At Wilkinson Primary School our Literacy sessions include writing, reading, spelling and/or phonics, and comprehension. These skills are taught during our daily literacy session, which is 1 hour long. From Reception to Yr. 1 most children are taught Literacy through their RW Inc. lessons. Once the children have completed this scheme they then move on to an extended RW Inc. scheme called "Comprehension", before then being taught through a Literacy Session. However, we aim to ensure that Literacy skills are not isolated within Literacy sessions but are an essential part of all curriculum areas so that the children are practising using their Literacy skills throughout the day.
We want the children at Wilkinson to have a positive attitude towards writing. Planning, therefore, is crucial so that exciting, demanding and purposeful activities are in place. Long term planning comes from the Literacy Framework which sets out the areas of work the children have to cover. Medium term planning allows the staff to cover a range of genres, spelling, sentence and grammar work across the term. Short term planning is the weekly planning so that the children are taken on a journey throughout the week building on, embedding, introducing skills and concepts that will allow them to be able to write fluently and with a growing maturity.
Children experience writing a range of text types allowing them to take part in different tasks such as writing letters, developing story writing, producing a poem, taking part in newspaper work, creating instructions for a variety of purposes, writing their own diaries, creating play scripts which can then be acted out. During the weekly lessons teachers lead the children enabling them to be able to write with increasing confidence in a range of tasks through teaching them further language, grammatical structures, layouts, key structural features of a text and new and exciting ways of formulating sentences. These skills are taught through shared writing with the whole class and also through the use of guided writing which allows the teacher to explore essential skills with small groups of children each day within the class.
By the end of a series of lessons, the children are able to complete an extended piece of writing displaying their ability to write, at length, in a particular style. To ensure the children have further developed the correct "voice" for the style of writing, each class carry out "Talk For Writing" sessions so that they have structured their writing, developed phrases, tone of voice, sentence structures, ideas, correct vocabulary and confidence to be able to write with stamina and confidence.
Children practise this style further by completing written tasks in other curriculum subjects such as History and Geography. Writing is used widely across the curriculum so as to continually build upon skills taught within the Literacy lessons. At all times staff are developing a love of writing and of using words and sentences in an exciting and adventurous way.
Handwriting and the ability to present work in a style that demonstrates "Pride and Respect In All That We Do" is very important to our teaching of writing. Children, therefore, are asked to work hard at their presentational skills. Handwriting is taught twice weekly in all year groups. We ask the children to begin to use "lead-ins" from Yr. 2 which enables the children to quickly begin to join their letters. From Foundation into Yr. 1 great attention is given to ensuring the children are forming their letters correctly and using the RW Inc. letter rhymes to re-in force the correct formation of the letters of the alphabet. Throughout the curriculum, staff continually draw the child's attention to ensuring presentation and pride is of utmost importance.
Spellings are equally important. The child is made aware of words that they need to spell correctly as well as ensuring the child can attempt new and adventurous vocabulary within their writing. The children have regular spelling checks through their Read Write Inc. sessions. Within the Literacy Sessions they complete work based around spelling rules and patterns. All children have spellings to learn weekly. This is re-inforced through a spelling session in school that allows the child to practise new spelling rules before taking the spellings home for homework. This is followed up by a spelling test in school. The spelling rules and corresponding words are taken from the New Literacy National Curriculum and are age related.
Regular writing events are held throughout the year e.g. Roald Dahl Week, World Book Week, Magic Book Week, Poetry Fortnight, Fairy Tale Fortnight, Shakespeare Fortnight, Nursery Rhyme Fortnight, trips out to a range of locations, visiting writers e.g. Andy Tooze – "Poet from the Peaks". Again, these activities are all aimed at giving the child a range of experiences from which writing will spring forth!
Children's writing is assessed via a range of assessment techniques. This leads to targets being set for the child in their writing. Staff share these targets with the child and with the child's parents so that all are clear on their next steps of learning. Each child has a target book which follows them from Yr. 1 to the end of Yr. 6. This is so the child can see where they are at present and how they can develop their learning further.
At Wilkinson we aim to create a love of learning that will stay with the child for their entire life. We aim to share our reading continuously in a variety of ways and across the curriculum. Without being fluent in reading, the child will always be at a disadvantage. We want the children at Wilkinson to be fluent, confident readers from which they can gain pleasure, enjoyment and a wide range of information.
