Literacy

The Literacy curriculum has been divided into two key subjects: Reading and Writing.

 

The information below outlines how these subjects are taught across EYFS, Key stage 1 and Key stage 2.

 

Reading: Intent, Implementation and Impact

 

Intent

At Wistaston Academy, we aim for all children to love and appreciate a wide range of reading genres because we know that reading fuels imagination, provides escapism and builds knowledge. We provide a solid foundation in early literacy to equip children with the skills for reading. By the time children leave WA, their communication and language skills will far surpass national expectations. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Our children read and listen to a variety of high-quality texts: for enjoyment; to develop their understanding; to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. The reading curriculum has been designed to be ambitious and meet the needs of all pupils, including disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND. We recognise the impact that reading has on developing children’s word hoard and their ability to write imaginatively and purposefully; as well as developing self-esteem and giving them fundamental life skills, thus enabling our children to have fulfilling and rewarding futures.

 

We have designed the reading curriculum at WA with the intent that our pupils will:

  • Be excited by reading and develop a lifelong passion for it.
  • Learn through the five cornerstones of reading: the ability to hear sounds in words, the ability to decode and segment, build fluency, develop vocabulary, and to comprehend what they have read.  These skills are taught explicitly.
  • Use reading as a tool to learn across the curriculum
  • Question to form their own opinions and interpretations
  • Develop empathy
  • Read texts which develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of diversity, inclusion and tolerance to help children learn about different cultures and experiences

 

Implementation

The curriculum is led and overseen by two reading leads, who are supported by the literacy pod and work alongside class teachers and teaching assistants to plan and deliver sequenced, high-quality lessons. By continually monitoring and evaluating lessons, progress and attainment, they ensure the teaching of reading is effective, exciting and continually improving.

The curriculum at WA is implemented through:

  • Lessons that promote a love of reading across the curriculum
  • Creating environments which promote reading
  • Units which comprise of well-planned, exciting and coherent sequences of lessons tailored specifically for our children.
  • A wide variety of enrichment opportunities e.g. World Book Day, author visits, reading buddies, sponsored reads, parent reading mornings, mystery readers.
  • A number of units which create cross-curricular links and that draw upon and reinforce knowledge learnt in other subjects.
  • Regular feedback from teachers which not only addresses misconceptions but also deepens, challenges and supports learning.
  • The use of regular formative and summative assessment to track progress and identify gaps in children’s reading skills to inform future learning.  
  • The use of clear and progressive plans that challenge and support children accordingly.
  • A rigorous approach to decoding any word effectively.
  • Regular opportunities for children to listen to others read (both adults and peers), read independently and be listened to.  
  • A strong focus on the explicit teaching of vocabulary to broaden children’s language and their understanding of it.
  • Effective questioning that probes and deepens children’s understanding of what they have read, from word level to whole text.
  • Giving opportunities to respond to texts, express preferences and opinions and demonstrate their understanding.
  • A whole school drive to develop language across all subjects and interactions.

The curriculum is implemented differently across the Key Stages to reflect the needs of the children:

  • In EYFS, opportunities for reading occur daily throughout the continuous provision in real and meaningful ways. For example, fiction and non-fiction books are embedded across all areas of the environment alongside props and teacher modelling to help bring literature to life. There is also the use of interactive displays and useful print and support images throughout the environment. In addition to this, we foster a love of reading in children through play-based active learning, small group work and interventions that develop their understanding, speaking and listening skills. Children's love for nursery rhymes, stories and poetry is fostered to develop a desire to engage in reading activities independently. To complement this, the English curriculum is also taught through a story telling programme which uses both oral stories and helicopter stories to build the children’s storytelling knowledge and vocabulary in an active and engaging way, reflecting on familiar stories that they have learnt throughout the school year. Once nursery children have secured pre-literacy skills such as oral blending and rhyming, we engage them in short, lively phonics lessons following the Read Write Inc programme. 
  • In KS1, the English curriculum is taught through Read, Write, Inc or Literacy lessons and topic-based learning. As a Read, Write, Inc model school we are committed to teaching this rigorous reading and writing programme with fidelity and passion. RWI reading teachers and TAs receive regular coaching to ensure that all reading activities are taught to the high standards expected of a model school. As per the programme, RWI teachers follow a sequenced plan where each reading activity builds upon the one before. The daily speed sounds lesson allows teachers to carefully plan for gaps in children’s knowledge of sounds and support their ability to decode words using a range of strategies. Teachers follow a detailed plan that incorporates a range of reading activities suited to their group’s challenge level. Much emphasis is placed on developing children’s vocabulary and comprehension for both individual words taught and language introduced in the context of their storybook. Through the process of regular assessments, we ensure that children are being taught at their personal level and they progress through the programme at an appropriate pace. Children are organised into progress groups and only read texts that are matched to the sounds they know well. We are quick to identify children making slower progress and assign reading tutors to hotlist these children on a one to one basis to help them keep up with their peers. To build fluency and involve parents, children take home the RWI book (fiction and non-fiction texts) that they have read with their teacher as well as a second RWI text for them to share with others. In addition, children visit the KS1 library regularly and parents are encouraged to access the library at set times after school.
  • Once children have completed the RWI programme, we teach reading skills through guided reading lessons. Our guided reading lessons are structured and consistent across all year groups; we have a four-day cycle which incorporates vocabulary, reading aloud and comprehension skills. To ensure that children fully understand what they are reading, vocabulary is a key focus. Effective strategies and questions are used to probe children’s initial understanding of words; images, word families, word associations and etymology is used to build upon this. This is done prior to reading the text aloud where methods such as Pick Up are used to listen to children reading (Pick Up is used throughout the curriculum). Expression and consideration of punctuation is also focused on to build children’s fluency. In the following sessions, we teach comprehension skills using reading domains. Days 2 and 3 develop comprehension skills by answering vocabulary, retrieval and inference-based questions. On the fourth day of the cycle, dependent on the text type, further questioning may then be used to focus on the text’s structure, to summarise or to consider the author’s intentions. Here, there is also an opportunity to achieve other objectives from the National Curriculum (that are not within the reading domains) such as performing poetry, or allowing children to read their library books independently. During guided reading lessons, children are actively engaged and happy. A range of texts is taught throughout each half-term, with links to literacy and the wider curriculum.  Each week, one half hour session is used to allow the children to silently read, visit the library and quiz on their book. During this time, children’s reading is listened to on a one-to-one basis with their own text. Feedback is then provided orally.

During this stage of our children’s reading journey, reading is monitored on a termly basis using star reader on AR, as well as formal, summative assessments. This informs us of the progress made and suggests books that they can read independently. The vast majority of children from Year 3 upwards are able to read books (suitable for their age range) independently. Any children who do not make sufficient progress become in receipt of intervention activities.

All classes have a timetabled daily slot where adults read aloud to children for pleasure. Texts chosen reflect the children’s interest and the level at which that they are working at. Not only does this enthuse children’s love of books, it also provides teachers with opportunities to build children’s word hoard.

 

Impact

  • Children will be enthusiastic about and enjoy reading lessons.
  • Children will develop a sound and coherent understanding of how to read and the benefits of reading (enjoyment and to learn)
  • Children will become increasingly critical and analytical within their thinking, making informed and balanced judgements based upon their knowledge of the past.
  • Children will develop enquiry skills to pursue their own interests and further questions within a topic.
  • Over their time at Wistaston Academy, children will have encountered a wide range of texts with many enrichment activities such as author visits and World Book Day.
  • Children will make connections between what they have previously learned and what they are currently learning which will embed knowledge in their long-term memory.
  • Disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes in reading.
  • Children at WA flourish, and by the time they leave, will have the skills, knowledge and attitude that will allow them embrace the next stage in their education.
  • Across all subjects, reading is promoted widely.
  • All children will make at least good progress in reading and a large proportion will make accelerated progress. Attainment will be above national expectations at the end of the key stage.

 

Writing: Intent, Implementation and Impact

 

Intent

At Wistaston Academy, we aim for all children to be able to communicate powerfully through the medium of writing; they use their ideas, knowledge and emotions across a range of genres, understanding, appreciating and utilising the power of the written word. Writing is a tool which is used to bring to life children’s imagination and which gives them the opportunity to express their understanding of the wider world. From giving meaning to their mark making to writing articulately across a range of genres, children make significant progress throughout their time at WA. We acknowledge that whilst many children often commence their academic career at a level that is lower than age-related expectations, this should not act as a barrier to children achieving a high level of attainment. Children experience a rich diet of language, both spoken and read, and through meaningful discussions they develop the foundations on which to build their writing. We blend creativity with grammar expertise to plan engaging lessons. We teach with the conviction that every child can make accelerated progress and write passionately and with flair, including disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND. Accurate, precise assessment produces individual, specific targets for children in order to allow them to be the best writer that they can be. Through focusing on a growth mindset, children have an intrinsic motivation to write by the end of their time at WA. We nurture children’s way of thinking so that they are rewarded by their own, personal sense of achievement throughout the process of writing.

