At Southwood we are passionate about equipping our children with a love for all aspects of English. Through our teaching, we aim to develop the abilities of all children to promote high standards of speech, reading and writing. Children are encouraged to enjoy and develop a keen attitude to ensure they progress and strengthen their learning during their time with us at Southwood. We strive to provide a language rich environment, which promotes a culture of speaking, reading and writing both inside and outside the school setting.
Mrs Walker, English Leader
We follow the principles set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum and the National Curriculum. Reading, writing and phonic skills are taught on a daily basis from Year R to Year 2. These skills are then applied in exciting and varied cross-curricular learning opportunities with individual next steps planned to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.
Knowledge and Skills
Spoken language has a huge focus in our school. Children are taught to develop the vocabulary needed to express, persuade, debate, explain, entertain etc. Speech and language are essential elements of our teaching and learning activities throughout the curriculum and are always incorporated into English lessons as a ‘rehearsal’ for writing.
In order to teach all our children to become fluent, confident readers, who have a love of reading all pupils within the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 receive daily phonics teaching. We follow a systematic and rigorous programme of phonics called ‘Letters and Sounds’. This is supplemented by ‘Jolly Phonics’ in the Early Years Foundation Stage, with children learning a song and action to accompany each phoneme. By the end of Year 2, children progress onto the ‘Support for Spelling’ programme. From Reception onwards, children receive a twenty minute daily phonics lesson, targeted at their current level of attainment, and are encouraged to apply this learning in their reading and writing. Children within Key Stage 1 are taught in groups split by current attainment. We work to ensure that all pupils who would benefit from extra phonics teaching receive it. Any child, who has not reached the expected phonics level by the end of Year 1, as assessed by the national screening check, receives additional phonics intervention within Year 2, so that they can catch up with their peers. Children at Southwood Infant School benefit from a high level of phonics knowledge by all staff, the consistent use of language throughout the school and the high emphasis that phonics receives in all reading and writing activities. Phonic lessons take place daily and are taught as discrete 20 minute sessions. Each lesson follows the structure of review, teach, practise and apply.
In KS1 all classes have daily, dedicated 20-25 minute reading sessions where all children complete purposeful reading activities. Guided reading takes place with groups during this time. Children have the opportunity to have stories read to them and share class novels. All children are encouraged to take books to share at home. Foundation Stage is rich in quality books in all areas of learning.
Through Key Stage 1, the children are guided through a range of levelled books according to the National Reading Bands. Benchmarking is used to determine when children are ready to move onto the next Band. A large proportion of books are derived from the ‘Oxford
Reading Tree Scheme’. A range of comprehension activities develops children’s understanding. A reward system is used to encourage reading at home – children are expected to read at least 4 times per week at home. Parental involvement is highly valued and parents are encouraged to be involved
in their child’s reading development through the sharing and enjoyment of books.
Children are taught skills such as decoding, comprehension and inference through whole class and guided reading sessions, using books chosen carefully to match both their interest and their level of reading. Teaching objectives are pre-planned and sessions are characterised by explicit teaching of specific reading strategies, oral response and high levels of collaboration.
Children are taught to spell using their phonic knowledge and by learning common exception words, known to the children as ‘tricky words’. Spelling strategies are taught throughout Key Stage One and weekly spellings are set and tested to encourage children to retain and use their ‘tricky’ words in their writing with some automaticity. Children are taught to use punctuation and grammar, following the guidelines set out in the National Curriculum.
Handwriting is taught and practised regularly. The Early Years Foundation Stage uses ‘Writedance’ in the Autumn term to develop children’s fine and gross motor skills through stories and music.
Children are encouraged to develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing. By writing for different purposes and in different genres, children are taught to plan, edit and evaluate their writing. A weekly ‘Star Writer’ award is given by each teacher to celebrate effort and achievement in writing. Higher order thinking is encouraged through effective use of questions which focus on the objectives set for the lesson.
Reading at School
Reading is given very high priority at southwood.
In order to teach all our children to become fluent, confident readers who have a love of reading, all pupils within the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 receive phonics teaching in line with the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document. From Reception onwards, children receive a twenty minute daily phonics lesson, targeted at their current level of attainment, and are encouraged to apply this learning in their reading and writing.
In KS1 all classes have daily guided reading. This is a dedicated 20-25 minute reading session where all children complete purposeful reading activities within small groups. A range of comprehension activities develops children’s understanding.
All children are encouraged to take books to share at home and these are a range of levelled books according to the National Reading Bands. A large proportion of books are derived from the ‘Oxford Reading Tree Scheme’. A reward system is used to encourage reading at home and children are expected to read at least four times per week. We do require the children to have their reading record booklets with them each day. In KS1 children are expected to change their shared books independently and they are given time every day to do this.
Reading at Home
Parental involvement is highly valued and parents are encouraged to be involved in their child’s reading development through the sharing and enjoyment of books. It is really important to continue to encourage your child to read every day. A little daily reading in a relaxed environment really does add up to an independent reader in the juniors. If your child is too tired at the end of a busy school day, then please do take the opportunity to read to them. Studies have shown that being read to is a significant factor in later reading and writing ability. Daily reading practice at home with you, in partnership with our group, individual and class reading at school, really is a winning combination. Please support your child with this crucial life skill.
Do remember to use your local library, good book shops and online sites such as http://www.lovereading.co.uk which offer wonderful ideas for fantastic age appropriate fiction and non-fiction.
We are very fortunate to have a parent to help us with our library three mornings a week. This gives the children the opportunity and time to choose a library book.