At Portfields Primary School, we believe that literacy is central to children’s intellectual, emotional and social development and therefore has an essential role across the curriculum.
The aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
Our English curriculum is designed to ensure children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to read fluently, communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language in order to become lifelong learners. We ensure children are exposed to a rich and varied vocabulary through reading well-chosen literature which provides them with the opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Children are given the opportunity to embed their learning across a range of different situations and through cross curricular activities.
Our priority is both the teaching of reading skills and the enjoyment of literature, enabling children to become lifelong, confident readers. As children begin to read, we focus on decoding, primarily through phonics in addition to other strategies, e.g. whole word recognition, rhyme and context. As children develop their fluency, comprehension skills become our main area of focus and questioning covers higher order reading skills such as: summarising, inference and deduction. We believe in immersing children in a rich variety of quality texts; to instil a love for reading and a desire for discovery.
We actively promote reading for pleasure through a range of reading activities and whole school initiatives. Within class, children have books read aloud to them on a daily basis; a weekly guided reading session and regular opportunities to read independently. The main school library is a warm and welcoming area, housed in a communal space, where children walk through on a regular basis, allowing them to view the books available to them. The children have access to the KS2 library and the main school library to choose their own reading material for independent reading. Both libraries are well-stocked with engaging books from a wide selection of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, picture books and graphic novels. We recognise the importance of parental support and encourage parents to share books frequently with their children and participate in a home school dialogue about their children’s reading through the 'Home School Reading Journal' in EYFS and KS1 and the ‘Planner’ in KS2. Early reading is developed through reading books that are fully decodable and matched to their phonics learning. We celebrate reading through assemblies and special events, such as World Book Day and visits from authors.
At Portfields we use the HeadStart Spelling Scheme to reinforce spelling patterns and tricky words. This scheme helps children to develop an understanding of spoken and written word structure by providing them with opportunities to practise spelling words in a meaningful and exciting way. Many of the activities have a game element to them and make the important link of putting the word into context. The children practise reading and writing the words which are embedded in sentences and a variety of activities, over a four-week period. This method allows the children to assimilate the words into their long-term memory. The nature of the activities becomes increasingly challenging as the children get older and is appropriate for each age level.
Talk for Writing
Children are taught writing skills in daily English lessons, using the ‘Talk for Writing’ process developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett. ‘Talk for Writing’ is the exploration, through talk, of the thinking and creative processes involved in being a writer. We use high quality model texts to introduce the children to different stories/text types which they learn off by heart. Through multi-sensory and interactive teaching, children orally imitate the language before reading and analysing the text for grammar and punctuation, then innovating and inventing their own version. The ‘Talk for Writing’ strategies are developed and practised cumulatively and progressively each year, so that the children build up confidence with their writing skills as they move through the school. ‘Talk for Writing’ gives children the skills needed to present knowledge within curriculum subjects in an advanced, informative and satisfying way.