Literacy is a umbrella heading for several areas of teaching within the school. Here you can find details of the main areas of literacy and the school's approach.
These are the main sections:
Phonics and Spelling
Punctuation and Grammar
Here at St Anne’s we are passionate about reading.
‘Reading is important, because if you can read, you learn anything about everything and everything about anything’
– Tomie DePaola (American writer)
We start children in Reception with sharing books that they can choose in class to take home and share with their families. Once the teaching of phonics is well established within the class children start to take home books at the phonic level in which they are working. This encourages them to practise and share their learning at home. To support this, the school has a wide range of decodable phonic books from the well-known DFE approved scheme; The Oxford Reading Tree.
As children move into year 1 and become more confident, independent readers, they move through the Oxford Reading Tree levels. When teachers feel that children are ready they are introduced to the schools Accelerated Reader Scheme.
This scheme moves the focus of reading away from just decoding text, to actually understanding what is being read. This reading comprehension is vital and we strongly believe that the move from children ‘Learning to Read’ towards ‘Reading to Learn’ is a vital stage of their development and something that needs to be continually focussed upon.
The Accelerated Reader scheme allows children to take regular STAR quizzes. These are online and completed in school. A child reads a sentence or short paragraph and answers a series of multiple choice questions based upon what they have read. The STAR quiz Is an ‘intelligent’ quiz. If a child gets the answers correct, it slowly starts to build the difficulty level of the questions. IF a child starts to get questions wrong, it will start to make questions easier.
Once the test is over the teacher receives the computer analysed result. This provides the teacher with an approximate ‘Reading Age’ indication and also a ZPD level range. ZPD stands for the ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ The ZPD range suggested is the range of books that would most suit that individual child’s level of reading to, not only provide the child with success, but also to challenge them in specific areas of vocabulary understanding and comprehension. Once this ZPD level is established, children go on to read books. Their comprehension development is then monitored further. As a child completes a book they are invited to take a ‘Book Quiz’ on that title. Once again, this establishes a child’s level of understanding about the book they have read. Teachers can monitor these scores on a weekly and even daily basis. They are able to praise children and discuss certain titles with them, or support them if children are not understanding books that they are choosing to read. Extra support may be in the form of additional reading with an adult to discuss the book with the child and establish understanding through conversation about different texts..
Another benefit of this scheme is that it is not tied to one specific set of books. The Accelerated Reader scheme features books that have been ZPD levelled from a wide range of titles. Although Oxford Reading Tree books are ZPD levelled, so are thousands of titles from famous children’s authors, such as Roald Dahl, Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson, David Williams and even J.K Rowling and the wonderful Harry Potter series. Although children select books within their set ZPD level, they can choose from a vast array of titles. This autonomy of choice, helps children to develop a love for reading and interest in specific authors as well as confidence to try books they may never have explored if they were stuck to a specific reading scheme.
As part of the school's home learning policy, children are encouraged to read daily at home. This is supported in school as well with regular 1:1 reading for younger children and those that still require some additional reading support within KS2. There is also a daily Guided Reading session timetabled each day within each class for all children.
The school also has a well-resourced, designated library that is open for children to use during some lunchtime periods. You can often find older children in the library supporting younger ones with their reading.
The importance of Oracy
There has been a huge amount of research to show that the numbers of young children entering into education at primary schools and who require further support with speech and language are growing. There are many reasons given for this including the increased use of technology in every-day lives as well as busy family lives getting in the way of providing rich talking opportunities at home.
Here at St Anne’s we have been researching the impact of speaking and listening or oracy skills. It is clear that this impacts on all areas of learning and development from social and emotional development through to academic development. Children need an ever increasing range of vocabulary to use in their everyday lives. Playing, negotiating and communicating with friends and family all require a child to be understood or frustrations set in. Within children’s learning, especially within writing, the importance of the spoken word is something that can sometimes be forgotten. Put simply, if a child cannot say it, they will find it incredibly difficult to write it. With the growing expectations on improving children’s all around literacy skills, it is vital that oracy is at the heart of all teaching and learning.
In 2020, St Anne’s decided to focus more on the importance of oracy across all areas of the curriculum. New curriculum subject areas have been developed that encourage the introduction and understanding of key vocabulary and to create opportunities to practise and develop oracy skills. Staff have received training on how to incorporate oracy focused activities within their day to day teaching. The leadership team has started to develop a longer term strategy to develop oracy across the school. Sadly COVID has impacted on the delivery of this, however the school is determined to continue to develop in the area going forward.