Across the curriculum, children write for subject-specific purposes whilst maintaining a high-level of transcription and composition. They are inspired to write by captivating texts that consider their interests and the wider world around them and memorable enrichment activities that equip them with the thirst to write. We give children the knowledge to talk passionately about a topic, allowing them to confidently express themselves in writing that covers an array of subjects. Topics addressed in writing will allow children to develop as a person too: for example, in history, children may develop intellectually through becoming an expert in a historical period and demonstrating this through a written report; culturally, children may develop through experiencing and writing about events from the wider community; and spiritually, children may use writing to consider and express their own beliefs and thoughts. They are active in and enjoy the process of writing and take ownership over it. We recognise the high importance that writing has on developing children’s self-esteem and giving them fundamental life skills, thus enabling our children to have fulfilling and rewarding futures. We strive to give our children both the skillset and knowledge to aspire to have an esteemed career; our children could aim to become the future journalists, lawyers and authors, just to name but a few.

We have designed the writing curriculum at WA with the intent that our pupils will:

  • Write cohesively through using a style and writing techniques that demonstrate an awareness of the reader and genre.
  • Develop a sophisticated bank of cross-curricular vocabulary that is used with purpose and an understanding of its effects.  
  • Refer to specific strategies to accurately spell familiar and unfamiliar words. 
  • Develop their knowledge of grammar to ensure that their writing is accurate and easily understood.
  • Utilise punctuation accurately and for effect.
  •  Write in a fluent, legible and presentable manner.
  • Edit writing with the mindset that writing can be consistently improved. This can be as simple as correcting punctuation and grammar, or it could challenge children to reflect on the use of a specific word or sentence type and explore how other options could be more effective. 
  • Develop their emotional intelligence through writing.
  • Celebrate and embrace different backgrounds, heritage, customs and traditions, therefore children develop their knowledge of themselves, and others, and the world in which we live.
  • Gain organisational skills and are able to think logically. They can apply this to many aspects, including sequencing their writing in the most effective manner or to using language in order to debate a topic.

 

Implementation

The curriculum is led and overseen by the writing lead, who is supported by the literacy pod and work alongside class teachers and teaching assistants to plan, monitor and continually evaluate the writing taught at WA. This is to ensure that it is effective, exciting and continually improving. Support in this is offered formally, through CPD and internal training, and informally through ongoing discussions and working together.

The curriculum at WA is implemented through:

  • Reference to the national[ZR1]  curriculum which informs our long-term plans. 
  • Units which comprise of well-planned, exciting and coherent sequences of lessons tailored specifically for our children. Lessons are regularly differentiated, ensuring challenge and support. Children will produce well-structured, detailed writing which has clear meaning and an awareness of its reader. 
  • A wide variety of enrichment opportunities e.g. World Book Day, drama, hooks that offer children an incentive to write and poetry workshops.
  • A number of units which create cross-curricular links and that draw upon and reinforce knowledge and skills learnt in other subjects.
  • Regular feedback from teachers which not only addresses misconceptions but also deepens, challenges and supports learning.
  • The use of regular formative and summative assessment to track progress and identify gaps in children’s writing skills to inform future learning. Use of effective marking codes allows formative assessments to be easily understood and acted upon. Use of effective, termly moderation accurately identifies children’s attainment and their next steps.     
  • The use of clear and progressive plans that challenge and support children accordingly.
  • The explicit of teaching of grammar and punctuation in relation to the children’s writing and its effect.
  • Gathering ideas to ensure that children have a solid understanding of what they are writing. This can stem from a variety of enrichment activities. In drama that children can adopt, create and sustain a role whilst responding to others appropriately. This is used to build ideas and to further understanding of the context and genre of writing. It can also include use of technology to effectively research a topic.
  • Regular opportunities for children to listen to others reread their writing, their peers’ and high-quality exemplar pieces that provoke discussions regarding the impact that has been had on the reader.
  • Discussions that develop children’s confidence and competence in spoken language and listening[ZR2]  skills.
  • A strong focus on the explicit teaching of vocabulary that utilises effective questioning and strategies to broaden children’s language, their understanding of it and how to use it effectively and with purpose.
  • Displays that progress the journey of writing.
  • Consistent use of editing either with their peers or an adult to offer further support. This is indicated with the use of a different coloured pen or pencil to clearly demonstrate a child's writing journey.
  • Giving children the opportunity to respond to texts, expressing preferences and opinions and demonstrating their understanding.
  • Children being enriched in a language-rich environment throughout their school day, through spoken language, displays and areas which encourage communication.
  • SEN children’s writing may have different expectations; they should be competent in prior learning before moving on to more complex sentences/vocabulary. Personalised assessments are used to ensure this.
  • Assessment: An external writing moderator reviews writing across all year groups at least termly to ensure that all children are being challenged, and use of government exemplification materials are used as a baseline for expectations at the end of KS1 and KS2.
  • The teaching and modelling of handwriting is prioritised across all phases. From Early Years upwards, children’s handwriting is supported at a level that is appropriate to their stage of development. Children in the Early Years are taught pre-writing skills such as holding a pencil and writing from left to right. After this, children progress on to the RWI handwriting programme. This is a progressive, sequenced programme that teaches children the correct letter formation, relative size of letters and, finally, how to join letters in a mature style of writing.
     

