Reading, Writing and Mathematics
Our goal at Marsh Hill is for all children to leave our school not only as a fluent and competent reader, but as a lifelong lover of reading! We try to share what we most enjoy about reading and encourage the children to read new genres and ever more challenging texts.Pupils in EYFS work towards being an "Brilliant Bookworm" through planned adult led activities and child initiated activties in the continuous provision.
The Teaching of Reading at Marsh Hill Primary School
The aim of our reading curriculum is to ensure every children leaves Marsh Hill Primary School able to read with fluency, understanding and enjoyment, regardless of background or SEND.
We believe every child deserves, and has the right to become a confident, keen and capable reader, and that reading is the fundamental skill needed to access the wider curriculum and the world around us. Not only do we strive for all of our pupils to achieve high standards in word reading and comprehension skills, we also aim for our children to develop a life-long love of reading and have a positive attitude towards it.
In order to foster a love of reading, our reading curriculum has been carefully structured so all pupils are immersed in a variety of rich literature, authors and genres, which reflect and celebrates the diversity of our school. Time is dedicated to promote a love of reading at Marsh Hill; Children are read to and have the opportunity to read independently each day.
As a diverse community, we recognise that not all children will have had the opportunity to develop a love of reading at home, and believe it is our duty to prioritise both the teaching of reading and provide opportunities for reading for pleasure, therefore making time for reading is a non-negotiable in every class.
Our highly skilled and knowledgeable teachers are reading role models and communicate their love of reading as well as carefully plan and deliver daily progressive reading sessions.
We, at Marsh Hill Primary School, are committed to supporting our pupils, regardless of their starting points, ability or background:
- make good or better progress in reading
- achieve the expected standard in reading or better
- develop the reading skills needed to access the wider curriculum including both word reading and comprehension skills
- read regularly, both in school and at home for pleasure and for purpose
- are exposed to rich, high quality texts that are varied and challenging
- regularly have opportunities to engage in discussions about the texts they read demonstrating understanding and give opinions
- are taught by positive reading role models who foster a love of reading
- leave our school with a bank of varied literature and a love of reading.
Acknowledging that children learn best when school and home work together, we are dedicated to building and maintaining relationships with parents/guardian’s and provide training opportunities to support parents/guardians in supporting their child’s/children’s reading at home.
Implementation: How is reading taught at Marsh Hill Primary School?
Reading is not simply the decoding of words, it is the ability to read and understand, a wide range of different texts, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Our reading curriculum follows the National Curriculum 2014 and provides opportunity for children to develop the following skills:
- To read aloud fluently, competently with expression and intonation
- To read for purpose and meaning
- To read a wide and broad range of texts across varied genres
- To understand and decipher the meaning of new vocabulary and then use this
- Foster a love of reading and understand the difference from reading for a purpose.
Reading is taught daily throughout the school both discreetly and cross-curricular in other subjects providing needed opportunities for the transition of the skills acquired in reading. The content is designed to be progressive and challenging for all.
At Marsh Hill, we use Our systematic phonics programme in line with the ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach which has been amended to meet and exceed the expectations of the National Curriculum and the needs of our children.
All planning is systematic and progressive and is in line with the school’s term-by –term phonics long-term plan. Phonics is taught by highly skilled practitioners. Resources, terminology and phrases used to facilitate the teaching of phonics is uniform across the school; we do not mix phonics schemes or resources in our school.
Phonics teaching is prioritised; it is taught discreetly for 25 minutes every morning. Children are taught in ability groups, across their year group. Groups are determined through rigorous assessment so that the teaching of phonics is matched to the children’s current level of skill and phonemic awareness.
Each session follows the same systematic structure of:
-Revisit (previous sounds and common exception words taught),
-Teach (new sound and Common Exception Words)
-Apply new sounds and words taught in word/sentence reading and writing.
The sounds and words taught are divided into 3 progressive stages and the expectations of coverage are:
Phase 2, 3 and 4: Taught in Reception
Phase 5: Taught throughout Year One
Phase 6: Year 2. Once children have a good command of phonic knowledge and use this competently to blend and segment, children move onto learning the rules of spelling following the Purple Mash Spelling Programme.
