Subject leaders: Miss Hodges and Mrs Jackson
At Trinity Academy Richmond, we understand the importance of confident speaking, listening, reading and writing. Our aim is to encourage children to communicate effectively with others through speaking and writing and to learn and develop the skills they need for this. We want them to be passionate about reading, being able to read for enjoyment and to use the skills to help them learn.
To support these aims, we provide a rich language environment and teach English through a programme which is well planned to meet the needs of all the children. We aim to make the teaching and learning of English exciting and purposeful.
At Trinity Academy Richmond, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Trinity Academy Richmond, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
- We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language.
- We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
- Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
- We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
- Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
- We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 and above who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources – at pace.
- These short, sharp lessons last 15-20 minutes daily and have been designed to ensure children quickly catch up to age-related expectations in reading.
Ways to help at home
Your child will bring home books carefully matched to their phonics knowledge. They will be changed weekly in order to encourage accelerated progression whilst giving pupils the opportunity to read, and reread, for fluency and comprehension. Our aim is for children to read the same book 3 times at home following the same procedures as in school.
Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children. We share the research behind the importance and impact of sharing quality children’s books with parents through workshops, leaflets and the Everybody read!
If you have any questions at all about your child’s reading, do not hesitate to ask your class teacher.
Reading after Phonics
From Year 2 upwards, the use of whole class reading support children’s development and use of language and vocabulary as well as their comprehension skills. Our approach ensures that children are able to explore a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
When the pupils enter year 2, group-reading sessions are reduced and whole-class reading lessons are introduced. Alongside this, all pupils have their own individual reading book. This is matched closely with the pupil’s phonic knowledge and is taken home every evening.
In KS2, whole-class reading lessons are daily. Twice a week sessions are centred around a high-quality text chosen by the class teacher, often linking closely with the overarching topic within their class. Three times a week, sessions use linked texts which expose children to extracts from a range of literature to give them a rich reading diet. Specific reading skills are then explicitly taught and practised. While reading skills are being taught explicitly, the reading content is always relevant, inspiring and purposeful and becomes the driver for developing wider subject knowledge.
We value Writing as an important part of all children’s entitlement that engages, inspires and challenges pupils whilst equipping them with the knowledge and skills to draft, create and evaluate their own and others writing. Children use their creativity and imagination, to write texts within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. We aim to, wherever possible, link work to other disciplines such as science, geography, R.E. and history. The children are also given opportunities to reflect upon and evaluate classic and contemporary stories and poems, their features and effectiveness and are encouraged to become writers and editors.
Our Writing curriculum ensures that our children develop detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum and, as a result, achieve exceptionally well and is reflected in our consistently high outcomes for our pupils.
Our pupils will:
- Develop the creative, technical and grammatical expertise needed to perform everyday tasks confidently and to participate successfully in the world
- Build and apply a repertoire of knowledge, understanding and skills in order to write high-quality texts in a wide range of genres, purposes and different audiences
- Critique and evaluate their own writing and the work of others
- Understand and apply the principles of spelling, punctuation and grammar
- Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences
- Know about great authors and poets, and understand the historical and cultural development of writing
- Experience a diverse range of English through rich texts, author visits and other stimuli
- Learn about career opportunities that involve English
- Enable children to become happy writers: confident, resilient and independent.
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