"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." ~ Stephen King
At Radstock, we promote high quality texts by a range of diverse and inspirational authors. Many of these texts are taken from the recommendations of The Power of Reading. Children fully immerse themselves in each text for a full half term as this sets them up to write with a depth of understanding throughout the unit of work.
Children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 are taught reading skills through the highly structured and effective phonics programme, Read, Write Inc. Year 2 spend 40 minutes each day on the comprehension element of the programme.
From Year 2, children also practise Echo Reading whereby they listen to the teacher reading a text, a sentence at time, before repeating it exactly as the teacher did, with intonation. We have found that this helps the children to have a better understanding of what they read. This is further developed from Year 3 where the children begin to read the text, marking it when they hear pauses or emphasis for example.
Children in Key Stage 2 spend at least an hour each week focusing on reading skills. This involves discussing and researching the meanings of key words in texts, both to extend the children’s vocabulary and aid understanding of what they are reading. Children also analyse texts, identifying features of genres or discussing the author’s word choices and the effect they create, for example. In addition to this, teachers model identifying the key words in questions and guide the children in answering those requiring retrieval, inference and author’s choices.
Children are expected to read every day from FS2 onwards and are rewarded dojos (points) for doing this. Other opportunities for reading include weekly visits to the EYFS or school libraries, occasional visits to the local library or reading with volunteers from Reading University.
A continuous cursive style is used at Radstock. Children in EYFS learn how to form individual letters. From Year 1, the expectation is that the children will begin to join letters together. As they do so, their writing becomes more fluent and supports them when writing at greater length as they move through the school.
Once children complete the Read, Write Inc programme, they follow the National Curriculum spelling programme which follows a clear progression. This includes Common Exception Words for Year 1, Year 2, Years 3-4 and Years 5-6 and spelling rules. Children receive spelling homework from the end of Year 1. From Year 2, homework includes words with specific spelling rules and patterns, words an individual needs to practise and Learning Project vocabulary linked to our work in the wider curriculum.
Much of the inspiration for writing comes from the texts that the children immerse themselves in, each half term. We discuss what we are going to write, the purpose (to persuade, inform, persuade or discuss) and the audience. Also, before writing, decisions are made about the purpose and effect that we want to create and the elements we will need to include to achieve this. Series of lessons are planned which support the children to achieve this end goal.
One of our main aims for our children is that they leave primary school able to write coherently. To this end, short daily grammar sessions have been introduced so children can revisit what they have met in previous years. New learning is taught in longer sessions and where possible links to the type of writing the children are doing at that time.
Curriculum Leaders: Mrs Lee and Miss Dickson