At Walsall Wood, we are passionate about ensuring that our children become successful and confident readers and writers, knowing that effective literacy skills underpin every aspect of life.
Every day, our children have opportunities to read and write for different purposes, building on previous skills using our Prepare, Practise, Perform ethos.
We also promote the enjoyment of reading by setting aside time for every teacher to share and talk about key stories with their class. In addition to this, we provide a range of engaging books across the school which can be taken home and which provide challenge and promote choice for all abilities.
We believe in developing our children’s speaking and listening skills as we value the impact that these can have on success in reading and writing. Teachers model and promote high level vocabulary and language structures to support this development.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), children are given opportunities to develop their communication, language and literacy skills through purposeful adult-led activities and engaging continuous provision, along with the physical development skills which will be required for writing. Stories are shared daily with the children and these provide the focus for much of the work undertaken.
Children are taught to read the sounds (phonemes) and to write the corresponding letters (graphemes) in the English language, along with exception words, following our systematic phonics programme, Read Write Inc. They also learn how to decode and encode words using this knowledge and apply this to the accompanying texts from the scheme.
As the children move into Key Stage One, they continue with the Read Write Inc scheme to learn the rest of the phonemes and graphemes needed to decode and spell words in the English language and to read and write accurately and fluently. Children also have the chance to read levelled texts, one to one or in a group when they are ready, to apply their skills in a wider way, learning problem solving strategies on new texts and developing their fluency and comprehension.
In order to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum, the children have the opportunity to study key stories by well-known authors, fairy stories and traditional tales along with poetry and non-fiction texts. Opportunities are provided to develop comprehension skills and composition skills through these focus texts, along with applying their developing decoding and transcriptional skills within an engaging context.
Every day, children in Key Stage Two have an hour for English. Within this session, their reading and writing is developed through a holistic approach. This means that the book that they study forms the basis of the work they undertake. Each year group has good quality focus books by well known authors including Ted Hughes, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis and Michael Morpurgo. Through these texts, children have the opportunity to write for a range of purposes and these are built upon across the Key Stage. Grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught as an integral part of these lessons, using our Walsall Wood writing codes, as well as additional taught spelling sessions twice a week.
Children in Key Stage Two also have additional Reading Skills sessions across the week. They read and study a fiction or non-fiction text and develop their comprehension skills through whole class, guided group and independent tasks. Think aloud approaches are used to promote active reading skills and the VIPERS approach (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise) is used to explore different question types.
Children in Key Stage Two access the Accelerated Reader programme to support their independent reading. Pupils can choose from a wide range of books within their reading ability set by the programme and undertake quizzes in school to see how well they have understood the books. Reading takes place daily in class and this is followed up at home.
Key Stage Two parents can access information about how their child is reading by logging in with their child's Accelerated Reader username and password on the following website -
We value the importance of additional support at home in contributing to the children’s learning in English. Children are encouraged to read every day at home, whether practising their RWI book or sharing the story packs with parents in Early Years and Key Stage One or reading their Accelerated Reader book and discussing it with their parent at Key Stage Two.
We are also implementing a new approach to our teaching of spellings this year. Each week the children will be taught 5 Words of the Day plus 2 spelling rules from their curriculum. The Words of the Day along with a selection of words applying the spelling rules will be put on Spelling Shed at the end of the week.
The children are asked to play 5 games on Spelling Shed to secure the spellings they have been learning. In order to master these spellings and rules by the end of the year, these will be repeated each term to embed them and for the children to apply the rules to spell new words. We hope that you will support us in this by encouraging your child to play the games at home. It is always best to start at the easy level each week and then progress as they feel more confident in knowing the spellings.
The website for Spelling Shed can be found here - https://www.edshed.com/en-gb/login