At Paddocks we are committed to developing a love of reading and constantly promote reading for pleasure. All children are explicitly taught reading comprehension skills. We use the ‘Read with DERIC’ acronym to teach children the key skills involved to be a successful reader – decoding, explanation, retrieval, interpretation and understanding an author’s choices. This is done using a variety of exciting texts and supported through the use of the Rising Stars Cracking Comprehension materials. Children participate in regular sessions where teachers encourage whole class, paired and independent analysis of the text. Pupils are taught to look for evidence when answering questions and encouraged to discuss their opinions of books they have read. Children have access to class libraries, the whole school library and home reading books. In Early Years and Key Stage 1, children also have access to a wide range of phonetically decodable books (including books from the Phonics Bug and Big Cat Phonics schemes) and in Key Stage 2 each classroom is well stocked with a variety of free reader texts. This year, we are also excited to be launching ‘Accelerated Reader’ which will use a combination of quality children’s literature and ICT to provide children with even more opportunities to develop their reading skills both in school and at home.
Literacy lessons at Paddocks are taught in a cross-curricular fashion and linked to the exciting topics that children are studying at the time. Teachers use the IPEELL Writing Project to teach writing. IPEELL uses memorable experiences and self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) to improve pupils’ writing. SRSD (originating in North America) provides a clear structure to assist children in writing and can be used across most genres of writing. SRSD has been the subject of much research over the 20 years and it has been in use in many successful schools across the country. It has been found effective at providing children with the strategies needed to become confident, successful writers. In addition to this, one of the key stages in the IPEELL sequence is self-monitoring and goal setting, giving children real ownership for improving their own writing. Children are asked to always consider the purpose, audience and type (PAT) of writing and the IPEELL strategy is then used to give structure to the text (introduction, points, examples, ending, links and language). All writing is based on memorable experiences and are given a clear purpose and audience, nurturing the motivation needed to be successful. Teachers use a range of resources, ICT and texts to inspire children during literacy lessons and teach the specific features of a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry genres throughout the school.
Phonics and Spelling
Phonics is taught using the Letters and Sounds in Early Years and Key Stage 1. This teaching is supported by the Phonics Play online resources which are fun and motivating for young children. Teachers use a variety of strategies including games, paired work, whole class instruction, one to one and small group support and independent work to provide children with lots of opportunities to practise phonics skills throughout the day. In addition to this work, the Rising Stars Spelling programme is used in Key Stage 1 and 2 to develop children’s spelling skills. Key words relating to topics being taught are displayed in classrooms and this spelling work is applied to writing during literacy lessons.
In addition to delivering a broad and varied literacy curriculum for all children of all abilities, we work hard to offer many enriching experiences for children throughout the school year. We maintain close links with Newmarket library who come in to school and promote library use through reading competitions, library reward schemes and school trips to the library. Over the last few years we have been visited by several published authors who have given whole school presentations and workshop work with children promoting reading and writing. Each year we run a ‘Get Caught Reading’ competition where children are encouraged to bring in a photograph of themselves reading in the craziest place they can think of. We celebrate a love of reading each year on World Book Day when children have dress up competitions, book swaps, paired reading with other classes and participate in drama through literacy activities. The Scholastic Book Faire visits Paddocks once a year and children purchase books for home and also earn rewards for the school. Finally, all teachers plan fun and inspiring school trips for children from which a range of literacy learning opportunities are born.
Reading at Home
We use a number of ways to encourage strong links between home and school when learning to read, and continuing to read for pleasure. A variety of workshops and interactive sessions are open for parents to join us and learn more about how to support their child’s reading at home. We send home phonics packs and information for parents during the early years of school and encourage parents to continue to share and enjoy stories and books at home – whatever the child’s reading ability and age.