In English, our aim is to ensure that every child becomes a reader, a writer and confident speaker by the time they leave Thrapston Primary School.
At our school, we use a variety of strategies to support the teaching of reading, as all learners are individual and therefore can require different approaches to secure their skills. In recognition of this, teachers use a variety of strategies as required, alongside placing emphasis upon ensuring that children master early reading skills and are able to decode fluently through the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics.
Each class fosters a love of reading by having designated reading areas, visiting our school libraries and sharing a range of texts within class.
In Early Years, children are exposed to a variety of books, which have a focus on patterned language and are linked to their developing phonic knowledge. Children are also introduced to high frequency words which are sent home to enable them to develop their sight vocabulary. Parents are given information leaflets and are invited to workshops to support early reading development.
As children progress through the school parents are also kept informed about how to support their child’s developing phonic knowledge and necessary information such as the phonics screening check.
Independent reading books are taken home daily to support children at an individual level and are carefully chosen by teachers to aid and challenge our pupils. Rather than relying on one reading scheme, we recognise that children have different interests and we have therefore ensured that we have an eclectic range of reading schemes available. In addition to independent reading, all children have the opportunity to work in small groups with a member of staff to participate in Guided Reading. This provides pupils with further opportunities to explore challenging texts, discussing their themes to deepen their understanding.
We are fortunate to have volunteers, including Beanstalk, who come in and listen to our children read. Staff identify vulnerable groups and individuals who need additional support in reading by recognising them as priority readers.
Children are encouraged to read at home at least five times per week. To begin with, parents are encouraged to write comments to create a log of their progress. Children will then progress on to writing their own reflections in their reading diaries. Each time a child manages to complete five home reads, they are given a raffle ticket to enter into a prize draw. The reading raffle raises the profile of reading across the school.
Our Phonics programme begins in Nursery and happens on a daily basis. From Reception, phonics is taught in small ability groups, so that it is reactive to the changing needs of learners. At Thrapston Primary School we use the Letters & Sounds programme to ensure the progressive development of skills, so that pupils can decode effectively. In all writing across the curriculum, pupils are provided with the opportunity to develop and embed these key skills.
As a school we recognise that reading is fundamental to the writing process, as children write successfully when they have a full understanding of the features of specific genres and a strong vocabulary. Throughout the school, visual stimuli and books are used to inspire children’s imaginations to write. In addition to support the writing process, teachers model examples of effective writing, so children can be successful in their own writing. Children are also supported to develop stamina for writing across the curriculum.
In Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar sessions, the children learn key objectives and skills in relation to this area through pacey, interactive sessions. Our children are then provided with further opportunities during their wider curriculum to embed their new learning.
Spelling and Handwriting
Weekly spellings are progressive throughout the school and focus on the spelling strategies that are required for each year group. A look, cover, write, check approach is used and actively promoted.
Children are expected to join their handwriting as they progress through the school. We consider good presentation to be an important element of writing.