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English

Reading

At North Bradley we aim to develop children who read fluently, independently, critically and widely.  We want children to have a love of reading for pleasure as well as being able to read for information.  Good reading skills empower the learner and are essential for accessing the curriculum and in most other aspects of everyday life.

In order to become successful readers, the children need to develop a number of strategies such as the application of phonics learning, key word recognition and the use of grammatical and contextual knowledge. We teach and practise these and other key reading skills through daily guided reading sessions, starting from Reception. During these sessions, children working on the same reading targets are grouped together and taught in a focussed way, using a variety of texts.

The children then practise these skills through their individual reading books, which they take home.  We grade these books at Key Stage 1 using the Book Bands system.  We use Oxford Reading Tree as our main reading scheme, but supplement this with books from other schemes.

At North Bradley all teachers read aloud to their class on a daily basis and regularly discuss theirs and the children’s responses to their reading.  We actively encourage the children to read for pleasure through:

  • the use of story sacks in Reception;
  • access to our lending library which contains a large stock of fiction texts as well as information books;
  • book areas in each class, with children being encouraged to borrow from these stocks in KS2;
  • the use of reading journeys and book prizes to encourage the children to read more frequently at home;                                      
  • author and storyteller visits;
  • author studies as part of the English curriculum;
  • bedtime story evenings;
  • the promotion of the summer library reading challenge.

Phonics

At North Bradley we use ‘Letters and Sounds’ to provide a high quality programme for the teaching of phonics.  Alongside this we use ‘Jolly Phonics’ to teach phoneme-grapheme correspondences.  Often phonics sessions are very active and may take place outside.  We aim to make phonics teaching enjoyable for all the pupils and to ensure they readily apply their phonics learning to blending words for reading and segmenting words for spelling.

Some words however, are more difficult to decode. The children learn these ‘tricky’ words alongside their phonic activities and we often give them actions to make them easier to remember. Learning these words is essential for fluency in reading and spelling and so they are sent home for practise.

Spelling

From Year 2 onwards at North Bradley, the children will be taught the common ‘rules’ for spelling words and are expected to apply this to their writing.  These dedicated spelling lessons take place on a daily basis and will often involve children working on whiteboards so they are all engaging in practising their learning.  We also use Spellodrome to provide a link between home learning and school.

Handwriting

At North Bradley, we believe that the ability to form letters correctly and later on, to join, is fundamental to becoming a fluent writer.  We teach the correct formation of letters in Reception and Year 1 and the children learn the main joins in Year 2.  We use ‘Write from the Start’ to support children who have difficulties in this area.

Talk for Writing

We believe that talk and drama are extremely important tools in the teaching and learning of writing.  It is essential that the children have opportunities to explore ideas in this way in order for them to produce effective, high quality written work.  Drama is a core part of our English curriculum. The Reception and Key Stage 1 classes all have vibrant role play areas, which are linked to their learning contexts and changed regularly.  The children are usually involved in the creation of these. 

As part of our English teaching we regularly use drama techniques such as freeze framing, hot seating and conscience alley to explore texts and prepare the children for writing.  We have also had many successful drama workshops.

Story making is also a very important tool that we use as a way into writing.  Through learning stories, the children are able to internalise the key language and sentence structures that they need for their own writing.

Extra Support

When appropriate, we provide 1-1 and small group interventions for children across the school who may be experiencing difficulties in their learning.  Both KS1 and KS2 have a dedicated interventions teacher who supports children at all ability levels to ensure that all children meet their full potential.

We are very proud to have achieved the Basic Skills Quality Mark for the third time which recognises our continuous improvements in the provision, practice and performance in English.

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