Reading lies at the heart of the curriculum at Aylesham Primary. We are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers and we believe reading is key to academic success.
We want all children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers, who appreciate the importance of reading as a transferable skill in the wider world, and who value books as a source of pleasure and enjoyment. We believe that reading can offer children greater knowledge of the world around them and expose them to experiences and vocabulary beyond their day-to-day lives. We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material across the curriculum.
A Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme (Little Wandle) is taught daily from the start of Reception, up to and including Year 3.
Whole Class Reading Lessons
Structured whole class reading is taught from Year 3 to Year 6, using rich, age-appropriate texts and following the VIPERS approach, which teaches and provides practice of the following reading skills:
Shared books are vital in developing children’s vocabulary and are carefully selected by teachers for their classes to ensure maximum impact on language development. An important part of these lessons is book talk, in which children and teachers find connections between different texts, discuss their preferences and make recommendations.
Reading Across the Curriculum
We provide a text rich environment, in order to encourage a positive culture of reading throughout all classes. Core texts, which relate to the class’ current curriculum theme, form the basis of curriculum planning and reading skills are applied across all subjects.
Every teacher reads aloud to their class each day. Stories are also shared across year groups and in assemblies. The whole school participates in Paired Reading during which classes are paired with another year group to share books and read aloud to each other. Children have regular opportunities to read aloud on a one to one basis with staff, parents and volunteer reader helpers.
A Reading-Rich Environment
Every class in the school is named after a children’s author, whose books the class are introduced to. Many classes have made contact with their author, leading to ongoing communication, which children have greatly enjoyed. Our learning environments promote and encourage reading, through well-resourced and accessible book areas, reading displays and regular opportunities for book talk.
We arrange special reading events such as ‘World Book Day’ activities, storytelling sessions, local library visits and book fairs. We have our own school library, which classes are encouraged to visit weekly and which is open for children to enjoy in their free time.
Reading at Home
We understand that parents and carers play a key role in encouraging their child to develop a positive attitude to reading. Children love to listen to and tell their own stories; talking about books and sharing them together can be an enjoyable experience for all involved. For Foundation Stage and KS1, we suggest that parents read with their child for about 10 minutes each day. Each child will read in school, and then take home, a book which is 90% decodable for them. At times, children will also take home a book of their choice to share and enjoy with the adults at home and which is not fully decodable. Once a child can read fluently, reading widely remains extremely important to their development. The opportunity to talk about what they have read is vital in developing their understanding; therefore, we recommend that parents and carers continue to listen to their children read. Children also benefit hugely from listening to family members reading aloud to them.
Through high-quality teaching of phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent, confident word readers by the end of KS1. Providing children with a wealth of stories, and opportunities to share them, will promote a love of reading which goes beyond the classroom.
By the time they leave primary school we aspire for children to be fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure, participate in discussions, and communicate their opinions and responses to what they have read. These skills will allow them to unlock future learning and provide for them limitless possibilities.
At Aylesham Primary School, we want all children to be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing and reach their full potential.
Our aims are to:
Guide and nurture each individual on their own personal journeys to becoming successful writers.
Provide exciting writing opportunities and experiences that engage and enhance all pupils.
We want all children to acquire a wide vocabulary and to be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school.
We want all children to have a solid understanding of grammar and apply it effectively to their writing.
We want them to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
We believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, and should develop a legible, individual handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.
We want every child to have a good knowledge of phonics to springboard children to becoming fluent writers.
Our writing is centred around a bank of high-quality texts, which ensure progression from year to year. Teachers read aloud to their classes every day, which helps to bring these texts to life and ensure children are immersed in the stories. We passionately believe that reading and writing are inextricably linked therefore studying the text in both reading and writing sessions encourages children to make links and become empathetic and ambitious writers.
Our long term plan ensures that a variety of genres are progressively taught and built upon both throughout the year and throughout the school. Teachers have the freedom to tailor their writing lessons to suit the needs of the children in their class. Grammar is always taught in context; this is much more effective than stand-alone grammar lessons as children can see the language being used in a text and therefore are better able to transfer it into their own writing.
Writing is also a key focus in the wider curriculum. Children are given the opportunity to transfer and build upon their knowledge of a genre studied during English lessons and apply this learning to a piece of work in a different subject.
Writing is taught through the five stages of the writing process:
Within each stage, different techniques are used, including:
Opportunities to participate in drama & spoken language activities
Exploring the features of different text types and modelled examples
Shared writing (modelled expectations)
Talk for writing approaches
Our whole class and ‘in the moment’ feedback approach enables teachers to focus children on the areas for improvement in their writing as well as their successes. Writing for authentic purposes and publishing a piece of writing enhances the children’s pride in their written work.
Attainment in writing is assessed regularly throughout the year.
At the three assessment checkpoints, progress is tracked, using the PiXL writing statements which align with the National Curriculum.
Regular moderation takes place, to quality assure judgements made. These are either in house, or as part of a hub of local schools.
End of Key Stage writing: teachers will assess a selection of pieces of writing in Years 2 and Year 6, using this to inform reported Teacher Assessment judgements. Exemplification materials are used to support judgements made.
In KS2, children will be taught to self-correct, edit and improve their writing and that of others. Evidence of this can be found in books, in green pen.
Pupil voice: Response to different writing sequences is noted to help inform future teaching.
Download the Word Lists:
For further information on the new curriculum:
Phonics continues to be taught in Key Stage 2 where spelling rules and patterns are investigated, taught and practiced. Common ‘exception’ words are also taught. In addition to this the children use ‘Clued Spelling’ which is an individualised spelling programme driven by the children and closely monitored by the teaching staff. We have also subscribed to ‘Spellodrome’ which is an online learning tool which the children can access freely at home by logging in to the ‘Mathletics and Spellodrome’ site. This online tool enables children to practise their spellings being taught at school, whilst building points to enhance their avatar.
Lists of words are sent home each week for children to learn. These might be common ‘exception’ words, words relating to the class’ theme or lists of words that fit a particular pattern or rule.