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Our English leader is Mrs Box. 

At Belvedere Infant School, we  promote a love of reading, writing and drama, as well as equipping children with the phonetical, comprehension, spelling, grammar and punctuation skills needed to be adept and fluent readers and writers. Literacy is covered through all subjects due to a more thematic, child centred approach, which has been introduced through the International Primary Curriculum (IPC).

Writing

High quality, motivating texts are used by the class teachers as a basis for children's writing. The children are exposed to many different genres of writing and skills are developed in order to write independently at length. Alongside this, basic skills  are taught which focus on the key skills for writing - Vocabulary, Conjunctions, Openers and Punctuation. Once a week, in Key Stage 1, following five sessions of input and practice, the 'Big Write' takes place where the children have a chance to show off the skills learnt during the week. The 'Big Write' is a special time where the the lights are dimmed and gentle music is played whilst the children focus on their writing. In the Early Years, mark-making and writing opportunities form part of everyday provision, both indoors and outdoors. 

Reading

Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 classes enjoy and participate in story time sessions regularly.  

Each class has a welcoming and well equipped book corner with a range of texts to meet the ability of each child in the class. The school library enables the children to experience an even wider range of texts and self select books for pleasure to share at home and to understand library skills.  

As part of home reading, children should be selecting and reading a book appropriate to their level at least 3 times a week.  We encourage parents/carers to hear their child read unless they are at a level where the pupils can assess their own reading.  Feedback on home reading is made by parents/carers or pupils within the Home Reading Records.

In the early stages of school, reading is taught primarily through phonics, using the programme ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’. This is supported by Reading Practice sessions 3 times a week where children enjoy and discuss books in a group, as well as regular home reading. Once fluent, in Year 2, pupils learn more about the comprehension and analytical aspects of reading, with continued guided reading sessions, as well as whole class book focuses during the English sessions. We have many exciting reading events throughout the year, for example trips to the local library, visiting authors and dressing up for World Book Day.

 

we are readers

Reading, at Belvedere Infant School, is one of our key priorities.

Early Reading - Synthetic Phonics

When children join our school, in Nursery, they begin to learn about sounds around them and learn about stories and the pleasure of reading. In Reception, they begin to use synthetic phonics to learn to read words. The name Synthetic Phonics is used – not because it is made up language but because words are broken up into the smallest sounds. Although there are 26 letters in the English Alphabet – there are 44 phonemes – or sounds made by these letters. Our children are taught to decode these sounds so that they can start to read (decode) and spell (encode) at the same time. Our children, from Nursery to Year 2, have a dedicated time, each day, specifically dedicated to the teaching of phonics. This is in addition to listening to children read and reading to our children so that we immerse them in literature from an early age. 

There are many recognised schemes for teaching phonics; the one that we use at Belvedere Infant School is: Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. All of our children follow this scheme and all adults in Early Years and Key Stage One have undertaken specific training to deliver this programme effectively.

Letters and Sounds is split into 6 phases and the programme finishes, for most children, at the end of the Autumn term, in Year 2. A Phonics screening check is carried out with all children nationally in the Summer Term of Year 1. Children who do not pass this screener in Year 1, have additional support to help them successfully pass in the summer Term of Year 2. 

Teaching Early Reading - Nursery - Year 2 Autumn Term

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.

In the Spring Term, Nursery also begin to take part in phonic lessons where they continue to focus on phase 1 listening skills, as well as exposing the children to the 26 letters and sounds in the alphabet. These lessons are planned on a weekly cycle and ensure the children are well prepared to learn and consolidate grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

 

Daily phonics lessons in Reception,  Year 1 and Year 2 (Autumn term)

In these year groups, we teach phonics for 20/30 minutes a day and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:

  • 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.
  • Year 1: review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy. 
  • Year 2: review phase 5 phonics (Autumn term

Teaching reading: Reading practise sessions from Reception to Year 2 (Autumn term)

We teach our children to read through reading practise sessions. These:

  • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.
  • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’.
  • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.

Each reading practise session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practise sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:

  • decoding
  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text. 

In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books. 

In Year 2, children continue with the reading practise groups in the Autumn term. They then transition over to Accelerated Reader. If children are not secure with their phonics, they will continue with this practise.

Assessment of Phonics

Regular teacher assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

  • Assessment for learning is used: 
    • daily within class to identify children needing ‘Keep-up’ support 
    • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
  • Summative assessment is used:
    • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the ‘Keep-up’ support that they need.

Statutory assessment

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Daily ‘Keep-up’ lessons ensure every child learns to read

Any child who needs additional practise 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.

Home reading

  • A decodable reading practise book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. 
  • ‘Reading for pleasure’ books also go home for parents to share and read to children. 
  • An e book that matches the book children use in the 'reading practise' sessions is allocated to children's e library to read at home

Teaching Reading from Year 2 Spring term

Once the phonics programme of study is completed, our children continue to develop their reading skills, and love of reading, through a range of strategies. Guided reading is the main way that reading is taught from Year 2 (February Half Term) and these lessons happen daily. 

A teacher’s main objective during Whole Class Reading is establishing the requisite skills, including modelling and questioning, introducing new vocabulary and encouraging children to infer or ‘read between the lines’. As language matures and increases, their ability to ‘create a picture’, and in some cases, fill the background knowledge required to become competent in comprehension, is key.

The more a child gains from the content of a book, the more they will develop their inference and deduction skills, transferring this knowledge to future books. 

In addition to Guided Reading – we actively encourage and monitor our children’s independent reading. 

Reading

At Belvedere Infant School, we highly value reading. Not only as a crucial life skill but also as a skill that will bring pleasure and aid wellbeing. We aim to develop children who read frequently and enjoy reading for pleasure. We have a strong focus on language developmnent for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. 

There are three main skills that we aim to teach our children, during their time with us: Fluency, Comprehension and word recognition. Although three very different skills, all are needed to become a fluent competent reader. 

Our aim is to make our children readers who are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary and be resilient to enjoy challenging texts by using the skills of reading they are taught. We actively encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose. As children progress through our school, they build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

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