Reading at The Bay
At The Bay C.E School, we believe that every child should be given the tools to become confident, independent and resilient learners. By using quality texts which are interwoven within our text-rich curriculum, we aim to do this by providing children with essential reading skills, teaching reading through synthetic phonics whilst further supporting this from Early Years with phonetically decodable, accessible texts. As children progress through our school, this exposure to rich texts is continued through independent access to quality texts, and the use of a high-quality class text. By planning English Learning Journeys and focussed Guided Reading around a quality text, children will make links between themselves and the wider world, and use this to ask further questions to guide their own learning. By immersing children into a variety of texts and text types, both within their year groups, Key Stage and their whole Primary School phase, children will not only develop a love of reading, but will also gain the grammatical, structural and linguistic understanding to use within their own writing. This will be further supported across the wider curriculum by having access to each topic in different contexts and narratives.
Across the school, each classroom has designated reading areas to encourage a life-long love of reading. This also includes a central library, which all classes have access to. Children are encouraged to read daily at home; Reading Records are shared with parents and checked on a regular basis by staff in school, and reading at school is further recorded in these.
Alongside the Reading Records, The Bay works closely with parents and carers outside of the classroom in order to encourage a love of reading. From EYFS through to Year Six, there are workshops for parents to attend to explore reading from its phonetic roots through to the joy and connection of story reading. As well as our well stocked school library, links have been established with the local Library, and events such as ‘books at bedtime’, where children and parents are invited into school in the evening for hot chocolate and to have stories read to them, have further embedded the link between home and school. Parents are communicated with regularly regarding their children’s reading and offered support in how to help their children. This relationship feeds into the frequency and fluency of children’s reading, improving children’s confidence with reading and their access to a wide range of texts.
In Early Years, Year 1 and Year 2 (where required), emphasis is placed on ensuring children master early reading skills.Children are taught phonics through ‘Little Wandle’, which is a DFE accredited Systematic Synthetic Phonics (S.S.P) programme. This happens daily, and is followed up by related activities, both in and outside of the classroom. A variety of strategies are used and adapted in recognition of all learners as individuals. Alongside this, children are regularly assessed and matched with phonetically decodable books. These form the basis of their Reading lessons and home reading.
Guided Reading happens three times a week, teaching children (at the appropriate level and phase) decoding, prosody and comprehension, offering children the opportunity to discuss and explore different texts. Children are introduced to high frequency words, and these are communicated with parents.
From Year 2, children are further encouraged to use a range of strategies for reading, such as word recognition and spelling strategies. Guided Reading continues to be a focus for all children, and from Year 3 this happens as a whole class, enabling all children to have access to age-appropriate texts and quality book-talk. This is alongside specific small-group reading sessions, targeted at specific and individual learner’s needs. Class texts are chosen to match with the Learning Experience focus that children are studying in the wider curriculum, and these form the basis of the majority of reading, writing and grammar teaching.
In the initial part of the teaching cycle, children are immersed into the text. Each learning focus is centred around reading skills and links in to developing skills for children to create a final piece of writing at the end of the journey. The text forms the basis of initial activities, which can take the form of written or practical activities. Central to the Learning Journey is reading the text as a writer, and using the text to support their development and new learning of grammar skills, as well as continuing to develop a writer’s voice. As the children complete the journey, they will have explored the text, alongside other deliberately well-chosen texts forms, and gained a greater confidence and ability to tackle more demanding texts.
The impact of our Reading Curriculum can be measured against statements of intent:
● Children have the tools to be confident, independent and resilient learners - Through exposing children to a variety of challenging, age-appropriate texts, childrenwill be challenged through enquiry-led questioning, as well as challenging their own thinking. By being exposed to a wide range of authors, genres and topics, children will have the experience and courage to tackle the unfamiliar, and through the targeted planning of learning journeys and deliberate links to the children’s wider learning, children will develop the skills to make their own links. By providing children with decodable texts and challenging (whilst guiding them) through texts which are more demanding, children will develop a transferable level of resilience.
