Reading is at the heart of our school. It is our aim that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, with confidence and passion, in any subject by establishing an environment where reading for pleasure is at the forefront and for pupils to be able to access and acquire knowledge across the curriculum using their comprehension skills.
Working closely with our feeder settings, we ensure no opportunity is missed. Once the children embark on their learning journey at our school, they begin to embed early reading skills through our phonics program (Read, Write, Inc.) Throughout our Early Years setting children are exposed to a wide variety of reading material: understanding how print can carry meaning in a variety of ways. We create discussions around the books we read, explore new vocabulary and key features of different texts, infer meaning and retrieve information - this continues throughout their learning journey.
All children and staff are encouraged to read for pleasure. Our love and passion for reading is nurtured through our guided reading sessions, class book corners and school library. In addition, we also centre most of our writing on key texts. Following a ‘Lavendon Reading Diet’, the children have the opportunity to read and listen to classics such as The Wind and the Willows and Jabberwocky, to modern classics such as The Gruffalo and Harry Potter. We use books to understand and explore a range of topics: migration, cultural diversity, mental health, and inspirational people. We recognise that these topics may not be something that our children are familiar with or have exposure to. However, we understand the importance of exploring them with the children and feel that books and stories provide the ideal opportunity to foster discussions and build upon their understanding.
As a school, we also visit the MK library bus once a week, celebrate World Book Day, and host book fairs. Additionally, we have a host of adult volunteers, including our local PCSO, who read to the children in assemblies and classes. However, most importantly of all, after lunch every day, we dim the lights, the children find a comfy spot (even taking their shoes and socks off), and we drop everything and read!
At Lavendon School, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become lifelong learners; English learning is key to this. We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based approach. Careful links are made across the curriculum to ensure that children’s English learning is relevant and meaningful: where possible linking our reading, writing and the topic that we are covering in History and Geography. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning. Our intentions in writing are for children to:
* Write for a purpose
* See themselves as real writers
* Take ownership of their writing
* See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
* Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability, or additional needs, and to flourish to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. We teach the National Curriculum, supported by clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. We aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the audience/reader. Particular attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English: grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Teachers clearly model writing skills and document the learning journey through consistent working walls; guided writing sessions are used to target the specific needs of both groups and individuals. Children have opportunities to write at length, in extended, independent writing sessions at the end of a unit of work – applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing. Throughout the Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, we teach writing through a text-based approach, which allows us to meet the needs of the children that we are teaching – by choosing a text that will engage, inspire and motivate. As well as reading a wide variety of genres, children are given frequent opportunities to develop their skills in writing in different genres. Through covering specific genres per term in depth, children are given the opportunity to put their writing skills into practice. Each term, children will publish a piece of writing that will be displayed on clipboards in the corridors throughout the school; this is known as “Clip it, clap it”. This allows every child to have a written piece of work on the walls, which can be seen and celebrated by all, as well as knowing they are writing for a purpose and being seen as real writers. Pupils are taught discrete punctuation and grammar skills, appropriate to their year group, within our text-based approach to planning, allowing opportunities to identify, practice and consolidate grammatical understanding, whilst also being immersed in a text. Children then apply the grammar and punctuation skills that they have learnt in their extended pieces of writing.
At Lavendon School, we know how important early reading skills are and how reading unlocks the barriers to future learning that being so, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to pave the way for fluent readers and writers. Phonics is the process that is used to help children break down words into sounds, as well as build letter and word recognition. This is a key skill, not just in early reading but across the primary phase and even beyond that.
Phonics at Lavendon School has fidelity to the Read Write Inc program, which is DFE accredited. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Reception up to Year 2 and beyond. We work closely with our largest feeder settings, to ensure that the children starting school have phoneme awareness and speaking and listening skills.
Phonic teaching begins as soon as the children start school and are taught in a fluid group, ensuring teachers follow a systematic plan of revisit, teach, practice, and apply - there can never be enough emphasis on applying! We ensure that phonics is present in various lessons throughout the school day across the whole school. Phonics is regularly assessed and depending on children’s knowledge we are able to look at where individuals need challenge or support. Where extra intervention is necessary, this is provided for children throughout EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.