English underpins our school curriculum by developing students abilities to speak, listen, read and write for a wide range of purposes, using language to learn and communicate, to think, explore and organise.
Helping children to express themselves clearly orally and in writing enhances and enriches teaching and learning in all subjects. We bring learning to life by inviting poets, authors and actors to motivate our children. We give every opportunity for all of our children to appreciate and enjoy language in its many forms as a powerful tool to express their thoughts, imaginations and feelings creatively. We also give children opportunities to apply these skills in other areas of the curriculum and school life.
Displays around the school promote a literary environment, as does the school library and events such as National Book Week. 111 of our children supported the annual local Library Reading Challenge, we provide books for World Book Day, hold book sales and send books to a school in Uganda to support children there. We participate in out-of-school learning activities and invite visitors such as poets, actors and authors into school to motive and inspire our children. Motivational posters and displays encourage reading and each class has an attractive designated reading area. Good links with the local library encourage a lifelong love of books. We have just ordered a new e-learning library which will enable all of our children to access books at school and at home using devices such as iPods, iPads, PCs, laptops and android devices.
We have many initiatives to encourage children to read extensively, from home loan to secret reading clubs. In addition attractive book displays and comfortable reading areas encourage reading for pleasure. There is a designated outdoor reading area at playtimes for children to sit quietly and enjoy a book or for older children to read to younger children. Reading is taught through Guided Reading sessions and some children receive additional support where necessary in the form of interventions such as Better Reading Partnership and The Right to Read Programme in which trained members of our community and local industry support our children.
We believe that Literacy is a vital and fundamental skill for life and lifelong learning. It develops childrens ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Language, written or spoken, is the primary means of communication in all teaching and learning. Literacy allows children to use language to enhance their capacity to think, create and question, which helps them to become more aware of the world and empowers them to participate more effectively in society.
Reading is at the heart of everything we do in the academy. We provide children with a rich and structured approach to learning to read, with the aim of children moving to the next stage of their education as competent, enthusiastic and fluent readers.
Early Reading – Phonics
In 2015, we moved to the Read, Write, Inc. approach to the teaching of early reading skills, known as synthetic phonics. All of our teachers and teaching assistants have recently been trained in using this method. Children enjoy using this programme, which works at a fast pace to teach children to recognise the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to blend words for reading (decoding). At the same time, they learn to develop handwriting skills and spelling (encoding). More importantly, they read lively storybooks and non-fiction books with words they can decode, so that they achieve early success in reading. The more sounds they know, the greater the range of texts they can read.
Whole Class Teaching of Reading
Children are taught to understand written texts in whole class lessons. We use a range of activities to teach comprehension in a lively way that encourages children to draw conclusions and make predictions about what might happen next.
Children read to their teacher on a regular basis during guided reading sessions. This involves small groups of children, working at the same level, reading with the teacher and discussing what they have read. We use the method of reciprocal reading to make sure that children are fully engaged in learning the key strategies to read and understand written texts.
Children regularly listen to stories at the end of the school day. These often link with their current learning project. We use this to ensure children become familiar with a wide range of authors and different genres of writing.
All children read to an adult in the academy on an individual basis at least once a week. Children who need extra support in developing their reading work with adults on a one-to-one at least three times a week.
Reading at Home
We expect children to read at home on a regular basis. We try to encourage children to do this through a system of rewards and prizes. Children receive bronze, silver and gold awards as they read a set number of times at home. When children reach the gold level, they are rewarded with an Amazon voucher to buy a book to keep at home.