The development of language and English is at the heart of everything we do at Eliot Bank. We want our children to leave primary school as confident and skilled readers, writers, listeners and communicators. Emphasis on this starts in Nursery and continues right the way through to Year 6.
For phonics and early reading, the Children at Eliot Bank will be following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme. Starting in Reception, children will read in small groups with an adult, where the focus is on decoding, prosody and comprehension.
When children are learning to read, it is imperative that they practise independently with fully decodable books, which are matched to their secure phonic knowledge. In Reception and the beginning of year 1, we will use Big Cat Collins books and e-books to support this early reading practice.
The children will also bring home a book which you can share with them to encourage a love of reading. As the children become more proficient at reading through Key Stage 1, they will have the opportunity to choose from a wider variety of books, including high-quality picture books and short novels. Reading records are provided to children and include a variety of activities to support the love of books at home. These journals also provide parents with a means of communicating their child’s reading progress and habits at home with the class teacher.
Children receive short, fun daily sessions to develop their phonic knowledge. From EYFS to Key Stage 1, children are supported with their decoding skills for reading and writing in daily systematic synthetic phonic sessions. At Eliot Bank, we use the synthetic phonics programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through the school. We also link handwriting and spellings to our daily phonics teaching. This phonic resource will also be used for Rapid Catch up for children in Year 2 and above who require extra support.
Writing is taught through Talk for Writing: an approach which develops speaking, listening, vocabulary and grammar as well as children’s creative writing skills. It has had a huge impact on our children’s literacy skills; their ability to be successful storytellers and the quality of their writing is astounding because of it. The method focuses on children learning quality texts off by heart so that rich language and structure is embedded and built upon in every year group. A range of fiction and non-fiction genres are taught throughout the year and writing toolkits are established so that children are aware of the features of different text types.
We have a handwriting policy which is based on the cursive script. This is also taught in short sessions 2 – 3 times a week. Once children have mastered the joins, handwriting is linked to spellings.
Mary Quinn, English Team Leader