At Wilbury, we follow the National curriculum for the teaching of English across the school. From this, we have developed our own writing programme to meet the needs of our pupils. Reading, writing and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar are taught through the use of high quality texts, exposing all children to a wide range of material, in a variety of ways. We teach English through:
We follow the validated systematic synthetic phonics programme Read, Write Inc. from Reception to year 2 to teach children to learn letter sounds and blend them together to read words. The children are regularly assessed and grouped according to their levels, which enables teaching to be focused to meet their needs very specifically. Phonics catch up also takes place in years 3 and 4 to support those children who still need focused phonics teaching. In the final term of Nursery, all children begin to learn sounds based on the Read Write Inc programme.
To find out about how we teach phonics and how you can help, click here
We have a very strong commitment to the teaching of reading at Wilbury. In Reception and KS1, alongside our phonics programme, Read, Write Inc., we use the CLPE ‘power of reading’ in Reception and 'Talk through Stories' in Year 1 to instil a love of books and stories. From Year 2, our aim is to develop fluent readers with excellent comprehension skills. We have developed our own reading programme which is domain-driven, using high-quality and purposeful texts. Reading sessions are taught daily in all year groups with a focus on developing fluency, comprehension skills and importantly a love of reading.
Click here for more information about how we teach reading.
At Wilbury, we aim to promote an enthusiasm for reading from the moment your child enters the school. We firmly believe that every child deserves the chance to become a reader and we are determined to teach every child to read and to read well. We know that the children who enjoy reading are more likely to succeed academically so developing a positive attitude towards reading is our priority at Wilbury and this supported by a variety of teaching methods.
Our Phonics Programme
In the Summer Term of Nursery, children are introduced to Read Write Inc phonics programme and this builds on the previous input from letters and sounds. This programme runs through Reception and Year 1 and is designed to teach children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. The children learn to read the 40+ sounds and learn to blend these into words. From the very beginning children experience success.
All children are quickly grouped according to their levels and are assessed every six weeks by our trained Reading Leaders. Children who need extra support to meet national expectations are targeted quickly and picked up for additional support. Our aim is to get all the children confident with blending as quickly as possible so they are able to develop that love of reading from an early age. Regular Development Days led by RWI Consultants help to build teacher knowledge and confidence and keep us up-to-date with the latest thinking around the teaching of reading.
At Wilbury, we firmly believe that it is the teacher’s job to teach the children how to read but we ask our parent community to support their children with practising this skill at home. Pupils take home a book each week which mirrors the phonic teaching they have had during the week. This enables the pupil to practice their sounds and blending and build their self- confidence. We also hold regular and well- attended parent sessions to support our parents in their understanding of the programme and how they can best support their children at home.
All pupils in Reception and Year 1 access the RWI Programme and at the end of Year 1 all children will take the Phonics Screening Check. The Phonics Screening Check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England, and is usually taken in June. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how children are progressing in phonics. It will help us as a school to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill. There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1.
For children who are new to English and arrive in our school in Year 2 and for those who are yet to meet the standard, phonics continues in Year 2 with children getting support on a 1:1 basis in addition to their literacy lessons. In Key Stage 2 we also provide phonics lessons for children new to English.
Reading beyond phonics in the Early Years
In the EYFS
Throughout Early Years adults spend time in reading areas/book corners, reading to children and sharing books with them – this encourages children to enjoy books and reading, and to use the areas independently. Books are available across the learning environment, linked to the relevant area of learning e.g. science books in the science area. Children are encouraged to retell familiar stories orally, and to make up their own.
The children are read to daily and core books are introduced which are mainly big books. These are books with repetitive text and repeated refrains – books that lend themselves to choral reading) so that children can join in. The book is read several times over two weeks (whole class or groups), so that children become familiar with it. Props/puppets/small world toys etc. are available in the classroom for children to use to retell the story independently. The book is available in the reading area for children to revisit/read independently.
