English including Phonics
|Writing Subject Leader
|Reading Subject Leader
|Mrs K Crook
|English Link Governors
|Mrs L Farrow and Mrs D Foster
English at Westfield Primary School
At Westfield Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of quality literature and a habit of reading widely and often. Children start their reading journey with us as soon as they start in Reception through our Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. We want all children to be able to read and write, with no exceptions.
We follow Pathways to Write and Pathways to Read as a way to develop vocabulary, reading and writing skills through the mastery approach. Our planning is based upon high quality texts to ensure engaging and purposeful lessons by linking learning to the wider curriculum. We pride ourselves on being a reading school – reading underpins everything we teach.
We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. As such, our lessons are aimed to teach age-related knowledge and skills through a variety of activities and writing opportunities. By focussing on specific knowledge and skills within our units of work, we are able to use focussed assessment to track pupil progress. This also means that our teaching sequence is progressive and builds upon prior learning.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption to our children's learning, we have ensured that reading is a priority in our catch-up curriculum. We have worked to identify and map out the gaps in learning that our children have experienced and this has been woven into our curriculum plans. Teachers' planning is therefore informed by both an assessment of pupils' starting points and gaps, as well as an understanding of what is the most critical content for progression.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well-organised English curriculum that provides many opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our long-term plans have been mapped out to ensure that full coverage of the National Curriculum is catered for across all of our classes, taking into careful consideration the age-related expectations for each year group. Where possible, we have ensured that our focus texts complement our wider curriculum planning. As a staff, we have thus designed a personalised curriculum to engage and inspire our pupils.
Pathways to Write
Pathways to Write is a proven methodology designed to equip pupils with key skills to move them through the writing process towards their final outcome. It is built around units of work that follow a mastery approach to the teaching of writing.
To support this approach, clear detailed lesson plans and resources are linked to a high-quality text. Pathways to Write ensures engaging and purposeful English lessons. The units can be used thematically to encourage a whole school approach to writing with the opportunity for topics to link across all year groups.
Each unit covers a range of areas in the national curriculum:
- Mastery of vocabulary, grammar and punctuation skills
- Writing a range of genres across a year
- Vocabulary development
- Using a wider range of reading comprehension strategies as a whole class
- Spoken language activities including drama and presentations
- Opportunities for practising previously taught genres
- An extended, independent piece of writing
This process follows three stages:
The Gateway (1-2 lessons)
- Begin at the Gateway with a ‘hook’ session to intrigue and enthuse young writers
- Use objects, people, images or role-play to stimulate questions about the chosen text
- Give pupils the opportunity to predict the text
- Establish the purpose and audience of the writing
- Revisit previous mastery skills and ongoing skills
The Pathway (10 lessons)
- Introduce pupils to three new writing skills from their year group curriculum
- Provide opportunities to practise and apply the skill they have learnt through short and extended writing tasks including character descriptions, poetry, dialogue between characters, fact files or diary entries in role
- Provide opportunities to re-cap and apply previously taught skills
- Challenge greater depth writers through a wider range of tasks e.g. changes to form, viewpoint and audience
Writeaway (4 lessons)
- Section and sequence texts independently or collaboratively
- Create extended pieces of writing over time
- Opportunity to apply mastery skills
- Time for planning, writing, checking, editing, redrafting and publishing
- A fiction or non-fiction outcome will be written (covering a wide range of genres and themes over the year)
To find out more information about Pathways to Write follow this link:
Pathways to Read
Pathways to Read is a programme designed to equip pupils from Year 2 onwards with key skills to move them through the reading process towards becoming competent and fluent readers. To support this approach, clear detailed lesson plans and resources are linked to high-quality texts. Pathways to Read ensures engaging and purposeful reading lessons.The units can be used thematically alongside Pathways to Write to encourage a whole school curriculum approach with the opportunity for topics to link across all year groups.
Pathways to Read follows a mastery approach to learning with three categories of skills developed each half term:
- Ongoing skills - linked to text choices and achieved through selection of teaching activities
- Core skills - prediction, vocabulary development and retrieval
- Mastery skills - 2-3 objectives are focused on for pupils to master over the course of the half-term
To find out more information about Pathways to Read follow this link:
At Westfield, we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their reading and writing. RWI is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.
Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn.
Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters; ask them to show you what some of these sounds are.
The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘red words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.
The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘red words’ they know. The children become more fluent readers as their sight vocabulary increases and this does wonders for their confidence.
WHEN USING RWI TO READ & WRITE THE CHILDREN WILL:
- learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
- learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds
- learn to read and write words using Fred Talk
- read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
- show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions
Below is a link to the RWInc website that explains in more detail the resources used to deliver the programme and many video clips to demonstrate how RWInc is taught from Reception through to KS2.
Also, by navigating the website you will find useful activities to support your child at home.
In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.
We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.
We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.
As a result, we have a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Children’s work showcases their progression of skills and how their learning in the wider curriculum compliments our units of work in English.
I really enjoy our reading lessons. We get to read lots of really good books!
I enjoy choosing my own books that interest me. I love reading!
Reading makes me feel calm and relaxed.
Reading at Home
We recognise the impact that reading at home can have on children’s progress in reading. Because of this, we ask that our families also commit to our high standards when reading at home. We ask that all pupils read at home on five occasions each week.
Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 – 10 minutes reading at home session.
Year 3 and Year 4 – 15 minutes per reading at home session.
Year 5 and Year 6 – 20 minutes per reading at home session.
We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. We use the Educational Library Service in order to continually update our reading collections in every classroom. Teachers also use this resource as a way of ordering topic related materials to further enrich our wider curriculum. Children are also able to access our online resource ‘Bug Club’ both in school and at home. Through the use of this online tool, children can read and respond to texts that have been matched to their reading ability whilst accruing rewards along the way.
Phonics games and resources
Articulation of phonemes
DFE Information for parents