Our approach to teaching reading and writing
At Cliftonville Primary School, we use a fun, multi-sensory approach to developing children’s phonic knowledge. Throughout the school teachers use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to systematically develop children’s phonic knowledge. Phonics is taught for twenty minutes daily in every class.
In the early stages of reading we use a range of books which are easy to decode using the children’s developing phonics knowledge. We do not use one particular reading scheme as we believe that children will become excellent readers by being exposed to a rich range of literature by fabulous authors and illustrators. These books are however banded by level of difficulty and children choose books from an appropriate selection.
Cliftonville Primary School aims for all children to read with confidence, fluency and understanding, have an interest in the written word, read for enjoyment and employ a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct. To achieve these aims, children are encouraged to read a wide range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning within them. Reading resources within school are varied to reflect literacy units, themes, current affairs and personal choice.
All pupils have daily opportunities for differentiated shared reading and independent reading. Guided reading (with the teacher and/or teaching assistant) takes place at least twice weekly. We provide a wide range of reading books, many of which are banded by level of difficulty. We employ the Accelerated Reader programme for all of our Key Stage 2 pupils and those children in Key Stage 1 who have reached the Gold level of book banding. Pupils and parents are actively supported and encouraged to enjoy home reading and extend children’s ‘reading miles’. Communication between home and school is via a reading record book.
We aim for all of our children to be able to write independently with confidence, fluency, accuracy and enjoyment. Here at Cliftonville School, we believe it is important that the children learn from an early age that much of their writing will be read by other people and therefore needs to be accurate, legible and set out in an appropriate way. It is of the utmost importance that the writing process be modelled by the teacher through shared writing and the children should take part in composing, spelling and handwriting activities within the class as a whole and as a member of the small group.
From early on in their learning journey, through exploring a range of genres, children start to enjoy writing and see the value of it. We provide opportunities for children to see adults writing and for children to experiment with writing for themselves through mark making, symbols and conventional script. Through oral rehearsal, children learn to communicate meaning in narrative and non-fiction texts and spell and punctuate correctly.
As they move through the school, children develop the understanding that writing is both essential to thinking and learning, and enjoyable in its own right. They learn the main rules and conventions of written English and start to explore how the English language can be used to express meaning in different ways. Children use the planning, drafting and editing process to improve their work and to sustain their fiction and non-fiction writing. Using powerful teaching strategies such as shared and guided writing children are exposed to high quality demonstration, exploration and discussion of the choices writers make enabling the children to eventually do this for themselves during independent writing.
We strongly believe in giving children first hand experiences to draw on information and emotions to enhance their learning and therefore draw on our local community. Trips to the local library, cinema, places of historical interest, the beach, park and theatre are essential for that engaging starting point to acquire real quality writing.
We use the Talk 4 Writing approach to teaching reading and writing. This enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style.