● Providing children with essential reading skills - In EYFS, key milestones have been identified across the year and are used to assess the children’s progress towards Early Learning Goals in reading. Throughout EYFS and Year 1, children are assessed routinely to ensure they are secure with each phase of phonics taught. Any identified gaps are addressed and children are given targeted support. Because phonics is the only route to decoding, this is a huge focus throughout the school, from EYFS to the end of KS2. Rigorous assessment means that any gaps are quickly identified and, through keep-up and catch-up with Little Wandle strained staff, these are quickly addressed. Throughout the school, PIXL assessments are used to assess children’s progress against Key Performance Indicators and each National Curriculum Reading Domain. These assessments are used to create therapy groups (PIXL terminology) to ensure children make the necessary progress in all areas of reading.
● Children will make links between themselves and the wider world, and use this to ask further questions to guide their own learning - By linking the texts alongside the school’s Learning Experiences - which will themselves be formed around an enquiry question based approach - children will be able to link their own experiences and understanding of the world together with their new learning within the wider curriculum and see how the text fits alongside this. Through encouraging wider thinking by posing an enquiry question, children will develop their wider thinking and be confident enough to pose their own questions and prompt investigations.
● Gain the grammatical, structural and linguistic understanding to use within their own writing - Texts have been carefully chosen to support the children’s learning in all areas of the English curriculum. Through seeing taught grammatical structures used in real life, this will enable children to not only understand the fundamental rules of their usage, but how they add quality and richness to a piece of writing. As children will recognise this usage within texts, this will encourage their life-long learning and understanding, ensuring that once they have transitioned to Secondary School, they will continue to develop their understanding of previously taught grammar skills and knowledge.
What children say about reading at The Bay;
“I loved the hot chocolate and listening to the story in my pyjamas!”
“I always get excited when my name is read out for the Every Child a Reader draw in assembly.”
“I loved reading ‘Stone Age Boy’ as it linked really well to our project.”
Click herefor year 3 reading overview
Click here for year 4 reading overview
Click here for year 5 reading overview
Click here for year 6 reading overview
Pupils in EYFS-Year 2 have reading lessons based around the Little Wandle scheme.
World Book Day 2023
World Book Day 2023
English Writing at The Bay
We aim to provide our children with the necessary skills to gain knowledge, information and enjoyment through high quality texts, which in turn will enable them to express themselves clearly and effectively through their writing. Quality texts provide the backdrop for children to develop their writing skills, again through targeted, progressive sequences of learning. Texts are used to demonstrate examples of different types of writing and to inspire children to develop their own writing styles and voices. We believe that all of our children are entitled to have access to quality, age-appropriate texts, which can provide windows for children to experience what is beyond their immediate surroundings, thus promoting respect and tolerance both towards each other, and for cultures and beliefs beyond what they experience in their own lives. We also believe in providing all children with the experiences of being writers who can communicate clearly and effectively to their audience. Through our English curriculum, children should feel a sense of adventure, excitement and develop a love of language that will support them in becoming proficient communicators of the future.
Our curriculum plan consists of progression documents for writing which build upon the skills outlined in the National Curriculum, as well as showing progression through the choice of texts to support skills required for writing: in particular, the grammar punctuation and spelling (GPS) elements. These documents are bespoke to our school, and the texts have been carefully considered specifically for our children. These documents are shared and used by all teachers across the school who all share the same value of providing every child with the opportunity and skills to build upon their knowledge and understanding throughout their Primary and Secondary schooling.
Early writing begins as part of the Phonics teaching in EYFS. Children begin by making the shapes of letters using a kinetic approach, such as sand trays and water and then move onto creating these shapes whilst mastering the pencil grip. Writing begins as single words based on the phonic teaching and is built upon to create single sentences. For those who are ready, children are then challenged to generate more sentences based around the phonics they have previously learnt. Children are offered multiple opportunities to write independently through continuous provision and other learning experiences.
