At Langdon Academy, we believe that both written and oral communication is the key to educational success. We aim to equip our children with the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to use language effectively. We strive to instil in children a love of stories, books, writing for different purposes and language from a very young age. Children are read to and with regularly, all the way through primary school. Teachers discuss books with children and share their love of literature. The literacy skills that children develop are linked to, and applied in, every area of our curriculum. The children’s skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening enable them to communicate and express themselves in all areas of their work at school.
At Langdon Academy we are passionate and committed to raising the attainment of reading throughout the school. We aim for the children to develop a love for literature and value the importance of reading as a gateway to a wealth of knowledge about the world around them. As well as the teaching of reading through strategies such as phonics, we aim to develop each child’s comprehension skills through careful questioning that will enable children to infer and deduct information from the text.
Children are explicitly taught the skills of reading (outlined in the National Curriculum and the KS1 and KS2 test domains) through the use of VIPERS which were created by Rob Smith (The Literacy Shed).
We use a number of strategies to support the children’s learning in reading, one of which is an online platform called Bug Club, which allows teachers to allocate books for children based on their reading level to read at home and answer comprehension questions on. To find out more make sure that you have your child’s login details and go to www.activelearnprimary.co.uk.
The school uses Bug Club reading books, these books are linked to the stages of phonics a child is being taught to ensure they are practising the sounds learnt in phonics and helps to embed their learning. At the early stages of reading development, the children initially use books without text and progress to books that are linked to the phonics sounds that they are learning. Children progress through the reading scheme at their own pace with a view to achieving age related expectations at the end of the year. We do stress the importance of understanding and talking about what they are reading.
Within school, we use Accelerated Reader, which is a program that assesses children's reading ability and allocates appropriate books that are tailored to their needs. From Years 3 to 6 we use the Accelerated Reading program. Each child is given a ZPD and asked to choose an appropriate book from their level. After reading each book they can then take an online quiz to earn points towards their target. This program is designed to motivate children to read and so far our children love it, often asking to take their quiz as soon as they walk into school.
Alongside exposure to a wide range of reading material, pupils are taught formally to read using phonics. Other reading strategies, such as sight reading of ‘tricky words’, using picture cues and reading for meaning, are also introduced. Pupils are taught the range of ‘tricky words’ based on curriculum expectations which cannot be decoded using phonics. In this way, they gradually develop a bank of vocabulary they know by sight.
Our phonics programme is Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, which has been validated by the Department for Education. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
Phonics helps to ensure reading evolves from learning to read, to reading to learn. Phonics lessons are taught every day and each day the children learn a new sound and revise sounds already taught. Some children will receive additional phonics support if we feel that this will be of benefit.
Pupils are grouped (in KS1) for Guided Reading with other pupils who are at a similar stage in their reading development. Each group reads with the teacher at least once a week. Additional one-to-one reading support is delivered, where appropriate. We have a strong reading volunteer programme that trains parents how to read with children. Guided Reading is seen as fundamental to pupils' reading development at Langdon. During Guided Reading sessions, the children have opportunities to discuss texts and develop their understanding through activities related to the text. As pupils move through the school comprehension and vocabulary development and understanding becomes the focus for reading; children are taught to read for meaning and to develop their skills of inference and deduction.
Children are encouraged to read at home daily. We appreciate all families who support reading and hear children read at home – we know your time is precious, but it is a vital part of every child’s education. We ask all parents to sign the home reading book so that we know the children have read at home each week.
At Langdon we believe every child has the right to be a confident, fluent reader. We are developing our use of whole-class-reading sessions across KS2 to improve children’s fluency and speed reading. In addition to this, they are having reading modelled to them by their teacher.
At Langdon Academy we work hard to instil a joy of language. We teach writing by embedding talk for writing and other speaking, listening, role play and reading activities. Children have exposure to a wide range of stories and genres of writing to develop a structure to build upon and to add their own ideas. Good progress is made when children open their eyes and ears to the language modelled around them. We encourage children to ‘magpie’ from what they read and hear in the classroom and experiment with interesting words and phrases. We have worked hard to foster strong links between different subjects, ensuring children have ample opportunities to read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts during their time at Langdon Primary.
As well as being integrated into every writing session spelling, punctuation and grammar skills are taught within each year group through daily discreet lessons. Children will be given weekly spelling homework on a particular sound or spelling patterns.