Please see Appendix 1: Phonics Long Term Plan to see the progression of sounds and words taught at each stage.
Guided reading sessions are taught from Reception up to Year 2 where reading skills are taught discreetly in small groups for 30 minutes each day. Guided Reading is also used in Year 3 during the Autumn Term to facilitate the transition between the Key Stages.
Children are grouped carefully linked to their phonetic knowledge and reading ability across their class.
The skills taught in guided reading are progressive and are in line with the school’s progression map of reading skills and are mapped out on the MTP.
All texts used are fully decodable and are in line with the order of sounds on our school’s Phonics LTP. Guided Reading books used are taken from the ‘Big Cat letters and Sounds Scheme’. Texts must match the phonetic knowledge of each group so children can practise and apply their phonetic skills. During the week each child will read to an adult at least twice and they will develop their phonic and comprehension knowledge.
Reading records are kept to track progress during reading sessions.
Close Reading: KS2 Whole Class Reading
In KS2 children are taught reading skills through whole class reading allowing children of all abilities to immerse in the same high-quality text and vocabulary. During these lessons, children participate in the discussions around texts. We believe it is essential that less confident readers are exposed to high quality texts and the reasoning discussions which take place alongside appropriate reading interventions in order to close the gap and avoid it widening.
Close reading is taught discreetly for 40 minutes daily and is planned by the class teacher in line with the National Curriculum expectations and the needs and interests of our children.
Each week, a new text is carefully selected and explored in depth. Each day has a specific focus linked to the reading domains. Throughout the week, children have the opportunity to work with a partner and independently. All close reading activities are recorded in individual close reading books.
Teachers use questioning to promote understanding and deepen learning in reading lessons as well as assess the learning. Children are challenged in reading lessons through:
· using deep, challenging tasks
· peer tutoring (S, P, I)
· explaining their reasoning more often
· encouraged to make links to other texts/plots read, make comparisons.
Reading for Pleasure
Throughout the day, time is timetabled and prioritised for children to read independently and to be read to for purely for pleasure. As a minimum, in EYFS and Key Stage 1, each class will be read to at the end of the school day and in Key Stage 2 they will be read to after lunchtime. Texts are selected from our school’s ‘Whole Class Reads Reading Spine’ to ensure that they are rich, varied and appropriate to the year group as well as progressive across the school (please see Appendix 2: reading spine).
All classes visit the library each week to choose a book to borrow for the week. This choice is fundamentally the child’s but recommendations are made by the teacher based upon the child’s interests. As well as this, children enjoy reading and listening to texts being read aloud. In addition to this, the library is open at lunchtimes supported by staff and our trined pupil librarians.
We take any opportunity to celebrate reading, nationally and as a school. Each week we celebrate a poet of the week and each month we vote for the author of the month, displayed in our library.
World Book Day is a firm favourite, allowing pupils to engage in fun and varied reading inspired activities. Other activities include visits from authors and theatre companies who have carried out reading workshops, twice a year we have the travelling book fair available in school also, visits to the theatre and Birmingham Libraries and much more.
Assessment of Reading
Teachers and Teaching Assistants are continuously assessing the outcome and progress within reading through the assessment for learning process, both during and after the lesson. Staff speedily provide feedback in both verbal and written form. Tasks are given to either close a gap in learning or move the learning on. Questioning is a fundamental tool used across the school to assess the learning within reading lessons. The outcome of these assessments is used to informed future planning ensuring that the leaning is appropriately challenging, purposeful and progressive.
Assessments used in School
· In EYFS and KS1 children undertake a phonics and common exception word reading assessment at the end of each half term which will then determine their phonics group for the following term as well as inform the sounds and words to cover next. These assessments are continued into KS2 for those who are yet to complete the phonics programme.
