English and Phonics
We believe that a high quality education will teach all pupils to speak, read and write in English fluently so that they can communicate ideas and emotions to others and others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually. Reading enables pupils both to acquire knowedge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.
Our approach to phonics and reading:
At Ark Byron we use the Read, Write, Inc. (RWI) Phonics programme, which is a synthetic phonics and literacy programme for all Reception and Year 1 children within the school. Children learn the 44 common phonetic sounds in order to be able to independently blend them to develop reading, writing and spelling skills.
The RWI sessions take place each day for all reception and Year 1 (and some Year 2) pupils, as the pace and consistency of the programme is a key element to developing reading skills for all children which is integral for accessing the rest of the school curriculum.
Our ultimate aims and objectives within the Read Write Inc programme are for the children to be able to learn and apply sound blending skills and to learn to segment words in order to be able to decode words on the page and go on to create skilled and confident readers. Children also learn to read and spell words that do not conform to regular phonetic patterns (High Frequency Words) and decode both fiction and non-fiction texts through discussion, performance and teacher led activities.
In Reception each week a book is used as a focus for the learning. Beyond Reception, there is also a focus on studying books in detail in order to develop reading comprehension, grammar and vocabulary as well as a stimulus for writing. We use a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts in English lessons to inspire a love of reading.
From Year 1 onwards children have daily reading lessons - "Reading Revolution" (in addition to reading during their phonics lesson where children are on the phonics programme). Children are introduced to challenging texts and are guided to develop their comprehension and inference skills. We believe that all pupils should be given access to high quality literature and these books are usually linked to the half-termly topic, with the aim of supporting the development of vocabulary and knowledge of the topic .
The school now benefits from its own library. Pupils are supported to select books to borrow.
In Reception there are many fun activites to help pupils develop their fine motor skills ready for writing. Ask Mrs Coetzer and Miss Gillies about "dough disco" sessions!
English lessons, for all year groups, typically feature writing and help to build pupil skills in grammar and spelling. Writing is frequently linked to topic work so that pupils can apply their writing skills in a variety of contexts.
Speaking and Listening
The spoken word is a starting point for high quality writing. Communication skills are practised in each lesson, where talking with peers is a constant feature. Conversation and debating are developed through explicit teaching, including our Philosophy for Children lessons, where pupils practise expressing and justifying their ideas, agreeing and disagreeing with others.
Children take part in activities to build presentation skills and every year group performs in at least one production every year.