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At Fairlawn Primary School, we aspire to develop our learners as authors by equipping them with a strong command of the spoken and written word. In our readers, we inspire a love of books through promoting reading both for pleasure and the pursuit of knowledge. It is our intention to engage pupils through quality texts, which instil a love of reading, a passion for discovery and the confidence to explore their own imagination.
The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all readers:
· read easily, fluently and with good understanding
· develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
· acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
· appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
· use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
Evidence suggests that children who read regularly for enjoyment develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. In fact, reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.
At Fairlawn Primary School, we work hard to develop confident and independent readers by inspiring a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for knowledge and pleasure. We aim to ensure that children can read a wide variety of texts with fluency, accuracy and understanding which will enrich their lives into adulthood. Here are just a few of the ways that we, along with families at home, are working to develop a love of reading amongst our pupils.
Our children are heard read regularly by their teacher or teaching assistant. This might be a 1-1 or group read. When a child reads, their yellow
reading record is signed dated and commented in. Our children are expected to bring their reading record and reading book in to school every day.
Children are assisted to or encouraged to independently change their books as and when they need to either in their classroom, or in the school library. Your child can access even more books and comprehension checking questions through our subscription to Bug Club – an online reading programme.
We allocate books to the children according to their reading levels. Our school follows the coloured book band progression below.
Children move on to the next stage after an informal benchmarking assessment once they have shown they are confident in the word reading and understanding required for each coloured stage. Although children might sound confident as a reader, we only move children on to the next stage once they have shown secure confidence in their reading fluency and comprehension of what they have read. If a child has been moved on to the next stage in our coloured book bands, a note will be written in their reading record.
From Year 2 upwards, we also use whole class lessons at least twice a week to teach the skills of summarising, clarifying words, asking questions and retrieving and inferring answers from a text.
How to help your child with reading:
• Read regularly with your child. Ten minutes a day makes a huge difference. Even if your child reads independently it is important that you listen to them read and check that their chosen book is suitable and that they understand what they are reading.
• Ask your child questions about the text they have read to check that they understand what they are reading. You can use a school bookmark to help you with this. Ask your class teacher for one of these if you don’t have one.
• Read to your child at bedtime. This is a good opportunity for children to listen to a range of stories and explore a variety of different genre.
• Write a comment in their yellow reading record. These are checked regularly by the class teacher and allow you to communicate their progress. Through teachers and parents working together children can make greater progress. Comments might include:
It is our belief that writing is a fundamental skill that supports children in their learning and also prepares children for life beyond the classroom. We believe it is important to teach key skills to enable all children to see stories as part of a whole text and understand its structure, presentation and language. We aim to ensure that children understand the purpose behind their writing and to provide children with a range of useful tools to develop their independence in the planning process. It is vital that children develop their confidence and independence in building and writing texts for a specific audience and purpose.
We use our holistic approach, to teach key writing skills. Learning is mainly centred around a book or key text. Many elements of the National Curriculum flow out of this one text. From the key story will flow non-fiction writing as well as poetry and the performance of play scripts. Children’s stamina and skills are developed to write at length. Skills in writing are applied across the curriculum to ensure a broad and balanced learning experience.
SPELLING, PUNCTUATION & GRAMMAR
We believe that spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are essential tools in helping children to write sentences and then texts that make sense and flow well. Our aim is to equip all children to know, use and apply these tools in order to gain finer control over what they write thinking carefully about their content and style and how this is appropriate to their audience and purpose. As children grow in confidence in these skills, they will be able to make informed decisions on what and how they write.
Spelling is taught on a weekly basis through discrete sessions. We use a scheme called ‘Schofield and Sims Spelling’ from the end of Year 1. Schofield and Sims provides continuity from our phonics teaching scheme, Letters and Sounds. A set of words based around a spelling rule is given to the children and practised and then tested. Children will learn to spell words that follow a pattern or rule as well as those that are identified as being common exception words (words in which the English spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way. They may be exceptions to spelling rules or words which use a particular combination of letters to represent sound patterns in a rare or unique way).
Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation is taught mainly within the teaching of English lessons in order to make clear the purpose and relevance of a specific word, piece of punctuation or grammatical term. These elements will be explored through identifying them in texts and by practising them before applying them in their own writing. At Fairlawn Primary School we practice the active teaching of vocabulary across the curriculum and encourage our children to be ‘word aware’. Key vocabulary is part of every lesson and on every display board. We introduce children to new vocabulary or ‘star words’ on a weekly basis.