Reading is regarded as a tool for life at Farnsfield St Michael’s. We aim to develop a love for reading and for the children to read for pleasure regularly, for ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.’ (Joseph Addison – Poet and Playwright). Reading provides the children with a sense of well-being and often enables them to experience a new world. As Dr. Laurie Helgoe (Author and Psychologist) said, ‘Reading is like travel, allowing you to exit your own life for a bit, and to come back with a renewed, even inspired, perspective.’ We hope to encourage our children to live this in their life in a balanced and reflective way.
We encourage all children to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop an understanding of others and the world in which they live; to establish an appreciation of the power of a story on themselves and others; to gain knowledge across the curriculum; and develop their comprehension skills. Within this breadth of reading, we also aim to develop the children’s language skills and a rich vocabulary to encourage not only their understanding of the text, but their discussion, presentation and participation confidence, supporting them in any subject in their primary and secondary education and beyond.
For us at St Michael's, literacy is more than being able to read and write. It’s about having the cultural literacy, fluency and enjoyment of words that allows the children to operate at a high level and engage fully in the world around them.
In writing, this means:
- Teaching phonics robustly when the children arrive
- Offering a range of fun, creative activities so that the children can develop speaking and listening skills
- Creating a love of writing through offering stimulating texts and experiences
- Producing shared writing: through collaboration with the children, the teacher demonstrating in a clear, pacy, interactive way, how to craft a piece of writing
- Developing independent writing: once the children have had the opportunity to practise the chosen genre, they then apply what they have learnt independently
- Enabling the children to edit their writing through teacher modelling and peer discussion
- Providing opportunities for children to ‘read as a writer’ in order to explore and analyse the work of different authors
- Equipping the children with a writing toolkit so that they know what is needed to be successful in their own writing
- Developing a deep understanding of grammar, punctuation and spelling
- Developing great handwriting skills
In order to flourish, young writers need to be able to have a range of techniques available to them, as well as opportunities for language development, for example, drama and location writing. Our planning is based on various materials; Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ initiative, a range of diverse texts and also, differing ideas around our ‘Discover, Explore, Create’ Curriculum.
At Farnsfield St Michael’s we follow Twinkl Phonics, one of the Department for Education’s validated phonics programmes. The Twinkl Phonics programme offers a coherently planned sequence of lessons that supports the effective teaching of phonics within Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Whilst at our school, the children progress throughout the phonics Levels 2-6. Children are introduced to phonemes/ sounds and graphemes/ letters systematically. They also learn to develop and apply blending and segmenting skills for reading and writing. We aim for children to develop their phonics skills and knowledge through a systematic, synthetic approach. Phonics plays an important role to not just reading and writing but across the other curriculum subjects.
We use the Twinkl Phonics teaching PowerPoints, stories, games, additional texts and toolkits to enable the children to apply and practise their phonic skills. Teachers sometimes adapt the planned activities to meet the needs of our children at St Michaels, ensuring there are opportunities for challenge. We aim to develop the children’s phonetic knowledge, as well as, confidence and enthusiasm for phonics learning. Applying their skills in fun and engaging lessons helps the children reach their full potential.