At East Peckham Primary, we are dedicated to encouraging all children to be passionate about reading and writing and to become competent, enthusiastic readers and writers from an early age. We immerse pupils in the wonders of exceptional texts in order to instil a genuine, life-long love for reading and a confidence to explore their imagination through drama and learning 'hooks'. We want our pupils to speak articulately, and read and write fluently, so that they can access and challenge themselves across the entire curriculum and develop their understanding of the world around them.
We continuously promote and celebrate a reading culture at East Peckham Primary:
- We prioritise story time every day in class.
- Every class has a reading provision area, which is refreshed regularly and from which children can self-select reading material that appeals to them.
- We have a beautiful school library - a sanctuary for reading - which each class visits once a week.
- Classes in which every child reaches 5 reads per week receive special recognition in Friday assemblies and on the ‘Super Readers’ display board in the hall.
- Children receive individual certificates and badges for 50, 100, 150, 200, 300 and 400 reads throughout the school year.
- We celebrate World Book Day with numerous activities during Book Week, including workshops and Bedtime Stories.
- We celebrate National Poetry Day and provide children opportunities to perform poems aloud throughout the year.
- We invite Scholastic Book Fair into the school each year.
- We provide all parents and carers with a list of fantastic, diverse picture and/or reading books for each year group. We review this list each year.
- We subscribe to Bug Club. Each child has their own log in and teachers allocate books appropriate to each child’s reading development to enjoy at home. Each online book has comprehension questions for the children to complete.
- Children have the opportunity to visit East Peckham Village Library once every half term.
Phonics and Early Reading
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. From September 2021, we have followed the rigorous Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme (a synthetic phonics approach) in the EYFS and KS1, and for those children who need support in KS2. The children take part in daily phonics sessions as a whole class. Teachers assess children’s understanding formatively during every lesson and daily ‘keep-up’ interventions are given to any children who require a little extra support. Every 6 weeks a phonics assessment takes place. This helps teachers to identify the sounds with which each child can confidently recognise on its own and within a word, and those sounds that may be less secure; they use this information to inform their future planning for the class and address any gaps in phonic knowledge with urgency. Year 1 children will practice the phonics screening in preparation for the statutory check in June, and our current Year 2 children will likewise practice for their postponed screening check, due at the end of October.
As part of Little Wandle, Reception and KS1 children take part in reading practice sessions in small groups three times a week. Decodable books are used and our phonics assessments ensure that these closely match the children’s current phonics knowledge. The first session focuses on decoding the story (sounding out and blending words to read them), the second session on prosody (reading aloud with expression) and the third session on comprehension (understanding what they are reading).
In Reception and KS1, children also take home decodable books. Those children requiring further phonics support in KS2 are also given phonetically decodable books, however the content of these is specifically designed for older readers. Our expectation is that all children read at home at least 5 times per week, for around 10-15 minutes.
In class, teachers work with high quality class texts, chosen from sources such as CLPE’s Core Texts, Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine and The Reader Teacher. We ensure that text coverage throughout the year is broad, challenging and diverse both within and across year groups, so that our children receive the best possible reading education during their time here. Teachers continuously teach whole class comprehension skills when exploring and analysing these texts.
- In Key Stage 1, comprehension skills within reading practice session 3 and within English lessons are reinforced using different characters. Vocabulary Victor, Rex Retriever, Sequencing Suki, Inferencing Iggy and Predicting Pip help children to recognise the specific skill that they are using to understand and explain what they have read in a fun and engaging way.
- In Key Stage 2, whole class reading sessions are integrated into English lessons, with a specific comprehension skill being the focus of each session. Teachers use the acronym VIPERS to help children identify which reading skill they are practising at any one time. Children are encouraged to choose their own reading stimulus to take home each day.
Our approach to teaching writing recognises the invaluable link between high quality reading material and excellent, engaging writing. We ensure that reading and writing are interconnected so that children can make purposeful links across their learning. Vocabulary rich books are chosen to both stimulate and challenge our children, giving them the best possible opportunity to produce high-quality writing:
- Children are taught through carefully designed, text led learning journeys with a clear written outcome. The journey starts with familiarisation with the genre (often including an exciting ‘hook’ to engage the children immediately) and analysis of the text type, before time is spent capturing ideas, developing vocabulary, acting in role and oral rehearsal. Following this, the teacher demonstrates writing (shared, modelled and/or guided writing) and gradually releases their scaffold to enable children to produce a piece of writing with a clear purpose, audience and desired outcome. Opportunities are then provided for children to make additions, revisions and/or proofreading corrections to their writing.
- All learners participate in writing lessons and the content of the lesson is identical for every child. We value every pupils’ right to have access to high quality reading material and high expectations for written outcomes, so our teachers often differentiate the learning through the use of smaller steps, pre- or post-teaching, resources and adult support in order to address each child’s individual needs.
- Teachers celebrate children’s efforts by displaying writing on classroom walls, sharing writing underneath the visualiser at the front of the class and even recording children reading aloud their writing on the school podcast!
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS)
- In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, the children are taught grammar and sentence structure. What is covered, and when, usually stems from the class text or a sentence type associated with the intended written outcome/s of a unit. A typical English lesson will always include a spelling, punctuation or grammar starter to help embed previously taught GPS skills into our children’s long term memory.
- Teachers may deliver stand-alone grammar lessons in order to address specific gaps in children’s learning. Following this, they provide opportunities for children to discuss and experiment with the feature, as well as make choices to apply it in their own writing. Teachers actively encourage children to apply their writing skills across other areas of the curriculum at every possible opportunity.
- Through our phonics programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, children are taught to segment to spell words from Week 5 onwards in Reception, and they practice both reading and writing words containing their focus sound every lesson.
- Children in Year 2 also follow our phonics programme in Term 1 in order to address gaps and embed segmenting skills for spelling.
- Spelling sessions are taught every day in Year 2 from Term 2 and Years 2-6 follow the No Nonsense Spelling Programme to set spelling homework each week. The Sir Link a Lot Spelling app is accessed when required, to enrich spelling sessions and provide children with short videos, mnemonics and picture hooks to develop their understanding of spelling patterns, homophones or particularly challenging words.
- Children who are not making the expected progress with their spelling are supported in small groups and individual focussed interventions using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
- At East Peckham Primary we believe that handwriting goes hand in hand with quality writing. Handwriting is a life-long skill and is a fundamental element of written communication throughout our lives.
- Letter formation is taught on entry into Reception and handwriting is reinforced right through to Year 6. Staff understand the need to teach and support posture, seating, space, paper position and pen hold to set children up for handwriting, and how this is put into practice is adapted for each Key Stage.
- We teach non-cursive letter formation in Reception. We use special formation phrases from Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to help children make the link between the sound mnemonic and the letter.
- In Year 1, once letter formation is completely secure, we introduce children to the pre-cursive and then cursive style of writing, the latter of which they continue through to Year 6.
- All letters in cursive handwriting start from the line with an entry stroke, and finish on the line with an exit stroke.
How can I help my child to read at home?
Please use the links below for some ideas on how to help reading at home.
Top Tips to Encourage Children to Read