At Meadowhead Infant School we aim to foster a love of reading within our children. We encourage them to read both for pleasure and in order to gain information. Reading is promoted across the curriculum and occurs all of the time. All pupils are taught the skills and strategies to read and comprehend a variety of texts including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays. They are encouraged to read with confidence, fluency, understanding and for enjoyment. Every class has story time during the school day to foster the love of reading and to allow for quality discussions about the text. Integral to everything we do, is ensuring that we provide an environment where children see the true value of reading and develop a love for the written word. Our shared library is key to this. Our library stocks a fantastic selection of themed fiction and non-fiction to entice children of all ages. School book fairs and celebrating World Book Day are just some of the other ways we encourage children to become excited about reading! As you move around our school, we would hope that you can see that reading is held in high regard. After all, reading is the foundation for learning.
How we teach reading
Children at Meadowhead Infant School learn to read by being taught a combination of synthetic phonics which they use to blend and segment words and sight recognition of high frequency words. We provide a rich reading programme in ‘Jelly and Bean’ guided reading books which are set according to the children’s phonetical ability.
We use the Letters and Sounds scheme to form the basis of our phonic teaching. Phonic lessons occur daily and are carefully planned for to ensure progression. We teach phonics in a four-part lesson; revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. Following on from our Phonics lesson we teach basic sentence writing using the phonemes that we already know.
Children move through coloured book bands which are arranged in progressive phonological steps to ensure sustained progress. Children are regularly assessed in phonics to ascertain whether they are ready to take on the challenge of the next colour level. We use a range of schemes such as Jelly and Bean, Collins Big Cat and Oxford Reading Tree.
Our overarching aim within writing is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written word and foster an environment where children are enthusiastic about writing. From the moment children enter our school, they are provided with the stepping stones and opportunities in order to become confident writers. Children are taught how to write clearly and accurately, applying their handwriting, spelling, punctuation and grammatical skills for a variety of purposes and audiences. GPS (punctuation, grammar and spelling) skills are an integral part of our literacy lessons and writing across the curriculum.
Speaking and listening
Children are given plenty of opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills across the curriculum. In early years and year 1, each class has a role-play area where children enjoy developing their social skills and imagination and drama is planned into our lessons regularly. Our whole-school approach of talk partners is crucial to ensuring that all children have an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and ideas and respond appropriately to others’. At Meadowhead Infants, we strongly believe that talk is invaluable in moving learning forward through verbalising of ideas before writing and using discussion to identify areas for improvement within their work. Our aim is to ensure that all of our children show competence and confidence when speaking in front of others.
At Meadowhead we believe that handwriting is a skill which, like reading and spelling, affects written communication across the curriculum. Children must be able to write with ease, speed and legibility.
Our aims in teaching handwriting are that the pupils will:
• Achieve a neat, legible style with correctly formed letters. EYFS and KS1 will be standard handwriting.
• Develop flow and speed. Eventually produce the letters automatically and in their independent writing.
During phonics lessons we will show the children the letter shapes in print and correct formation will be modelled. Through this we will begin to develop our letter formation.