· From year 1 onwards, Pira Standardised Reading Tests are used termly to monitor progress as well as identifying gaps in learning of individuals, cohorts and specific groups which is used to inform the next steps and teacher judgements
· Across the school, the children’s reading ability is assessed and recorded on the school’s tracking system, ‘Target Tracker’ which matches and breaks down the age appropriate National Curriculum
statements for each year group, indicating children’s progress and achieve of them. This is used for continuous assessment and monitoring and is informed by teacher judgments based upon assessment of learning, evidence from children’s learning in their books and discussion in class and the outcome of termly standardised reading tests (Pira tests by Rising Stars).
· Children working below their current year groups targets will be assessed on the previous year/s NC statements.
Teachers are aware of the individual learning needs of all children and plan for these to allow all children to succeed. Children with SEND have carefully planned IEP’s which are considered when planning and teaching reading through differentiation and by making reasonable adjustments. Children who are working below the age related standard will quickly be identified through regular assessments and intervention are put in place to avoid any pupils falling behind. Strategies used included: Daily catch up phonics one to one (in line with our phonics programme), Lexia programme, precision teaching, small group interventions, one to one reading, additional reading, pre-tutoring.
In KS2, children who still need additional support in word reading skills will received support targeted to address the gaps linked to their phonics skills. This is taught following the school’s phonics programme but at an appropriate pace for the children identified. Such interventions are timetabled and prioritised. Each Friday afternoon, children who have SEND or who are working significantly below the expected standard, will be receive pre-tutoring of the focus text for the following week’s close reading which is taken home and shared with their parents also.
We have two appointed Reading Assistants who receive regular training and whose role is specifically to boost and improve reading skills and outcomes of identified, targeted children, including those with SEND children. All interventions programmes and IEP’s are reviewed after 6 weeks.
We are committed to providing effective learning opportunities for all pupils and consider these when planning and teaching. Teachers will respond appropriately to pupils’ diverse learning needs. We are committed to the principle of equality of opportunity and this will be reflected in the curriculum offered to pupils. Our reading collections includes books which reflect our diverse, multi-cultural society and are specified on our school’s Reading Spine.
Reading at Home
Co-operation and support from parents is paramount if a child is to become a successful and competent reader and we strive to develop and encourage a strong partnership between home and school. It is our policy to send reading books home weekly and to encourage parents and carers to practise reading at home which is rewarded following our Reading Stars Rewards Scheme.
Parental workshops are organised for the beginning of the school year in each year group to familiarise parents with the reading curriculum including an additional Phonics Workshop for EYFS and Year 1 (explaining the Phonics Screening Check). Further individual meetings can then be held with parents who are struggling to get their child to read at home or who need support with strategies.
Home Reading Books
Children who developing word reading schools are given a home reading book closely matched to their phonetic knowledge. All books follow the order of sounds outlined within our school’s phonics programme. Thereafter the book banding system is used to group books according to the attainment levels of the pupils. All pupils then take their reading book home together with their reading record book and read it to their parents/carers who will sign it as proof that it has been read. Children can also choose a book from the library to read to parents or for parents to read to them at home.
We monitor the impact of our Reading approach through:
- End of EYFS, KS1 and KS2 statutory assessments and the Year 1 phonics check
- Termly assessment using Target Tracker
- Learning walks and observations. (termly)
- Pupil Voice- enjoyment, ability and confidence in reading (termly)
- Reading lead reading with individual children
- Book and planning monitoring (termly)
- staff Feedback (termly)
- Whole staff moderation sessions focussed on progression of reading across the school.
- Local authority moderation sessions
- Termly pupil progress meetings identifying key children requiring support or challenge
- Head Teacher and SLT monitoring.
Progression of Skills for Reading
Pupils in EYFS work towards being a "Wow Writer" through planned adult led activities and child initiated activties in the continuous provision.
The aim of the National Curriculum for writing is clear: to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
Implementation: How is writing taught at Marsh Hill Primary School?