All children are heard read in school. We believe this is fundamentally important so as to build up a positive attitude towards reading, keeping the child motivated and to ensure the child continues to make swift progress with their reading ability. To have time, individually with an adult, discussing books, is a tremendous method of instilling our ethos toward reading.
The child is also heard through Guided Reading sessions where the teacher works with a small group of children. They read together and then they explore the section of text read to develop a much deeper understanding of the text. This happens once a week in the Literacy Session or in RW Inc. sessions. There is also an Extra Guided Reading Session on everybody's timetable in addition to the sessions in Literacy time.
Children are also heard on a 1:1 basis at least once a week. The teacher hears the child read some of their home reader book as well as asking them some questions as to what they have read at home. Parents are asked to sign the child's reading diary to show the child has read at home. As a reward for getting their book signed at home, the child is given a sticker on their individual book mark. At the end of the school year, the child in each class with the most stickers on their book mark is taken to Waterstones in Walsall where they can have a book of their choice. At Wilkinson we broadly follow the Ginn reading scheme. This scheme builds up the child's confidence and fluency allowing them to feel success and enjoyment in reading. The scheme is supplemented with Story World and also Pocket Readers. These books are all banded appropriately so at every stage the child and pupil is aware of the band they are currently reading and also where they will be moving onto next. Regular assessments (as in writing), Guided reading, 1:1 reading all allow the teacher to decide whether the child is able to move onto the next band. The child's target is shared with the child as well as with the parent. At all times, the child and the adult is aware of the current level of work and where the child needs to move to next.
Each class has a "Book Corner" where books are displayed covering a range of topics and are from a variety of cultures. Children are encouraged to use the books from the Reading Corner. Each class has a "Class Reader" where the teacher reads a book with the class. Also, each class has a session in the school library where they are able to choose a book from the well-stocked shelves. They have the book for one or two weeks before changing for a new book. Regular book events are held throughout the year e.g. Roald Dahl Week, Magic Book Week, World Book Week, Shakespeare Fortnight, Fairy Tale Fortnight, Poetry Fortnight, Nursery Rhyme Fortnight, Book Fayre Week, Read For My School Competition, Inter School Book Quizzes, Inter House Book Quizzes, Staff and Children Book Quizzes. All these events have the purpose of engaging the children in reading and developing a lifelong love of reading.
Our phonics teaching begins in early years and follows a government supported scheme called Read Write Inc. This phonic scheme runs from Early Years, through to Yr. 2. This scheme allows the child to learn the initial sounds and then begin to blend with them. As soon as the child is able to blend confidently they move onto reading simple sentences, then short books. Gradually, the level of book increases in difficulty as the child learns more and more complicated sounds and the letters or groups of letters that make these sounds. As well as allowing the child to learn all the ways of making certain sounds, Read Write Inc. gives the child opportunity to complete comprehension tasks as well as written tasks. The scheme is based upon getting the child to enjoy, and be confident with, reading and writing.
The children are assessed every eight weeks so that they are always grouped within the correct phonic level of ability. Also, the teacher can report to the Read Write Inc. manager whenever they have a concern that a child may need to move into a different group. This allows movement between assessment cycles. The child's needs are of utmost importance. One of the key features of the scheme is that the child is taught in small groups. Again, this is to maximise the speed of learning. Therefore, a parent may find their child grouped with children from different year groups rather than age group. Read Write Inc. works around phonic ability, not age.
In Year One the children take part in the national phonics check. Parents are informed of their child's result with their annual school report, along with any future actions the school or parents can take.
Alongside assessments that take place in school every half term, statutory tests take place at the end of the following year groups:
Yr. 1 – Phonics Test
Yr. 2 – SATS (Reading, Writing, Grammar, Numeracy)
Yr. 6 – SATS (Reading, Writing, Grammar, Numeracy)
Yrs. 3, 4, 5 take part in optional end of year testing
EYFS complete a profile that begins in Nursery and follows the child through their time in Reception. This "journey" allows the teacher to assess the ability of the child across a range of subjects
If you have any questions about your child's progress in literacy please do not hesitate to contact school.