In 2020, the school was invited to be part of the Nuffield Early Language Intervention project that is supported by the DfE and has been researched by the Education Endowment Foundation. This program has provided specific and specialised staff training and resources to support a small number of children entering Reception and Year 1 who require some additional language support.
The school is hoping to continue the development of Oracy with the support of the local authority advisors and through the Cambridge University Oracy Project led by Neil Mercer. The Cambridge University Oracy Project has a framework to highlight the four main areas of Oracy and how this can be broken down within a teaching environment.
Click here to view a copy of the frame work.
At St Anne’s, we strive to provide the children with creative and enjoyable purposes for writing; where possible, the learning is linked with the children’s topics and interests to motivate them. During daily English lessons, children are taught the skills to become creative, independent writers who are able to apply the technical aspects of writing in a variety of text types or genres as well as consider the impact of the text on the reader.
To support your child in understanding the basic features and structures of each text type Click Here to view a helpful document.
English units are taught in phases. During the first phase, children are immersed in a variety of text types that they are able to enjoy, whilst learning and analysing the text’s features in order to use these in their own writing. During this phase, the children practise their speaking and listening skills through activities such as role play and Talk For Writing.
In the second phase, children are taught the grammatical features that they will need to use in order to be able to write in the style that they are learning. Finally, in the third phase, the children apply these new skills, as well their previous learning, to create their final piece of text. This model is adapted to meet the learning needs of the children in different Key Stages, as well as children with different needs within individual classes.
Regular attention is given to the presentation and handwriting in the children’s books as we believe that the children deserve to take pride in the work that they have produced.
Phonics and Spelling
Phonics is taught from Reception class through to year 2, however year 1 children will take a Phonic Screening test at the end of the year to support the monitoring of progress.Phonic sounds are taught in a sequence.The order in which the sounds are taught support children to use them to blend simple words at an early stage and supports early reading and writing. Although phonics are taught within all lessons, Reception and KS1 classes have a dedicated 20 minute lesson each day.
At St Anne's we use the following sequence for the teaching within each phonic lesson.
We use a variety of resources to support phonic teaching but all classes in Reception and KS1 use the Read Write Inc phonic sound cards with simple images on to support childrens recall of the sounds and to learn how to form the corresponding letters.
During Year 2, children start to transition from Letters and Sounds phonics teaching to learning and applying different spelling stratagies. To support this within the school, we use the No Nonsense Spelling Program. The program follows the National Curriculum expectations and provides a guide for teachers to use to plan for the teaching of spelling. This includes the teaching of spelling conventions, patterns and rules. To support children's learning it provides lists of the statutory words to be taught as well as common exception words and personal spellings.
Although Year 2 children have a dedicated phonic/spelling lesson each day, children in KS2 tend to have 5 spelling sessions taught across a 2 week period. The structure of the lesson follows a similar pattern to phonic lessons in regard ot Revise, Teach, Practice and Apply. Although the practising of spellings is encouraged at home, the school's Home Learning Policy outlines the ways in which they are done. At St Anne's we have found that the 'Traditional' way of sending spellings home each week to learn, can be unproductive for children. This method can lead to spellings only being remembered through children's short term memory and just long enough for them to pass a weekly test. Time and again we found that children passing weekly spelling tests were struggling to secure spellings into their long term memory and apply them within their writing. The No Nonsense Spelling Program is built around a range of activites that help children retain spelling strategies so that they can apply them within their work.
Click on the image below to access the program for each year group from 2-6.
Punctuation and grammar
Punctuation and grammar are taught through a variety of descrete lessons as well as being embedded within literacy lessons. Children are taught the correct grammatical terms and these are introduced at different stages throughout a child's time at St Anne's. The knowledge organisers give you an overview of the terms taught within each year group (year 1 to year 6):
Year 1 Knowledge Organiser for Punctuation and grammar - Click here
Year 2 Knowledge Organiser for Punctuation and grammar - Click here
Year 3 Knoweldge Organiser for Punctuation and grammar - Click here
Year 4 Knowledge Organiser for Punctuation and grammar - Click here
Year 5 Knowldge Organiser for Punctuation and grammar - Click here
Year 6 Knowledge Organiser for Puncutation and grammar - Click here