Purpose of Literacy
At Bishop’s Primary, we believe that literacy is an essential skill that enables all our children to flourish and succeed in life. Literacy is the skill of making sense and engaging with reading, writing, listening and speaking.
At Bishop’s Primary, we support the aim for English expressed within the National Curriculum: ‘to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.’
Speaking and listening
Speaking and listening underpins the development of reading and writing, and is vital for our pupils’ development across all aspects of the school curriculum. We provide children with a wide range of opportunities to hear and use good quality vocabulary. Children are encouraged to ask questions, discuss in pairs and groups and to use conventions for discussion as well as debate. Opportunities for drama are sought throughout the curriculum as it is recognised that the skills that are developed through this medium are unique.
The Bishop’s Primary places an emphasis on wider reading and reading for pleasure. We expect all our parents to read every night with their children and provide excellent reading resources and reading records to support this important routine. All our teachers use a range of guided reading, independent reading and group reading strategies to integrate reading into the curriculum.
Early reading and phonics
It is important that children find reading a rewarding and successful experience. Bishop’s Primary uses the Read Write Inc. programme to teach every child to read fluently and confidently through a structured and systematic phonic based approach. All staff delivering the programme are Read Write Inc trained and are kept up to date through regular professional development.
Children in Reception begin the programme as soon as they are ready, by learning their first set of sounds and the corresponding letters or letter groups using simple picture prompts. They gradually develop the ability to blend sounds together into words so they are able to read lively stories and answer related questions.
Reading for enjoyment
Bishop’s Primary has well stocked libraries on every campus. Our pupils enjoy author visits and listening to stories from a literature spine that runs from nursery to year six. The literature spine contains stories that the staff at The Bishop’s Primary consider to be an essential part of childhood.
Our aim is to teach children to read fluently and accurately so that they have a full understanding of text, resulting in enjoyment of what they have read. We share this aim with parents, and to this end, use a variety of strategies. Some of our pupils are motivated to read through the Accelerated Reader programme, which helps to monitor and support their progress.
Writing for engagement and enjoyment
All our pupils experience formal and informal writing opportunities, stimulated by a creative theme, book, experience or idea matched to their interests and needs. These opportunities are designed to capture our pupils’ imagination resulting in a motivation to write.
We work in partnership with Hexham book festival on an annual basis celebrating extended and imaginative writing. Our pupils have worked with celebrated authors such as Piers Torday, Abi Elphinstone, Philip Ardagh and Anne Fine.
Teachers set their writing within rich and varied teaching and learning experiences with active approaches that have substantial emphasis on discussion and well-managed group work.
Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
Pupils need to understand the meaning of key vocabulary and concepts from the curriculum and be able to use them in their spoken and written language. All teachers at Bishop’s Primary, use display boards for words and refer to them within the teaching and learning environment. Pupils are supported to manage their own vocabulary learning though various strategies such as dictionary use.
Grammar and punctuation are taught through the use of talk and discussion. This helps to show how grammar can be used to improve the writing process.
Transcription: handwriting and spelling
Spelling and handwriting are important skills to practice at home and school.
Handwriting is a complex skill which takes a lot of practice to get right – feeling the pen and paper, moving the pencil and directing the movement with intent. Correct letter formation is taught alongside our Read Write Inc. phonic programme. Children are taught the correct letter formation as they learn each new sound and they begin to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes. Cursive handwriting is introduced in step-by-step stages and follows Nelson Handwriting, as a consistent whole-school handwriting scheme. We help all our pupils to develop a confident, legible and personal handwriting style and meet higher curriculum expectations.
Correct spelling is introduced through the Read Write Inc. phonic approach. Pupils are encouraged to use a range of spelling strategies (such as using analogy, mnemonics, word banks, word patterns, the ‘look, cover, write, check’ approach) as well as developing pupils’ knowledge of spelling and grammatical rules. Pupils are also taught to proofread and to correct their own errors. All teachers take a consistent approach to the marking of spelling and ensure expectations are high, discussed with and communicated to pupils.
Strategic Director of Literacy: Morag Boyes
Primary Director of Literacy: Gill Cowie