At St. Mark’s School, we begin teaching reading with a focus on phonics and we use Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc (RWI) programme.
RWI teaches children to read fluently and accurately as well as develop their comprehension skills. From Reception, they learn to form each letter, spell correctly and compose their ideas for writing. Reading books used in RWI are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics – children are assessed every half term to ensure they are receiving the most tailored teaching and learning opportunities. As a result, our young children soon learn to share our love for reading. Parents are invited to Parent Workshops throughout the year to help you to support your child.
Read more about the Read Write Inc programme
A RWI lesson in action
Writing with water
It is our intent at St. Mark’s that EVERY child becomes a confident and fluent reader and that every child can speak accurately, confidently and with passion about books they have read.
We intend to ensure all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, to gain knowledge across the curriculum and to develop their comprehension skills.
It is our intention to ensure that, by the end of their primary education, that all of our children will be able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
At St. Mark’s we LOVE to read! Reading is at the centre of all that we do and we recognise how important reading is to support children in later life.
In every year group, we have a class text. This class text has been carefully chosen by your child’s class teacher to engage and challenge your child. These texts are read with your child as part of their reading lessons.
Here are just a few of the text that we have been studying this year:
In Reception and Key Stage 1, children are given a RML book that is matched to their reading ability and a book that they have chosen that they can share with an adult. Children are assessed half-termly to ensure they are on the correct reading band.
In Key Stage 2, children are able to visit the school’s new library two lunchtimes per week and once with the class teacher to choose a book from their given book band. They are able to take this home to read each night and they are given time in school to enjoy this book too.
Teachers in school regularly listen to children read and discuss the text with the children during 1:1 and small group reading sessions.
Also, see our reading presentations made to parents to promote reading:
Our School Library
At the start of the Autumn Term in 2020, our new school library was officially opened.
Inside the library, you will find a huge range of books to suit all different abilities and interests. Our library is used on a regular basis by all of the children in the school. At lunchtimes, teachers run reading clubs where children can come and sit and enjoy a book. We have a highly trained Library Team of Year 6 pupils who support children in the library and are always happy to share a book with the children. We also have class librarians, who help with the day to day running of the library and promote their love of reading in their classrooms.
We also have outdoor libraries on the KS1 and KS2 playground so that children can read during their break and lunchtime if they choose to.
Reading Around School
Every classroom has a wide range of books that are appropriate for the reading ages of the children within the class. Also, in each class and around school, there are exciting reading displays. These displays are there to engage children with reading and also to support children during reading lessons.
It is our intention at St Mark’s that every child will be a competent and enthusiastic writer for a variety of different purposes, using grammar and punctuation accurately. They will be able to use rich language developed from their wide range of reading to ensure the text types meet the needs of the audience that is intended.
In all year groups, teachers plan exciting and engaging writing lessons through our class text that we read during our reading lessons.
Teachers plan for children to have an abundance of opportunities to write for different purposes: to inform, to entertain, to persuade and to discuss. We discuss the audience of our writing and think about how we can choose specific features to have the desired effect on the reader. This year, we wrote letters to our local Lidl asking them to work with us on our new walk to school initiative and we also began writing to Grove Court during the Covid-19 pandemic to reach out to others.
We also have afternoons where we visit another classroom to share what we have been writing with other children and teachers. Each week, two fantastic pieces of writing and other work are displayed in our school foyer – we love to show and parents and visitors how hard we work. Around school, you will also find lots of amazing examples of our wonderful writing.
Writing in the Early Years
In our Reception class, we engage and encourage children to develop their fine and gross motor skills, their mark making and their writing skills.
The indoor and outdoor learning environments and activities and resources provided to children support them to become motivated and confident writers. Adults in the early years model writing in a range of ways to children and children are encouraged to write during play and in focused/whole class activities. Children are taught the basics of writing (how to hold a pencil and correct letter formation), they are given opportunities to practise their writing skills and then apply their writing skills to a range of writing forms.
Some of the opportunities for mark making/writing we provide for our children in the Early Years include: Signs, menus (role play café/take away), labels, prescriptions (role play doctor/vet), cards, order forms (role play builders), letters, food orders (role play café/take away), postcards, stories and books, jokes, notes, invitations, poetry, messages, tickets, receipts, recipes, maps, posters, sign up sheets, shopping lists, bills, captions, registers, diaries, instructions driving licences and score sheets.
Writing during an RWI lesson
What our children say…
“We get to go to the library all the time. There are loads of books in there, I like to read the books about other religions.” – Hafizur
“I am writing a letter to Miss because I want to be a librarian. I’m very organised and I like reading books.” – Elisia
“My handwriting is getting much better, Miss said I try really hard. I am trying hard to join now.” – Arihan
“I love it when George comes to school. We get to sing songs about SPAG. The noun song is good – it’s about a person, a place or a thing.” – Chioma
Successes in 2020/21
- During the pandemic, we ensured children had access to online, age-appropriate books, online live literacy lessons with teachers in school and access to other useful resources to continue children’s engagement in partial/full school closures.
- During the pandemic, if children could not access Bug Club (online reading programme), we allowed them to loan books from school library.
- To ensure reading lessons continued – all children learning from home were given a learning resource pack that contained the whole class text. Teachers delivered online reading sessions with the whole class text and EVERY child was able to access these.
- Children with additional needs were given extra time with class teachers to provide additional online support in reading.
- All children in school have an age-appropriate book to read for pleasure, a book to take home to read, as well as a book for Literacy Lessons.
- Children’s reading ages improved following early morning reading interventions delivered by teaching assistants.
- Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 made good progress in their phonics sessions.
- Rosenshine’s Principles are used across the school by staff to develop strategies and approaches to support teachers’ practice and assessment for learning – this was evident in observations of reading in the Summer term.
- Following support accessed from RWI consultant to discuss data and plan on how best to support children with gaps caused by lockdown, progress in phonics improved.
- All classes embedded a purposeful and engaging reading display incorporating the use of reading strategies to ensure children are taught a wide range of strategies to develop reading skills and become life-long, enthusiastic readers.
- Literacy leader introduced NEW Writing Descriptors to help staff and children identify gaps in writing, to inform planning and aid assessment.
- Moderation of writing has helped to further support consistency of teaching, learning and assessment of writing across the school.
- Promotion of writing linked to the outdoors and real life situations in order to inspire and motivate the children and give their writing a real sense of purpose.
- Following support accessed from an external moderator, support for staff given to develop a process for teaching writing.
- Support for Teaching Assistants to develop their understanding of the curriculum and help develop Teaching Assistants’ skill set.
Next Steps for the Literacy Leader in 2021/22
- Support teachers with the process of writing moderation and identifying themes that need developing across classes and the whole school. Work with external moderator to ensure development of themes is swift and impact can be measured.
- Implement and monitor the choice of class texts from ‘The 5 Plagues of Reading’ to ensure children are reading widely across a range of text types.
- Continue to further develop an overview of writing to ensure children are exposed to writing for a range of purposes and audiences, giving them opportunities to write enthusiastically in the modern world.
- Ensure staff are well supported to plan, deliver and assess phonics enabling children to make greater progress.
- Provide a range of writing and reading interventions, focussing on meeting individual needs of SEND and Pupil Premium children.
- Raise the profile of developing a rich vocabulary across the school.
Main Action Points for 2021/22
- Raise progress and attainment of writing across the whole school – particularly focussing on SEND children and PP. (Writing)
- Close the gaps in phonics knowledge cross Year 1-Year 3. Raising progress and attainment, closing gaps lost through lockdown. (Reading)
- Raise the profile of vocabulary and reading for pleasure across the whole school. (Writing and Reading)