Have you seen our exciting new library? Click below to see some photos!
English Subject Leader: Mrs Blackledge
Reading and Phonics
At Gade Valley Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is vital for success and that for pupils to achieve in reading, they need to have an embedded love of reading. It is our aim that pupils leave Gade Valley as fluent, enthusiastic readers who can fully engage with a wide range of texts, and use their knowledge to confidently evaluate an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. The National Curriculum guides our teaching and we use this, as well as our pupils' interests, to plan our lessons.
Writing and Spelling
At Gade Valley Primary School, we strive for our pupils to enjoy writing and to be proud of their written skills. We want every child to leave our school at the end of KS2 with the skills of an excellent writer, including the ability to write with fluency and style. Here at Gade Valley, the pupils develop their writing skills by exploring a range of different genres. We encourage cross-curricular links to help create purposeful learning opportunities and emphasise the importance of high-quality writing not only in English lessons but also in subjects across the curriculum.
How we teach Reading and Writing
All English lessons include the Gade Valley Principles of Teaching and Learning, which are a set of non-negotiables for each lesson e.g. all pupils will be challenged, the pupils will display good learning behaviours, etc.
Our Reading Environment:
We have created a learning environment which promotes reading for pleasure throughout the school, including use of an exciting new library and class-based reading areas and engaging displays. There is a wide selection of books which pupils can independently access, many of which have been purchased following pupil requests. Teachers encourage reading for pleasure by sharing texts they personally enjoy and by recommending books/authors to the pupils to extend their reading repertoire. Frequently, we update our range of book titles across the school, ensuring that the pupils have a wide collection to choose from. In the EYFS and KS1, reading books are selected from a book scheme according to teacher assessment. In KS2, pupils take part in the Accelerated Reading programme and have a wide range of books carefully labelled with the AR coding for them to enjoy (please see link below for more information). In our CHAMP village, we have a dedicated outdoor reading area, in which older pupils read to our younger pupils during break times.
Celebrating Achievements in Reading and Writing:
Reading at home is rewarded with special stamps in Reading Records and Planners, as well as certificates and badges. Here is the progression of certificates and badges that the pupils can earn:
At Gade Valley, we encourage the pupils to read at home at least five times a week. When the pupils have read five times, there are given a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket which is then put into an exciting weekly draw. The EYFS/KS1 and KS2 winners are announced during our weekly sharing assembly and are presented with a delicious Wonka Bar by none other than Willy Wonka and his Oompa Loompas!
At Gade Valley, we also encourage pupils to work hard to improve their continuous cursive handwriting. Neat handwriting is rewarded with stamps in exercise books, handwriting certificates and pen licences (in KS2) which are celebrated during our weekly sharing assembly.
Promoting Reading for Pleasure:
Pupils at Gade Valley end each day with a 15-20 minute ‘Once Upon A Time’ reading session in which the teachers model reading for pleasure using a high quality text. These sessions help create a calm learning environment which is conducive to reading for enjoyment.
Other regular events have been set up to promote reading throughout the school including celebrating Roald Dahl Day, Book Week, World Book Day, Storytelling Week, drama workshops led by external companies, author visits and an annual summer reading challenge. We organise regular Buddy Reading sessions where classes are paired up from across the school to read together. In addition to this, we have surprise Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) sessions which are announced by our Eco Council playing musical instruments around the school.
Every year, the school enjoys a visit from the Scholastic Book Fair which provides pupils with opportunities to purchase new books. As part of these visits, pupils also identify new titles which they would like to be included in the school library, further ensuring that the book stock is kept fresh to maximise engagement.
Phonics and Reading sessions:
Reading has a high priority in each classroom, with pupils taking part in whole class guided reading called 'We Read' (often linked to other areas of the curriculum) and one to one reading with adults. Phonics and Reading sessions are designed to develop the blending and segmenting of letters, sounds and words as well as the pupils' comprehension skills. This helps them to become confident and competent readers.
Pupils in the EYFS and KS1 have daily phonics sessions which are differentiated by phase and follow the Letters and Sounds programme, as well as the National Curriculum spelling expectations. We carefully select reading books matched to the pupils' knowledge of phonics. Parent phonics workshops are available to help them support their child’s development at home. From Year 2 up to Year 6, the pupils are also taught about spelling patterns and rules.
Reading within the English Lesson:
All pupils throughout the school also participate in daily English lessons which are in addition to the phonics and reading sessions. These lessons follow a three-phased approach of reading (developing comprehension skills), exploring the genre (including grammar) and writing. Teachers deliver lessons based on high quality texts and continue to model reading and comprehension skills even if the focus in that particular lesson is not reading. Objectives are taken from the National Curriculum to ensure the correct level of challenge and progression in skills.
From Nursery and Reception, pupils are provided with plentiful opportunities to refine their gross and fine motor skills, in preparation for writing. Once pupils begin to write, correct letter formation is modelled, practised and encouraged. At Gade Valley, we use the continuous cursive style of writing. Pupils in KS1 continue to have targeted handwriting sessions so that the majority of our pupils have started to join by the end of Year 2. Handwriting sessions continue in KS2 so that the pupils join confidently and fluently. We encourage excellent presentation in all written work across the curriculum. Any pupils still working towards the required level receive extra targeted intervention where necessary.
Spelling rules and patterns are taught from Year 2 to Year 6 using the National Curriculum. Teachers also focus on the needs of the class, addressing specific areas of spelling weakness as they arise. Pupils are encouraged to make use of 'Working Walls' in the classroom to aid them with their spelling rather than relying on adult intervention. They are also taught how to reflect upon their writing by editing their spelling using word banks and dictionaries to develop their independence.
‘We Write’ and Creative Writing:
In addition to English lessons, every fortnight the pupils participate in an extended writing session called ‘We Write’ in which they apply the skills they have learnt during their English lessons. This session helps develop confidence and enjoyment in writing whilst consolidating skills. The pupils are given individual writing targets and whole-class feedback is given to help move their learning forward.
Every half term, the pupils also write an extended piece of work in their Creative Writing books. This is often a final piece of work that has been developed over a sequence of English lessons. Pupils are given the opportunity to edit and check their work in their English books before publishing it using their best presentation in their Creative Writing books. Written work is usually guided through the use of ‘steps to success’ and regular marking and feedback. We highlight successes using ‘tickle pink’ and areas for development using ‘green for growth’.
Key Developments and Information for 2021/22
Up to July 2022:
Key Information for 2021/22
- All pupils enjoy learning how to read and write at Gade Valley.
- All pupils state that their teachers’ feedback helps them learn how to read and write.
- The overwhelming majority of pupils feel that their teachers encourage them to read regularly at home.
Quotes from our pupils: