At St Thomas More Catholic Primary School we take our reading and writing objectives form the National Curriculum. We use these objectives to plan engaging, experiential, fun lessons. Each block of writing taught starts with an experience e.g. a visitor, letter, task, and trip. From this children will be taught the skills needed to write a particular text type, following a similar Do it, Twist it and Deepen it style of questions that we use in maths. This could be a story, non-chronological report or persuasive letter. The children will then write a part each day to end up with an extended piece of writing. Every two weeks the children will then have the opportunity to show us what they have learnt through a ‘Big Write’. This is an independent piece of writing which will be used to build up evidence for assessments. We still also use ‘Big Writing Adventures’ to enthuse and engage children with their learning in English. This scheme puts purpose and audience at the heart of learning. Using interactive online content, imaginative ideas and ‘missions’ for the children to complete, this ensures skills for writing are covered in a fun and meaningful way while ensuring progress from lesson to lesson, week to week, mission to mission and year group to year group.
Big Writing Adventures are built around Ros Wilson’s popular approach to teaching and assessing writing that has been proven to be highly effective.
Y1 Phonics Screening
The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Y1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It aims to identify the children who need extra help so that they can be given support by school to improve their reading skills. At St Thomas More we already identify children and provide early intervention support, however the assessment is a statutory requirement. The test comprises a list of 40 real and pseudo (nonsense) words, which a child will read one-to-one with the class teacher. Half the words cover phonic skills which are usually covered in Reception, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills. Results are communicated to parents through the school report at the end of the academic year.
EYFS/ KS1 Reading
At St Thomas More the children have access to a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Our main reading scheme is RWI, which is our phonics programme that we teach within school. The books children take home to read are linked with the colour books they will be reading in school.
Reading at home
All children take home a reading journal, along with their reading book, and this is a way of communicating with parents/carers about how well children are reading, how often and areas to work on. Each term a learning objective is stuck into the reading journal as a focus for that term. This links in with assessments we do in class so covering them at home has huge benefits for the children.
In Key Stage Two the children at St Thomas More Catholic Primary School enjoy effective guided reading sessions. These sessions last for 30 minutes each day and the children are exposed to high quality texts such as The Hodgeheg, Flat Stanley, James and the Giant Peach and Wonder. We are following a whole class reading approach where all children are involved in the reading, understanding and learning of new words. The whole group follow the text as an adult reads, discuss unusual words, use a dictionary, read themselves and then answer comprehension questions following the VIPERS questioning technique.
For children recently transitioning to Key Stage Two or with Special Educational Needs, the Project X Code scheme allows the same mature action, adventure and knowledge to be explored in a differentiated text matched to the individual or group’s level. Thus ensuring all children of all abilities and needs being provided with the opportunity to go on a reading adventure together.
To foster a love of reading every classroom at St Thomas More Catholic Primary School has a comfortable and well resourced reading corner. To read not only for understanding but pleasure, children are encouraged to choose a book and enjoy reading a variety of genres as well as their age appropriate reading book and guided reading book.
To encourage a love of learning further, our recently refurbished library area has been restocked with a range of different books from a variety of genres, authors and cultures. This bright and welcoming communal area of space is enjoyed by many children whether in groups, for quiet reading or to even loan a special book linked to the classroom learning. Children across the school have the opportunity to borrow a book from the school library to keep in their drawers for use during guided reading.
At St Thomas More Catholic Primary School reading and spelling is taught using the Read, Write, Inc. For lots more detailed information regarding the steps, learning process and spelling and reading patterns please visit our Read, Write, Inc page attached to this menu.