Here at Highfield we use Read Write Inc to systematically teach phonics to our youngest pupils, which is fully matched to the National Curriculum. Strong research from the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) highlights that phonics can be an important component in the development of early reading skills, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Phonics approaches for younger children (4-7 year olds) has consistently been found to be effective in supporting younger pupils to master the basics of reading, with an additional four months progress.
When their phonic knowledge is secure in Year 2, we adopt a ‘Whole-Class Teaching’ approach for the teaching of reading and comprehension. Research states that ‘Whole-class reading sessions means that children of all attainment bands are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote.’ (Crosby. DM. 2018) This is supported further by noting that, ‘Teaching the whole class instead means that all pupils can read with the teacher more often, moving faster through more or longer texts and benefiting from the teacher’s expert explanations, modelling, questioning and feedback.’ (Durran, J.2017)
The promotion of a language rich curriculum is essential to the successful acquisition across the curriculum. In English, we use a core spine of quality texts that have been recommended through the Power of Reading and combine this with Pie Corbett’s recommended novels across each year group. To promote a vocabulary rich curriculum in classrooms, we use Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ which encourages oracy before written work takes place. Working Walls display key vocabulary, enabling children to commit words to their working memory. The promotion and use of an accurate and rich cross curricular vocabulary throughout school is planned in all subjects. This is evident in all learning areas. Education Endowment Fund research indicates that all pupils benefit from oral language interventions, and some studies show slightly larger effects for younger children and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds (up to six months' additional progress).
Please see below for details of the National Curriculum for English which we adhere to.
At Highfield, we plan exciting and inspiring writing lessons which link to other topics. We recognise that the earliest stages of writing start with mark-making in EYFS. Daily phonic sessions also focus on teaching the correct letter formation. Over time, pupils begin to apply these skills independently in their writing. It is a highly complex process, and children need opportunities to practise these skills. The findings of the Education Endowment Fund (2018) support this approach.
We use elements of ‘Talk for Writing’ (T4W) which,‘makes extensive use of classroom talk to help children become familiar with a range of text genres. For each genre, this familiarisation is extended through ‘talking the text’, shared and guided teaching and pupils’ independent writing of the same type of text’ (Beard, R. 2015). With our younger learners, we use the Centre for Literacy in Education (CLPE) Power of Reading scheme to enhance reading comprehension and provide meaningful contexts and purposes for writing.
Spelling and grammar is taught discreetly across the school. In EYFS and KS1 this is linked to Read Write Inc. Further up the school, children are taught how to explore spelling patterns and identify how these are applied to different words. The use of dictionaries and thesauruses are vital to this work, as it allows the children to understand the meaning behind the word, by making it part of the child’s working memory.