We are a reading school! Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and we are exceptionally proud of our reading curriculum. Children learn to read through encountering challenging texts which form the basis of each half term’s English learning. Our reading lessons focus on developing vocabulary, teachers modelling high-quality active reading, and lots of practice for children to develop their key skills. In Key Stage 2, these are to explain the meaning of words in context, retrieve information from the text, interpret the meaning of the text, and consider authorial choices. Children will recognise these vital key skills as our ‘ERIC’ skills. In addition to these important techniques, Key Stage 1 children also learn to decode (see Phonics). Our teaching of reading is simple but effective.
We place a great emphasis on children building their fluency of reading so that they are able to access and understand the challenging texts which form our reading curriculum. Children practice reading daily through our half-hour reading routines, in addition to two hour-long lessons dedicated to teaching children how to apply their key skills. In our wider curriculum lessons, children apply these skills in context, reading to learn, and acquiring lots of higher-order, academic vocabulary.
Each classroom has its own special reading area where teachers share their love of books with the children, recommending new and old favourites, and showcasing a range of fiction and non-fiction texts which link with our core theme and curriculum focus. Children love to get lost in a book in these high-quality havens of literature. As well as lots of practice at school, children are expected to read at home three times per week. Staff ensure that children also have lots of opportunity to practice at school if home reading is ever an issue.
Our writing curriculum aims to develop the ambitious and articulate authors that exists in each and every one of our children. Writing is taught through a well-considered and refined sequence where children learn the content and features of a model text linked to the purpose and genre they are focusing on (often by heart). Fluency with the sentence structures and content is well practised before children apply their learning to a new piece of writing, where they can demonstrate their newly found proficiency. All pieces of writing are then published by the children and from either a wonderful display of a special bound collection of writing which is celebrated in the classroom reading corner.
Each year group begins the teaching of writing by focusing on the key skills which we expect children to master. These are rigorously taught and practised so that children develop their fluency with these skills. Writing is a creative process which can set the children’s imaginations alight. Teachers model how to capture these ideas using the key skills, in addition to always striving to use more ambitious vocabulary and sentences. This leads to very high-quality outcomes of which both teachers and children are rightly very proud. We expect children to have very high standards of presentation in their writing, and teach a cursive style of handwriting. When children reach the expected standard, they are considered for a pen license and show their writing to the Head of Primary. This is a very proud moment for all of the children.
We teach spelling to build on children’s knowledge and understanding of phonics. Children learn the spelling patterns and rules which they must apply to increasingly ambitious vocabulary. Each week, children memorise up to ten words from the statutory vocabulary they are expected to spell correctly and have daily practise of applying rules and recalling spellings.
At Roundhay we use the Read Write Inc. (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their reading and writing. RWI is a structured programme which integrates phonics, comprehension, writing, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and handwriting. It helps us to create a consistent approach across our schools as we all work together to ensure our children are confident readers and writers. We are proud of our phonics teaching at Roundhay: 100% of our Year 1 pupils in the last full academic year achieved the expected standard putting us in the top 2% of schools nationally.
Find Out More
To find out more about our English curriculum, please contact school.