Freeland C of E School takes pride in encouraging all children to be inspired by language and literature. At Freeland, we believe that competence in literacy provides the cornerstone of children’s achievement. While we teach English skills as a discrete subject daily from Year 1 to Year 6, application and competency is also encouraged throughout the curriculum to enable children to communicate appropriately and effectively in all subjects.
Our main aim is for children to develop a love of reading and teach them the skills needed to be able to read independently. Reading is taught on a daily basis throughout the school with a focus on whole class guided reading from Year 2 and daily phonics using ‘Letters and Sounds’ in Foundation Stage and Year 1.
Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds is taught throughout Foundation Stage (rhythm, rhyme, body percussion, alliteration, sound walks) alongside an introduction to Phase 2 from term 1. Phase 3 is introduced once Phase 2 has been secured. ‘Tricky’ words and High Frequency words are taught through creative opportunities.
In Year 1, Phase 3 is consolidated in the autumn term and followed by Phases 4 and 5 by the end of the year. Children learn their phonics using a variety of activities including active learning games.
To develop children’s reading skills in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 we use popular and well established reading scheme books, which provide the children with reading material that is pitched at an appropriate level. ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ is used as the core resource, which is complemented by books from other schemes in order to provide an extensive library of books at every stage, to ensure children have a broad and rich reading experience.
Whole Class Guided Reading:
Relevant and rich texts are chosen to suit each year group and topic focus. The texts are shared as a class daily followed by discussion generated by one of the following areas: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summary. Reading journals are used to record discussion points structured by questions.
Reading forms the main part of our children’s homework and there is an expectation that children read on a daily basis. Children from foundation stage to Year 3 have a reading diary which maintains a home/school record. Children complete the diary every time they read at home and at school. From Year 4, children are expected to independently manage their reading so that they take ownership and further embed the love of reading.
Children are read to by adults using a class story every day and we encourage this to be mirrored at home so that all children are read with regularly and given the opportunity to question.
We encourage the excitement around books by having an annual book fair, celebrating book week, taking part in world book day, bedtime story event and inviting authors in to talk to and inspire the children.
Speaking and Listening:
Our school curriculum nurtures development in speaking and listening skills. Children are encouraged from the start of school to speak clearly, confidently and with expression to express their ideas and opinions. They are also given opportunities to listen, reflect upon and discuss what they have heard. Further opportunities are provided through debates, school productions, church services and celebration of learning events.
We follow the ‘continuous cursive’ style of handwriting and ink pens are used by children from Year 3. In Foundation Stage, short, focused, whole class handwriting sessions take place as part of phonics teaching.
In Year 1, three 15-minute handwriting sessions are taught per week with 2 sessions weekly in Years 2 to 6. Children use a handwriting book for handwriting lessons and transfer of skills is expected across the curriculum.
(see Handwriting Policy)
Teachers use The National Curriculum to ensure particular spelling rules are taught in the appropriate year group. In addition to this, Key Stage 2 also learn key word lists as stated in the National Curriculum. In Key Stage 2, there are three timetabled spelling sessions per week. In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, spelling is taught through phonics. Spelling forms part of our weekly homework.
Across the school, all children learn the grammar, punctuation and spelling skills needed to write in a variety of different genres and at least one piece of extended writing is completed in every class each week from Year 1. Children are taught to write for an audience and with purpose. The children are continuously encouraged to plan, write and edit their work in order to complete pieces of writing that they are proud of. Teachers engage the children through topic links, rich texts, film and drama.