Literacy is a fundamental life skill. It develops a child’s ability to communicate effectively – to listen, speak, read and write for a range of purposes. Literacy has a significant impact on people’s life chances. With literacy skills, an individual gains control over their life. Without literacy, life experience is dramatically narrowed and opportunities are lost.
Staff at St George’s work to ensure that all children develop the ability to communicate effectively and that barriers to learning are swiftly identified and steps taken to remove them. Literacy is an integral element of our whole school curriculum. Teachers use creative and purposeful ways to engage pupils in their learning, raising standards and narrowing gaps in attainment. Writing activities involve cross-curricular work and also the Literacy tool ‘Wordsmith’, which is a whole school approach to teaching all areas of English.
Our Literacy learning starts in Early Years when children learn phonics using the Ruth Miskin, Read, Write Inc. phonics scheme (See phonics section of the school website for further information). In Year 1, every child in England takes the Phonics Screening test in June.
Presentation of work is important at St George’s and children are encouraged to take pride in their work. Correct pencil grip and letter formation is key to ensure accurate, legible handwriting. Pupils practise handwriting on a regular basis and are taught to join their letters in Year 2.
Grammar and spelling
Once the children move beyond Early Years, they have sets of spellings to learn and they have regular spelling tests. In Years 1 and 2 the spellings are closely linked to high frequency words and spelling patterns.
The children learn grammar in English lessons, focusing on basic skills. These sessions enable pupils to revise, consolidate and apply grammar knowledge.
From September 2015 pupils in Year 2 will take a SPAG (spelling and grammar) test. Year 6 pupils also take a SPAG test.
Children’s books are checked on a regular basis in KS1 and KS2, and changed as necessary. The home/school link is essential and children make better progress when they read regularly at home. Reading is taught across the curriculum and is also taught in regular ‘Guided Reading’ sessions. In these sessions, children read a book or a section of the book and discuss it, answering comprehension questions or looking at key grammar, vocabulary or other elements. This is also an opportunity for children to practice reading with expression – using good tone and intonation to make their reading interesting.
Using a wide variety of exciting, and sometimes cross-curricular texts underpins our teaching of writing at St George’s. This enables children to take part in drama, speaking and listening, and various activities as a basis to writing. High quality writing is modelled to children and they will plan, write and edit their own work. Opportunities are given for pupils to respond to feedback from their teacher to improve their writing. This allows them to produce completed work they can be proud of.