Communication is the key to our English curriculum: to provide exciting and challenging opportunities to develop written, oral and reading skills to enable children to express themselves as individuals.
"English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised."
The programmes of study for writing at key stage 1 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
The National Curriculum in England Key Stages 1 and 2 Framework Document, Sept. 2013
At Shears Green Infant School we develop children's writing in a number of ways:
Talk for Writing
From Reception we use Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’. This encourages the children to talk about their ideas and the key features of different genres. The children learn texts in the first week using visual text maps as a prompt and then practice the texts by incorporating drama and games. They then ‘box up’ the text which acts as a plan for later independent writing. During the process the children are able to ‘magpie’ ideas from the original text that they would like to include in their own writing later in the week.
Following this, the children are then encouraged to change aspects of the original text to produce a new piece of writing. Again, the same procedure is followed; text map, boxing up, magpie key words and phrases, identifying key features etc.
In the final week, it is hoped that the children will have a secure knowledge of the genre and be able to produce a piece of work entirely independently.
We have found that the children are enthusiastic about this approach and the results we have seen are very encouraging. This approach gives the children the tools they need to be able to write any genre confidently.
In EYFS, the children begin to learn the actions to stories that they listen to. They are able to follow a story map and will quite often begin to attempt their own story maps.
Talk for Writing is a daily activity in all reception classes. Please see the link below for an example of how a story is told using Talk4Writing actions.
Key Stage One
Children begin the ‘Talk for Writing’ process by internalising a text. This is done in a range of ways including story maps or paths, inventing actions for parts of the text and drama. The children learn the text by heart. They are able to identify key features of the text, sometimes independently and other times as a group or class.
Following on from this, the children then have to imitate the text they have learnt. They may make simple changes to the original text to alter it slightly. Once they have internalised the reworked text, they then use a story map or path to plan a story. This simply helps them to organise their ideas and acts as a plan for their writing towards the end of the week.
The final part of the Talk for Writing process is ‘innovation’. The children will have been equipped with the skills required for inventing their own text from beginning to end. They will come up with their own ideas and be able to record these via their own story map or path. They will then be able to produce an independent piece of writing showcasing their text.
Children in years 1 and 2 further develop their writing skills by studying some books from the 'Power of Reading' programme. "Use high quality texts as models of rich language to shape and develop talk and enhance and enrich children’s writing." Power of Reading
In Reception children are taught to form their letters using the 'Read, Write, Inc' scheme.
Children in years 1 and 2 have regular handwriting lessons where the cursive script is taught. They are encouraged to join their letters in all work.
Please find our handwriting and presentation policy by clicking on the link below.
Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers should show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. References to developing pupils’ vocabulary are also included within the appendices.
Pupils should be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed. This is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, but simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons.
At Shears Green Infant School teachers adopt a range of strategies to teach Spelling, Punctuatuion and Grammar. As well as being able to spell words correctly, use a wide range of vocabulary and punctuate well, children need to grasp the meaning of grammatical terms such as noun, verb, adjective, prefix, pronoun and adverb. They need to know what phrases and clauses are and how to use them, understand what conjunctions are and how they work, know how to turn a question into a command, and so on. This terminology can be a stumbling block even for children who are otherwise good at reading and writing, and make questions hard to understand.
The SPAG test taken at the end of Key Stage 1 will include questions that assess the following elements of the English curriculum:
- Sentence grammar through both identifying and writing sentences that are grammatically correct.
- Punctuation through identifying and writing sentences that are correctly punctuated.
- Vocabulary through identifying and writing sentences in which a word is used correctly.
- Spelling through identifying and writing correctly spelt words.
Read, Write Inc.
At Shears Green Infant School, we aim for all our children to become fluent, confident readers who have a passion for reading and love to read and listen to a range of texts.
As Dr.Seuss says: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
We strongly believe that children who read regularly or are read to regularly will have the opportunity to open many different doors and will be able to travel to many different places. Reading will give our children the tools to become independent life-long learners.
We achieve this together through:
- Read, Write Inc - a programme that helps your child to read, we deliver this through discrete daily phonics lessons
- Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily; at home and at school
- Giving children access to a wide range of books at school (Phonics books, pleasure for reading books, Bug Club books) and at home
Mrs Perry (Year R), Mrs Khan (Year 1) and Mrs Williams (Year 2) are our Read Write Inc lead teachers, so if you have any questions about RWI, please contact our school office who can refer you to them.
What is Read Write Inc?
Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary, and spelling. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write. The children are assessed by the RWI lead teacher and grouped according to their ability. Small group phonics lessons are taught daily by trained staff and there are consistent expectations across the range of abilities. At the end of each half term the children are assessed to check on their progress and regrouped.
Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions
Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about
Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning
Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability
Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning
Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally
In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. Those who are ready, will begin to read simple words within books and write some of these.
Reception use Read Write Inc rhymes to teach letter formation.
For the Read Write Inc letter formation rhymes, please click on the link below:
Year 1 and 2
Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for 45 minutes.
The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.
Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.
The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds – the long vowels.
When they are very confident with all Set 1 and 2, they are taught Set 3 Sounds.
To see the different sounds in each set and the rhymes that go with them, please click on the link below:
Please click on the link below to find the RWI glossary of terminology used in a Phonics session.
We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. Fred is our Read, Write Inc. friend. He can only speak in sounds, so we help him learn to say words instead of sounds. For example, Fred says 'm-a-t' instead of mat. We also teach him not to add 'uh' to our sounds to keep them pure. For example, we say 'c' and not 'cuh'.
Help your child learn to read words by sound-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set. Help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.
Spelling with your Fred Fingers
Children are taught to use their fingers to help them write words. The children say the word out loud and break it down into its individual sounds. If a word has 3 sounds children hold up 3 fingers, 4 sounds 4 fingers etc. Children pinch each finger as they say the sounds needed in the word then they write the letters that represent each sound.
When using Fred Fingers each finger represents one sound. When children reach yellow Read Write Inc. storybooks, they will learn to trace the letters onto each finger and say the letter names.
Nonsense words (Alien words)
Research has shown that incorporating nonsense words into teaching reading can be an effective way to establish blending and segmenting skills. However, it is important to ensure that children understand that they are reading nonsense words (and why) so that they are not confused by trying to read the words for meaning. By reading nonsense words children develop their ability to decode individual sounds and then blend them together to read. They are an indicator of early reading skills and work as a quick, reliable, and valid way of assessing children. However, reading nonsense words is only a small part of the Read, Write Inc. phonics teaching.
High Frequency Words (HFW)- these are words that the children will need to be able to recognise, read and spell by the end of KS1.
They are also known as 'red words' in RWI or some children may know them as 'tricky words' or 'sight words'. Children will need to learn how to read these words by sight and memory as you cannot sound them out.
There are also other words the children need to learn in Years 1 and 2 and these are called Common Exception Words.
Please see the documents below for the HFW words and the Year 1 and Year 2 Common Exception Words.
Useful links and videos:
"The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 consist of two dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading)
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds."
The National Curriculum in England, Key Stages 1 and 2 Framework Document, Sept. 2013
At Shears Green Infant School, we support the children with their reading in a variety of ways during the school day.
- Daily Phonics, where the children are exposed to a range of sounds but also complete activities set to their own level. The children follow the Read Write Inc phonics scheme from Reception.
- Buster's Book Club. We take part in this Kent Messenger initiative which encourages children to read for extended lengths of time. Children have the opportunity to win certificates, badges, trophies, reward vouchers and trips to prize giving days.
- Bug Club. This is an online reading activity for children to complete at home as wel as at school. Books are set by the teachers for children to access at home. There are activities to encourage children's comprehension skills.
- Daily Guided Reading sessions. In Year R children participate in daily big book sessions which allow the children to build upon their early reading skills and to develop them further through: exploration of how books work, front covers, blurbs, authors, illustrators, characters, the direction of turning of pages, word recognition, application of phonetical skills and knowledge, expression, fluency, picture cues, modelling of pleasure and excitement and understanding. In Year 1, children participate in daily guided reading sessions where they are presented with a chosen text and discuss this in small groups whilst supported by an adult alongside independent reading for pleasure activities. In Year 2 the children follow the whole class guided reading approach and study a text as a whole class for a week. The sessions in Years 1 and 2 provide teaching and learning opportunities that promote phonetical knowledge and application of phonics to decode words, the teaching of inference to begin to understand different layers of what is being read and what the author wants us to know without saying it, locating information by using different strategies, making links, exploring new vocabulary and enriching our own language, sharing opinions and understanding everyone can read things differently, exploring our abilities to recall information to show our understanding leading into being able to explore comprehension skills to fully explore our understanding.
- Power of Reading – usually linked to topic - where children are given opportunities to read, discuss and work on texts as a class.
- The curriculum – reading and writing present themselves in other areas of the curriculum so that children are reading and writing for a purpose, whilst developing their knowledge and understanding of the world.
- Building Reading Power (BRP) – Our Teaching Assistants are trained to support children to develop their reading skills through a focused reading intervention.
- Story Time – The children enjoy a daily story session which lasts at least 15 minutes. The extended texts shared are carefully selected to ensure the children are regularly immersed in rich vocabulary and have the opportunities to discuss the characters, events and ideas within the story.
Here are some useful websites
To encourage and facilitate knowledge and curiosity.