'Phonics gives children the key to unlocking this alphabetic code for their reading and spelling.'
DFE, National Curriculum
At Fairfield Primary School, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident, enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the best foundations of learning to enable the development of automaticity in reading and writing. To allow our children to develop a strong phonic awareness and effective decoding and encoding skills, we follow the approach of systematic and synthetic phonics. Children learn the phonics code to allow them to decode and blend graphemes to read words and encode (segment) the phonemes in words to support their spelling. Our aim is for all children to have a love of reading and the ability to read accurately and automatically, enabling them to ‘read to learn’ accessing a rich and broad curriculum and ensuring they thrive and grow as learners throughout their time at our school.
At Fairfield Primary, we follow the Read Write Inc (RWInc) Phonics/Reading scheme. Read, Write Inc is a highly successful phonics programme for children aged 4 to 7 who are learning to read and write. It teaches children how to both decode and understand written language to become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. This is achieved by a dynamic approach to teaching phonics that is consistent across the school using the Read, Write Inc phonics resources and fully decodable reading books.
Children are grouped according to their ability in Early Years and Key Stage 1 to ensure that teaching is matched to their level. Phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1 takes place on a daily basis. Children in Key Stage 2 that still require phonics teaching, continue with a specially tailored programme (RWInc) to meet their individual needs.
How will my child be taught to read?
We teach the children phonics straight away in Reception. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the (Phonemes) sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down (Graphemes). This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.
We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Once the children have learnt to blend accurately, they start to read with fluency. This is achieved through speedy reading of individual words and repeated reads of their shared reading books. 'Tricky words' such as 'once' 'said' 'the' are not phonetically decodable and these are taught explicitly as part of the reading session.
Children who join the School throughout the year are quickly assessed in phonics and grouped according to their ability. Children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 are assessed and regrouped every half term to ensure they receive the correct level of support and challenge. If children are not where we would expect them to be at certain points in the year, they will have daily extra phonics practise with their Reading Tutor, to secure progress. Every child learns to read and becomes a reader!
Through a positive approach and the consistent, systematic and daily teaching of phonics, our aim is to instil a love of reading. Giving children firm phonics foundations and equipping them with the skills to decode unfamiliar words using strategies that they have been taught in their daily lessons. These skills then enabling the children to become fluent, confident readers who read for pleasure at every opportunity. Children are assessed at the end of Year 1 using a Government Statutory Assessment Tool known as the Phonics Screening Check. This screening check confirms whether the child has learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard and will identify sounds needing further support in Year 2.
The children are assessed one to one by their teacher. Those who do not pass the screening will continue their phonics lessons at their level in Year 2 by being streamed into the correct group. This allows for them to consolidate and develop their confidence, within a group aimed at their specific ability, ready to retake the screening at the end of Year 2.
‘Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Reading enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know’
DFE, National Curriculum
At Fairfield Primary School we aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:
- Read accurately, fluently and with understanding;
- Apply a knowledge of phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy;
- Be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence;
- Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar;
- Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts;
- Read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject ensuring our children develop a lifelong love of reading and literature.
The reading process in our school begins with sharing stories and modelling good reading behaviours and this is at the heart of our reading pedagogy throughout Fairfield Primary School. At Fairfield Primary School, we understand the importance of immersing our children in knowledge, vocabulary and experiences relevant to the subjects they are studying. Therefore, opportunities are identified to support the broader curriculum through the use of quality, age appropriate texts. In Reception and KS1, our Learning Challenge themes are supported by specially chosen books to enrich pupil’s subject learning and increase their interest and enjoyment. In KS2, class reads are linked to Learning Challenge topics and reading comprehensions on these themes to further develop positive reading behaviours, whilst enabling children to broaden their vocabulary and reinforce their knowledge of a subject.
Reading at Fairfield Primary School is taught daily through guided reading sessions, English lessons and story time. In EYFS and KS1 children are taught phonics daily and encouraged to apply their phonics skills throughout the day during guided and independent activities to practise reading. There is also an importance on talk and stories to develop children’s vocabulary and language. During our Reading lessons in Years 3-6 we follow Pathways to Read. The use of quality texts are used to teach core reading skills in-line with the expectations of the National Curriculum. In KS2 children, when children are secure in their word level reading, they move on to develop their comprehension skills through vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarising guided reading tasks. The children who are still working at word level reading continue to access phonics to secure their decoding skills. As well as taking part in guided reading sessions, we believe that the breadth of reading is important so we offer our pupils a range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference or text books. This is supplemented by ‘Bug Club’ reading programme to allow the children to apply their phonetic knowledge when reading.
Our school fosters a culture of reading for pleasure and all classrooms provide stimulating and inviting reading area which contains texts suitable for their reading age. Throughout the year opportunities to engage our pupils in reading events such as World Book Day, school book fairs, author visits, library access are promoted.
At Fairfield Primary School, reading forms the core of our curriculum and we are determined that every pupil will learn to read regardless of their background, needs or abilities. By the time children leave our school, they are competent readers who have a love of reading for both purpose and pleasure. Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school and expand their knowledge of the wider world they live in. We use a wide range of high quality texts, to support teaching and learning of reading.
By the end of EYFS, children will be able to read and understand simple sentences. They will use their phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately as well as being able to read some common irregular words. Children will demonstrate understanding of what has been read by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary. By the end of KS1 children will be able to apply phonic knowledge and skills to decode words automatically and reading is fluent. This is enables our pupils to develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, and acquire age related vocabulary. By the end of KS2 children will maintain positive attitudes to reading and an understanding of what they read by continuing to read and discuss an increasingly wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks. They will be able to apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes, both to read aloud and to understand the meaning of new words that they meet. Children will understand the relevance of what they are learning within reading and enjoy their learning experiences within school. All the skills of reading are essential for children to participate fully as a member of society and to access the full school curriculum.