As well as daily story time, individual weekly reading is introduced. This is supplemented ‘shared reading’ – This will be a book that lends itself to choral reading – simple, repetitive text; repeated refrain; and where children can see the text. This is read to the children at carpet time at least three times over the week.
The aim is that by the final reading children are able to read/chant along at the pace of the teacher. Actions and different voices may be used, but no props/puppets etc. The book is available in the reading area for children to revisit/read independently.
The Power of Reading
This involves high quality diverse texts. Each book is used over two or three weeks, building up as the story is slowly revealed. Experiences to support the story are planned using the ‘Power of Reading’ teaching sequence as a starting point, these include activities to stimulate talk and role play. Carpet sessions are planned around each book, which lead to focused writing activities. Questioning is used to develop inference (‘wh’ questions) Many techniques are used to engage children – including using actions, different voices, props, puppets, role play and acting out the stories. Props/puppets/small world toys etc. are available in the classroom (preferably in the reading area) for children to use independently.
Purpose: develop love of stories, excitement, enthusiasm, comprehension, story structure, vocabulary, stimulate writing.
How home reading works at Wilbury:
Home reading is a chance to practice skills taught in school but also a chance to develop a love for reading and learn about a multitude of things that cannot be covered by a school curriculum.
Our two year olds, Ducklings (three year olds) and Nursery children choose a book every week to take home and enjoy. In Reception, Year 1 and for any other child accessing RWI phonics programme a book that reflects their phonic ability is sent home each week giving them the opportunity to practise what they have been learning in class. In addition to this, all children take home a fiction or non fiction book from our class libraries for parents and children to share together.
Once children become free readers they will be guided by the teacher to choose a suitable book and all children will take home a book to help build their vocabulary. Our year 5 children take part in the Accelerated Reader Programme and select books based on their comprehension range. At the end of each book they take an online comprehension test.
All parents have the opportunity to fill in a Reading Record Book to let us know how your child is getting on with reading at home.
How reading is taught effectively in Year 1 to Year 6:
Fluency, alongside decoding and comprehension, is one of the major pillars of reading instruction. Fluency refers to the rate, expression, and smoothness with which a student is able to read. Fluency is more than just reading quickly, though pacing is a part of it. Fluent readers read as though they are talking. They attend to punctuation, use different voices to represent characters in dialogue, and change their tone and pace to reflect the mood or register of what they are reading.
Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking. Readers who have not yet developed fluency read slowly, word by word. Their oral reading is choppy.
In Year 1 a book is used to develop fluency skills and in years 2-6 children have their own copy of a text which may be fiction, non-fiction or poetry. The children are taught how to track the text and to read with pace and accuracy. Vocabulary is explored and children are all encouraged to become actively involved in the session.
Reading lessons – domain driven
Midway through the week the children are taught how to build upon their comprehension skills. Using the text they have become familiar with they are introduced to a different styles of questions and how best to answer them. Children are encouraged to become more independent and demonstrate their skills. Teachers are on the look –out for any misconceptions and are ready to deal with these in a timely manner.
Every child deserves to be a reader and at Wilbury we have several reading intervention programmes running to support the children achieve this goal.
Lunch time reading EYFS and KS1:
This is a teacher intervention and aimed at children needing a little extra support to reach national expectations with regards to reading comprehension. They read as a group with the teacher up to four times a week..
TA 1:1 reading
This is a TA lead interventions and is aimed at children who would benefit from daily one to one reading with an adult to build up their fluency. Up to 4 children are selected from every class in the school and they read on a daily basis with the TA.
Developing Reading for Pleasure
Reading is the passport to the world. Reading for pleasure gives children opportunities to learn about a multitude of things that cannot be covered by a school curriculum. At Wilbury, we are always looking for ways to enrich the reading experience for the pupils. Every class teacher is expected to read a class book on a daily basis to the children and high quality diverse texts are shared in regular reading assemblies. Children also have access to our two libraries in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
We welcome in authors and encourage the children to get fully involved in World Book Day as well as the National Summer Reading Challenge. Our latest initiative is having a regular second hand book stall where children and parents can take home ‘much loved books’ donated by our community.We do not charge because we recognise the importance of children owning their own books, and accessing as many books as possible in their homes.