We want children to participate fully as a member of society when they begin their secondary education. We want them to be writers. In order to achieve this, we want pupils to: acquire a wide vocabulary; a solid understanding of grammar and punctuation; be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time with us. We are very aware that some of our pupils' early language acquisition is limited - this is why we endeavour to build upon an ever-widening bank of vocabulary, across the whole curriculum. We have developed a bespoke writing curriculum to facilitate this aim, and review it in-line with other subjects annually. It is a whole-school approach (Years 1 - 6) to teaching English, with a strong focus on grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. It provides a flexible toolkit to help deliver creative, dynamic and effective lessons. Writing lessons take place daily, lasting for an hour. The curriculum is designed to excite, with 'reading as writers' at its core and grammar lessons woven in throughout. The writing curriculum has been designed and developed using a range of resources such as: previously used schemes of work; teaching strategies that have evolved in-line with National Curriculum expectations; nationally published subject research; external support regarding Curriculum Development and finally, the needs of our children.
Varied, whole texts
Our unique use of diverse whole texts (where applicable) enables children to become fully immersed and engaged in a range of great texts, both non-fiction and fiction. Carefully chosen texts help to develop children’s reading skills and their knowledge of the world around them, and to build up a store of reading experience on which they can draw later in life. These texts both help children to learn how the experts write and act as models for their own writing. This then, in turn, supports our approach to becoming writers.
Purpose and audience
Writing takes on meaning, and a sense of excitement, when it is composed for a real purpose and a defined audience. Each of the writing units has a performance or publication outcome because knowing who will read a piece of learning or watch a performance, and why they will do so, raises motivation and has a direct impact on the quality of writing that children produce.
Talk for writing
Oral rehearsal helps children to develop a sense of what a sentence is and, later, to hear how more complex sentences sound. It also helps them to hear the difference between the way we talk and the way we write. Discussion is where deep learning takes place. Our writing curriculum provides children with opportunities for oral rehearsal and talking, assisting with evaluation and reflection. This allows our pupils to develop their understanding and application of spoken language, which is carefully planned for throughout both key stages.
To become great writers, children need to understand how great writing is put together. Exploring the grammar choices of authors, how grammar is used in real texts and the terminology to discuss it provides children with a toolkit to use language confidently and effectively in their own writing.
Writing at Marsh Hill Primary School
For each term, our writing curriculum provides units that cover a selection of varied text types: fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual literacy. A unit is based on one main text and lasts between two and three weeks. Teachers adapt each unit plan; they use their assessment of pupils' knowledge and understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation to address any gaps in their learning. This is woven through each unit, building upon previously taught skills. A typical unit (sequence of lessons) allows children to: analyse a high quality model text as a reader; identify the key features/vocabulary/grammar that is necessary to include in their own writing; create and edit a first draft; identify further improvements based on the features of the text; present a final draft independently. The writing process that children learn is that of reading as a writer and then applying the key features to their own masterpieces (writing for the reader).
A writing 'tool' that is embedded within our writing units is as follows: Notice It, Try It, Use It. We enable pupils to see what the particular skill looks like (Notice It). We then teach the specific skill and allow them to 'Try It' within their own writing. Finally, the children are expected to use the writing skill (Use It) in their independent writing, at the end of the unit.
Each term, children will study two fiction texts by well-known authors such as Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Browne or Chris Riddel. They have the opportunity to study the whole text, allowing them to become fully immersed in the book. A section of the text is used as the 'WAGOLL' (What A Good One Looks Like) in order to showcase the writing skills that pupils need to gain, rehearse and/or develop. This detailed and extended study of an author’s writing provides children with a sound model and springboard for their own extended compositions.
Each unit has a cross-curricular link to either History or Geography - this is scheduled to take place once children have acquired new knowledge and skills from the subject in question for that half term. The outcome for the writing unit allows children to demonstrate their new knowledge by presenting it in the form of the text-type that is being studied, such as a non-chronological report or an explanation text.
In poetry units, children are able to explore extended single-voice collections of poetry from some of our best-loved children’s poets, such as Michael Rosen, Ted Hughes and Roger McGough. As in the fiction units, this focus allows children to comprehend elements of similarity and difference within one poet's work. They are also enabled to compare different poetic forms and anaylse a range of poetry as they progress throughout Key Stage 2.
