English

Talk 4 Writing Unit Overview

White House Farm Primary School English Curriculum Overview

Intent

Reading

Phonics (reading and spelling)

At White House Farm Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. Therefore, we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. This is complemented by Collins Big Cat decodable books to deliver high quality sessions that build the decoding knowledge needed to decipher words.We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children can tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At White House Farm Primary School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

Comprehension

At White House Farm Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, our EYFS lead drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.

Writing

At White House Farm Primary School we aim to inspire a joy and love of writing through a combination of the Talk 4 Writing approach which encourages oral language and vocabulary development and our adaptations of clearly focussed writing skills which will enable our children to progress in areas highlighted from assessments. We want to inspire our young writers through the use of high quality texts which aim to build children's skill in writing across different genres. Children at White House Farm Primary School develop resourcefulness and access texts in a wide variety of ways including drama, music and art. 

By the age of 11, we aim to ensure that all children at White House Farm Primary School:

  • 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.
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas and reflect on the effectiveness of the choices they have made.
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Implementation

Phonics & Reading Comprehension

Foundations for phonics in Nursery

  • We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
    • sharing high-quality stories and poems
    • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
    • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
    • attention to high-quality language.
  • We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
    • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
    • Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace. 
  • If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.

Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week

  • We teach children to read through reading practice sessions a minimum of two times a week. These:
    • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
    • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of Application of phonics to reading’
    • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
    • decoding
    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
  • In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
  • In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

Home reading

  • The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
    • Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
    • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.

Additional reading support for vulnerable children

  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions receive additional 1-1 reading sessions.

Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

  • Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
  • Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates, Prompt cards and How to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.

Reading VIPERS

In addition to daily phonics inputs, staff plan whole class guided reading sessions at least 3 times a week focused on reading skills.  Staff use the Literacy Sheds VIPERS resources to support their teaching of whole class guided reading.

VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum.  They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.

VIPERS stands for:

Vocabulary

Inference

Prediction

Explanation

Retrieval

Sequence or Summarise

The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc.  As such, VIPERS is not a reading scheme but rather a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions.  They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.

Ensuring reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at White House Farm Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner / class bookshelf that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Children from Nursery/Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • Each class visits the local library every half term.
  • The school library is made available for all classes to use. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).

Speaking, Listening and Drama

We help children to develop confidence and articulacy in their speaking, listening and drama by:

  • Ensuring that children should have opportunities to take part in purposeful and relevant discussions, including formal debates with cross-curricular themes
  • Supporting children in the learning of age-appropriate poetry by heart for pleasure and performance.
  • Providing opportunities for children to develop skills in public speaking.
  • Ensuring that children can rehearse, perform, and critically respond to dramatic works that they have created.

Writing

Our approach to writing is based on ‘Talk 4 Writing’, which is an approach that supports children to explore, through talk, the thinking and creative processes involved in being a writer. We believe that ‘Talk 4 Writing’ is an approach that goes beyond the development of children’s general speaking and listening skills – it allows children to explore the processes involved in being a writer, and extends oral rehearsal so that it becomes a draft for their written pieces. The approach supports the children to move from talk into writing. At White House Farm we have adapted the ‘Talk 4 Writing’ process so that we have a clear focus on the skills our children need for their own writing development. We expose children to a variety of texts alongside the ‘Talk 4 Writing’ model text and use these as our inspiration for our own piece of writing whilst using a build up of grammar and genre specific objectives to produce high quality writing.

To ensure that all children reach their potential in writing we will:

  • Ensure that writing has a clear purpose and audience and where possible has cross-curricular links.
  • Encourage the love of writing for its own sake.
  • Provide children with first-hand experiences to inspire imaginative writing.
  • Provide children with guidance and support to improve; to give children an understanding of their writing ‘level’ and support them in developing realistic, personal targets.
  • Immerse children in a vocabulary-rich culture where children are not afraid to experiment with new and exciting language.
  • Provide children (identified through assessment) with a range of appropriate interventions to support them in overcoming barriers to progress.

Spelling, Grammar and Handwriting

At White House Farm Primary School, we firmly believe that good spelling is an essential skill that allows the children to communicate their understanding in all curriculum subjects. In order that pupils develop into effective and confident writers, they need to develop and use a range of effective spelling strategies. By providing children with a range of strategies, we equip them with the independence to attempt spellings before asking for adult help. We particularly want our children to develop a love of language and the confidence to spell more challenging and ambitious words. By giving them the opportunity to develop a rich and exciting vocabulary, we are enabling them to become effective communicators.

To ensure that all children reach their potential in spelling and grammar we will:

  • Provide regular spelling sessions linked to the age-specific spelling programme set out in the National Curriculum 2014 using  ‘PlanIt’ as our spelling programmes to support teachers with weekly spelling lessons;
  • Ensure that our learning environment is rich with language;
  • Provide weekly spelling homework which will reinforce class teaching;
  • Provide grammar-focused teaching objectives within our medium and long-term planning as recommended by the subject leader and by the 2014 National Curriculum; these objectives will be broken down into half-termly skills to be covered throughout the writing units.
  • Using Nelson Handwriting, teachers will develop children’s ability to write in a legible, style at an appropriate pace and in line with the National Curriculum 2014, through regular practice and by promoting pride in presentation.
  • Use formative and summative assessment of children’s spelling termly in Years 1-6 and use this to adjust interventions.

 

Impact

Phonics

Assessment: Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

  • Assessment for learning is used:
    • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
    • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
  • Summative assessment is used:
    • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
    • by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.

Statutory assessment

  • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Ongoing assessment for catch-up

  • Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as through the half-termly Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised summative assessments.

Reading

  • Children will be assessed in line with age related expectations set out in the assessment documents of the 2014 National Curriculum.
  • Regular structured assessments will be undertaken to monitor progress throughout the school year and to enable the setting of relevant, realistic personal targets.

Writing

Assessment

  • Assessment will be undertaken in line with the school’s marking and feedback policy.
  • Children will be assessed in line with age related expectations set out in the assessment documents of the 2014 National Curriculum.
  • Regular structured assessments will be undertaken to monitor progress throughout the school year and to enable the setting of relevant, realistic personal targets.

 

 
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