At Reignhead, we aim for ALL our children to become fluent and confident speakers, readers and writers.
Reading is at the heart of our school. We know how important it is for children to read accurately, fluently and with good comprehension regardless of their background, needs or abilities so that they can access the whole curriculum. At Reignhead we foster a culture of reading where books and stories are promoted and enjoyed. We have a well-stocked library and every classroom has a reading area filled with exciting books. All children across school enjoy story time, every day, hearing books from our brilliant Reignhead Reading Spine (100 books the children will read before they move onto secondary school). We love inviting authors to school and enjoy our annual theatre production based on a classic texts. We all love our special reading events like Book at Bedtime, the Great Reignhead Book Swap and dressing up and celebrating our favourite books on World Book Day. We are also very proud of our enthusiastic Reading Ambassadors, who are avid readers that promote reading, participate each year in the Sheffield Children’s Book Award and look after the library.
Reading is taught every day, across school. In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 phonics is taught daily using the Read, Write Inc Programme). Children progress through the scheme until their decoding is automatic and their reading is fluent. Common Exception Words are read quickly and accurately. Children develop their word reading and comprehension skills further through reading engaging and high quality Read, Write Inc texts. We ensure children are taught using non-fiction as well as fiction in order to appeal to different reading preferences.
Once children have completed their Early Reading goals they move onto ‘Book Study’ to further their language comprehension. Book study lessons teach reading for inference strategies such as reading and thinking aloud, predicting, using background knowledge, visualising, exploring vocabulary, summarising and finding answers to questions in detective time. During Y2 and LKS2 children consolidate their understanding of the reading strategies by repeating and having regular practice so they learn how to use them fluently. By UKS2 children should be starting to become more independent by choosing which strategies they are going to use during detective time. As well as the half-termly book studies, two weeks of every half term's reading lessons are non-fiction based, aiming to increase the children’s background knowledge in the wider subjects.
Throughout school, one to one reading with an adult is also used where necessary to increase fluency as well as to diagnose and address individual reading difficulties.
Home reading is vitally important to us at Reignhead and each child is provided with their own personal Reading Record which is completed each time the child reads. Colour banded books as well as other reading materials are provided for the children to choose from and read at home. Every Monday, all children, throughout school, have their reading books changed. Once children reach UKS2 they record their own reading journals chronicling the books they’ve read on their ‘Shelfies’.
At Reignhead we want our children to be accurate and fluent writers with a good understanding of the basic skills of spelling, grammar and punctuation. We encourage children to enjoy their writing and learn how to write with confidence across the curriculum for a variety of purposes and audiences.
We have adopted ‘The Write Stuff’ approach from Reception through to Year 6 with results that we are enormously proud of. The Write Stuff is the work of the teacher, author and education consultant Jane Considine and it aims to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing, providing clear systems through which to focus the writer’s attention. There are three zones of writing. The fantastics which offer nine idea lenses with which to structure ideas and target children’s thinking. The grammaristic lenses which teach the importance of accurate grammar and punctuation and encourage children to manipulate and carefully structure words into sentences and the boomtastics, which focus on the art of writing and the range of literacy devices that give flair and provide readers with vivid pictures.
Through combination of fiction and non-fiction reading and writing units (see our English long term plan) we provide children with the experience of a wide range of high quality texts and authors. Our writing lessons include experience sessions, which see the children immersing into a text type, exploring drama and harnessing a wide range of vocabulary. Our sentence stacking lessons follow a repeated pattern of ‘Initiate’, ‘Model’ and ‘Enable’ whereby children learn how to write carefully constructed sentences. In the initiate section a stimulus is used to capture the children’s imagination and collect ideas and words to use. In the model section the teacher closely demonstrates how to write a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques. Then in the enable section the children write their own sentence, following the model.
Every writing lesson involves the acquisition of new vocabulary. We acquire new words with our thesaurus thinking, chotting (chatting and jotting shared ideas), considering the shades of meaning of words using the ‘Shade-o-meter’ and focussing on the sentence’s intent (whether it is going to have a positive or negative intent).
In later lessons in a writing unit children become independent writers, being given the opportunity to make individual choices and develop their own creativity by applying the skills they have learned in the ‘Sentence Stacking’ lessons. They then publish their writing which is proudly displayed in their books and around Reignhead.
At Reignhead we are very proud of our children’s handwriting and take particular care when teaching letter formation and eventually the joined-up handwriting style. Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes. We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.
Spelling is taught through daily lessons at Reignhead using the Read Write Inc. programme and it is designed so children repeat and revise spelling rules as they learn spelling rules and patterns through KS1 and 2. We also adopt a rigorous and systematic focus on children learning the key word lists from Years 1-6 to ensure they are accurate and fluent spellers at the point of writing.
To view our long term English plan for 2023-2024, please see the document below.