English at St Christopher’s

Reading

The Foundations of Reading

Curriculum Intent

At St Christopher’s Primary School, we believe that reading has the power to unlock every child’s potential. Our rich English curriculum encourages our children to explore the scope and depth of quality literature by equipping them with the skills necessary to read and analyse challenging texts. Reading teaches children about the world around them – through reading, they learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills, improves the child’s ability to write well, leads to increased independence and opens the door to understanding the rest of the curriculum.

Implementation

Teachers use a variety of high-quality texts and teach using the VIPRS skills to ensure the children are using the breadth of the National Curriculum expectations. Quality picture books, poetry, children’s fiction and non-fiction are chosen to engage pupils and build up the reading strategies required for accessing rich and complex children’s literature.

In year 1 and Reception we teach shared reading a minimum of 4 times a week for a 20-30 minutes a day, following the shared reading portion of our chosen synthetic phonics scheme, FFT Success for All Phonics; pupils in year 2 follow FFT Shared Reading a minimum of 4 times a week for 30 minutes. As pupils’ early reading skills increase through the academic year, the focus in year 2 shifts to whole class shared reading sessions planned from high-quality texts in the same model as KS2, where Year 2 are introduced to our 5 VIPRS characters: Vocabulary Victor, Inference Iggy, Predicting Pip, Retrieval Rex and Sequencing Suki. In Key Stage 2, we teach a whole class shared reading session for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, four times a week. In Year 3, the children are introduced to three new characters to aid their reading skills: Commentating Cassie, Arlo the Author and Summarising Sheba.

 

Within each class, there is an additional 10 minutes a day for individual reading, reading for pleasure, and sharing class novels and poems. Individual reading is tracked by the class teacher and recorded on Serial Mash, our online journal. The children take ownership of filling this out daily and the adult at home is expected to sign it when they have read with their child. Every child is heard read by an adult in school at least once a week; children in KS1, and those identified as needing reading support in KS2, are heard read more regularly by the teacher or another adult.

Book club is a time to recommend books to pupils for class reading and reading at home. Book club is a space on the timetable – not time squashed in as an afterthought – for teachers to promote books and for pupils to make recommendations to each other.  (reading framework). Children from EYFS to Year 6 also get to enjoy Book Club once a fortnight. This is an opportunity to learn about new books, try different genres and talk about what they enjoy about reading.

In our books you will see:

  • Record of children progressing to read increasingly challenging books (closely matched to the phonics phase young and struggling readers have attained)
  • Evidence of a wide range of texts being read and discussed as a class.
  • Evidence of children practising key reading skills using the VIPRS characters to help.

Tracking attainment and progress

  • Termly PiRA tests for years 1,3,4 & 5
  • SAT’s Tests for years 2 & 6
  • Targeted questioning in 1:1, small group and whole class shared reading sessions.
  • All the above informs teachers’ assessments on Target Tracker.

Phonics

Intent  

At St Christopher’s we are committed to providing great reading provision and developing pupils’ proficiency in, and love of, reading. We ensure that all children have the skills, knowledge and understanding to become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that high-quality phonics teaching improves literacy levels and gives all children a solid base on which to build and develop their reading habits so that they read widely and often for reading and information. Through daily, systematic and consistent high-quality phonics teaching, children learn to blend and segment words for reading and spelling. To allow our children to develop a strong phonemic awareness and effective blending, decoding and comprehension skills, we have chosen to use a DfE Validated synthetic phonics programme (SSP) called FFT Success for All Phonics from FFT. The programme supports our intentions to teach children to read and write independently so that they are able to access a broad and exciting curriculum and flourish as learners throughout their time at our school.  

 

Implementation  

We maintain fidelity in the implementation of our phonics teaching by using FFT Success for All Phonics which allows the children to learn phonics through a highly structured programme of daily lessons across FS/KS1, using a variety of fun activities in multi-sensory and systematic ways. Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practice together and apply what they have learned and celebrate their achievements. It follows the teaching principles of:  

  • Revisit and Review 
  • Teach and Model 
  • Practise and Apply 
  • Celebrate Achievement and Assess 

Time is incorporated to allow for consolidation so that children can secure their skills, knowledge and understanding.  

The programme is underpinned by a set of seven core principles designed to support all teachers and children.  

Core principles:  

  • Systematic Progression 
  • Regular Assessment 
  • Early Intervention 
  • Multisensory Approach 
  • Co-operative Learning 
  • Application of Skills 
  • Reduced Workload and Collegiate Approach

Reading materials have been designed to support rapid and sustained progress and are well-matched to the scope and sequence of the programme. A comprehensive set of 68 decodable shared readers is provided by the programme and supplemented by additional reading materials that match the teaching sequence.  

