High-level skills in reading allow children to access information across the curriculum and to make the most of all the learning opportunities they encounter. We believe that engendering a love of reading, along with developing phonetic skills, is key to supporting children's progress in both reading and writing.
We use the letters and sounds programme for teaching phonics, the technical process of learning to read in English. Letters and sounds is a teaching programme developed by the UK government to support children's phonics learning. The programme is divided into six main phases or sections, which are taught from the start of Reception onwards. Class teachers track children's progress in phonics and prepare them to take the statutory phonics check at the end of Year 1.
Since we understand that reading is ultimately about more than just the ability to decode words and because we believe that each child is individual, we recognise that no single reading scheme will both motivate children to want to read and address the needs of all the learners in our school. For this reason, from the start of schooling upwards, we use a mixture of 'real books' alongside a wide range of levelled readers. By 'real' books we mean non-scheme books written by authors who are focused on the narrative rather than the phonetic content. In addition to these, we use levelled readers taken from a range of published reading schemes, including books from the Bug Club, the Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat and others. The range of books exposes children to a diverse range of writing, including stories, traditional tales, non-fiction, graphic novels and poetry.
We use a range of strategies to encourage a love of books and reading: in younger classes teachers have an author of the week, for example Anthony Browne; parents are invited into their children's classes as mystery readers to share a favourite book or poem with the class, and when children are older they will take part in exciting book related activities, such as our Book Oscars.
We also support our parents by providing access to a virtual library of age appropriate digital reading books. This is provided via RM Books, a virtual library which allow families at Alma Primary to download and read e-books on tablets or computers.
Communication Through Writing
Literacy teaching at Alma Primary enables every child to think critically and write creatively, using writing skills to express their ideas clearly. High quality writing is strongly linked to the development and love of reading, so we stimulate pupils' imaginations by providing an environment that is rich in good quality literature to motivate children to write. In addition to exposing children to high quality writing, we also give them motivation to write by taking them to visit interesting places and giving them opportunities to reflect on local, national and global issues which affect them.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught as discreet skills throughout the school and as children grow they are taught a range to strategies to support their ability to spell the most frequently used words using an incremental approach, including using tools such as 'Squeebles Spelling' to practice spellings.
The technical skills of writing are essential to the development of young writers and we use the Letter-Join interactive writing scheme to develop cursive writing skills from Reception. We also use a range of digital tools, including apps such as 'Comic Life' to help children learn to structure their work.
If you would like any more information about our curriculum, please contact the school office.