At Bramford Primary School we believe that reading is an essential life skill and we are committed to enabling our children to become lifelong readers.
At the heart of our strategy is our drive to foster a love of reading through a wide variety of reading materials that are culturally diverse and socially aware.
Reading is a skill that enables children to develop their learning across the wider curriculum and lays the foundations for success in their future. We recognise the importance of taking a consistent whole school approach to the teaching of reading in order to close any gaps and to target the highest possible number of children attaining the expected standard or higher.
We have high expectations of all our Griffin children and we encourage them to persevere, make links and explore in order to pursue success and achieve ‘greatness from small beginnings’ (Sic Parvis Magna).
At Bramford Primary School the systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and for all other pupils who are not yet confident readers. We use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Our staff teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. All children in Reception, Year 1 and, where necessary, Year 2 and KS2 have daily phonics sessions in ability groups where they participate in speaking, listening, spelling and reading activities that are matched to their current needs. Teachers, TAs and the Read Write Inc. reading lead draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Timely intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels as soon as their needs are identified. We recognise that systematic, high-quality phonics teaching is essential, but additional skills and opportunities are needed for children to achieve the goal of being a good reader, such as comprehension and VIPERS activities. When children have completed the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme, reading is developed during English lessons using a variety of high-quality texts and focused skill teaching. Strong links are made between reading and writing. Children read and enjoy high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts, which (where possible) are linked to their history, geography or other curriculum subjects across the curriculum. All children read aloud daily during phonics or English lessons, in addition to this, they read at least once a week with teachers, teaching assistants or reading volunteers.
All classes in The Foundation Stage Key Stage enjoy sharing books regularly throughout the week with their teacher or TA to promote reading for pleasure. The texts shared are chosen to excite and engage pupils and to expose them to new and varied vocabulary. All books shared with children are age appropriate and matched to the level of the class/individual. When ready, Key Stage 1 pupils begin to use the AR system to match books closely with their reading ability. Reading at home is encouraged and promoted through class incentives and parental workshop sessions. Children working on the Read Write Inc. programme take home a ‘book bag book’ matched directly to their current phonics level; they are also encouraged to choose an additional book to share with their family at home. These are at an appropriate level determined by their AR ZPD level and reading age. We encourage family members at home to read these books with their child and make comments in their child’s home school diary or reading record.
At Bramford, all Key Stage 2 classes use VIPERS to strengthen their reading skills. Reading lessons involve using high-quality texts to aid the recall of the six reading domains as part of our reading curriculum. These are the key areas, which children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.
The six domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading. They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these, which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.
Carefully chosen texts and passages are selected to enhance learning across the curriculum and are appropriate to the expectations of the year groups.
Children are taught to identify and use new vocabulary in context, infer meaning, make predictions based on prior reading, explain their understanding, retrieve information from the text and summarise what they have read.
We believe that regular reading at home is an important tool in developing reading skills at Bramford. We implement the Accelerated Reader system, which promotes independent reading skills. Children are challenged to take quizzes on completion of their books to check their understanding. In addition, the AR system is used as an assessment and diagnostic tool through the Star Reading Test. From this, children are given a reading age and a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), which they can then use to select an appropriate book for their level.
At Bramford, we believe that reading is key to all learning so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. Our children have the opportunity to enter the magical world of reading, encompassing different cultures and strands of society. We believe that reading does not only occur in a classroom but in all areas of the school e.g. outdoor classroom, environmental area or even just under a shady tree!
We aim for parents and carers to develop a good understanding of how they can support a love of reading at home by attending reading workshops and receiving regular reading newsletters.
Pupils develop a love of reading and read confidently to gain new knowledge across the curriculum and of the world around them. They have a sound knowledge of genres and authors enabling them to make informed choices when selecting books. We aim for all of our pupils to read fluently, accurately and with enjoyment; this is celebrated through praise assemblies, AR certificates and book tokens for our book vending machine.
At Bramford Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion and that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing and speaking. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. 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 pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a neat, handwriting style, which will be joined during Key Stage 2.
We believe that all children at Bramford will become good writers by refining and editing their writing. The children will be taught to identify their own areas for improvement, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process.
We aim to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening by listening to and discussing a wide range of poems, stories and non-fiction. We also encourage this through drama and role-play.
We understand the importance of the wider community in supporting children to develop grammar, spelling and composition skills. We also want to encourage, through Prep for Learning, a home-school partnership, which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to equip them for their future.
Our writing curriculum is delivered successfully due to the subject knowledge of all staff. Good practice is always shared between staff and is used to inform teaching and learning across the school. Children are given opportunities to write at length independently across all areas of the curriculum, using a variety of resources, for example, visits, visitors, Now Press Play, which all widen the children’s horizons. Following a sequenced build-up of skills, teachers model and allow children to practise a range of writing techniques. These extended pieces of writing are used to measure progress and set targets for children’s next steps in learning.
Curriculum maps outlining high-quality texts and genres support the planning and teaching. Alongside the curriculum map, we use many other resources to ensure that our offer is rich and varied. Teachers also implement the school’s agreed English policy. Working walls are used to scaffold the writing process and are referred to during lessons. Timetabled interventions for writing are in place for children where necessary. Children are taught spelling rules, either during phonics lessons or during designated spelling lessons. Bramford’s marking policy is used to ensure pupils are well informed of their achievements (both written and verbally) and next steps are given to ensure progress. In addition, the characteristics of effective learning are used to encourage pupils in a variety of ways e.g. to persevere, make links, explore and be creative. At Bramford, all teachers have high expectations for writing across the curriculum.
The impact of our English curriculum is that children understand the relevance and importance of what they are learning in relation to real world concepts. Children know that writing is a vital life skill that they will rely on in many areas of their daily life. Children have a positive view of writing due to learning in an environment where writing is promoted as being an exciting, engaging and enjoyable subject in which they can express themselves confidently and creatively. Our children have a good understanding of their strengths and targets for development in writing and what they need to do to improve. Our writing across the curriculum in every year group evidences work of a high standard of which children clearly take pride; the range of activities demonstrates good coverage of genre, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Our feedback and interventions support children to strive to be the best writers they can be, ensuring a high proportion of children are on track or above as evidenced through our school assessment tool, Target Tracker. Our school standards are high, we moderate our books both internally and externally through the Griffin School’s Trust West Midlands Hub, with our North Dudley Partner schools and our children are achieving well above national expectations.