The FFT Success for All Phonics Scope and Sequence is set out clearly and provides detailed guidance and support for teachers to plan and deliver high quality lessons. A synthetic approach to teaching ‘pure sounds’ and the skills of segmenting and blending are incorporated into the teaching and learning materials. Lessons are planned so that children build on their skills sequentially and systematically and can be adapted and modified to meet the needs of the children accordingly.  

Impact  

Through the consistent, systematic and daily teaching of the FFT Success for All Phonics programme, our aim is for children to become fluent, confident readers by the end of Key Stage One.  

Children are regularly assessed informally by the teacher within the lessons and over a sequence of lessons to ensure they keep up. If children need additional support, they are provided with keep-up sessions to ensure they stay on track with the rest of the class. This includes using our FFT tutoring programme, Tutoring with the Lightning Squad, and additional interventions through KS1 and KS2 where appropriate. More formal assessments are completed every half term using FFT’s Reading Assessment Programme (RAP) which covers all KS1 assessments including phonics skills, decoding, reading fluency, comprehension and the Year 1 phonics screening check. 

Children who require further additional support (catch-up) are identified using a range of assessment information and will be supported through small group or one-to-one interventions. 

At the end of Year 1 children are statutorily assessed using the Phonics Screening Check. This screening check confirms whether the child has met the appropriate phonics standard and can be used diagnostically to identify areas that need further attention going forward. Children who do not meet the required standard will continue their phonics lessons so that they are ready to retake the screening at the end of Year 2.  

Through the FFT Success for All Phonics programme and our commitment to phonics teaching, children will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to decode unfamiliar words using a range of strategies. They will have a firm phonic base to support them on their literacy journey through school. They will develop their fluency and comprehension skills, take pleasure in exploring the rich literary world around them, acquire a love of reading and flourish as readers. 

Parents guide to SfA Phonics

Phonics Weekly Scope and Sequence

Writing

EYFS Writing Provision

Writing 

EYFS Writing Provision 

Curriculum Intent 

At St Christopher’s Primary School, we strive to create a learning environment where writing is valued, celebrated, and enjoyed. We recognise that writing is a vital tool for communication and proficiency in this area is essential for enabling learners to flourish in all aspects of life. The school’s writing curriculum encourages all children to express themselves creatively, develop higher-order thinking skills and write for a range of purposes and audiences in different styles. Writing is given a high profile in our school and children are given meaningful opportunities to apply their learning across the curriculum. We are committed to cultivating the children’s confidence in spoken and written English, so that each child may go on to fulfil their potential and participate fully in society. 

Implementation 

St Christopher’s rich writing curriculum exposes our children to challenging and quality literature that opens possibilities for developing the children’s writing skills and is designed to meet the needs of our children. Each unit of work emerges from core texts that provide excellent examples for further writing opportunities.  

 

For every year group, years 1-6, these core texts include a minimum of: 

 

  1. One text from our literary heritage  
  1. One ‘Opening Doors’ unit  
  1. One playscript  
  1. One longer text  
  1. One non-fiction text  
  1. One ‘diverse’ text  
  1. One traditional tale  
  1. Three poetry units  

These can cross over e.g. a text from our literary heritage can also be a poem; a playscript could also have a BAME author  

 

Children are clear on the purpose for writing and who the audience for their writing will be. Each unit of work also teaches the complete writing process (planning, drafting, sharing, evaluating, revising, editing, publishing) and maps out the relevant national curriculum objectives for each year group. Following our writing progression documents, children’s writing skills progress as they move up the school, building on and extending the skills in previous years.  

In our books you will see: 

  • Daily or weekly targets with clear learning objectives, related success criteria and an opportunity for children to reflect on their learning. 
  • Toolkits for each unit of work prompting children to assess their use of structure, grammatical features and vocabulary in their writing, linked to our progression documents. 
  • Evidence of children editing and redrafting their work.  
  • Evidence of children developing their knowledge of grammar, punctuation, phonics and/or key spelling patterns for their year group. 
  • At least one piece of extended writing completed independently for each unit of work (these may be completed in moderation books) 

Tracking attainment and progress 

  • Termly writing assessments using Alison Philipson assessment grids. 
  • Writing moderation in year groups and across phases/schools every long term. 
  • Targeted questioning and observation of written work across the term. 
  • All the above informs teachers’ assessments on Target Tracker. 

Further Information