We believe that every child can be a successful writer. By using the PYP framework to help deliver the vital cross-curricular skills of the National Curriculum, we ensure that every lesson is an opportunity to learn, develop and master English through a flexible timetable.
Using the PYP inquiries as inspiration provides pupils with real reasons to write about issues that are important to them from helping the environment to improving their local community. These “real life” writing prompts are complimented by a range of opportunities for fiction writing. A variety of high-quality books are used to inspire children and help expand their vocabulary allowing them to create their own stories, characters and settings with vivid descriptions.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Reading is taught daily in a variety of ways, including individual reading, group reading and whole class reading. In the younger years, Reading Rainbows are utilised to teach the key skills, domains and competencies of the primary reading curriculum to develop pupils into more confident explorers of a range of text types. As pupils move into the upper years of the school, they transfer onto the VIPERS approach to reading.The six domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics, such as decoding, fluency and prosody. The VIPERS method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions. It allows the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.
Our classrooms have well stocked libraries that the children access throughout the day, and we have a large library for the whole school community to use too. In turn, this exposure to decodable books and a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books engenders a love of reading amongst pupils and staff; something which is celebrated in and outside of the classroom.
Reading books are sent home on Mondays and Fridays. The books are sent home with a reading record book which acts as a dialogue between home and school.
Being confident spellers is something we value highly at Oaks Primary Academy. Our spellings, which are linked to our phonics approach, are split into two sections; each week, pupils will be taught a spelling rule (this will make up 5/6 of their weekly 10 spelling words) as well as at least four words which do not follow the conventional rules. The latter of these will be taken from high frequency words or the year group spelling list. This ensures children are exposed to the full coverage of the National Curriculum. Online learning platforms, such as Sir Linkalot, are used to ensure digital engagement both in school and at home.
At Oaks Primary Academy, we use the programme ‘Phonics International’ throughout EYFS, KS1 and beyond to enable our pupils to become confident readers and writers.
The cycle for teaching is thus:
Revisit and Review
- Point to the sound & say
- Say the sound & point
Introduce new grapheme/phoneme correspondence
- Model blending & segmenting
Reading the cumulative decodable words
- Sound buttoning
Writing the words
- Segmenting for spelling
- Dictating simple sentences
As soon as the children are familiar with the visual, this is replaced by presenting the grapheme as text, then print and cursive writing. Tricky words are an essential part of any phonics teaching. Words are introduced and/or revisited in every session to ensure that children are able to read and spell the words correctly.
This learning is supported by means of decodable books and other works to promote a love of reading.
Incidental teaching (in the moment) is at the centre of our ethos. Children are exposed to all of the phonemes/graphemes and are taught how to use them when they are needed.They are modelled correctly by all adults and the children are encouraged to use the skills of segmenting and blending in their own work.
In Nursery, we focus on developing pupils’ phonological awareness skills in order to prepare pupils for the more formal teaching of the alphabetic code. This ensures pupils are able to identify and manipulate oral language.
In Year One, the children undertake the Phonics Screening Check in term six. The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments” that take about four to nine minutes to complete. The child reads 40 decodable words which are a mixture of real and pseudo words. The check is taken again in Year Two for any children that did not meet the threshold in Year One.
At Oaks Primary Academy, we use a continuous cursive handwriting style.
We use the Teach Handwriting website to support and model the correct handwriting. Follow the link to find examples of each letter: