts. These texts are often linked to the topic being covered in that year group at that time. We also build in opportunities to access classic texts and poetry within these Reading to Learn sessions. Skills such as retrieval, inference, vocabulary, prediction and summarising are all taught in a formal way. Reading and answers are modelled by the teachers to ensure children have good examples to follow and will always know what is expected of them and how to develop there answers further.
Home Reading Books
Children take home a range of fiction and non-fiction books from a wide range of reading schemes, the books are colour coded according to the ‘book band system’. This allows the children to independently access the books which have been carefully selected to match their current reading ability. Parents are requested to fill in the reading diary in order to give the school feedback on their child’s reading progress. The children’s home reading book is a book band below the book they are reading in school. This is to give the children the confidence and enjoyment at home.
Older and more able readers are able to also take home a library book each week. This is a book that is chosen by themselves to share at home with a family member or to be read independently.
Phonics is taught daily throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. All children are immersed in a phonic and language rich environment in class and the continuous provision.
We currently follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme, which is a nationally recognised scheme. It is split into six ‘phases’:
- Phase 1 – being introduced to sounds through songs and games.
- Phase 2 – learning the first sets of sounds and high frequency/tricky words.
- Phase 3 – learning the first sets of ‘blend’ sounds (such as ee, ay, oo).
- Phase 4 – consolidating their knowledge through practising reading and spelling words with the sounds already learnt, often using polysyllabic words.
- Phase 5 – learning the remainder of the sounds in our language.
- Phase 6 – learning spelling rules, such as how prefixes and suffixes change the ‘root’ word.
We assess the children regularly on their progress and reorganise the groups based on this. Therefore, we know that every child is always learning the letters and sounds that are appropriate to their needs.
- For further details and explanation of the above phrases please follow this link to download the Government document: Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics
At Heaton Park, we try our very best to engage all children in the topics that they are covering and use related texts to do this. All writing opportunities are linked to current topics and are mostly based upon a text that is being covered in class. This cross curricular approach allows children to become really immersed in the topic that they are studying and brings writing to life for them.
The audience and purpose for writing is always at the forefront of the minds of the children when writing and covering genres such as narrative, recounts, persuasive and descriptive writing. We follow a process of starting with a cold write (no teaching) to see what the children already know about that genre of writing. Specific features for the genre are then taught to ensure that children have a good understanding of the features for that genre of writing. This is then followed by a warm write (features have been taught). Children are then taught about editing and redrafting effectively which then produces their final hot write within this sequence.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Spelling rules are taught explicitly each week. Children are then given opportunities in and out of school to practise spellings using both auditory, kinaesthetic and visual styles to support all learning styles. We also subscribe to Eshed – a competitive spelling platform – for children in Years 1 to 6. We also link our handwriting sessions to our spelling so that the shape of the word can aid with children being able to spell.
Grammar and punctuation is mostly taught through writing and is covered through teaching of the different genres. However, we do also revise and overlearn grammar and punctuation daily in basic skills sessions as part of our English lessons.