Teaching and Learning of Literacy and English
At Oak View Primary and Nursery School, we aim to create, inspire and empower children through fostering their love of language and literature. We aim to create a generation of articulate, highly literate, confident and imaginative children. We aim to develop pupils’ abilities within an integrated programme of Speaking & Listening, Reading & Writing. Pupils will be given opportunities to interrelate the requirements of English within a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English across the curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught literacy skills. At Oak View Primary and Nursery School, we strive for children to be a ‘Primary Literate Pupil’. By the age of eleven, we aim for a child to be able to:
- read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, orchestrating a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct;
- have an interest in books and read for enjoyment;
- have an interest in words, their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms;
- understand a range of text types and genres – be able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation; be developing the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness;
- have a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses.
English vs Literacy?
The teaching of ‘English’ encompasses the ability to read, write and speak in this language. These are the secretarial skills needed which underpin the teaching of literacy. The teaching of ‘literacy’ will include visual literacy skills, developing a love for language and authors. The children will learn to enjoy, analyse and reflect upon a range of texts explored from different genres.
Speaking and Listening
At Oak View Primary and Nursery School, we aim for all children to:
- feel confident and valued when they express themselves through the spoken word;
- respect and value all languages;
- learn through discussion with others;
- listen to, evaluate and respect the opinions of others;
- become competent listeners and speakers.
Organisation for Speaking and Listening
Through recognising that talk has equal status with other areas of the English curriculum, speaking and listening activities are planned for. Group work is an effective way of encouraging children to listen and respond to each other whilst using language for different purposes. Planning for talk in a range of formal and informal situations will encourage children to use different dialect forms, including Standard English, in appropriate contexts. Resources should be provided to promote and enhance speaking and listening opportunities. These may include listening areas, story sessions, whole class discussion times, collaborative group work across the curriculum, role play and drama and games.
Writing in our School
Writing takes place daily across the curriculum in a manner of ways. These may include:
- shared writing
- guided writing
- independent writing
- extended writing
Each year group has been assigned a bank of high quality texts which support teaching and learning. A range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry units are covered in each year group. Our yearly literacy overviews ensure that there is a progression of skills and learning as children move through the school. Our ‘Talk for Writing’ whole school approach to the teaching of literacy will ensure the children are familiar with the text type and have explored a good model of writing from which to identify language features. Children are then, using creative constraints, given the opportunity to emulate this type of writing. A cycle of review, evaluation and editing will enable children to identify weaknesses and make the subsequent improvements. (Please view ‘Talk for Writing section).
Whole Class Reading in KS2
What is it?
In KS2 we enjoy Whole Class Reading as an approach to developing our reading skills. Each half term, each year group explores and enjoys a high-quality text. These are books from a wide range of authors from across the world and spanning different time periods in history. Many of the texts link to our history and geography curriculum and reflect the diversity of our school.
During the Whole Class Reading session, a section of the book is read. This could be by the teacher who is modelling character voices, intonation, expression and how to observe the punctuation to make sense of the text. Children are encouraged to read aloud in front of their peers in a safe environment; everyone is encouraged and supported to ‘have a go’.
There are many skills we develop through this shared reading activity. It is adult directed yet there are plenty of opportunities for children to lead the discussion. It is the class discussions that deepen the children’s understanding of the characters and plot and unpick the meaning of new vocabulary.
There are opportunities for whole class discussion, partner talk activities and also independent thinking time to respond to the text. These sessions are inclusive and empowering for the children- every single child is engaged and can access the text whatever their reading ability.
There is much teacher modelling of the thinking process and how to use evidence from the text to justify their responses. Children are challenged through questioning and making further connections. The following skills are taught explicitly during the sessions:
- Vocabulary development
- Making predictions
- Summarising information
- Developing empathy
- Retrieval skills
These skills are transferrable and support the children in becoming independent learners in all areas of the curriculum.
Why do we do it?
There are many advantages associated with using this approach to developing reading comprehension skills and reading for pleasure across KS2. Some of these include:
- All children engaged and motivated to enjoy a book.
- All children exposed to high-quality, challenging and exciting books.
- Pupil confidence develops in reading aloud.
- Vocabulary development that is transferred and evident in pupils’ writing across the curriculum.
- Children actually read lengthy texts and enjoy the whole book.
- Sessions are focused on the teaching and modelling of reading skills.
- Inclusive for SEN pupils who are exposed to different sentence structures and high-level vocabulary in the selected whole class reading texts.
- Focus on developing reading comprehension skills and not simply decoding. (Focus groups may receive further support to ensure they become fluent readers.)
- It is fun for all- teachers, and pupils enjoy the experience.
What the children say…
“We read really exciting books and finish the whole book together!”
“I learn lots of new words that I can use in my writing.”
“We go on a journey as a class and really get to know the characters.”
“It makes me feel like a real reader; I read books now that I thought were too hard for me.”
“I like reading now and sometimes feel brave enough to read aloud in front of my friends.”
“I like discussing what we’re reading- it helps me understand the story.”
“I am confident enough to say what I think and how I feel about the story.”