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"Sharing thoughts, ideas, and emotions is key to the human experience. Over a lifetime, children hone their skills to read, write, speak, listen, think, and respond critically—skills that unlock the world’s secrets and provide unlimited possibilities. Literacy matters because of the endless doors it opens!" - Education Development Centre 

At Oatlands Infant School we firmly believe that Literacy is a vehicle for exploring and engaging with the world around us.  Reading, writing, and effective communication are fundamental life skills; the development of which, will enable our children to thrive both in education and in an ever-changing world they are a part of. Since children enter school with differing levels of linguistic experience, it is vital that practitioners personalise each child’s learning, allowing them to strive for a mastery language.

Reading

Reading is an integral part of daily life at Oatlands. Be it through lessons across the curriculum, class story time, independent reading, school assemblies, or visits to the library, reading is everywhere. Teachers understand and prioritise the need for children to have frequent opportunities to explore and enjoy a wide range of varied texts, and the impact this has on the future success of all children. Where possible, daily story times promote high quality fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as a love for reading. Similarly, weekly assemblies showcase texts which clearly aline with the ethos of the school and explore ideas connected to British Values and wellbeing for all children. Children choose a library book to take home each week alongside their home reader, to encourage story times at home too. The weekly newsletter also provides recommended reads for children and parents alike.

 

Comprehension is explicitly taught throughout school using the Hooked on Books strategy. The Hooked on Books units are planned in line with our whole school English progression ensuring consistency and clarity of key skills and expected outcomes. These whole class reading sessions introduce children to a variety of high quality books, beyond their independent reading level, featuring a breadth of diverse and inclusive subjects to be explored. 

 

To support the reading that takes place in school, children also take home books to share with their families. For those working through our Phonics scheme, a phonics reader is sent home each week with a focus of decoding and building reading fluency, the process of which is explained in our Phonics policy. For those with secure Phonics knowledge, banded books provide opportunities for children to continue improving their reading fluency and also work on their comprehension skills with progressively more complex texts. These books are carefully matched to children’s reading abilities, which are monitored through PM Benchmarking assessments of fluency and comprehension. Alongside their independent reading books, children also choose a library book to take home too. Families are encouraged to share and enjoy these library books with their children. Guidance is provided for parents for all home reading exercises to ensure they are confident and have a clear understanding of the purpose.

Writing

At Oatlands, we use The Write Stuff approach to teaching the composition, vocabulary, and grammar areas of writing. From EYFS and through KS1, daily English lessons provide exciting and engaging inputs to support children’s development in the subject. Each unit of writing is planned in line with our whole school English progression ensuring consistency and clarity of key skills and expected outcomes. At the start of each unit of work, children are first ‘hooked’ into the topic with an exciting experience. These can include local trips, special visitors, and role-play experiences which immerse the children in the subject. Children immediately feel a buzz about the new unit, before a text is even introduced.

 

Throughout each sequence of initial teaching, text type and genre specific punctuation, and grammar lessons are woven into the planning to allow for convenient and pertinent acquisition of knowledge. These, along with the experience sessions can be used at any time during the unit when needed. Following this carefully structured introduction to the unit of work, children are then given the opportunity to write an independent piece, linked to the shared focus. Over the course of a week, children can plan, write, and edit their piece independently. This aims to incorporate some of the key teaching points from the unit and allows teachers to assess how well embedded the knowledge is.

Handwriting

Throughout school, we use Twinkl Handwriting to teach an effective and efficient writing style for all children.  Following the English progression document, we first focus on developing children’s gross and fine motor skills to best prepare them for mark making, before moving on to formal handwriting instruction. In EYFS, precursive letter formation is taught using leading lines, which allows for a smooth progression into continuous cursive when they are ready. The point in which children are deemed ready for continuous cursive is dependent on the individual child’s handwriting progress, which is carefully monitored by teachers.

SEND and Inclusion in English & Phonics

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