At least once a term, teachers will deliver a unit called Visual Literacy. The unit may be focused on either fiction or non-fiction, and it will be centred around a short animation. Teachers have access to an online resource called the Literacy Shed Plus, which contains hundreds of animated short films that address the following themes: loss and change, diversity, trauma, humour, adventure, fantasy, celebrations, horror and mystery to name a few. Visual Literacy helps children to explore emotion within a text and use discussion in order to learn; they are supported to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas. It is also an opportunity to showcase their writing skills independently, being able to bring a visual text to life using words on paper. This resonates with our pupils due to their extensive use of hand-held devices and our whole-school ethos to continue to develop a passion for reading books.
More recently, we have placed a particular focus on improving and raising standards in spelling. Our approach to the teaching and learning of spelling continues to support our delivery of the writing curriculum because each spelling unit has a specific set of words/spelling rules that are embedded throughout the writing unit. This is used alongside teacher assessment of previously taught spelling skills, enabling us to develop a systematic approach to teaching spelling rules and patterns. We place the highest expectations on children’s spelling in all their work, supporting them with a repertoire of resources, including subject-specific word lists, to help them when they write.
As part of our daily practice, we encourage our pupils to speak clearly and confidently and articulate their views and opinions. This begins when children enter the Reception class and embark on the phonics programme (refer to our Reading Policy) and it continues throughout school. We teach that children need to express themselves orally in an appropriate way, matching their style and response to audience and purpose. They are encouraged to listen and respond to literature, and to give and receive instructions. They also develop the skills of participating effectively in group discussions.
Across the curriculum, significant emphasis is put on learning opportunities which promote good spoken language skills. These include:
- Provision of role play and drama opportunities to enliven and enrich children’s understanding of character and relationships
- The opportunity to present ideas to various audiences, including classmates, governors and visitors
- Make regular use of talk partners to allow children to develop their thinking
- Plan a range of activities to encourage collaborative talk
- Talk for writing strategies (orally rehearsing sentences)
In every lesson, children are exposed to new language and vocabulary, whether it is expressive, technical or subject-specific. Teachers encourage and model the use of new vocabulary in spoken and written language and record new vocabulary on the class Working Walls to support future use. These lists are overtly referred to in future lessons and children are actively encouraged to use them to aid their work. Teachers provide opportunities for children to revisit and use new vocabulary so that it becomes embedded. In line with the school values and the Behaviour policy, the children are also encouraged to talk respectfully to those around them, whatever their role within the school community.
When communicating ideas in writing, it is important that children use a handwriting style which is neat and legible. The importance of handwriting should not be under-estimated. It is vital that children can write quickly, comfortably and legibly as it is a skill needed in many curriculum areas. Children’s self-esteem is also heightened when they are able to take pride in their handwriting.
Pupils are taught an agreed style (Nelson Handwriting) across the whole school. Teachers teach this style drawing from the Nelson scheme using NC English objectives where possible and addressing issues from assessment and observation.
Attention to posture and seating arrangements is important. Children who write with their left hand face particular difficulties and teachers need to be aware of this. Left-handed children should either site next to other left-handers or on the left side of a right-hander to avoid bumping arms or smudging work. Pupils will be taught to use the correct size letters – capital letters at the start of sentences and for proper nouns.
Handwriting is taught daily and as an integral part of writing, spelling and phonics lessons.
Children who display specific difficulties with handwriting will have these addressed through such interventions as slanted writing boards, rubber pencil grips, using alternative writing media etc. Individual cases may be referred to the SENDCo where necessary. All staff are expected to act as a model when writing on the board or marking work, using the agreed fluent joined style where appropriate.
Follow this link to view the recommended spelling lists: National Curriculum for Spelling
Progression in grammar, punctuation and spelling skills
Progression in handwriting skills
Long Term Plan for Writing with cross-curricular links
Pupils in EYFS work towards being a "Master of Maths" through planned adult led activities and child initiated activties in the continuous provision.
