At Sladefield Infant School, we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in English lessons. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding in English; we do this through a vast use of different pedagogies in well planned sequenced lessons.
TEACHING READING AT SLADEFIELD
We believe that Reading is a key component of success for every child in all aspects of their learning. Reading is taught through Whole Class Guided Reading sessions and 1:1 reading. We use the 6 phases of ‘Letters and Sounds’ for our phonics teaching.
At Sladefield, the teaching of phonics begins as soon as the children enter Reception, with Phase 1. We teach phonics sessions twice daily in the early years with children making good progress in Phases 1-4 throughout the year. Once baseline assessment is completed the children begin Phase 2 and Phase 1 continues to be embedded across the year working alongside the other Phases. Early monitoring and intervention of Phase 2 takes place in Autumn 1 to ensure that no child falls behind. Any children requiring additional support will receive rapid daily catch-up by teachers and TAs. Rigorous and frequent formative assessments are used throughout the Reception year to monitor progress and to introduce the next stage of development. This ensures that every child has the chance to succeed in Phonics and Reading. All SEND children that would benefit from small group support have this opportunity.
Phonics is taught once a day four times a week. The majority of the children in Year 1 begin on Phase 5, in the case of children that are on previous Phases, such as Phases 2 and 3, these children will be taught in a small group and monitored by the class teachers. Initial assessments on Phase 5 are carried out in Autumn 1 to ensure that any children that require intervention will receive it without delay.
Phonics is taught four times a week. The majority of the children in Year 2 begin on Phase 6. Early monitoring leads to intervention groups for children that need a recap of Phase 5 because they did not pass the Phonics Check.
In order to develop children’s fluency, children are also heard on a 1:1 where a member of staff will listen to the child read and identify any strengths and weaknesses in their reading recording in both a Reading Record sheet and the child’s Home Reading Slip for liaison with the parents.
TEACHING WRITING AT SLADEFIELD
From entry into Reception, children are given opportunities to develop fine motor and gross motor skills through a range of activities and a wealth of media. Mark making is encouraged in all aspects. Children take part in a daily gross motor session which develops their core strength ready for handwriting. Handwriting sessions are introduced where the children are encouraged to hold pencils using the correct grip and are taught to form each letter of the alphabet.
The formal teaching of writing follows a structure linked to phonics. It stems from oral work and follows modelling from the adults. Children go through the process of writing initial sounds, whole words and then simple sentences. These will be linked to a whole class text which will become familiar to them throughout the duration of the topic. Children have opportunities to practise their mark making and writing through continuous provision.
KEY STAGE ONE
Key Stage One children are taught to write through a carefully well planned programme, which includes aspects such as Visual Literacy. At Sladefield, we have found that the specific support strategies provided through visual texts (for example, carefully chosen films) helps the majority of our children who are often not using English as their home language. The Speaking & Listening and Writing objectives are targeted through 3 week units of work. The writing outcome for each of these units is heavily underpinned and scaffolded by adults in class speaking and listening activities and guided and modelled writing tasks.
The topics that are taught in Key Stage One are planned by the English Leader and the school’s Topic Teams ensure this feed into our foundation curriculum. We have a focused topic to work on each half term and use a text or film relating to the overarching topic. Each English foci lasts between 2-3 weeks and includes teaching and revisiting grammar aspects. Many planned opportunities to talk about the visual texts are created within the units of work using a many different activities. This way of working promotes a confident and eager approach to writing.
We use also use the Mighty Writer programme in Reception and Year 1. Mighty Writer is used to support children with forming sentences and then improving these with the use of adjectives and different sentence starters. Each class in Year 1 and Reception has their own Mighty Writer board which includes pictures that support children with remembering different aspects of their sentence. Mighty Writer is used in Year 2 as an intervention tool.