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I N S P I R I N G E X C E L L E N C E

English

We put reading and writing at the heart of everything we do at King Athelstan and are very proud of our English curriculum. Over the years we have developed a rich and engaging English programme, linked to curriculum topics, classic literature and modern picture books, ensuring progress and enjoyment for all.

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English Curriculum - Reading and Writing                                       

Reading 

 

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is at the top of our reading agenda at King Athelstan and we have worked hard to create a positive reading environment.

‘Research finds that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved relationships with others, reduced symptoms of depression and dementia, and improved wellbeing.’   - The Reading Agency

How do we promote reading at King Athelstan?

  • Reading Corners: each class has a reading corner which is full to the brim with classical and contemporary children’s literature
  • The Bucket List: each year group has an extensive list of books that the children are encouraged to read by the end of the year – for each book read the children receive a sticker to collect on their ‘Bucket List Bingo Chart’ 
  • Home Reading Scheme: our home reading scheme is an eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction published by many different programmes, to ensure variety
  • Free Reading Time: at different points of the day the children are encouraged to read for pleasure
  • Story Time: teachers read stories to children all the way from Nursery to Year 6 - you are never too old to enjoy a good story!
  • World Book Day: this is always a special day in the King Athelstan calendar; we plan a carousel of activities all linked to a story and the children get to experience 4 creative lessons with different teachers and children in their key stage throughout the day as well as dressing up as a book character or in their pyjamas ready for a bedtime story!  
  • Library: we are very excited about our new library which is currently under construction and will be a quiet space for children to develop their love of reading

As parents and carers you can support the love of reading at home by listening to your child read and reading to them daily. Bed time stories and reading at home, not only increase academic ability, but also help to strengthen family relationships and foster a lifelong love of books.

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Importance of daily reading - visual table

Reading Bucket List 

The Book Trust have some amazing resources to help you with reading at home. Click the Book Trust picture below for some tips and advice: 

Sign up free to Oxford Owl for eBooks online by clicking the picture below: 

 

Phonics Programme

If you walked into a phonics lesson at King Athelstan you would see a buzz of excitement and activity as the children learn to read and write through systematic synthetic phonics. Phonics is a way of matching the small units of sound in spoken English to the letters or groups of letters which represent that sound in writing.

As a school we follow the Ruth Miskin, Read Write Inc. (RWI) programme.

RWI uses ‘Fred talk’ as a teaching strategy which helps children read unfamiliar words by pronouncing each sound in the word one at a time. Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well. Sound blending is essential in reading. Children use ‘sound buttons’ to help them identify each unit of sound in a word:                                                       

                                               

RWI links every sound to a picture and a phrase to help the children remember it. For example: the letters      a and y, once joined together, make the sound ‘ay’ and the phase we use to remember it is:

‘May I play?’ 

As a school we have created our own phrases for some of the alternative spellings taught in KS1 and have added Makaton actions to the sounds learnt in reception to support those children who learn through kinaesthetic activity. Reception children take home 'Pocket Rocket' stories each week with the sounds that they have been learning and KS1 children receive phonics homework to help recap sounds learnt each week.

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Phonics Progression

Handwriting and Phonic Phrases

 

Sound Mats

We use sound mats to help build children's confidence and to develop independence during reading and writing lessons. 

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EYFS - Set 1 and 2 Sound Mat

Year 1 - Set 2 and 3 Sound Mat

KS1 - Alternative Spellings and Tricky Words Mat

KS2 Sound Mat

 

Pure sounds

Using pure sounds is imperative when children are learning to blend for reading and segment for spelling. This video will help you with articulating the phonemes (units of sound). Click the picture below:  

Parent video: How to say the sounds - YouTube

As part of the RWI programme, children also learn to read and spell common exception (high frequency) words. These are words with spelling rules they have not yet learnt, for example: the, was, could, there, friend. We call these ‘red words’ as they must be sight read (memorised), rather than sounded out. 

 

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RWI Parent and Carer Guide

EYFS Parent Carer Workshop

KS1 Parent and Carer Workshop

RWI is taught explicitly from Reception to Year 2 to support the early stages of reading and spelling. As soon as children have completed the RWI phonics programme, they move on to learning alternative spelling rules and reading more complex texts.    

We expect all children to read at home daily with an adult and record this in their reading record. Every time children read, they get a ‘dot’ on a special reward card. When they collect 20 dots they will receive a certificate and when they collect 40 dots they can choose a special prize!