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English (Reading & writing)

Reading at Horsforth Featherbank

 

At Featherbank, we are always striving for ways of building and developing a life-long love of reading. Reading is the enabling skill that allows us to decode our world, communicate across the globe and learn from the past.   From road signs to maps to fiction storybooks to email, without reading, we could not access entire worlds (both real and virtual) of information.

 

Reading is a wonderful gift, a bonding experience - a chance to go exploring while never leaving your seat.

 

At Featherbank, our children's journey with reading begins in EYFS with story-focused topics, reading development and discovering the building blocks of language. Many of them have never read before, while others come to us with an already in-built love of reading. We consider it a privilege to be the ones to guide them into (hopefully) a life-long love of reading.

 

Through our Foundation stage studies and the development of the Early Learning Goals, we work hard to help all children achieve a Good Level of Development (GLD), including Reading.

 

In KS1, we are establishing reading patterns both within our lessons, featuring focus Topic books, class readers and comprehension-based reading opportunities.  We have Reading Corners and promote home-school reading to help them move through the Book Bands.

 

Once they reach KS2, we hope that they have secured a firm foundation in the basics of reading and can build on their good development so far of phonics awareness, fluency of reading aloud and internally.  They should be able to discuss their understanding of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, narrative and non-narrative texts - at and around an age-appropriate level - and they are working in class to grow and develop their comprehension skills and their ability to process, evaluate and respond to what they have read at an increasingly adult level.

 

We are always investigating and committing to new and innovative ways of raising engagement, enjoyment and achievement in our children's reading.

 

For our older children that need them, we have introduced simpler reading books with topics and plots more interesting to their age group.

 

Our upper KS2 Reading Buddies help to foster a love of reading in KS1 children, while helping them to overcome difficulties with their own reading.

 

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Kicking off World Book Week in style with a visit from author Jason Beresford

Wow! So many amazing entries for our 'decorate a potato as a book character' competition

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We teach reading skills in school is via the VIPERS programme. Originally developed by the excellent Literacy Shed, this programme has been successfully adopted to widespread approval in many schools, and is already showing great success at Featherbank.

 

The way that it works is to classify questions under the six most commonly occurring skill categories that make up our range of comprehension skills:

 

Vocabulary

Inference

Prediction

Explanation

Retrieval

Sequencing (KS1) & Summarising (KS2)

 

By taking this approach, the children develop a broad range of comprehension skills that allow them to develop higher-order thinking skills, analyse and respond to stimuli (including texts, pictures, videos, artefacts and sounds) and demonstrate a growing understanding of the Bloom's taxonomy of question/answer development, including:  simple reactive answering to question focus words (e.g: The 7 Ws:  Who, What, Where, When, Why, hoW and Which) through to supported arguments.

Here are some posters that we have displayed in our classrooms to help children refer to VIPERS ideas:

Assessment of Reading

As part of our VIPERS programme, we ensure that we are providing a broad and balanced coverage of the age-appropriate reading skills expected at each stage of development across school. These are addressed via a range of stimuli, discussion, drama, role-play and written comprehension work.

(See attached).

Writing at Horsforth Featherbank

 

At Featherbank, we believe in inspiring children through writing, prizing its immense power to shape and change our way of thinking, our self-expression and our understanding of what the world means to us. 

 

We develop children's writing in many different ways, so that as they grow, their learning is enriched with skills and opportunities which enable them to engage with writing in a way that promotes lifelong development.

 

Our extended writing pieces are usually topic led helping to create a sense of immersion and purpose. We have found that by directing our topic led studies to encompass and create valued writing opportunities, children see learning as interconnected, and they demonstrate greater engagement with and more enjoyment in their writing.

 

 

Grammar and punctuation is taught both explicitly and implicitly within English lessons, and effectively embedded into children's everyday work. Children experience a wide range of authors and text types during their time at Featherbank, and are encouraged to write for a variety of purposes. Children learn to plan, draft, revise, edit and present their work using a neat, legible cursive script.

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Feedback and Monitoring of Writing

 

As a school, we have decided upon key strategies to assess and monitor writing. We believe that these strategies encourage the development of children's skills, while also providing them with secure and positive feedback in order for them to take ownership of their learning and challenge themselves to succeed.

 

Each year group has carefully tailored and agreed upon target skills that indicate their level of progress: Towards, At or At Greater Depth to their age related expectations (ARE). By carefully assessing, tracking and monitoring their ARE development, teachers are able to best prioritise the support and challenge most suited to helping each child achieve and make good progress.

Assessment of Writing

 

We recognise that all children learn at different speeds. Some will need more consolidation and support, whereas others thrive on challenge and competition. Across school, we aim for all children to produce two to three pieces of assessed writing each half term in order to create a robust system of assessment.

 

Children's attainment is tracked across the year so that progress can be analysed, missing skills identified and children supported where necessary. Interventions are put into place to give additional support to those who need it. 

English Policy

 

In our school, we follow the National Curriculum Programme of Study for English.

 

We review our school's English Policy to ensure that we are placing our children at the heart of learning in our school and everything that we work towards goes to support that.

Useful websites and links to support your child with reading and writing

 

Top Tips for Younger and Older Readers

Ideas to help you to read with your child.

 

Support for Struggling Readers

Sections for parents and teachers on developing the skills of readers as well as advice on how to overcome barriers to reading. 

 

The Reading Agency

A really useful site with up to date information about great books to read.

 

The Book Trust

Lots of recommended reads and book lists. 

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