‘A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others.’
DFE, National Curriculum
At Fairfield Primary school, our writing curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all pupils, recognising that it is an essential skill needed to support children to become successful learners. We intend to create writers who are able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly, acknowledging the crucial link between confident, cohesive speaking and skillful writing.
We use a rich text-based approach where children are introduced and immersed into a range of texts, which excite, intrigue and inspire them to develop their own writing skills, whilst also deepening their vocabulary. We set high expectations for all children and provide opportunities for children to evaluate, revise and edit their own work from feedback given. In doing so, we believe that children will take pride in their achievements and become confident writers across the whole curriculum.
During our English lessons we follow Pathways to Write. The use of quality texts are used to teach core writing skills in-line with the expectations of the National Curriculum. These aims and skills are embedded across our daily literacy lessons as well as the wider curriculum, by supporting children with their writing through;
- Guided writing
- Whole class modelled writing
- Independent writing
- Handwriting practise
- Planning, drafting, editing, up-levelling and presenting
- Unpicking a WAGOLL together (What a good one looks like)
- Discreet SPaG and Phonics
As well as this, our English lessons are planned and adapted to suit individual learners, focusing on their gaps and next steps from previous work assessed. We value the importance of live feedback and discussing with the children how they can edit and develop their writing further and we use a range of strategies to nurture independence such as;
- Word banks
- Spelling flaps
- Talking Tins
Additionally, ‘Pathways to Progress’ is used for ‘catch up’ with children who have fallen behind due to COVID disruptions. It is delivered in small groups and supports children in achieving age related expectations.
Oracy is a priority for children at Fairfield Primary School, therefore we plan talk opportunities into every lesson, where children can explore new and key vocabulary. Teachers use a variety of drama strategies to allow children opportunities to orally explore a text before they start to write.
We also use a variety of writing stimuli throughout school including external visitors, trips and the use of the immersive suite which support learning to be fun, meaningful and memorable.
Children begin their understanding of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar through daily phonics lessons. As the children progress through the Key Stages, children are taught explicit SPaG lessons using, ‘Rising Stars’ as well as in their English lesson. Teachers ensure new punctuation is explicitly taught with positive, engaging modelling, actions and clear displays.
Through high quality daily English lessons, planned from a progressive scheme, children at Fairfield primary school are able to communicate their ideas clearly and this is celebrated across school using our writing incentive, ‘Writer of the Week.
At Fairfield Primary School children make good progress from their starting points and by the end of Year 6, they have an understanding of a range of genres and are becoming confident writers, writing in a variety of styles that is appropriate to the audience and purpose.
These skills are also transferred across the curriculum demonstrating children’s understanding of skills taught. High expectations and high-quality teaching develops children’s oracy and written skills, supporting children to become confident writers, meeting and exceeding age related expectations.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)
‘English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society’
DFE, National Curriculum
At Fairfield Primary School we aim to foster a life-long love of spelling, punctuation and grammar by extending pupils knowledge within these areas and supporting pupils in developing key skills and applying these within standalone spelling lessons and also within children’s written work. Supporting pupils to develop key skills within spelling, punctuation and grammar will enable them to become confident writers.
To develop our pupils spelling skills, they will be:
- Learning spelling rules through writing lessons and applying these within their written work.
- Learning spellings rules and practicing spellings in standalone spelling lessons, through the use of games and interactive activities.
To develop our pupils punctuation and grammar skills they will be:
- Understanding and exploring how grammar and punctuation can positively impact their writing.
- Learning key terminology surrounding grammar and how to apply this for effect in their writing.
We follow pathways to spell and pathways to write, to support the teaching and learning of spelling, grammar and punctuation at Fairfield Primary School. Our curriculum ensures our pupils develop their spelling, punctuation and grammatical knowledge. This is then embedded in classroom learning activities. Within our curriculum, children will cover different punctuation and grammatical terminology and learn how to apply this within the written work for effect. Spellings are taught discreetly and also in standalone spelling sessions.
We display key spelling lists within classrooms to support children in developing their spelling knowledge. We focus on children’s application of spellings within their written work and use spelling flaps, rhymes and games to consolidate spelling rules and patterns. Children are also encouraged to partake in writing competitions where they can display their skills in applying key spellings, punctuation and grammar to compete nationally.
Skills and terminology are continually revisited in writing and standalone SPaG. Children will understand the relevance of what they are learning within spelling, grammar and punctuation and enjoy their learning experiences within school. As a staff, we will evidence children’s work throughout school and support them to make progress within spelling, punctuation and grammar throughout their education.
Through correctly spelling words and using punctuation and grammar features within their writing, children will feel a sense of achievement and gain confidence within their writing.
‘Spelling proficiency is a cornerstone of academic success because it links to advance in general literacy’
(Alderman and Green, 2011:599)
English Lead: Rachel Burke
Phonics Lead: Sally Dilworth
Reading Lead: Fay Chamberlain
Writing Lead: Jac Burgess
Key Progression Documents
English Knowledge Mats
Reception English Knowledge MatsYear 1 English Knowledge MatsYear 2 English Knowledge MatsYear 3 English Knowledge MatsYear 4 English Knowledge MatsYear 5 English Knowledge Mats are currently being updatedYear 6 English Knowledge Mats are currently being updated