At Little Gaddesden School we understand that the following three things are essential for an effective and exciting English Curriculum:
- Reading for pleasure
A love of reading is embedded in the culture of our school. We believe that reading is an essential life skill that enables children to develop their learning across the wider curriculum as well as laying the foundations for success in future lines of study and employment. We enable our children to become confident, lifelong readers by enriching all our English learning through carefully designed teaching activities that utilise high quality stories and texts. This shared love of reading comes to life during our twice yearly whole school book weeks. Our intent is that by securing strong language comprehension and word recognition children are moving from learning to read to reading to learn.
- A highly effective way of teaching phonics
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar words. The best way to deliver this is through a systematic synthetic phonics programme and at Little Gaddesden School we use the Sounds-Write programme as the primary tool for the teaching of reading. Sounds-Write is a comprehensive system to teach reading, spelling and writing and all teachers teaching phonics have received the appropriate certified training.
Sounds-Write is taught in Reception and Year One and continues to be referred to throughout the curriculum beyond these year groups so that children can reliably decode any word using their phonic knowledge in any stage of their learning.
Our phonics screening success shows that Sounds-Write is a highly effective method of learning centred on letter sounds and phonics. It is structured, multi-sensory, incremental and code-oriented and provides an instructional approach to teaching children to read and spell. It teaches all key elements of conceptual understanding, factual knowledge as well as the three essential skills of blending, segmenting and phoneme manipulation necessary for learning to read and spell and it does so on a daily basis until all children achieve the automaticity that underlies the fluency of every successful reader.
In Reception we begin the initial code of the Sounds-Write Programme progressing to the more complex sounds in the Extended Code in Year One. SW sequence of learning This daily teaching of discrete sessions progresses from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills, covering all the major sound/spelling correspondences in a systematic sequence of lessons that build on one another, as well as providing plenty of opportunities to review and revisit previously taught knowledge ensuring that all our pupils are able to crack the phonics code.
All children are assessed regularly by their class teachers ensuring they are working at the appropriate level, with any gaps addressed through targeted interventions. We recognise that some children may require more opportunity for repetition and for their phonics learning to be broken down into smaller steps.
- Language Comprehension
Getting the basics right in the Early Years and Key Stage One helps the children to develop automaticity with phonics because their working memory is freed up to focus on comprehension and fluency.
Motivated readers want to read aloud and we believe it is really important that children hear reading modelled aloud by adults. We therefore have a daily read-aloud programme and all staff have been trained in reading fluency. Alongside this, our use of the Talk4Writing programme helps our children move from being successful readers to successful writers as these two skills are inextricably linked. As well as teaching the children to read ‘strategically’ and with understanding this also develops their vocabulary. An interesting fact is that 90% of vocabulary is encountered when reading rather than in everyday speech.
Our teachers select high quality and challenging texts to share with the whole class, ensuring that pupils encounter varied and interesting vocabulary as well as a range of forms, settings, themes, perspectives and information.