At Drake Primary School, we want our pupils to be literate and confident speakers, readers and writers. Reading is at the heart of the curriculum; it is how children access knowledge across all subjects. We want to ensure that all children are avid readers who read for enjoyment. We encourage and support all children to read a variety of genres and authors and learn to use adventurous vocabulary in their speech and written work. Teachers will use questioning and the VIPERS structure to make sure that a range of reading skills are taught and explored.
To this end, we make sure that children are given quality phonics teaching from Reception onwards using the Read Write Inc scheme. We have a large range of decodable texts for children to practise with and consolidate their reading at home. Our school library is well-used by children and we regularly visit Thetford library. Children read at home with parents with a range of books. In English lessons, children are taught specific reading skills such as inference, predicting and summarising to support comprehension. Each curriculum topic will feature a prominent author or relevant rich text linked to the subject of the topic. As well as daily focused reading time, teachers read to their classes daily in order to model reading aloud. Handwriting is taught with support from the PenPals scheme with practice throughout the week.
We would like Drake Primary pupils to be enthusiastic, independent and lively writers able to write accurately and imaginatively with a firm understanding of audience and genre convention. We use cross-curricular topics to provide a platform for talk and to deliver enriched activities for writing and to challenge able pupils. This is a key area for development for the school and one that goes hand-in-hand with our raising of expectations. Application of key literacy skills are therefore taught across all foundation subjects as well as science.
We teach English as a whole class in Key stage 1 and 2 so that all children have access to age-related skills and knowledge contained in the national curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support for slower graspers to enable them to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding and access to additional support materials such as Word Banks or a greater level of modelling. Rapid graspers are also given opportunities to extend their writing in a variety of ways: through showing greater control in their writing; a deeper understanding of the impact that their writing has on the reader; and by using a higher level of vocabulary and grammar features.
Grammar and Punctuation:
Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are taught through English lessons as much as possible. Teachers plan to teach the required skills through the genres of writing that they are teaching, linking it to the genre to make it more connected with the intended writing outcome. Teachers sometimes focus on particular grammar and punctuation skills as stand-alone lessons, if they feel that the class need additional lessons to embed and develop their understanding or to consolidate skills.
English Lesson Sequence:
Each year group have a yearly overview of the writing genres, both narrative and non-fiction, that they will teach. These have been planned to progress from the previous years. Units will take between two and four weeks to complete, and the outcome of each unit will be an Independent Write which will be used to assess the pupil’s skills against the agreed success criteria. Every narrative unit is linked to a carefully chosen text that acts as a stimulus for teaching the identified text, word and sentence level features that children will be expected to include in their extended writing outcome for that unit. A WAGOLL – What a good one looks like – is created based on the stimulus text and supports pupils to identify and mimic the identified features in their own writing. Non-fiction units are also taught through a quality WAGOLL that may be based on a stimulus text or may be related to another curriculum area.
Assessment for Learning - Marking and feedback
We have been given a wonderful opportunity to work with Shirley Clarke on her Assessment for Learning study. Marking and feedback during a lesson is the best place for children to make progress. There are a number of ways in which Drake teachers offer feedback throughout a lesson: verbal feedback, partner-work, partner-editing and use of visualizer to demonstrate expectations of WAGOLLS/WABOLLs (what a good/bad one looks like). These techniques helps raise attainment and to ensure that progress is made over a series of lessons.