English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach students to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, students have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables students both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society which is why the English curriculum is very important at Colley Lane Primary Academy.
Colley Lane Primary Academy has a whole school approach to the teaching of reading and writing and more information about all elements of the English curriculum can be found below.
Jane Considine’s The Write Stuff underpins our approach to the teaching of writing. The Write Stuff is based around teaching sequences that use both experience days and sentence stacking lessons, where high quality teacher modelling is at the heart. The sentence stacking lessons are broken into bite-sized chunks and taught under the structural framework of The Writing Rainbow. Teachers prepare children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar or techniques of writing.
Children are exposed to a range of genres: both fiction and non-fiction and are given the opportunity to write for a range of purposes and audiences. Within the writing lesson/sequence, contextualised Spelling Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) lessons are used to teach the majority of spelling, punctuation and grammar although some years groups may also use isolated SPAG lessons to ensure coverage of the full curriculum. Within sessions, children are also taught how to edit and improve their work. It is important that our students feel proud of their written work and enjoy the process of being an author leading up to and including their final written piece of work for each unit. Pupils complete their end of unit writing in their ‘My Writing Book’ as this enables them to reflect on their writing journey for the unit in their 'My English Book' and also enables them to showcase their best written work in one book. This supports children's confidence and routines as a writer and enables them to end each year group with a portfolio of excellent writing.
Through their time at Colley Lane, our students will have the opportunity to study and become accomplished writers across a variety of different fiction and non-fiction styles including: character and setting descriptions, diary writing, story writing (fairy tales, folk tales, legends, myths, contemporary and science-fiction), formal and informal letter writing, chronological and non-chronological reports and accounts and poetry.
The Write Stuff was launched at Colley Lane in the Autumn term of 2022. In the Spring term, the approach was reviewed and each year group now uses The Write Stuff units for the majority of writing lessons with additional incidental pieces of writing factored into the termly overview too. These additional units may include: cross curricular writing, whole class reader inspired writing or writing inspired by trips/world events. This hybrid approach enables pupils to be exposed to a wider range of writing audiences, purposes and genres whilst still ensuring that The Write Stuff system underpins our modelling of writing.
At Colley Lane, we believe that ‘a child that reads is an adult that thinks’. This mantra underpins our reading values and the reading opportunities that we provide for children in our school.
At Colley Lane, we want to teach children not only how to read but for children to develop a love of reading which will stay with them far beyond their school years. Reading is taught through a number of approaches: whole class reading, guided reading, 1:1 reading, Accelerated Reader, shared reading, paired reading as well as comprehension lessons which involve the teaching of specific analytical comprehension skills called reading domains, which are taught through domain activities. We explicitly teach the domain skills in each year group using a modelled approach, alongside giving children opportunities to independently demonstrate their understanding. The domains we teach are outlined below:
In order to support the teaching of the reading domains, in Key Stage 1 and throughout the early stages of Key Stage 2, we have the Colley Lane reading dogs:
The reading dogs set activities and questions for the children which focus on the skills required for each domain. As pupils move into Key Stage 2, more emphasis is placed on teaching and modelling a focus domain per lesson and on pupils developing their understanding of each domain so that they are able to recognise the type of question they are being asked and the skills they will need to apply in both comprehension tasks and tests. The challenge of text type, word count and number of questions is mapped out across the whole school so that the challenge increases both across a single school year and as children move from year group to year group.
Comprehension is taught through modelling and revision of strategies and domain focused skills. This enables teachers to develop children’s independence in approaching reading with a bank of useful ‘tools’ to help them understand texts and stories. As a result, our students become better readers, who know how to make meaning from their reading materials, which can then be transferred into their writing.
In EYFS and KS1, we focus on developing the fluency of readers while appropriately progressing their reading comprehension skills. In this way, we are using the nationally recognised Letters & Sounds scheme Collins Big Cat Letters and Sounds using the Little Wandle Letters & Sounds scheme.
In EYFS and KS1, the childrens' reading books follow a phonetically aligned programme which runs from Lilac to Turquoise level. Once children reach purple level, they move onto our Accelerated Reader programme (see below). When children reach KS2, most pupils begin the Accelerated Reader (AR) programme. If there are children in KS1 who are ready to read at a more independent level, they too would progress to AR.
The AR scheme uses a computer assisted system developed by Renaissance Learning, to ensure that children can access a wider range of free reader books. It also helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice in a very targeted way, while, crucially, promoting an interest and love of reading in every child. As part of this approach, each child’s reading ability is tested 4 times a year using the STAR reading assessment which is part of the AR programme. From that, each child is given a reading range score called a zone of Proximal Development range (ZPD range) which is aligned to their reading ability. They choose books from this range to read at their own pace, and when finished, take a short online quiz (5-10 questions) about the book they have read. These quizzes are designed to test and cumulatively improve children’s reading speed, comprehension and ultimately their reading age. In total, there are over 38,000 AR books with associated quizzes available, ranging all the way from Year 3 level to Year 11 level. To find out more about which AR books are available, you can search on: https://www.arbookfind.co.uk/.
As with anything, performance improves with practice and children who read at least 20-35 minutes a day, progress their fluency and reading comprehension more quickly. At school, we dedicate time to independent reading. Reading at home, even for a short period of time, and discussing what children have read, has a huge beneficial impact on a child’s reading journey. Ideally, we would encourage children to read each night at home during the week and discuss what they have read with parents/carers/siblings. Children should also then read and discuss their reading any time they can over the weekend.
At Colley Lane, we follow the Little Wandle Phonics Programme. You can find out more about Little Wandle on their website. You can also find out more about Phonics and Early Reading at Colley Lane Primary Academy by viewing our Reading and Phonics webpage.
Currently, under the government's National Tutoring Programme (NTP), a grant has been provided to CLPA to employ a specialist Early Reading Mentor. As part of this, targeted children in Years 1, 2 and 3 who require accelerated learning support to improve their early reading, receive additional, targeted reading support to build their fluency and confidence at this critical period of their reading development.
We actively encourage reading for pleasure and recognise it as a core part of every child’s education. We aim to instil in every pupil that reading is a life skill as well as an understanding of its role in both personal and academic development.
Activities and approaches used to promote reading for pleasure at CLPA:
Colley Lane Primary Academy has a whole school approach to handwriting too. We follow the Kinetic letters teaching programme. This programme not only works on developing children’s handwriting but also builds children’s core strength through activities and writing positions. The aim of the scheme is to develop handwriting skills that are automatic, allowing children to focus on being creative, fluent writers.
Our students are taught spelling rules, structures and patterns in line with the National Curriculum. They are taught these sequentially and in small steps. As a school we used EdShed’s resources and termly overviews to teach the National Curriculum objectives for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.
As part of the National Curriculum, children must learn specific common exception words and apply them correctly in their writing. Please see below for statutory spelling lists, as published by the National Curriculum. These words will be taught throughout Key Stage 1, Lower Key Stage 2 and Upper Key Stage 2.