St Mary's Writing Rationale
‘If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf…write it!’- Beverly Cleary
At St. Mary’s, we believe that every child has the potential to succeed. It is our job as teacher’s to harness that talent and provide engaging opportunities for our children to pen their own stories. Staff create an environment where writing is encouraged and celebrated through engaging hooks into new texts. We do this through a bespoke, carefully structured, sequence of lessons. Our curriculum focuses on high quality texts which are used throughout the school and that build children’s knowledge and imaginations in a structured way.
The children are able to explore a story in depth, learn new vocabulary, discuss new skills and put them into practice. Our Writing sequence builds to allow children the chance to prepare, plan and then publish their own piece of writing.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage a range of stimuli for writing is used including:
Talk for writing
Plan, do, review
The writing Sequence in Key Stage One and Key Stage Two
Explore – read the text, explore the story and the characters.
Collect – look at the vocabulary used and collect some ideas to use in your own writing.
Teach – teach the grammatical features needed for the piece of writing.
Plan – children plan out their writing carefully looking at the text features, vocabulary and grammatical features.
Write – children write in their writing book.
Edit – children edit their work in green pen.
Writing is teacher-assessed against the year group expectations; this is supported using Development Matters in the Early Years and the Teacher Assessment Frameworks for Year 2 and Year 6.
- Internal moderation of writing takes place each term,
- Staff in Reception. Y2 and Y6 attend Local Authority moderation
- each year group moderates with colleagues from the Catholic Federation of Oldham Schools (CFOS)
- Comparative Judgement for Years 1-6 to benchmark pieces of writing nationally
Handwriting Rationale: Letter Join
At St Mary’s RC Primary School, we believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their handwriting. This is achieved through supporting the children to develop a legible, cursive, individual handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school. In the EYFS the first steps to achieve this are planned through a gross motor and fine motor timetable. The children in EYFS learn to form their letters using the Read Write Inc. designed by Ruth Miskin. In the Summer term the reception children are introduced to Letter-join. In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 we use Letter-join’s on-line handwriting resource and progression as the basis of our handwriting policy as it covers all the requirements of the National Curriculum and builds fluency and stamina for writing.
St Mary’s Reading Rationale
One of the most important jobs we undertake at St Mary’s is to teach children to become confident, independent readers with a love of reading. We prioritise reading across our curriculum from nursery up to year 6. We have carefully selected a range of texts which will expose the children with a rich reading experience. These texts have been chosen based on age, interests and current interests and books that have a range of protagonists and plots and themes. The texts allow them to see themselves reflected in literature as well as making children aware of the wider world beyond their immediate sphere. (See reading spine).
Reading in EYFS and KS1
At St. Mary’s, we follow the Read Write Inc. scheme to help our children to become fluid, confident readers and as a result become independent readers and writers. It is our intent to encourage children to fall in love with reading.
During their phonics lessons, the children are introduced to a new sound. This is reviewed in isolation and in the context of CVC and CVCC words. Children also revise previously taught sounds to ensure these become embedded in their long-term memory. Children are taught to segment and blend words through a variety of approaches, including guided, modelled through ‘Fred Talk’ and independent tasks using ‘Fred in your Head’ and a ‘Speedy Read’. Such strategies equip children with the skills needed to become confident, competent and independent readers.
Our phonics programme is tailored to meet the individual needs of our children and we promote the sentiment, “Keep up, not catch up”. Therefore, any gaps in the children’s phonics learning is identified and addressed through individual interventions to ensure their specific needs are met. Ultimately, supporting children to become independent and avid readers is the aim of our Read Write Inc. programme, as we believe reading is a vital skill which is fundamental to our children’s future happiness and functioning within our society.
Home reading in EYFS and KS1
Children are provided with books which closely correlate to their phonics knowledge. This enables the children to connect the sounds they are learning with mnemonic pictures, words with their meanings and stories with the sounds that they know. Children take home phonetically decodable books, which can be read independently by the children. This will instil confidence in our pupils and facilitate their fluency in reading.
Reading in KS2
Each week in Key Stage 2, we have 4 x 30 minute whole class reading sessions where children will either study the class novel or will explore a range of different texts.
Study of core text -During these sessions, we study the class novel in depth. Teachers will use high quality class reading books where the focus is on skills such as summarising and exploring development of plot,themes and characters. The children will be given the opportunity to discuss what they have read.
Additional texts – The children are given the opportunity to study a range of different texts to ensure they have a wide reading diet. The aim of these lessons is to develop language comprehension and reading fluency. A variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts are accessible to ensure the reading objectives can be taught effectively. Children will be taught a range of skills such as summarising, retrieving, making inferences and predictions and exploring vocabulary and authorial intent. Children will record independent learning in a reading journal.
Children in KS2 who are still within the phonics programme will receive interventions for ‘speed up word reading.’
Children in KS2 who have completed the phonics programme will choose a reading book which is broadly in line with their reading ability. Parents are encouraged to make a comment in their home diaries to keep school up to date on how children are getting on with their reading at home. We expect children to bring their reading books into school every day.
Reading for pleasure
In order to promote a love of reading, children are encouraged to use our school libraries which allows our children to be exposed to a range of texts. Throughout the year, we have a range of experiences to develop a love of reading e.g. book swap events, book fairs, world book day celebrations etc.
Assessment in reading
Children on the phonics programme will be assessed every half term. This will determine their sounds they need to learn, the colour of their phonics grouping and the decodable books that will be sent home. (See attached colour banding document)
In years 2-6 we use NFER reading assessments, 3 times a year and in KS2 children are assessed twice a year using NGRT (New Group Reading Test). Children who are performing significantly below age related expectations will be assessed using YARC (York Assessment for Reading of Comprehension). This will provide a diagnostic assessment so the correct targeted interventions can take place.
There are termly pupil progress meetings with the senior leadership team to discuss progress and to ensure the correct interventions are put in place.
Please use the links below to access our learning resources.
KS1 English Learning Resources