At Wilbury, children’s books are at the heart of our writing curriculum. It is vital that our children experience high quality texts, stories, poetry and vocabulary in order to develop their own ability to write in a range of styles. In Reception children are enthused to write through the high quality texts explored in the ‘Power of Reading’ programme, as well as having lots of opportunities to write independently. From Year 1 to 6 we use ‘The Literary Curriculum’ to plan our writing lessons, providing children with a wide variety of writing experiences and opportunities to practice and apply their skills for a range of purposes. Writing is modelled and children practice regularly through both short burst writing tasks and more extended pieces. Grammar teaching is embedded within writing lessons to ensure children understand its purpose and can apply it in their writing. Spelling and handwriting are taught explicitly with a cursive style being introduced from year one onwards. Across the school, the children’s ability to speak in full, grammatically correct sentences is of prime importance and is a whole school focus. The development of children’s spoken language is essential to the development of their writing skills; if they can’t say it, they can’t write it. As such, oracy is a focus within all lessons across the curriculum, not just in writing lessons.
Click here for more information about how we teach writing.
Our aim is always to encourage all children to write to the best of their ability and to enjoy the writing process.
This starts with them understanding the purpose of their writing and the audience they are writing for. As teachers it is our job to find exciting hooks into writing. Over a period of time we want to increase the quantity and quality of what has been written. These benchmarks will differ for each and everyone in the classroom and that’s where our teacher knowledge is key. Celebrating the success of the reluctant writer once they have completed just a few sentences independently is just as important as celebrating the success of a keen writer who has completed the task well. What we hope that both writers will have in common is the ability to write coherently.
Writing is taught through units of work. These may be book driven, topic driven or standalone units. Some units of work will lend themselves to several outcomes while others may just have one.
All units are approached in the same way:
- A WAGOLL has been prewritten by the teacher at the planning stage and this WAGOLL supports the teacher with their teaching of the unit as a whole.
- The WAGOLL is read together and through text marking and some active learning the text features (how it is organised) and the language features (including tense, vocabulary and sentence structures) are extracted for the children and by the children. These are displayed on our working walls. More vocabulary is added throughout the unit to support them with writing at a higher level.
- The WAGOLL gives the direction of travel for the unit for the teacher and for the children. It sets the expectations and gives them some experience of the genre.
The lessons that follow
There is an overarching objective for a unit such as to write a non -chronological report but each lesson will have a smaller more achievable objective for example: to use a variety of sentence openers, to vary the use of conjunctions, to use subject specific vocabulary and so on
All marking should move the learning on. The teacher will highlight the objective in green if it has been achieved and a few examples where this is evident in the writing.
Areas that need more attention are highlighted in orange and these may relate to grammar, spelling or composition. Editing and conferencing with the teacher helps the children to improve the quality of their writing and work on the areas requiring more attention.
Spelling must be taught explicitly as well as regularly assessed. Spelling rules are taught and returned to several times during the year. Teachers are encouraged to pick up on a common word which has been misspelt and ask the children to practise writing the correct spelling. Our aim is to help children to internalise the spelling and to encourage muscle memory. We focus particularly on common exception words as well as words that have been identified by teachers as being commonly misspelt by our pupils.
- forgetting letters
- right letters- wrong order
- not clear about rules to do with prefixes and suffixes
- unsure of when to double the final letter before adding the suffix.
Click here to view the Autumn 2023 Writing Curriculum Overview
Click here to view the Spring 2024 Writing Curriculum Overview
SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar):
Years Reception to year 2, follow the spelling programme in RWI. Those children in year 2 who take part in English lessons, through to year 6, follow the ‘No nonsense spelling’ programme. Weekly SPaG lessons are taught across the school, which also include a focus on a specific spelling rule each week. Children will practise words each week in class and for homework. These words are tested weekly also. Working alongside SPaG, children are taught a cursive style of handwriting, which is practised and reinforced continuously and consistently.