English Curriculum Statement
We endeavour for our children to have the ability to express themselves eloquently in all of their literacy endeavours, having the confidence to confront future challenges with cultured minds, a thirst for knowledge and lifelong passion for reading.
Reading Curriculum Intent
During their time at our school, we want children to be inspired to have a love of reading which will enable them not only to enjoy reading for pleasure but also be used as a tool to succeed in all areas of their lives. Through their reading, they will encounter and be challenged by ideas from experiences which they would not normally be exposed to beyond their own community. We believe reading is a fundamental part of communication in an ever more connected world.
The National Curriculum 2014 programme of study for Reading at Key Stages 1 and 2, consists of two components, word reading and comprehension. It is therefore essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both of these areas. Skilled word reading involves both the swift working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the rapid recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. Good comprehension draws on vocabulary knowledge and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion and questioning by staff whilst reading a variety of quality texts. Reading increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely or never hear or use in everyday speech.
At High Oakham Primary, we believe passionately in the importance of building a love of reading from a very early age. For us, the teaching and fostering of reading begins as soon as the children join us in our Nursery or Reception classes through high-quality phonics activities, experiences and lessons and through the sharing of exciting texts. Our broad and balanced curriculum is centred around carefully selected, rich texts. In Nursery, our approach to teaching and learning is through carefully planned and child-initiated play with a strong focus on the Prime Areas, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development. Our Nursery children experience listening to and acting out different stories through roleplay and small world both indoors and in the outdoor setting. Speaking and listening form an integral part of our Nursery provision. The children begin to experience Phase 1 Letters and Sounds activities, exploring the sounds in words as opportunities arise throughout the course of the day’s activities, as well as adult-led sessions with groups and individual children. Children’s curiosity in letter shapes and written words is fostered throughout Phase One to help them make a smooth transition to Phase Two. In our F2 setting, children take part in daily Phonics lessons following the DFE published Letters and Sounds programme where they are taught to decode words by recognising the phonemes in them (for further information on the teaching of Phonics at High Oakham Primary School, please see our Phonics Policy). Systematic synthetic phonics is key to teaching children reading and writing. It provides them with strategies to decode words, which is especially important because English is such a difficult language to learn with the many different ways to make the same sounds from different letters or combinations of letters. The children are also provided with a plethora of opportunities to apply their reading skills through our continuous provision and in all areas of development across the Early Years curriculum. This continues up to Year 2 in the form of daily, 20-minute Phonics sessions. Images, songs and actions are used to support pupils and these cater for a variety of learning styles. By gifting our pupils with crucial phonic knowledge, we equip them with the tools that will quickly enable them to pick up a book and read with independence and enjoyment. This all stems from children being able to identify the ‘phonic code’.
Alongside the teaching of Phonics, we are dedicated to ensuring that the school environment is language-rich; packed full of high-quality books and provides endless story and speaking and listening opportunities. Stimulating texts form the basis of our EYFS teaching and learning. All children, starting from our very youngest pupils in Nursery, will take home a weekly Reading for Pleasure book. It is our intention that this will provide them with a range of quality texts to read or have read to them, fostering a love of books and reading! We believe that active encouragement of reading for pleasure is a core part of every child’s educational entitlement, whatever their background or attainment. Extensive reading and exposure to a wide range of texts makes a vital contribution to every child’s educational achievement. Reading for pleasure at our school aims to establish each child as a lifetime reader.