Newlands Primary is a Read Write Inc school. We have been running our RWI sessions daily, throughout the school, since October 2012 with great success. Already we have a significant number of children in years one and two who are working alongside children in years 3 and 4 on the Comprehension stage of the programme.
English is central to the curriculum at Newlands Primary School. We recognise this by giving a substantial amount of time to teaching the essential skills involved in reading, writing, listening and speaking. English is taught discretely and also through our Edison creative curriculum.
Reading is a skill that is crucial to success in other areas of academic learning. We have placed great emphasis on supporting our children in developing their reading skills in a number of ways. The carefully planned teaching we give in school must be supported by plenty of individual practice at home. Our reading books, which come from a number of different sources, are accurately banded according to colour band levels in line with the national book band and Accelerated Reader systems. We also have a lending library for children which offer books from a wide variety of genres.
Children progress through the book bands at their own pace. This is monitored by assessing children’s reading through benchmarking to ensure children are reading books where they are 90% to 95% accurate; this is called an ‘instructional’ level. In addition, on-going assessment occurs during weekly Guided Reading sessions where we work with a small group of children to develop reading strategies. Our Read Write Inc system is also levelled so that children’s progress can be carefully tracked.
Children are asked to take reading and library books home in book bags, which are available at a low cost from the school office. To ensure good communication about children’s reading, we give each child a reading record which should be taken home every afternoon and returned every morning. Teachers will sometimes write comments in the book. When you read with your child please comment, initial and date so we know that your child has practised and they will be able to earn their rewards.
Children are given many opportunities to read and share a variety of texts, in connection with other subjects, for comprehension and for simple enjoyment.
Some children require more support if they are to become fluent readers. We have trained 1:1 Read Write Inc leaders to support these children.
We run a yearly Readathon and regularly send home a book catalogue; which enables us to support charities and also gives the school commission to spend on books for the school.
We follow the Read, Write Inc phonics scheme. This scheme has a number of components that include Phonics, Comprehension and Fresh start. RWI is taught daily from 9:05am until 10:05am. For these sessions all pupils are grouped and taught according to their ability. The sessions are fast paced and fun, with great results. The RWI leader is available every day to reassess children and ensure that they move up to the next level as soon as they are ready. We measure progress across all year groups regularly to ensure that Foundation Stage and Year 1 children are well prepared for the year 1 Phonics Screening, which takes place in late June, and all children are reaching their full potential.
Writing is taught systematically throughout the school. We follow the Revised Framework for Literacy. Children are given writing targets which will be shared with parents at consultation meetings and on annual reports. Many opportunities are offered for children to develop their writing skills across the curriculum both in class and for home learning. FS children are given a wide variety of opportunities to develop their writing through play which allows them to practise the skills they are taught in teacher directed sessions.
As from May 2013, Year 6 children will be assessed through a Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar test. They are being taught the required skills through VCOP sessions and Literacy lessons. All classes follow this system in order to enhance writing.
It is important that children are taught the proper way to write their letters. We use the Penpals system which incorporates a simple form of cursive script.
Speaking and Listening
Children have many opportunities to discuss, debate and relate events in order to become confident speakers and listeners. Drama techniques are often used to at the beginning of a teaching unit to help children empathise with characters are express ideas. Role play areas are seen as very important in FS and Year 1 to encourage children to explore language connected to their current theme of learning. Children have their own target sheets for speaking and listening as part of their Assertive mentoring system.
We are currently reviewing our Literacy policy and will be implementing changes within this term. The policy will focus more on 'The power of reading' across the school. In the interim, please contact the school if you have any questions.
Mr C Markham