At Brooklands English is taught as a structured daily session but is also an integral part of the whole school curriculum. Foundation and Key Stage 1 also have an additional 30-minute Letters and Sounds session each day. During Letters and Sounds sessions the focus is on teaching children “phonics”. These are the sounds that letters and letter combinations make. Letters and Sounds is a stepped programme which aims to give children all the basic skills they need for learning to read and spell. We aim to teach speaking and listening, reading and writing in a creative, interesting way that will engage and inspire children of all abilities.
We want our children to:
- Speak clearly and confidently in any situation, and listen actively and respond appropriately developing knowledge and opinion. We accomplish this through drama sessions and the use of activities such as hot seating, table discussions and role play in Literacy sessions. We also actively encourage talk partners and these are used within each class room during many activities.
- Read fiction and non-fiction texts fluently for both pleasure and information. At Foundation and Key Stage 1 we do this through the explicit teaching of phonics alongside reading for meaning. At Key Stage 2 children’ reading skills are extended and developed, as we focus on understanding and questioning. Our homework reading scheme supports the work we do in school and parents are actively encouraged to support reading at home. Children
read Oxford Reading Tree stories. Within this reading scheme the children will read a selection of fiction, non- fiction and poetry books. In our library we have a wide selection of texts. Your child will choose a library book either once a week or once every two weeks.
- Write clearly and with confidence in any given genre. We aim to develop the children’s ability to express their thoughts and ideas and studying the features of different styles of writing. We also make every attempt to ensure that children develop a sound understanding of, and the ability to punctuate their writing effectively and correctly. Although we have always taught children aspects of English grammar appropriate to their age, there is now a greater emphasis on its’ correct use so teacher’s planning, and therefore lesson content, will reflect this.
- Build upon the sound foundation developed in Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. All three aspects are currently tested at the end of Year 6 in an externally marked Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation test. Of prime concern to us is the presentation of children's work. We have high expectations and high standards of presentation in all work. We have a comprehensive hand writing policy which aims to support all children in writing in a fluent, joined, neat, and efficient style.
Brooklands approach to reading
For the teaching of early reading to be successful, it needs a balanced and creative approach in a context of rich oral language development. This should include the systematic teaching of phonics, as well as focus on application, exploring comprehension and meaning and reading enjoyment. At Brooklands we encompass this in all we do.
At Brooklands the systematic teaching of phonics starts in nursery where children are hear and explore sounds rather than read and write them. Throughout the infants high quality systematic phonic sessions are taught for 30 minutes a day in a session called ‘Letters and Sounds.’ Phonic knowledge and skills taught in these sessions is then taught and applied across our broad and balanced curriculum. We enhance the teaching of reading by its application across the wider curriculum.
In our classrooms we have a balanced approach to teaching reading which includes word recognition skills which are matched with the attention of comprehension skills. We are interested in children’s experiences and interests when choosing texts for the children to read and therefore achieve high levels of engagement in lessons. Children also have the opportunity to explore texts through drama and other creative activities.
We immerse the children in a rich reading environment and are always updating our library and resources with a wide range of quality texts.
Brooklands approach to writing
At Brooklands we fully believe that writing can only develop when talk is put at the centre of teaching and learning. Right from our youngest children in Nursery, we develop an environment where children are encouraged to share and discuss their ideas with each other before these are recorded in a written form.
Throughout the school, we seek to use extended talk and collaborative language to provide a really rich resource that the children can draw on during all stages of their writing. Alongside this, we provide a wide range of high quality texts to read as models for children to learn from.
At Brooklands we know that using clear success criteria for different genres, which the children have identified from their reading, is central to them producing quality pieces of work. We encourage children to refer to these whilst they are writing and then improving this.
Our writing process follows a plan, do, review cycle. Children are encouraged to plan in a variety of ways, recording their ideas pictorially, using notes or key ideas. Once children have developed a plan teachers encourage talk so that children can explore these ideas ready to write. Drafting and re-drafting ideas happen as routine in our classes and, in all classes, this process is given importance. We want children to know that writing is a process of improving ideas, vocabulary and sentence structures.
In our classrooms, children take the lead in critiquing their own and other’s work, giving clear examples of successes and areas for development in order to produce the best work they are capable of.
KS1 Phonics and reading schemes
At Brooklands we aim to provide children with a lifelong love of reading. Our children are exposed to reading in all areas of school and are constantly challenged in all subjects to apply their reading skills.
In Nursery we begin the reading process by teaching Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds, this enables children to develop their awareness of sounds through aspects such as rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and voice sounds. These aspects then enable children to develop their oral blending and segmenting skills which are key components children need to be able to read and write CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words.
Throughout Reception and Key Stage 1 children are taught to apply their blending and segmenting skills to read and write words, phrases and sentences. learn new phonemes (sounds) and develop an awareness of the graphemes ( letters) that represent a sound each week. In school we use lots of games that allow our lessons to be fast paced and fun.