At Cherry Orchard Primary Academy (COPA) we value the importance of Early Literacy skills. These are essential in enabling children to access the rest of the curriculum. As noted in our most recent Ofsted Report “leaders know that every child must be taught to read well first”.
There is a high expectation of English skills within all subjects which are embedded within our Academy’s curriculum.
Children will be taught to;
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate the rich and varied literary heritage of our school community
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
Rigorous assessment and review will ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in literacy; we believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to develop a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
At Cherry Orchard we follow a highly effective and Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) Programme (Read Write Inc). This starts without delay in Reception while our Nursery Children learn to become phonologically aware. All of the resources and carefully matched phonics books, are in place to give children everything they need to read. Staff are extensively well trained to teach pupils to read.
Through the Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc (RWI) programme fundamental building blocks are put in place at an early stage enabling children to make rapid progress. We are passionate about the RWI programme which is now well established having been in place since the Academy opened in 2017.
On completion of the RWI programme children will continue to develop their literacy skills as they progress through the school. By the time our children leave Cherry Orchard they will all be fully literate in reading, writing and speaking and listening.
We believe that reading opens the window to further learning opportunities and developing a love of reading underpins all of this. We strongly believe that this is one of the most important skills you can teach a child.
We teach phonics through the Read, Write, Inc (RWI) Ruth Miskin phonics programme which has been validated by the DfE. RWI is a systematic, fast paced approach to teaching phonics. Children read decodable books that match their phonic level. Termly assessments take place to monitor progress. Children work at their ‘goldilocks spot’ meaning they work at the right challenge level for them based on stage not age. Groups are fluid to ensure children are always working within the right level.
Once children are off of the RWI programme (for most this is by the end of the first term in Year 2) they continue to be taught specific reading skills within their reading lessons based on the National Curriculum. Reading skills are introduced and taught through the “Pawsome Reading Gang”- Rex the Retriever, Arlo the Author, Cassie the Commentator, Predicting Pip, Summarising Sheba, Inference Iggy and Vocabulary Victor. These are also used throughout KS2 as children continue to develop their fluency, expression and comprehension. Regular assessment continues through the use of the Accelerated Reader (AR) Star Reading Assessments.
Home Reading books and Accelerated Reader (AR) ZPD Levels
Children on the RWI programme take home decodable books which are matched to their RWI group level. When appropriate we encourage children to choose their own books to help develop their sense of agency, giving them opportunities to make independent choices.
Children off of the RWI programme are given a ZPD (zone of proximal development) range and are able to choose books in their reading level to read at home.
Children using Accelerated Reader are able to choose books within their ZPD level range and take quizzes on the books after they have read them to gauge their understanding of the text. Teachers can use quiz scores to support assessment of reading. Children only take quizzes in school to ensure that these have been completed independently.
Children who are using Accelerated Reader (AR) also have a MyON account to access online e-books. Myon and AR accounts are linked so that book suggestions are within the children’s ZPD level range. MyOn can be accessed both at home and in school. MyON has a vast library of over 7000 digital books as well as news articles for the children to read and enjoy.
All classes use high quality texts to help develop vocabulary and foster a love for reading and listening to stories. Where possible, these are linked to the lines of inquiry being taught in class through the IB. Story time is prioritised and timetabled every day.. Class texts may also be selected to focus on a particular theme or author and are representative of the children in our academy.
Literacy skills are embedded within all of our lessons to ensure children are given time to embed their skills. We provide writing opportunities across the day linking to the children’s unit of inquiry where possible. Children are introduced to different genres and write for a purpose.
Each class visits our school library once a week to choose a book to read for pleasure or to share with somebody at home. This book does not need to be the same level as their home reading book. Class teachers read to their classes at least once daily in story time to help develop that love for stories. Additional opportunities for children to listen to stories include assembly times and when the class teacher is reading the class text.
Each year, children take part in a range of events to celebrate World Book Day. We host in-school book fairs even during the covid-19 pandemic a virtual book fair was arranged so that children did not miss out on having a book fair despite not being in school. Story and drama workshops are often arranged.
Teachers follow the National Curriculum and TT Education progression guides to plan discrete SPAG lessons where appropriate and intertwine the skills being taught into writing / English sessions. Weekly spellings are sent home for the children to learn. In KS1 these are
Children develop writing skills in accordance with the National Curriculum aims for their year group. Class Teachers use progression documents to ensure writing is planned for effectively. Where possible writing is linked to the central idea and lines of inquiry children are investigating each term. This means that the National Curriculum acts as the bare minimum standard of expectations while the IB PYP enhances this and allows children to learn deeper knowledge about particular subjects.
Handwriting and Fine Motor
Children in EYFS and KS1 follow the Ruth Miskin Handwriting Stages, this is to ensure a consistent approach with learning to read and write. When ready children will continue developing their handwriting with the aid of the Letter Join Handwriting Scheme.
Nursery Reading & Writing
Before moving on to the RWI programme children start to develop their phonological awareness through 6 main aspects; environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and voice sounds.
Children also have a “Book of the Week” that they focus on.
Children are given lots of opportunities to “Mark Make” through their play using many different mediums. This could take both inside and outside the classroom using paper, the playground, chalk boards, white boards etc. Children are then introduced to “A sound a week” from January and opportunities are given for the children to practise writing these letters where appropriate.
Fine and gross motor opportunities are prioritised with the understanding that children will find it challenging to mark make unless these muscles are developed.
Aside from statutory assessments we use a range of methods to assess the impact of our English Curriculum including;
- Pupil Voice
- Evidence of Knowledge and Skills
- Outcomes and End points
Through the teaching of systematic phonics children become fluent and confident readers by the end of KS1. As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and information, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum. At Cherry Orchard, it is clear that children enjoy reading regularly, for information and pleasure. Children discuss books with excitement and interest. They enjoy writing and use features of a range of genres. Children can confidently write for different purposes and audiences.
As a result we have a community of confident writers and readers who develop a love for reading and every child reaches their full potential.
“Teach a child to read and keep that child reading and we will change everything. And I mean everything.” Jeanette Winterson