From Year1, writing is taught through three-part learning journeys: Stimulate and Generate; Capture, Sift and Sort; and Create, Refine and Evaluate. Texts have been selected by the English Writing Lead and, where possible, link in to the topic being studied in the wider curriculum to allow easier links to be made and for the children to be absorbed more comfortably into contextually unfamiliar settings. For each new learning journey, a cover sheet is presented in the book which covers the main elements that will be taught. Within the first part (stimulate & generate), children will use the text to read as a reader. It is primarily focussed to reading skills, as the children use the text to explore its elements. Within this part of the journey, tasks can also be created which will feed into the final piece of writing. During this phase, children will be given the opportunity to write a Site of Application. This is a piece of writing within the context of the text being studied; this will be a genre previously learnt from the previous learning journey. This provides the children with the opportunity of applying their knowledge and understanding to a different context.
Following this, the children then explore the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (G.P.S) skills required in the ‘Capture, Sift & Sort’ stage. The activities and learning for this are derived from the text itself to both reduce cognitive overload for the children and to also ensure that their learning is in context. During this stage, children are exposed to at least one WAGOLL which will be specifically designed to inspire and provide a modelled example of the requirements which are being asked of the children. This might be in the context of the children’s writing or reference to a different topic. Children will also be given the opportunity to write an apprentice section of their writing to be assessed, either teacher or peer/self, in preparation for the final piece.
The final stage, ‘Create, Refine and Evaluate,’ is where the children produce their final piece of writing. This comprises time to allow the children to edit, a skill which is explicitly taught, self or peer assessed against the agreed success criteria, and to then further edit as required. Editing can take place through using purple polishing pens and/or editing slips. This also provides further teaching and learning time where edits can be guided by a teacher to address any misconceptions.
Each year group has a writing journey overview. This is a working document which provides each year group with the texts to be used as text drivers and the skills which will be taught through this journey. Each Learning Journey has the following elements: Purpose (the reason the children are doing the writing – Persuade, Inform, Entertain and Discuss), Audience (who the writing is intended for), Form (what the writing will actually be e.g. a letter, diary etc) and Effect on the Reader (how the reader should feel when reading the text). It also states what the Site of Application will be. This document is reviewed and updated on a yearly basis to address the needs of specific cohorts or to ensure we are constantly using the best selection of texts.
Handwriting:Handwriting is taught through Kinetic Letters. All staff across the school have received training in this. The programme has four main threads which run through it:
- Making bodies stronger – ensuring children are physically developmentally ready to write by introducing positions and movements which improve their upper body strength (powerpack) and their body support (the girdle).
- Holding the pencil (for speed, comfort and legibility) – Ensuring that children have mastered the three-finger pencil grip which allows maximum manipulation of the writing utensil
- Learning the letters – the letters are learnt in families based around their common features e.g those which have descenders.
- Flow and fluency - letters are learnt as movements not as visual shapes
The Kinetic Letters programme commences in Reception and is used throughout the School. By Year 2, children will be starting to use some of the strokes needed to join letters. Handwriting practice takes place in sessions that are outside English and Phonics lessons, since handwriting underpins the majority of curriculum areas and is integral to self-esteem.
Pupils in EYFS and KS1 will spend at least 20 minutes daily on activities that are part of the Kinetic Letters programme. Handwriting is taught in discrete sessions, separate from Phonics. Thereafter time allocation to maintain handwriting development and increase speed and flow, will be regular but at the discretion of the class teacher so long as appropriate progression continues to be made. Handwriting practice takes place on the 6-lined (or 3-lined or 9-lined if appropriate) Kinetic Letters white boards, with a transition to books via the “practice patch”. The majority of the time, sessions are taught to the whole class with differentiated targets; reinforcement may take place in small groups and/or individually. In Key Stage 2, children will spend approximately 20 minutes three times weekly on discrete handwriting sessions.
