At Grange Infant School, we believe that Literacy and communication are key life skills. Our aim is for Literacy to be enjoyable and creative and for the love of this area to open doors to new experiences and opportunities during their time at school and throughout their future.
Grange Infant School follows the National Curriculum for English to ensure a high-quality education that will teach pupils to read, talk and write fluently.
We want children to become fluent and confident communicators, readers and writers through a broad, balanced and progressive curriculum of tasks, designed to support all differing needs and expertise. Topics have been purposefully chosen to enthuse and stimulate children’s creativity, promote speaking and listening skills and challenge their technical writing abilities. We feel it is important for children to make the links between speaking, reading and writing and we encourage this through a reflective, metacognitive and enquiring mind, enabling them to participate and begin to challenge what they hear, read and write in the ever-growing increasing media of the wider world.
Staff at Grange, 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.
Reading and Phonics
At Grange, in both the EYFS and KS1, we use a government verified program for Phonics, called Read Write Inc (RWI). It is a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics. This is taught through a specific daily 20-minute session at the child’s level. Children use a wealthy bank of resources including decodable matched Book Bag Books for home that support the sounds that they have been learning at school. This includes planned adaptations to this system where the children show the need for extra focus on comprehension and spelling.
A clear and simple whole-school assessment of RWI and Reading Book Band assessment takes place at bespoke times for each child, not at set intervals. Children are not limited on how quickly they can progress through the RWI or reading colour bands. Progress is monitored and support given where needed.
Please see the phonic area of the website for more details.
We enjoy promoting a love of reading at Grange, through high quality texts, daily literacy lessons as well as separate Guided Reading sessions throughout the week.
In addition to RWI sessions, children in Year R enjoy our Gruffalo word sessions and Busy Bee activities. When the children are ready, Guided Reading sessions are introduced. These continue throughout KS1. They include a mix of Book Talk sessions with a Big Journal, and whole class or group sessions focusing on the skills of both decoding and comprehension. Children progress through book band colours and are assessed at bespoke times before progressing to the next level. This enables children to make progress at their own speed.
As well as lessons, we inspire children to read through a selection of book fairs, book awards, the book exchange, reading cafes, sponsored reads, reading events, World Book day, author assemblies, story time, contact with authors, parent workshops and the Reading challenge. These make reading an inspiring and exciting journey for the children.
In KS1, at the beginning of every writing unit, we discuss the purpose, audience, viewpoint and genre of their writing. This helps children to have a good understanding of why they are writing and by giving writing a purposeful, real life context, they will see themselves as ‘real’ writers. Children are exposed to a wide range of writing outcomes and will write a selection of poetry, fiction and non-fiction each half term. In KS1, we teach writing following the HIAS format of 3 phases. The first phase, ‘Stimulate & Generate’, immerses the children in the text through a variety of activities, for example, focusing on capturing vocabulary, drama and role-play, talk, film clips and hooks for the topic.
The second phase, ‘Capture, Sift and Sort’, focuses on the grammar and skills needed to write the chosen genre. The children practise developing these skills and applying them in context, ready for the final phase.
The third and final phase, ‘Create, Refine & Evaluate’, is a chance for the children to pull all of the skills learnt together to create their final piece. During this phase, the children edit and refine their work, then publish their work to give them a sense of pride.
Throughout the writing phases, children complete a ‘drop in’ write to enable them to link back to previous genres and skills taught. They also learn that writing skills can be transferred across the curriculum in a variety of subjects and is a key life skill.
In EYFS, the early teaching of literacy involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children are given access to a
wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest. By the end of Year R, the expected level of development for their Early Learning Goal in Writing is to:
– Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed
– Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters
– Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others.
We use ‘Tapestry’ at Grange to document each individual child’s learning journey and to plan for interests and next steps. Parents can also add crucial information to this platform, helping the team to consider the ‘whole child’ when assessing at the key milestones throughout the year. Tapestry is also supplemented with exercise books for Literacy, which evidence progress throughout the year.
In the Early Years, children learn and rehearse their texts, with a heavy focus on speaking and listening skills. They use actions to help them to remember the text, which supports them when some children begin to write their own versions towards the end of the year.
All pupils across EYFS and KS1 have daily phonics lessons, following the RWI scheme. Once the children have completed the scheme, they progress onto a Grange approach, ‘Sound to Spelling’, to help the children transition into Year 2 spelling rules, encouraging the use of phonics to aid this. Once the children are secure in Sound to Spelling, they then move onto ‘Gruffalo Spellings’ where they learn the Year 2 Spelling rules as outlined in the National Curriculum. Gruffalo Spellings follows the following format each week:
– Revisit previous learning and HFW spelling practice
– Investigate the rule
– Teach the rule
– Apply the rule
– Dictation (assess)
Children also have opportunities to practise and apply spelling rules at the start of their Literacy lessons to show the children that all of the skills link and that they can transfer and apply their skills.
Speaking and Listening
Communication and Language involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of
situations. In EYFS, at Grange, we have adopted the ‘key person’ approach in the endeavour to develop speaking and listening skills. The children are also immersed in a range of speaking and listening activities, such as – Chatter Box, Book Chat, Talk for Writing (learning a text with actions), Summer scrapbooks and more. In KS1, children use speaking and listening in various ways such as – talk partners, through questioning, ‘hold a sentence’ strategy, Book Talk Journals, class discussions, performance poetry and some children are part of ‘Time to Talk’ groups for intervention.