At Marsh Hill, we are MATHEMATICIANS! We want our children to love Maths! We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up with secure mathematical understanding which will assist them in whichever career path they take, as well as in their daily lives.
In order to successfully deliver a structured, rich curriculum with a clear progression of skills, we follow the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum for mathematics. At Marsh Hill Primary School, our approach to teaching mathematics is intended to support all of our children in becoming young, confident mathematicians; prepare them for their next stage of mathematical learning at secondary school, and to be able to apply their mathematical knowledge in everyday situations in order to be successful in life beyond school. We intend to do this, on a daily basis, through developing all children’s fluency in all areas of the mathematics national curriculum; providing opportunities to reason mathematically; and also develop children’s using and applying skills when solving increasingly more complex problems involving a range of mathematical knowledge.
Mathematics is taught on a daily basis throughout the school – EYFS to Year 6. Each class in KS1 and KS2 provide a minimum of 1 hour of mathematics per day. There is a mix of adult led and teacher led activities that are put together for children in EYFS. The use of White Rose Maths medium term planning is adapted to create a bespoke curriculum designed to meet the needs of our children and to allow for opportunities for revisit and retention, ensuring full coverage of the national curriculum for mathematics and providing a broad and balanced spread of all areas of the curriculum. Teachers are confident to manipulate this planning in the short term in order to meet the needs of all of our children. Using the school’s ‘Learning Progression Steps’ and ‘Ready for Progressing Mapping’ skills documents, the teaching of mathematics year-to-year builds progressively on the skills taught in previous year groups.
On a daily basis, children, regardless of their ability, in KS1 and KS2 are provided with opportunities to become more fluent in their learning, to reason mathematically and to solve a range of problems. This is done using a range of sources such as White Rose Maths, Fluent in Five, Rapid Reasoning, Mathletics, Test Base, Third Space Learning and TT Rock Stars. We use Times Table Rock Stars to enthuse the children in learning times tables, both in school and at home. Mathematics homework is provided on a weekly basis to help embed the week’s learning and share the learning with parents/carers. Calculation practice is provided regularly through basic skills starter activities to ensure children’s fluency in calculation methods is embedded. This is often in the form of our Fluent in Five programme. Learning is differentiated to meet the needs of the children within the class whilst still providing each child with the opportunity to achieve the learning intentions to meet the expectations of their year group. Interventions are put in place to support children where necessary. A clear success criteria is given to pupils so they understand the steps involved in becoming successful in their learning. Opportunities to collaborate in pairs or small groups are given regularly so children can learn from and support each other. Opportunities for peer and self-assessment are provided weekly so children are given instant feedback in their learning. Quality first teaching is provided throughout the school along with effective teacher modelling along with effective assessment for learning to make sure children are moved on in their learning or supported when finding it difficult Cross-curricular links are provided when opportunities arise, through Science, Geography, History, P.E. and within Computing. Mathematics 'working walls' are in each classroom to provide key information and vocabulary with modelled examples to support learning.
Number fluency is continually developed within early years: our Mathematical curriculum covers ‘Getting to know you, Just like me, It’s me 1, 2, 3! and Light and dark.’ Children participate in short maths sessions and are given time to explore mathematical concepts, test ideas, develop their understanding and practise taught skills through play. Maths can be found in all areas of our provision and children experience it in a purposeful and meaningful context within their play and daily routines. Our mud kitchen, construction areas, Forest School and domestic role play are just some of the areas in which children can explore. Children are encouraged to use their mathematical understanding and skills to solve real-life problems and practitioners are trained to identify and extend opportunities to foster this.
Our teaching of, and curriculum for, mathematics will lead to outstanding progress over time across all key stages relative to each individual child’s starting point. It is designed to prepare children for their future in and outside of education so they can become successful in whatever they pursue. They will have the flexibility and fluidity to move between different contexts and representations of mathematics. Along with the ability to recognise relationships and make connections in mathematics. Our rich and broad mathematics curriculum aims to make the children enthusiastic about learning mathematics and gain an understanding of its importance in everyday life.
Progression of Skills for Mathematics