Creating literate learners
Literacy is an integral skill for learning and underpins work undertaken in all areas of the curriculum and in life. Having a rich and extensive vocabulary is empowering and provides access to further knowledge, which is why a particular focus is given to learning new vocabulary. We recognise the power of communication so our children are provided with regular opportunities to develop their ability as a reader and writer, teaching them to communicate effectively both inside and outside of the classroom.
- The skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are taught throughout the school.
- National Curriculum coverage and other objectives relevant to underpinning knowledge are mapped across school.
- Progression documents are used for age-appropriate learning specific to each aspect of English.
- Learning is carefully planned to be challenging and accessible to all learners (including those with Special Educational Needs or those working at Greater Depth).
- To equip children with the knowledge and skills to be independent readers.
- To encourage and support all children to read a variety of genres which inspire and develop a habit of reading for both pleasure and purpose.
- To create a love of reading which will take them through school and beyond.
- To develop confident, independent and imaginative thinkers.
- Nurture a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of purposes.
- Provide children with the opportunity to debate, perform and express their views in a safe and supportive environment. This is ongoing and embedded throughout our whole curriculum.
- To sustain an environment where children have high expectations in terms of the accuracy, effort and presentation of their work.
Teaching children to become excellent readers is an important and exciting part of what we do at Chaucer Junior School. We aim to foster a love of reading around school with designated areas and by sharing a range of texts (from a variety of genres) in class.
Our Reading curriculum includes the following:
- Use of VIPERS.
- Shared reading 4 x a week.
- Comprehension sessions embed range of VIPER skills.
- Progression documents ensure coverage and appropriateness.
- Learning is accessible and challenging for all learners.
- Weekly fluency sessions as part of the sequence.
- Daily Class Read.
In addition, we offer a range of opportunities and incentives to recognise achievement in reading. This is done using Accelerated Reader which ensures that books are accurately matched to a pupil’s ability level.
Phonics is taught to those children who did not pass their Phonics Assessment by the end of Key Stage 1 and all children are assessed at entry to identify whether they need further phonics intervention.
At Chaucer Junior School, children are taught a range of genres which cover both fiction and non-fiction styles. Our children are immersed into genres through varied approaches which link to our wider curriculum including texts, film clips and books. It is always designed with the children at the heart of it and aims to capture both their imaginations and interests. High-quality modelled texts ensure that children are exposed to challenging vocabulary and shares the high expectations for each piece; this along with working walls and prior (planning) lessons all aid them to achieve their very best. After completion, the children at Chaucer Junior School will have the opportunity to publish their work which gives them a sense of pride.
We also ensure the following:
- A consistent approach to writing is used across the school due to the use of writing sequence documents.
- Sequenced and progressive assessment sheets are used to identify individual strengths and next steps, inform planning and make assessments.
- Misconceptions are regularly identified and addressed.
A sound understanding of spelling can help children to be literate writers and fluent readers. There is a firm emphasis on spelling as part of the National Curriculum, with children's spelling ability impacting their outcomes in Writing and SPaG (Spelling and Grammar). We recognise how important it is to arm our children with the tools required to become accurate spellers.
In order to do this, we ensure the following:
- A whole lesson per week is dedicated to teaching spelling, its rules and helpful techniques.
- Spelling is taught using Spelling Shed to map out National Curriculum objectives, encouraging children to separate words into phonemes and syllables (which follows on from the teaching of phonics).
- Plans are adapted to suit the full range of learners and in response to assessment where gaps have been identified.
- Children have access to the Spelling Shed website where they can practise their spellings through a range of different games.
A knowledge of grammar is important as it gives us more conscious control and choice in our language. At Chaucer Junior School, we teach grammar both explicitly and as part of the writing curriculum so that children can understand both the rules of written grammar and how their use can impact the meaning and purpose of language. It is carefully mapped out progressively across school to ensure full coverage by the end of KS2 and progress throughout the grammar curriculum is carefully monitored using assessment sheets, allowing staff to identify individual targets and alter planning to address gaps in knowledge.
In school, we have high expectations in terms of handwriting and presentation, both because it is emphasised within the National Curriculum and because it encourages important characteristics such as pride, resilience and discipline. We use Letter Join for handwriting and encourage all children to write cursively (which is a requirement within the National Curriculum). Interventions are used to support children who may find handwriting difficult and common misconceptions are identified and addressed through teaching.
We use Letter Join Plus as our school font so that accurate joining and letter formation are consistently modelled to our pupils and staff demonstrate this consistently in their own presentation.
Phonics and Intervention
Given the importance of literacy, we recognise that prompt and effective intervention is vital when children aren't making appropriate progress. In light of this, we use several interventions to help accelerate learning:
- Weekly reading for fluency and comprehension
- Post-teach to address misconceptions early
- Targeted questioning
- Differentiated spelling (either a small group or streamed across classes)
- Letter Join catch-up or Teodorescu for Handwriting
- Rapid Catch-up for children who have completed all phonics phases but still need intervention
- Little Wandle for children who didn't complete all phonics phases during KS1 (whole class or small group depending on numbers)