We aim to inspire our children in their use of language, and provide them with a wide range of purposeful experiences so that they will become fluent, imaginative readers and writers. Whilst the teaching methodologies change as the children move up through school, there is a shared fundamental belief that children’s use of language develops most effectively when they are engaged in collaborative, meaningful learning experiences and are provided with meaningful feedback about the success of their work.
Early Learning Experiences
The children begin this journey in the informal setting of the Foundation Stage, where they take part in a range of high quality tasks relating to speaking, listening and developing language. Role play areas are used to facilitate creative play, and tasks are designed so that children are exposed to high quality talk. As children progress to KS1 they are introduced to ‘Letters and Sounds’, a programme which develops the children’s ability to recognise and use important letter blends and sounds. This will help to prepare them for the compulsory ‘Phonic Screening’ test at the end of year 1.
In KS1 and KS2, the children receive daily literacy lessons in which they will learn to become fluent writers. Bradshaw Hall are proud to boast writing results that have been significantly above the national average in recent years. This success has stemmed from our deployment of a writing model which involves:
- A Cold Write: A piece of writing inspired by an exciting stimulus (a video clip or engaging picture) based on a specific genre which is explored through collaboration with peers. This is largely a diagnostic tool for teachers to establish bespoke lessons leading up to the next independent piece of writing.
- A Warm Write: After several lessons based on individualised targets, children have a Warm Write centred on the similar if not the same stimulus from their Cold Write. This allows the children to see the progress they have made against their targets from their Cold Write. After their Warm Write, children receive detailed feedback that provides them with ‘Next Steps’ as well as an opportunity to reflect and improve specific elements of their writing.
- A Hot Write: After further objectives are explored as a result of the information gleaned from the Warm Write, children produce a final piece of writing that is then reflected, edited and improved upon.
At the heart of this model are the inspiring lessons taught in between each of the ‘Writes’ that aim to embed children’s understanding of National Curriculum literacy objectives as well as key grammar and punctuation objectives. These lessons aim to inspire children and provide them with a love of language and literature. Furthermore, we aim to provide children with spiritually uplifting moments when they reflect on the progress they have made through the cycle.
In KS1 we employ the ‘talk 4 writing’ principles to expand vocabulary and embed story content and structure.
Bradshaw Hall has pioneered an exciting, child-friendly system for teaching reading comprehension skills: from year 4 to year 6 children take part in daily ‘Discovery Workshop’ sessions. During these lessons, children are challenged to engage with texts, and explore their meaning through group discussion and drama activities. The children complete a range of activities throughout the week, all of which are specifically matched against reading objectives as well as the needs of the children. Interactive videos are often created by teachers to guide independent groups in focused exploration on a reading objective.
Our reading schemes (Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat and Bug Club) have been carefully selected to provide children with a love of reading as well as opportunities for reading interesting and engaging fiction and non-fiction texts. The scheme is ordered into precise ‘Book Bands’ (which are also linked in with the ‘synthetic phonics’ that is taught alongside reading which is detailed below). These are monitored regularly so that children are constantly exposed to texts that are matched to their exact reading level. Our ‘Book Band’ pathway can be viewed here:
Where necessary, children have additional 1-to-1 reading sessions run on a daily basis as well as personalised programs such as SERI. Furthermore, ‘Cracking Comprehension’ is utilised to build children’s stamina and ability to tackle a variety of different question types.
In addition to this, children at Bradshaw Hall are fostered with a life-long love of reading through many different out-of-school activities, whether it be attending the local library to sign up for a library card or attending book clubs at our local award-winning bookshop to have a discussion and a drink of hot chocolate.
In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics’ supported by elements of the Jolly Phonics programme. ‘Letters and Sounds’ provides activities and resources to support learning in phonics. It sets out a detailed programme for teaching phonic skills, with the aim of children becoming fluent readers by age seven.
The children have a timetabled phonics lesson each day and are grouped according to the area of Letters and Sounds they are learning. These groups are fluid and flexible according to children’s progress and need. Children’s progress is tracked regularly and lessons are personalised to meet the needs of all learners. Our approach is systematic, consistent and rigorous in order that all children become readers as quickly as possible. Reading books that are sent home allow children to read and practice blending these sounds.
We use a multi-sensory approach in EYFS and KS1 and use a blend of Jolly Phonics actions and songs to help them learn each different sound. This is an effective and interactive way for young learners to recall phonemes.
In the Summer Term in Year 1 children take the Phonics Screening Check, this is a phonics based check where the children will be expected to read 40 simple, de-codable words including nonsense words. This is a progress check to identify those children not at an expected level in their reading. The results will be reported to parents. Children who do not pass the test in Year 1 are given additional support in Year 2 through a daily Letters and Sounds session and regular targeted reading.
During sessions in the Autumn term, Reception and Year 1 parents are invited to attend information evenings to explain the teaching of phonics and receive guidance on how best to support their children at home. Further details about ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’ can be accessed at:
Furthermore, the KS1 Information Evening has provided guidance on supporting children with reading.
Spelling rules and patterns are explicitly taught on a regular basis with children expected to rehearse rules and specific word lists at home.
In Years 2 – 6, the school follows the ‘No Nonsense’ spelling programme, a comprehensive pathway of spelling, that provides progression through blocks of teaching units across the school.
To supplement your child’s spelling activities in school, below are age-appropriate spelling words and rules for you to use at home.
Your child will pick up various strategies for learning spelling. However, an effective method for rehearsing spellings which can be practiced at home is detailed below:
For a breakdown of the curriculum content in each year group, click on the links below:
For the latest guidance of assessment in literacy in KS1, KS1 National Curriculum Assessment Meeting 2016 Information for Parents will provide relevant information from our meeting. This link provides information from the EYFS Reading Meeting.