When we talk about literacy at Whitegate End we talk about writing, reading, phonics and grammar so lets have a look at each one in turn so you know what happens across school.
At Whitegate End we show the children there is a real purpose for their writing. Teachers ensure there is a 'hook' for the children's writing to fully engage them in their learning. We use pupil voice to see what the children are interested in and link our writing to our topics. We follow a reading into writing process so the children have opportunities to share high quality texts to gather ideas for their writing. We call these WAGOLLS - what a good one looks like. Following this the children will unpick the WAGOLL so they understand the genre they are going to focus upon. In the mix we have lots of grammar games to help meet our grammar objectives. Through modelled writes (where the teacher will model the writing to the children) then shared writes (where the children may complete some writing in pairs of small groups) the children build up their confidence to draft their piece of writing. We then have to edit and improve our work before completing a published version. The teachers are on the look out for fantastic pieces of writing as they are celebrated each week in assembly as a 'masterpieces' winner is selected to receive special certificate.
To make sure we cover all the genres of writing we have worked as a staff team to map this across the school from Year 1 to Year 6. This means we can build on key writing skills from each year group. We respond to the interests of the children and the writing genres may change to include world events. Have a look below at the key documents section to see the whole school writing curriculum and an example of the English curriculum overview.
We work really hard to get the children engaged in their reading. From Drop Everything and Read Days to daily guided reading lessons we always encourage the children to enjoy a good book. Our library has recently had a makeover (with the help of our great PTFA) so we have a great space where the children can enjoy reading. From EYFS to Year 6 we ensure the children have lots of opportunities to read and encourage parents to spend some quality time reading with their children. At Whitegate End, we also explain to the children that if they enjoy and do lots of reading, it will really help with their writing. We ensure we teach the children the strategies needed to develop their reading skills. Daily guided reading sessions make sure the children have focused time with the class teacher and this may be in the form of a carousel of activities or whole class guided reading further up in school. We hold yearly book fairs to help raise money to purchase high quality texts and really appreciate all the support we receive from parents and carers.
In EYFS and Key Stage One all the children take part in a daily phonics session.
School uses the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme. This is a resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. For pupils that are not successful with Letters & sounds, school will use other schemes such as SNIP and precision teaching to further develop pupils early reading and phonics acquisition. These sessions follow the same structure as each day the children will review a previously learnt sound then they will be taught a new sound before practising and applying this new sound. The teachers plan engaging activities to ensure the children make progress with their learning.
At Whitegate End we cover the expectations for GPS alongside the genres of writing. Each year group has mapped out their GPS curriculum and match this to interesting and engaging genres of writing. We ensure we teach GPS in the context of the children's writing. Teachers plan a range of activities and games to make sure the children remain interested. This year we are introducing a new spellings scheme of work: Transforming the Teaching of Spelling. The spellings are all in line with the National Curriculum and also help to stretch the children’s vocabulary. Spellings are certainly tricky and the English language contains well over a million words and has been affected by some 1,300 years of history. As the National Curriculum reminds us, “Most people read words more accurately than they spell them.” With this in mind, we shall be introducing a clear and systematic view for teaching spellings that will provide our children with life-long strategies. Spellings need to be taught logically to see the magic of words, the patterns and how words can help transform their quality of writing. The underlying structure of the approach is based on the three zones of spelling, explored through patterns, remembering and recall of spellings.
The Development of Vocabulary
We know how important it is for each of our children to develop a language rich vocabulary. As part of our school development plan this is a real focus of the whole school. Through the robust teaching of vocabulary through lively and engaging activities we aim to equip each of our children with a rich vocabulary to help their success in school and in future learning.