At Great Milton C of E Primary School we believe that literacy is fundamental to all areas of learning as it unlocks the wider curriculum. We believe that it is vital for children to be able to explain their thinking, debate their ideas and read and write at a level which will help them to develop their language skills further. These skills are taught through discrete English lessons daily, however these skills encompass the whole curriculum and children are continually encouraged to apply these skills in all subjects. We provide the children with experiences that promote the development of critical and creative thinking as well as competence in listening and talking, reading, writing and team-working skills which are so important in life and in the world of work.
Speaking and listening is at the heart of how we help children develop as readers and writers. The children are taught to talk confidently to one another, talk to an audience and talk in role. This in turn provides them with the necessary skills to take turns when speaking, listen to one another’s opinions, challenge these opinions and ask and respond to appropriate questions.
We use storytelling to help children become confident and creative writers. The children learn to tell stories from memory which creates an inner store of language, ideas and imagination. This approach of learning texts by heart is also used for non-fiction. This ‘Talk for Writing’ approach enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. The children experience fun activities that help them rehearse the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing.
Grammar, punctuation, spelling, handwriting and composition all encompass literacy. Phonics is taught explicitly in Foundation Stage and KS1 and where necessary in KS2. Letters and Sounds (Department for Education & Skills) is a powerful teaching tool which ensures that young children will be well placed to read and spell words with fluency and confidence by the time they reach the end of KS1. Phonics is taught each day for at least 10 minutes in a fun way but also with rigour and pace. We use the Jolly Phonics scheme (www.jollylearning.co.uk). In Key Stage 2, spelling is taught through a ‘little and often’ approach. They are then taught to apply the rules that they have learnt across the curriculum. Grammar and punctuation are taught through some explicit lessons as well as being an integral part of literacy lessons.
We ensure that children can learn two fundamental skills to enable them to read confidently: word recognition - the ability to decode the words on the page, and comprehension – understanding the text that they have read. Through daily guided reading sessions, the teacher models, questions and encourages dialogue between the children in order to develop these skills. Great Milton C of E Primary School uses book bands across a range of publishers.
Have a look at this guide to reading in school.