We believe that language and literacy are fundamental to the overall development of a child throughout the curriculum and in life. Therefore, it is essential that we deliver quality teaching of reading, writing, speaking and listening. We provide this by placing high quality texts at the centre of our English curriculum. We believe this provides a rich context for children’s learning in English while also developing a reading culture throughout our school.
Our book based approach – with high quality literature at the heart – provides meaningful contexts through which all aspects of the English National curriculum are taught. In 2019, we embarked upon a whole school approach through the use of the Literacy Curriculum from the Literacy Tree. This is a holistic approach to curriculum delivery where teachers plan sequences of lessons where the requisite skills in spelling, vocabulary, punctuation and grammar are embedded throughout the teaching sequence. The authentic writing opportunities, some short and some longer outcomes, promote engagement and place audience and purpose at the core so children are taught and then apply the skills learnt within a meaningful context. The approach incorporates pedagogy enabling staff to deliver the curriculum effectively at an appropriate pitch and ensuring entitlement for all. Immersion in literature promotes engagement and understanding and children have opportunities to apply skills on a regular basis for a range of audiences and purposes. This approach where whole texts are used for reading and complete texts are written, engenders both coherent and cohesive writing.
We want to instil in children a love of reading and promote widespread reading for enjoyment and to do this each year group studies a minimum of 10 texts in the school year. The books selected by the Literacy Tree ask more questions than they answer, support the teaching of the core Christian values and support the development of children’s critical thinking skills. This diet of literature includes classical pieces, poetry, significant authors, award winning authors and illustrators and aims to give every single child access to a rich reading experience.
We believe that all children benefit from a consistent approach to the teaching of handwriting during their time at Limpsfield. Children are taught to form their letters in a cursive script as they are introduced to each letter through our phonics program in Reception. Children are then provided opportunities to practise and improve their handwriting across all subjects on a daily basis.
Whilst the Literacy Curriculum planning sequences for writing provide opportunities for developing comprehension, we also have separate provision for the teaching of decoding and comprehension. Just as with writing where there is transcription and composition, teaching of reading aims to develop both decoding and reading comprehension. Children are supported to develop skills in understanding texts from Reception through adults reading aloud and discussions about books. This is built upon in Key Stage 1 where we very much promote children’s ability to respond to texts through direct and explicit instruction in whole class sessions. We use whole books that have been chosen by the Literacy Tree to supplement the core books used within the writing curriculum.
Children are provided plenty of opportunity to build upon their reading skills developed in class through individual reading sessions and books to share at home. Children have two different types of individual reading books, they have a book bag book and a sharing book. The book bag books are fully decodable and match your child’s individual reading ability and phonic knowledge. Sharing books are books chosen for pleasure to share at home. They are aimed to develop a love of reading that spans beyond their time at Limpsfield.