Reading and Writing
We recognise that fluent reading is a fundamental skill that is used every day in every context, both in school and in the wider world. A priority is to encourage each child to read for pleasure and enjoyment, due to the evidence which strongly links reading for pleasure with academic attainment as well as personal development.
In school, we teach reading through one-to-one reading, guided reading and whole class reading. We select books that are carefully pitched to enable children to learn specific reading skills and strategies. The reading journey begins with learning phonics and reading simple decodable books to apply phonic skills. Once our children can read phonically decodable books fluently up to the end of Phase 5, they move onto reading book banded books. This enables them to develop wider reading skills and strategies in a clear progression, which is supportive of early reading development from Reception and through KS1. Book Bands is a system used nationally for organising books into a gradient of difficulty, according to the text characteristics and learning opportunities.
Throughout their time at St Lawrence Primary School, children are encouraged to read a variety of different kinds of texts, which both improves their reading and develops their wider knowledge and understanding of the world and vocabulary. Research has found that the more children read, the more their reading improves. We are proud of our stimulating and well-stocked school library, which encourages children to explore a wide range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment.
To encourage children to read at home and to enjoy reading, we send home books that children can read easily and fluently, particularly in Reception and KS1. The reason for this is that we want children to practise their reading skills at home and to feel successful as readers. Fluency and automaticity in word reading enables children to focus on the story or what the text is about. Parents can help their children to read by encouraging them to read with good expression and intonation and to discuss the text with them.
In KS2, children continue to take books home that are closely matched to their developing reading skills. We encourage children to read frequently and from a broad range of different text types. The focus in KS2 is to develop comprehension, so even though children have become silent readers, discussion to develop thinking about what they have read is key to children developing as readers.
At St Lawrence Primary School, we aim to equip our children with the skills they need to be able to write fluently and appropriately for a wide range of different purposes and audiences. We develop children’s writing across the whole curriculum and take every opportunity to link great texts to writing throughout the school.
We teach writing through English units which typically begin with reading age appropriate and stimulating texts, both fiction and non-fiction. Within the units, we teach all aspects of English: reading, speaking and listening, grammar and spelling. We develop language for writing through learning and retelling stories and drama, which inspires and motivates children to write creatively. We encourage children to challenge themselves by using ambitious vocabulary choices, grammatical structures and a range of punctuation, linked to the National Curriculum.
We use the No Nonsense Spelling programme to teach the spelling requirements of the National Curriculum explicitly. Through this programme, children are taught strategies to use to spell words at the point of writing, strategies to use to learn spellings and strategies to use for editing and proofreading their writing. Within English units, children apply the spelling rules and strategies that have been taught explicitly, so the learning of words from the curriculum is linked directly to children’s writing.
We teach handwriting explicitly to enable children to develop a fluent, legible writing style and we follow best practice from research, linking learning spellings to handwriting.