At Gordon Primary School, our English curriculum is carefully planned so that children become confident and creative communicators, who will be able to use these skills effectively throughout their lives.
We value reading as a crucial life skill. Our pupils reading journey in school begins with the teaching of phonics. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
Writing is embedded through our English curriculum. A core text is carefully selected to give children access to a range of texts which will expose them to rich vocabulary. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills. It is our intention that pupils develop a clear understanding of the writing process in order to establish themselves as an author in their own right. Children are taken on a writing journey which builds their knowledge of writing for context and purpose, allows opportunities for children to explore a variety of genres, planning, drafting and editing their writing. In order to establish this, children will develop their knowledge of genre features, audience, language and effective composition.
Phonics begins in Nursery, where we lay the foundations for all literacy skills. Our focus is primarily on developing fundamental speaking and listening skills. We then use the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’ phonics programme, starting in Reception and continuing into Key Stage 1. Reception begin by learning the single letter sounds and then learn to blend these sounds into words (e.g. ‘h-a-t’ becomes hat). They then progress to learning sounds containing multiple letters, we call these digraphs and trigraphs. Children are then taught to segment sounds and blend them together into words in order that they can read and begin to write efficiently. Children also learn to read and write ‘tricky’ words, which have a spelling which is uncommon and cannot be sounded out fully. In Year 1 children continue to learn new digraphs and trigraphs and then they learn the alternative spellings for different sounds. Phonics is taught every day, with the children learning a new sound and revising sounds already taught. Some children will receive additional phonics support if we feel that this will be of benefit.
At the end of Year 1, children are assessed through the national phonics screening check. For any children who need it, phonics sessions continue in Year 2, and beyond if necessary, until they are fluent readers. Once children can read fluently, reading then progresses from learning to read, to reading to learn.
The school uses the ‘Big Cat for Little Wandle’ decodable reading books. Children read these books with an adult in school three times a week, developing their ability to decode, read with expression and understand the book. They then take this book home to read aloud and ‘celebrate’ their skills with an adult. Alongside this they take home a sharing book to enjoy with an adult. We strongly believe in the importance of reading for pleasure and to develop this fully children need exposure to a variety of reading material to appeal to their different interests.
At the early stages of reading development, the children initially use books without text and progress to books that are directly linked to the phonics sounds that they are learning. Children progress through the reading scheme at their own pace and in accordance with their phonic knowledge. Alongside ‘decoding’ the words (using their phonics to read the words), we stress the importance of talking and asking questions about what they are reading to ensure the children fully understand what they have read. We ask that parents, and anyone hearing children read, always talk about the book with together and record a comment in the children’s reading record books.
Please click here for further parent information and videos, to enable you to support your child with phonics – https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for