The curriculum is implemented differently across the Key Stages to reflect the needs of the children:

  • In EYFS, children are provided with a range of mark making opportunities that encourage the development of both their fine and gross motor skills. Weekly speech and language interventions support the development of early language skills which provides the children with the ability to scribe meaning to their marks. Daily teaching of vocabulary in both the environment and adult-led learning also supports the children’s spoken language and understanding of language. As the children progress, teacher’s use traditional tales and linked texts that they have been focusing on over the half term to provide engaging and exciting enhancement activities to inspire further writing. This allows the children to build on the vocabulary that they have learnt and explore different forms of writing. Children are immersed in Storytelling and work together in groups or as a class to create their own story through story mapping. Well-planned learning opportunities in the environment allows children to write a story through drawings and key words. Alongside this, Helicopter Stories is used to develop communication and literacy skills. This approach offers children to bridge into the world of creative writing as they begin to see the links between the oral stories they compose and the words on a page. All stories are valued and children are given the opportunity to celebrate their own stories by story acting.
  • Whilst following the RWI programme, children are taught the alphabetic code first so that they can write simple words early on and build on their success. Children write every day, rehearsing out loud what they want to write, and composing sentence by sentence, until they are confident enough to write independently. They write at the level of their spelling knowledge: that is, they use their knowledge of the alphabetic code and the ‘trickier’ words they have learnt. In every lesson, children build up their spelling knowledge rapidly so that they are able to spell complex words confidently. The children can use adventurous vocabulary in their writing because they have encountered such language in their reading and they have talked about what the words mean. Much emphasis is placed on teacher modelling and continuous assessment; teachers and teaching assistants observe and listen carefully, picking up on any errors or uncertainties. RWI gives children the skills to transcribe effectively, compose their ideas clearly and assess then improve their own work. In Reception and Key Stage 1, these skills are built upon in Topic lessons where children engage in extended writing opportunities. Teachers work hard to hook the children’s interests by using exciting topic starters such as a surprise visitor, a themed day or a visit to place of interest. To further engage children’s interest and build excitement, teachers present children with gift wrapped story books and non-fictions texts to build children’s vocabulary and enhance their ideas in preparation for compositional writing.
  • Having completed Read Write Inc, children follow a whole-school scheme that offers an initial hook to grab children's interest. This is then followed by focused reading sessions of the text-type that the children will be writing, with subsequent analysis to identify which writing techniques have been used and what their effects are on the reader. This allows children to utilise techniques with purpose. These writing techniques are then practised, either discretely or within short-burst writing. After gathering their ideas and planning, children then produce an independent, extended piece of writing.
    Children learn spelling discretely, through the Read Write Inc spelling programme. Based upon the sound-based English writing system, it explicitly refers to the 44 sounds used to speak all English words and the different way in which we could write these ways. It builds upon the phonetic-approach and is systematic. Explicit teaching includes the use of strategies such as mnemonics or ‘say it as you see it’ to aid children with words that use uncommon graphemes. Children and parents are encouraged to reinforce spelling strategies at home, with attainment being measured through weekly spelling tests. Children are taught in ability-based groups based in year groups, with the exception of SEN children, who are taught in smaller, more focussed groups that can span across years. This allows children to progress at an optimum rate in their spelling.   

Impact

  • Children will be enthusiastic about and enjoy literacy lessons. They will be confident writers who enjoy the process of writing. 
  • Children’s writing progress will be at an accelerated rate and their attainment will be above national average at the end of their key stage. 
  • Children are competent spellings who utilise strategies to spell unfamiliar words.
  • Children will write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • Children will acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • Children will use discussion and editing in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas and aid others in this.
  • Children will develop enquiry skills to pursue their own interests and further questions within a topic.
  • Over their time at Wistaston Academy, children will have encountered and participated in a wide range of visits, visitors and other experiences
  • Children will make connections between what they have previously learned and what they are currently learning which will embed literacy knowledge in their long-term memory
  • Disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND achieve the best possible outcomes in history
  • Children will leave WA with the skills, knowledge and attitude that will allow them embrace the next stage in their education
  • Within literacy, cross-curricular links are promoted widely and consistently often leading to fluency, comprehension and enjoyment.

 

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Contact the School

Wistaston Academy

Moreton Road
Crewe
Cheshire
CW2 8QS

Company registration number: 08882544
Place of Registration: England

Main Contact: Principal - Dominique Griffiths

Tel: 01270 685666
admin@wistastonacademytrust.co.uk

SEN Contact: Stephanie Tew

SEN Email: stew@wistastonacademytrust.co.uk