At The Oaktree School we recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children develop a secure knowledge-base in reading, following a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the curriculum. We believe that children should take pride in their writing, write clearly and accurately, and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and use discussion to communicate and further their learning. Building solid foundations in all literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a responsible member of society.
These aims are embedded across our literacy lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and the development of children’s Oracy. Teachers adapt planning as appropriate to their class and make cross curricular links where appropriate. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 and Spoken Language which underpins the development of reading and writing.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
Children will be taught Phonics in Reception using the Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics scheme. We follow The Five RWI Principles of -
5. Positive teaching
Children develop their reading skills through shared reading in groups and individual reading. Guided Reading lessons take place in Year 1 and Year 2 in groups appropriate to the reading development of the child. Children will be given reading targets aligned to their home reading book band. These targets are for children to work on at home. Parents are asked to record their child's progress against the targets in their child's Reading Diary for home/school communication. Children are encouraged to take home a reading book every day and will be able to choose from a wide variety of engaging texts. At the early stage of reading these books will be phonically decodable.
Children will also hear, share and discuss a wide range of high quality books to develop a love of reading, broaden their vocabulary and develop their understanding. It is important that pupils listen to and discuss stories, poetry and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently in order to develop pleasure in reading, increase their vocabulary and awareness of grammar and develop skills of inference. This should continue throughout their primary years both at home and at school.
Recommended Books to Read
Bug Club is a whole-school reading programme which provides online reading books.
The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.
At The Oaktree School we choose quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction text so that all children’s experiences can be drawn upon. Through imitation the children get to know the text and as they grow more confident of the story structure they adapt to their own interests.
To ensure a consistent and progressive approach we use the online resource letterjoin as well as the mnemonics from the RWI Phonics scheme. The children use handwriting books to record and practise their handwriting. Across the school, handwriting is carefully modelled by the teacher in all lessons. The use of patterns and consistent language to support letter formation and appropriate letter-joins is also embedded enabling children to also further develop their fine motor skills. High expectations are communicated through the ‘five finger check’ for all writing activities. A high standard of presentation is always encouraged and expected in children’s written work across the wider curriculum.
At The Oaktree School spellings are taught using a whole class approach. High frequency words have been grouped to form ‘houses’ which have been further grouped to former ‘streets’. There are eight spelling houses in the blue street and eight spelling houses in the red street. Individual houses are taught over a period of a week or two depending on the children’s stage of learning. The focus house is displayed within the classroom so that children are able to refer to it in their writing. Words on the focus house are ‘quizzed’ weekly or bi-weekly and form part of the non-negotiable five finger check.
The Wider Curriculum
Children are exposed to a range of different opportunities and experiences to excite, inspire and engage them in their writing across the curriculum. For example, in Year 2 the children get to spend a morning with Florence Nightingale. They are able to think about what it would have been like to be a child who was alive when Florence Nightingale was. They experience the noises they might have heard and also the living conditions that children were exposed to.