At Medstead Primary School, we know how important reading and writing are. We understand that reading is the key to unlocking the world of language and it allows children to explore, escape and experience! Writing gives them a voice and has power to entertain, persuade and inform - to name but a few.
Our writing curriculum at Medstead, allows children to progress along learning journeys from their own starting point, developing skills along the way, which will enable them to have a voice in written form.
All of our journeys begin with a hook to engage the children. This could be an image to inspire, a dramatic experience, a piece of film or music, or a text which drives the learning. Writing journeys can be short, in some cases a week, or as a long as three weeks. Whatever the length of the journey, it will involve the children generating language, learning new skills and embedding those learned previously. There will be opportunities for children to explore vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and spelling and use these to express themselves coherently. It is vital that children see a range of good quality texts and that adults in school model the writing and reading process.
English lessons allow for apprentice writing sessions, editing and evaluating, as well as publishing writing for a range of audiences. By publishing, we mean that the children’s writing will be shared and celebrated: perhaps in a class anthology, on display or read to other pupils.
Throughout a writing journey, children are encouraged to see text created for many different purposes; how writers use language and the effect it has on the reader.
By using a range of text drivers including narrative, poetry and non-fiction linked to overarching themes and topics, we inspire the children to write for specific purposes and audiences. They then learn the appropriate layouts for different genres of writing and the necessary grammar and punctuation.
We want children to read widely and write for purpose, use amazing language and express themselves clearly. Our learning journeys give children the tools to be great writers now and in the future!
Our reading curriculum starts in Early Years when the children are exposed to a wealth of stories, rhymes and songs. These are enjoyed daily, and the children will see text presented in a range of ways throughout their day. It is essential that our youngest children enjoy the written and spoken word and that these early experiences of text are fun, frequent and varied. Learning by re-telling well-known stories and nursery rhymes is a key step in pre-reading development and one which happens throughout the day in Oak Class.
In Years R, 1 and 2 we are developing the nationally recognised reading programme ‘Read, Write, Inc.’ and the whole staff will be completing training during the summer term. This is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme (SSP) validated by the DfE.
The following links outline the programme for parents.
Our children take home books from banded boxes, which match the phonics taught in school, plus other books, which can be shared at home, with a parent or carer. Phonics are taught daily in KS1 and reinforced through multi-sensory activities.
Years 2 and 3 are taught through a daily Guided Reading carousel. This involves groups of children reading with a teacher, reading with a Learning Support Assistant and learning independently through focused reading tasks. The texts used in these sessions are selected according to the reading abilities of specific groups. In Year 4, children may continue to have guided reading sessions but also Shared Reading sessions. Shared reading is when a text is taught to the whole class, pitched to that age group, and the teacher models the processes we go through when reading and demonstrates the skills used. There will then be response activities, which demonstrate understanding. Shared Reading uses large versions of a text, reading from the interactive white board, paired and individual copies of a text. Texts are sometimes extracts from a book, chapters or complete books. All Guided and Shared reading sessions are planned for, and each class has a core spine of books used.
All children use the school library, which has both fiction and non-fiction, and they take home books regularly to read and enjoy. Each classroom has a reading corner, book nook or bookshelf, which has a wide range of different texts including fiction, non-fiction, magazines and comics. The school is well resourced and SLS (Schools Library Service) provide bundles of topic books to enhance our provision across the curriculum.
Throughout the school, children are encouraged to collect their Story Wings badge each year. In KS1, they have to read 40 times to earn a badge and they can collect two badges in a year. In KS2 there is the opportunity to obtain one badge only for which the children have to read seven books from across a wide range of genres. For each book read, they write or present a review. When children attain a badge, this is presented by the Head Teacher and celebrated in the school newsletter.
Each child in school has a Reading Record book which travels between home and school. This is used to record books read, communicate comments from teachers and parents, and older children can also make comments about their own reading. We encourage KS2 children to use this as a record of new vocabulary they come across.
At Medstead School, we look for any opportunity to encourage reading and enthuse our children. We take part in local and national initiatives such as World Book Day, Schools Library Service’s Summer Reading Challenge and Roald Dahl Day. Previous experiences have included inviting authors into school and entering competitions such as Radio 2’s 500 Word Challenge and Rotary Club challenges.
We want children to love books and to use their reading to explore the world around them confidently.