At Heytesbury C of E Primary School, our aim is to ensure every child becomes primary literate, progressing in reading and writing, as well as making progress with speaking and listening skills.
Speaking and Listening
Our intention is that the children will be able to communicate effectively in a range of contexts and to a range of audiences. To enable this, we aim to increase the children’s vocabulary ranging from describing their immediate world, to developing a broad and rich vocabulary base to discuss a wider range of topics as well as abstract ideas and concepts. We also aim for the children to develop the necessary skills to listen to others, to share their own views and opinions and to challenge courteously the views and opinions of others.
We value reading as a key life skill and therefore ensure reading is a fundamental part of what we do starting with a secure development and understanding of phonics in EYFS. Our intention is to enable pupils to become readers for life, with an understanding that reading is the key to future success. We also believe in the power of literature to open up worlds and foster empathy – our reading curriculum reflects this with books chosen to ensure that pupils are exposed to diverse cultures and experiences, and are given opportunities to read texts which feed their imagination and generates enthusiasm for reading.
Our intention is to enable children to write with confidence and accuracy, incorporating a wide range of vocabulary as well as to write for a variety of purposes and audiences, whilst developing their own individual flair. This starts in EYFS with an exposure to quality fiction and rich vocabulary to ensure they can articulate their ideas orally as a precursor to writing. We make sure that pupils can see links between being readers and writers by using our 'Class Books' as stimulus and models for writing where possible. We want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly using a neat handwriting style. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. We also want our pupils to be enthusiastic writers who enjoy using language creatively and sharing their work.
In Otters Class, our children have 3 guided reading lessons per week. These books are from our Little Wandle SSP and provide the children with books directly linked to their phonics teaching. Our aim is to change these books each week so children practice the same book that they have been reading with their class teacher. These lessons not only aim to support their decoding, but also their comprehension to help them understand what they are reading.
Whole Class Reading
In Foxes and Badgers Class, we have whole-class reading lessons each day which is based around one book per term, per class. Across the week, children will focus on reading skills such as retrieval, vocabulary and inference, discussing and answering questions to show their understanding of the text. Our whole class reading lessons will predominantly be focused on fiction texts, but when the opportunity arises, will also be exposed to non-fiction texts. On Friday's, the children will have the opportunity to talk about their 'free reading books' that they are reading at home in our 'Book Talk' lessons. The children may explore a theme or topic and be asked to give their opinions in comparison to their own book. It's also a great opportunity for staff to share the books that they are reading with the children with an aim to inspire their passion for reading.
Reading at Home
Each child, in Otters Class, follows the Big Cat Phonics books provided by Little Wandle. These are carefully matched to the child's phonics ability and designed to be practised at home repeatedly to enable a secure understanding. Alongside their banded book, they will also be able to choose a 'Sharing Book' which must be read with an adult at home. These are books chosen specifically by the children themselves from our Heytesbury 50 Recommended Reads which are part of our classroom libraries.
In Foxes and Badgers Class, the children have two books: one book is a 'Banded Book', matched to their ability and the other book is a 'Free Reading Book' which is selected by the pupils. Again, these are books chosen specifically by the children themselves from our Heytesbury 50 Recommended Reads.
The children follow a writer’s journey. Firstly, children are exposed to a particular genre where they learn about particular key features and techniques, being exposed to what a good writing example looks like. Next, children are given a writing stimulus which aims to promote and encourage creativity. They explore and record their ideas through drafting, editing and proofreading, honing their skills through focused teacher feedback.
Throughout the process, spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught and woven into the writing. Early morning work tasks, as well as modelled and shared writing, ensure that skills are recapped and reinforced to embed and develop a deeper understanding.
Handwriting, linked to our own handwriting policy, is taught from EYFS to year 3. Children in other year groups who need further handwriting development will be taught in small booster/intervention groups. Children from year 2 onwards may be awarded a pen licence - high standards of handwriting must continue to maintain 'this licence'.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum and in line with our spelling scheme of work. Y2 – Y6 teachers use Spell Frame to support their teaching and to provide activities that link to the weekly spellings. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling test the following week.
At Heytesbury C of E Primary School, phonics is taught following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Programme. Alongside our phonics programme, we ensure our early readers have access to fully decodable book to read alongside their phonics progression. This is to ensure that all our children become fluent and enthusiastic readers. Further information on our phonics teaching and how to support at home can be found below.