English Lead: Mrs Hur
At Menorah Foundation School, our team strives for all learners to become fluent, keen readers and confident, creative writers by the time they end their primary school career. We follow the EYFS Framework and KS1 and KS2 National Curriculum for reading and writing.
Through the use of the systematic, synthetic Twinkl Phonics programme, early readers build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. Twinkl Phonics draw on the latest research into how children learn best. It ensures learning stays in children’s long term memory and enables them to apply their learning to become highly competent readers. By the end of KS1, our intent is that all children are fluent readers who are able to access age appropriate texts. From Y2, children engage in whole class shared reading which allows children to develop oracy and demonstrate all the required comprehension skills through focused, structured and scaffolded conversation. We explicitly teach the meaning of key vocabulary across the curriculum in order to strengthen our children’s understanding of concepts and to enable them to access their learning with greater ease.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum; high quality texts are used to deliver English lessons and reading opportunities are planned for in the wider curriculum. By indulging them in a range of rich texts, we aim for our learners to speak passionately and confidently about authors and poets, and for them to form opinions about the type of texts they enjoy. We build on our children’s cultural capital by using books that focus on characters with different backgrounds and experiences to their own, using this opportunity to teach them about tolerance and respect for the wider community. Our wish is to create a love of reading in all of our learners and for this love of reading to continue at home - promoting a reading partnership with the parents of our school is something that is very important to us.
At MFS, we use high quality texts and stimuli to inspire our learners to write for different audiences and purposes, emphasising the skills of using punctuation and vocabulary for effect. The writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling curriculum in place is planned to ensure pupils accumulate the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding that builds towards an independent piece of writing. We have high expectations and teach our learners to take pride in the work they produce. It is our intent that children will be able to transfer these writing skills across all areas of the curriculum and that they will be equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in high school.
How We Teach Reading at MFS
Reading for Pleasure
Reading for pleasure is at the heart of our curriculum and school. All staff should actively promote reading for pleasure to all children. Some of the ways in which we do this are listed below.
- Opportunities for children to read for pleasure
- Mrs Hunter's Book Club
- Dedicated reading time every morning
- Engaging in reading recommendation discussions/reviews
- Regular use of class libraries and the school library
- Displays dedicated to reading in/outside every classroom
- Reading challenges and competitions during themed weeks
- Visits from the book fair and authors
- ‘Recommended books’ list for each year group shared with parents
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 and segmenting
- attention to high-quality language
We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and KS1
We teach phonics for 20 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
Guided Reading EYFS and Y1
We teach children to read through guided reading practice 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 Twinkl Phonics assessments
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis
Each reading practice session focuses on three key reading skills:
- 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, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.
In addition to small group guided reading, an assigned adult hears each child read one to two times a week. Children continue to build on their comprehension skills in class when discussing the class text being read.
Whole Class Shared Reading Y2 and KS2
Using high quality texts, children engage in whole class shared reading sessions. There is a focus in each session on the six strands of reading. The acronym VIPERS (vocabulary, infer, predict, explain, retrieve, sequence/summarise) is used to teach these skills and children are taught how to answer questions on the strand they are focusing on.
During whole class shared reading, children of all abilities are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote. Children are supported within guided reading by the teacher who leads discussions designed to support children in formulating their ideas. Children read during these sessions in a variety of different ways. They will hear the teacher explicitly model the skills of a proficient reader, including reading with fluency and expression. Echo reading will also be used as a strategy to develop fluency - this is where the teacher models how a part of the text should be read and then the class echoes this reading exactly as the teacher reads it. They will have time to reread the same extract, and sometimes they will read individually and feedback, or take turns to read aloud to their peers. Teachers use a number of these strategies during one session.
In these sessions, there is a mix of modelled, shared and independent practice when it comes to answering comprehension questions. Teachers model how to formulate a response to a question and then in pairs/groups, the children have a go at writing a response to a similar question, using the teacher’s example as a scaffold. Once the class are succeeding and confident, they will move onto independent practice where they will answer questions on their own, followed by peer assessment or whole class marking and feedback.
Once in Reception, children begin their home reading journey by taking home picture books, where they are encouraged to tell the story orally to their parents. As they progress through the phonics programme and acquire more phoneme/grapheme awareness, pots of graphemes are sent home for children to revise and blend to make words. Children also receive tricky words to practise as and when they learn them. When they have completed phase 2, phonetically decodable books are issued so that children can practise reading aloud at home. Books are matched to children according to which phase they are on in the phonics programme. In KS2, children who have completed the EYFS/KS1 reading scheme are free readers and are encouraged to read books that they enjoy.
