At Withnell Fold Primary School we believe in both the importance of developing children’s discrete word-reading skills and comprehension, and the need to engender their love of books and reading. We believe that the two elements are intertwined; each relies on the other if our children are to become lifelong readers.
Early reading books may contain no words but be colourful picture books that the child will enjoy looking at and talking about. Only when the child exhibits emergent reading skills will he/she be given a book that contains more than captions or pictures. When reading, the children are encouraged to develop fluency and understanding and enjoyment that is found in a range of books and texts. As the pupils become more independent their reading will reflect this. They will be encouraged to read widely fiction and non-fiction, through research and using library skills and all reading media. We operate a home/school reading link which enables parents to be involved in their child’s reading.
Our guided reading books are selected on children’s individual needs, strengths and interests. We have grouped reading books into different levels to match the phonics being taught so that they are fully decodable. Children can also take home a book to share with an adult that is not fully decodable, and this is labelled as such.
At Withnell Fold Primary School, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. They are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.
The school follows Red Rose Letters and Sounds phonics programme using a variety of hands-on interactive resources, providing a multi-sensory approach to learning phonics.
Writing – The curriculum provides many opportunities for children to apply their Literacy skills in other subjects, for different purposes and audiences. Different types of writing will be taught to children through Literacy lessons and also via a cross-curricular approach. Teachers will be asked to carefully plan their approach to all subject areas in order to ensure that structured opportunities for their work are provided, thus stimulating the development of pupils’ independent writing skills. To have a purpose and an audience is very motivating for our children. Children communicate their ideas through the use of writing frames, which help to personalise their learning.
The development of handwriting is carefully structured with the aim of producing clear, legible cursive handwriting. Pens will be introduced where appropriate but the child has the choice to use a pen or pencil thereafter. Cursive writing is taught as soon as the children enter school.