At St Michael’s we believe literacy is a fundamental life skill. Through language, we are able to communicate our knowledge, ideas and feelings, and also make sense of the world around us. Good literacy skills are fundamental to our ability to progress through life successfully. From the foundation stage onwards, these skills are taught as part of our daily literacy lessons and are reinforced across the curriculum and through all our daily interactions with one another.
Speaking and Listening
Development of good listening skills underpins all learning and being able to make oneself understood in a clear and concise manner is vital to everyday life. Therefore both speaking and listening are taught and developed throughout school; across the curriculum and beyond. All pupils are encouraged to take part in small group or class discussions; class presentations to the school, parents and visitors; key stage performances; whole school collective worship etc.
We aim to develop a love for reading at St Michael’s in as many ways as possible. These include, within class: Phonics teaching; Shared / whole class reading; Guided reading ; Independent reading
A range of resources are used to develop reading across the school, including elements of The Oxford University Press scheme, Literacy Links, Story World and Bug Club, as well as a book banded scheme of ‘real books’. Older children are also encouraged to select a book of their own choice which may be a book brought in from home.
Links to parents – Children are encouraged to read at home every day: this is a very high priority at St Michael’s. Each child has a reading record book which logs books they have read, and comments about their reading. A range of adults-including parents/carers, volunteers and staff - record comments in this book.
Library membership – we arrange regular visits to the local library, and encourage children to join the library to broaden their access to texts. The whole school also has access to the school library, containing over 7000 books. This is open to pupils and parents before and after school every day.
Book club: Year 6 pupils meet monthly to discuss a new book chosen for the school by the county library service
Writing skills are taught in school in a variety of ways.
Phonics and spelling: daily 20 minutes Letters and Sounds in Reception and Key Stage 1 classes. If necessary, Lower Key Stage Two will continue working on the six phases within Letters and Sounds for specific groups of pupils.
Early Writing: In the Foundation Stage children are given ‘mark making’ opportunities and encourages to write freely as part of play and across the curriculum.
Shared Writing: Within each teaching sequence teacher-led shared writing is a key component.
Guided Writing/Independent Writing: Each teaching sequence ends with an opportunity for guided or independent writing. There are also regular opportunities for independent writing across other curriculum areas.
Extended Writing: Throughout the term there are opportunities for extended writing. On a half-termly basis samples of extended writing outcomes are used for assessment purposes.
Handwriting: Children have discrete handwriting lessons in Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. All are encouraged to develop fluent, legible joined writing by the end of Key Stage Two.
Grammar and Punctuation and Spelling: With the increased focus in the 2014 National Curriculum on the language and ‘mechanics’ of grammar, we also teach discrete sessions to build up our children’s knowledge in these areas. Games, websites, apps and lively activities are used to help our pupils understand the ‘rules’ and learn how they can use them effectively in their own speaking and writing. Children from Years 1 to 6 are given spelling words or rules each week to learn at home. At the end of each week children are given a spelling assessment, which includes a differentiated number of the words that they have been learning that week.
Wherever possible our literacy teaching is linked to their own experience, our topic work or real-life opportunities. Novels, short stories, picture books, poetry, film, advertising, visits and visitors and many other contexts are all used to ground children’s learning in the wider world.