We aim to bring language alive for our children so that they develop a love of reading and writing to take with them into later life.
At Alverton School we use a systematic approach to teach children to read. Daily phonics sessions, driven by the Government’s Letters and Sounds programme, begin in the nursery where children are taught how to be good speakers and listeners and to make and differentiate between sounds. In the EYFS and KS1 children continue with daily phonics lessons, using the synthetic phonics approach which teaches them the pure sounds that individual and groups of letters make. We use a range of engaging resources, to ensure that these sessions are fun and interactive for pupils. At the same time as learning sounds, children are taught how to blend them together for reading and to segment them for spelling. These skills are practised in the reading books we use at Alverton School which are carefully selected from a range of reading schemes to ensure there is something to match all pupils’ interests. The books are grouped into coloured “bands” and the pupils’ book bands are closely matched to their current phonic attainment, allowing them to consolidate their existing skills whilst practising new ones.
Whilst we maintain a clear focus on giving all children the skills to read effectively, we are also committed to inspiring a love of reading in our pupils and empowering them to read widely and often. Books, stories and poems are shared daily and our teachers make use of a variety of engaging texts across the curriculum. Topics are often linked to carefully chosen and inspiring texts, such as an environmental topic based on Dr Seuss’ “The Lorax. Children can take home books from our Woodland themed library so that parents can help by listening to, and reading with, their children. At Alverton School our aim is for pupils to become confident readers who engage with, and enjoy, the widest possible range of books.
Speaking and Listening form an integral part of our English curriculum. The children enjoy role-play and drama activities, culminating in Class Assemblies, Christmas productions and our fabulous annual show by the older children. Our very impressive Parliament and School Council help the children develop their confidence in public speaking and we take part each year in the Youth Speaks competition.
Learning the skills which enable the children to express themselves in writing is a priority in all year groups. Children learn how to write a huge range of texts from labels and lists to newspaper reports and explanations. We set the highest possible expectations for pupils’ English work by sharing high-quality exemplars of different genres and we take every opportunity for the children to use their skills. Our project based learning approach allows for pupils’ work to be shared with a wider audience, such as persuasive writing to reduce the use of single use plastic and published books of stories donated to the local library.
Please also have a look at the Reading and Phonics section under the Curriculum heading which provides more information on our teaching and learning in English.