Learning to read is one of the most vitally important life skills.
At Paganel we recognise that reading is at the heart of learning and we strive to ensure that every child becomes a keen and confident reader; leaving us at the end of Year 6 equipped to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.
In our approach to the teaching of reading, we aim to build on the strong foundations of the teaching of a rigorous systematic phonics programme in EYFS by ensuring that all children are exposed to high-quality, age-related texts, whilst still allowing teachers to meet the needs of individual learners. Reading is therefore taught across the school through a combination of whole class, small group and targeted 1-1 sessions using a range of a high quality texts to ensure that all children make good progress from their starting points.
At Paganel, we recognise the importance of fostering a love of reading both in and out of school and encourage parents to read with their child regularly. Alongside celebrations of reading, we offer access to a well-stocked library, a range of home-school readers and class libraries. In addition, all of our pupils are offered access to an online home reading programme: Bug Club Independent.
In order to help children learn to read and spell they need to develop an understanding of the 44 different letter sounds (phonics) there are in the English language. At Paganel, from the Nursery class upwards, we follow the RWI (Read Write Inc.) phonics scheme. Parents can find more information at ruthmiskin.com
At the end of Year 1 (5-6 years old) all children do the national phonics screening check to test each child’s level of understanding of the different phonics/sounds. This test is made up of 20 real words and 20 “pseudo” words, such as: fot, keb, shan, flarm, trem, shull, quigh… The expectation is that a child should score at least 32 out of 40 to reach the required standard. In 2014, 22 Paganel children (73%) achieved this standard (national = 74%) and 13 children/43% scored top marks with 40 out of 40 (national = 15%).
In 2013 the school introduced its own Paganel Super Spellers’ scheme. This has resulted in a significant improvement in children’s spelling skills, exemplified through the 2014 end of key Stage 2/ Year 6 spelling, punctuation and grammar test results with 83% attaining level 4 (National = 76%) and 60% at level 5 (National = 52%).
Should any parent/carer have any questions, queries or concerns regarding reading and phonics, or indeed any aspect of their child’s learning, then please do not hesitate to see your child’s class teacher or other staff member.
At Paganel, we encourage children to take pride and care over their work and recognise that handwriting is a key part of this. Handwriting is taught discretely at least twice a week and is modelled by teachers in writing across the curriculum. At Paganel we use Letter-join as the basis of our approach to the teaching of handwriting and our aim is for our pupils to develop a neat, legible, speedy handwriting style using continuous cursive letters.
In EYFS, the emphasis is placed on the development of children’s fine and gross motor skills by drawing pre-cursive patterns in a variety of writing materials. This supports the correct formation of letters as children develop as writers. Once they are able to write clearly and legibly using upper and lower case letters with correct joins, children are given opportunities to develop the speed of writing so that it becomes an automatic process and does not interfere with their creative and cognitive processes.
At Paganel, we aim to create an environment in which writing is valued and celebrated and where every child is encouraged to see themselves as a writer. In daily English lessons, we take a primarily ‘core’ text approach to the teaching of writing: high quality texts provide the starting points for the writing journey with progression across a range of genres mapped across the curriculum; allowing children to activate prior knowledge and create links between experiences.
Writing is taught through a combination of modelled, shared and guided writing which serve to provide a context for discussion and demonstration of grammatical features at word level, sentence level and text level. Activities are scaffolded through the use of writing frames, spelling banks, collaborative work and peer or adult support to allow all children to make good progress from their starting points. As in the teaching of reading, talk is seen as an integral part of the writing process; providing children with the opportunity to develop the confidence to question and challenge and develop and broaden their vocabulary.
Opportunities for independent writing are woven throughout a writing unit and across the wider curriculum; allowing children the chance to practise taught skills and develop and express their ideas in a range of different contexts. In writing, the editing and re-drafting processes are recognised as an integral part of the writing process and support the development of growth mindset by encouraging children to learn from their mistakes and build on successes so that they may develop as independent, confident, successful learners.
To ensure that we build on the strong foundations of the teaching of phonics in EYFS, we follow the RWI spelling programme across the school. This programme is used to discretely teach the spelling rules and patterns that are required to meet the requirements of the NC but are also embedded in the wider teaching of writing where children are encouraged to use their personal spelling logs and opportunities to practise taught spellings are provided daily.