At the start of the year, all children are assessed for their handwriting requirements and pencil grip. Targets are given and referred back to. During the sessions weekly planning, assessment takes place constantly, both from the teacher and additional adults in the classroom.
Kinetic Letters is appropriate for all ages, including those children with SEND requirements, such as Dyslexia. The planning progresses through each year group and is matched to National Curriculum requirements.
Click here for EYSF writing overview
Click here for Year 1 writing overview
Click here for Year 2 writing overview
Click here for Year 3 writing overview
Click here for Year 4 writing overview
Click here for Year 5 writing overview
Click here for Year 6 writing overview
Click here for End of Year Expectations
Please note that writing journeys are continually reviewed and adapted.
Once children are ready to move beyond Phonics, Spelling is taught through discrete sessions 3-4 times weekly using ‘Spelling Shed’. This is an important session, as accurate and confident knowledge of spelling provides children with the confidence to experiment with more ambitious vocabulary and to write at longer length. Children are assessed at the start of each year using their year group spellings from the National curriculum and a HIAS spelling assessment to establish specific gaps. Children are assessed constantly, both through weekly spelling assessments, and through their writing, both in their English books and the wider curriculum.
Spelling Shed provides weekly lesson foci and content. Children focus on a specific spelling rule each week, and every half term focuses on a selection of their year group spelling words. The lesson content provides explanations and resources for teachers to use, and also has an online platform for children to access at home in the form of fun games to keep them engaged.
Within their writing, children are encouraged to apply their spelling knowledge with growing independence. During longer pieces of writing, children are guided to underline spelling which they are unsure of in order to return to these as part of their editing process. This reduces cognitive overload and disturbance of the flow of writing. For work which is assessed by the teacher, some spelling misconceptions are picked for the child to fix by providing the child with a choice of their version or the correct one. The child is then provided with a couple of examples of the word with missing letters, to offer both practice and the opportunity to think about the phonetic rule of the word.
By using quality text drivers, children are exposed to a window of experiences and worlds far beyond what they will know of their own. They will have access to a range of vocabulary and purposes and other knowledge and experiences to draw upon as part of their own writing. Children express their enjoyment at being given purposeful reasons to write, and this also allows them to put what they are doing into a context. The writing process is a constantly evolving process through the child, adults and the texts used to underpin this, and the focus and time provided for editing and improvement is a vital part for the children to have the opportunity to improve and make corrections to their writing. The writing progression documents have been created to show not only progression through the texts selected, but also in the application of skills, particularly in cross-over year groups (3-4, 5-6).
Children are assessed constantly through the journey, both in the preparation and build up parts of the journey to the opportunities to write they are given. Teachers are responsive to texts and are able to create extra writing opportunities where these arise. Children are assessed through using the KPIs on SIMS, and planning is adjusted accordingly to ensure any misconceptions are addressed.
Specific G.P.S elements are assessed as part of the success criteria for the children’s writing, as well as summative PIXL assessments three times in the year (more for Year 2 and 6). These assessments are further used to inform and adjust planning as necessary. Spelling is assessed routinely as part of the children’s writing. For those working significantly below (still requiring phonics input), appropriate spelling patterns are provided for the children to understand the phonetic rules. For those children who are working below in spelling, they are still provided with year-group appropriate words to reduce the risk of further gap growth, and teachers use their written English work to revisit rules which the child is unsure of through effective marking and feedback.
The consistent use of a handwriting programme allows a consistent use of language across the school. This means that guidance for children in correct formation, posture and grip is the same in every class and every year group. This makes the concepts easy for children to understand what they need to do to be successful. The physical development means that all children can develop the core and stability strength required to complete writing tasks successfully, and the kinaesthetic approach is suitable for children with specific SEND requirements.
What children say about Writing and Spelling at The Bay;
“It was fun describing my funny bones skeleton!”
“I love playing the games on Spelling Shed and am getting better.”
“I like it when we write as if we are one of the characters from our class book – we are able to express different emotions.”