Parents play a huge role in the development of reading fluency and comprehension and are expected to hear their child read several times a week and record this in their child’s reading diary.
Reading in the Wider Curriculum
Reading is prioritised and planned for in the wider curriculum. A range of fiction and non-fiction texts are ordered from Barnet Library Services to support the teaching of science, history and geography. These texts are displayed in class for children to read independently and also so they can be used within lessons; children are asked to engage in shared reading to find out information about a particular topic, which they then share with the class.
By exposing the children to a range of texts across the subjects, we teach our children to see reading as a gateway to knowledge.
We place great emphasis on exposing our children to key vocabulary within subjects. By explicitly teaching the meaning of words, we aim to strengthen our pupils’ understanding of topics and allow them to build on knowledge acquired in previous year groups.
At the beginning of a lesson, key vocabulary is explored and the meaning discussed. Children are expected to use these words when formulating responses to questions, both orally and written. To support children with learning key vocabulary, lists are sent home to parents at the beginning of each term so they can discuss key terminology with their children.
EYFS/KS1: For children who require additional phonics or reading support, the teaching team will manage this throughout the day. Phonics interventions 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.
KS2: For children who are not yet reading with fluency, a named adult will read with them one on one in addition to the daily reading opportunities occurring in class. In addition to this, phonics interventions are are run using Twinkl Phonics Code Breakers.
How We Teach Writing at MFS
We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for writing. These include:
- Opportunities to make meaningful marks and representations. We provide a wide range of stimulating equipment to encourage this eg: large scale, sensory, a variety of tools.
- Opportunities to form recognisable letters such as from their name.
We plan writing opportunities linked to the books we read to our children, giving the writing a purpose e.g. labelling pictures, completing speech bubbles, writing captions, making posters, writing a letter to a character in a story.
Learning is integrated and at the expected level of development. At the end of Reception we aim for our children to write recognisable letters, most correctly formed. Children will be able to represent sounds in writing with the correct letters. Children learn tricky words and use these in their writing. Our aim is for the children to enter Year 1 being able to write simple sentences which are legible.
KS1 and KS2
We teach our children to write for a range of purposes, as outlined in the grid below. Here, the children produce a variety of text types for the purposes appropriate to their year group.
Where possible, writing tasks are linked to the texts being studied in class and/or the literary theme. Other engaging stimuli, such as videos and pictures, are also used as prompts for writing.
Our writing curriculum follows a three step process: immersion, innovation and independent application.
- In KS1, this process typically takes three weeks, meaning that an independent piece of writing is produced twice a half term.
- In KS2, this process typically takes two weeks, meaning that an independent piece of writing is produced three times a half term. NB: Y3 follows the KS1 process for the Autumn term to allow a smooth transition between the key stages.
In addition to the teaching of SPaG as part of the writing process (as outlined above), children begin every lesson with a SPaG focus to build on prior learning and to bridge the gaps created during the pandemic.
Spelling Shed resources are used to teach our children spelling patterns and rules, ensuring gaps in spelling knowledge are prioritised. Each week, children engage in application of spelling activities in class before exploring and learning a new spelling rule. Spelling words are sent home each week for children to practise.
Handwriting and Presentation
- All children in KS2 use blue pens and edit and respond to marking and feedback in pencil
- All children in KS1 use pencils and respond to marking and feedback in pen
- Handwriting is modelled daily by teachers
- Explicit teaching of handwriting takes place at least once a week and is reinforced throughout the week.
- Leave MFS as happy, confident learners who have developed a love of reading and writing with the key skills and knowledge necessary for the next stage of their learning.
- Be fluent readers who enjoy reading regularly, both for acquiring new information and for pleasure.
- Be able to discuss books, authors and poets with excitement and genuine interest
- Confidently and effectively write for a wide range of purposes and audiences
- Have a wide vocabulary that they use within their writing.
- Effectively apply spelling rules and patterns that have been taught, and use strategies to tackle unknown words.
- Make sustained progress in reading and writing which is demonstrated in Y2 and Y6 end of key stage assessments.
- Achieve a GLD (Good Level of Development) in EYFS in line with national standards, and be at or above the national standard in the Phonics Screening in Year 1, KS1 and KS2 national tests.