At Holy Trinity Primary School our aim is to lead our pupils through an exciting reading journey where they leave Year 6 as avid bookworms whose confidence and fluency in reading has also made them better writers. High quality texts are at the core of our teaching, and reading skills are taught explicitly. We use the ‘Power of Reading’ approach, receiving our CPD and resources from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. Children are exposed to high quality texts across the curriculum and reading skills are taught explicitly in all year groups. VIPERS assists us in the teaching of these skills (vocabulary, inference prediction retrieval and sequencing). We regularly review our book provision so that pupils have the opportunity to read and discover a range of new books as well as some well known classic literature. Alongside the skills of decoding and comprehension, book talk encourages children to think as a reader and discuss their preferences, likes and dislikes.
In Key Stage 2 pupils keep individual reading journals as well as beautiful reflective records of the books that they read as a class. This helps them build on their understanding and reflect on themselves as readers. The teaching uses metacognitive approaches that encourages them to reflect on their understanding as readers.
This booklet from CLPE provides a useful overview of the aims of the Reading for Pleasure and Passion for Reading approaches.
Books, storytelling and drama are at the heart of our teaching of writing in which we use a range of stimuli to support pupils to become word rich, independent writers. We aim to broaden their experiences so that as well as learning the secretarial skills they have developed a strong writer’s voice.
We use a Story telling technique in Reception and Key Stage 1, following the process of, ‘Hear, Map, Step, Speak’ which helps the children clarify and sequence the writing process. Great texts are always the starting point for this. By the time they leave Year 2 they can write at length with great pride in their presentation and accuracy but perhaps more importantly, pleased with their ability to engage the reader.
We expect high standards in handwriting as we believe fluid handwriting can support with spelling. Teachers model the writing process and demonstrate the ambitious high standards expected of all children. expectations, therefore children are taught to use a cursive script from Reception. Weekly spellings ensure all children aim to confidently apply their phonics knowledge to all of their writing across the curriculum.
Making links with the authors of the books the children are reading in class has a powerful impact on pupils’ approach to their writing. During lockdown teachers connected with authors through social media who regularly commented on pupils work. This was so inspirational for the pupils.
Speaking, Listening and Drama
We believe that if pupils can develop confidence when speaking this not only helps them with writing but it is also a skill that will make a difference to them for life. Having the confidence to share views in a number of different settings is very empowering. We hope that when they leave us to move onto the next step in their academic journey they will be confident to share their views in class and ask questions.
Speaking is at the heart of everything we do in school. It begins in Reception as pupils learn to retell stories, using the storytelling approach. It occurs in every subject, whether teachers are asking pupils to ‘convince me’ in maths when explaining a mathematical concept or describing the dynamics in a piece of music.
By Year 3 we are encouraging pupils to lead events such as the ‘Helpers Thank you’ where they run a restaurant, providing a three course meal for the parents. They must communicate effectively with all the visitors and the event culminates in a final presentation to all the volunteers.
By Year 4 pupils are encouraged to become museum guides at Shakespeare’s birthplace.
By Year 5 and 6, pupils are engaging in ‘Debate Club’ learning rhetorical devices that enhance and emphasise their arguments. Because we want pupils to understand how much we value these skills we find opportunities to invite politicians and speakers into our school.
Being so close the Royal Shakespeare theatre we take every opportunity to tap into this amazing resource. Every year a different Year group has the opportunity to receive workshops from the RSC followed up with a chance to perform on stage.