Statement of Intent - Reading
At Hill Top, our main aim is to ensure every single child becomes a reader. We believe that all pupils should be given the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture which promotes a love of reading, knowledge of authors, and an enhanced understanding of the wider world obtained from the texts they read. We understand the importance of parents and carers in the development of their child’s reading and encourage a home-school partnership to enhance the skills being taught in school.
Implementation - Reading
EYFS and Key Stage One:
Phonics is an important daily lesson in each class from Nursery through to Year 2. The school follows the ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme which develops the pupils’ ability to hear, discriminate, recognise and write the sounds. The Curriculum also supports pupils’ phonic development and we are working in line with the curriculum content provided. Each year in the Summer term, Year One pupils undertake the National Phonic Screening Check which assesses their ability to apply what they have learnt. Pupils are expected to reach a benchmark level. Our parents are excellent at supporting the school with Phonics and Reading homework tasks. Pupils take reading books home daily to practise, improve their skills and enjoy texts. In Year One, some of our pupils are introduced to the Accelerated Reader scheme.
Key Stage One and Two:
At Hill Top, pupils are taught the comprehension skills needed to become successful readers using the ‘Big 10 Reading Comprehension Strategies’. This approach allows for the explicit teaching of separate comprehension skills. Each term, every class in school has a class text which follows the school’s text selection grid. The texts have been selected for a variety of reasons: to ensure the yearly coverage of fiction, non-fiction and poetry; to enhance the learning experience of particular class topics, reading for pleasure, providing pupils with the opportunity to access texts they would not necessarily engage with independently; engagement of key groups of pupils; support for specific writing elements. These strategies are then applied to reading comprehensions which are often based on the topic they are currently studying.
The Accelerated Reader scheme is used alongside the ‘Big 10 Comprehension Strategies’ pupils in Years 2-6. They access books at their own reading and interest level; this enables them to enjoy and succeed with their reading. It is differentiated as they learn and grow at their own pace. Through this scheme, we ensure progression in reading skills, comprehension and exposure to a wide range of text types. At the beginning of each academic year, pupils complete a STAR reading test which assists teacher judgement in identifying a pupil’s ZPD. This is then monitored weekly and assessed half termly. Pupils move up through the levels after they have achieved three 100% scores on the Accelerated Reader quizzes. The Accelerated Reader books chosen by children provide them with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have been taught and developed. A dedicated reading session of 20 minutes in Key Stage One and 30 minutes in Key Stage Two takes place in all classes using the scheme. During this time, staff listen to pupils read, and question and challenge individual pupils linking their questions to the ‘Big 10’. Pupils take their reading books home each day and are expected to read at least three times per week at home. This is recorded in their Reading Record book.
Statement of Intent - Writing
At Hill Top, we believe that all pupils should be able to communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions with confidence through their writing. We want pupils to develop a wide vocabulary, a good understanding of grammar and be able to spell unfamiliar words by effectively applying the spelling rules and patterns they have learnt. We want pupils to write clearly and coherently with accuracy and to be able to adapt their language and style to suit a range of purposes and audiences. We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing through the development of a joined handwriting style, and that they should produce their work in a neat and purposeful way. We recognise that all good writers refine, edit and redraft their writing over time. We also understand the important role that parents and carers have in supporting their children to develop the relevant grammar, spelling and composition skills; we therefore encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school.
Implementation - Writing
Writing is taught as whole class lessons for pupils to access the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. Each year group follow a yearly overview of writing genres, both narrative and non-fiction, which are taught throughout the year. This ensures coverage of all required genres. Success criteria for each genre ensure that where genres are repeated in more than one year group, there is clear progression in the skills being taught. Non-narrative writing units are generally linked to the topics being studied. Narrative units are carefully selected and are generally linked to the IPC topics; however, stand alone narrative units are taught where this is not possible. When introducing a genre to the pupils, teachers write their own WAGOLL – ‘What a Good One Looks Like’. This acts as a model for the pupils as they familiarise themselves with the grammatical features and structure.
Grammar and punctuation elements are initially introduced and taught as discrete lessons where necessary. They can then be incorporated into a specific genre so that pupils can make more meaningful connections.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in Appendix 1 of the English National Curriculum. Teachers in years 2-6 use the No Nonsense spelling scheme which follows a systematic pathway to teach spelling rules, patterns and the strategies needed for spelling unfamiliar words.
Pupils are taught how to improve their writing and this is done through teacher modelling within the lesson. Pupils are then encouraged to edit writing in pairs until they are confident in identifying improvements and corrections more independently.
Each half term, pupils are set an independent writing challenge where they can demonstrate what they have learned. Throughout the year, pupils are expected to produce independent writing demonstrating a range of genres. These pieces of writing are marked against agreed success criteria or the end-of-year expectations for that year group. The assessments support teacher judgements and also help to identify areas of weakness either on an individual or whole-class basis.