At Brookvale Primary School, we strive to develop confident, literate readers from the very moment our children enter Reception. We recognise that phonic skills are essential to developing competent and assertive readers and, as such, we follow the systematic approach of the Rising Stars validated programme of study for the teaching of early phonics and reading. During Reception and Year 1, children access whole class daily phonics teaching and are continually assessed for their acquisition of phoneme/grapheme correspondence. Alongside this, they are explicitly taught the skill of oral blending, which is vital for the initial stages of early reading.
Underpinning our phonics programme are the following fundamental concepts:
Our aim is that all children leave Year 1 with a secure knowledge of phonics, enabling them to be successful in continuing their reading journey through school. For those children who need further consolidation of phonics, a well-planned programme of intervention is delivered allowing them to ‘keep up’.
To support the development of early reading in school and at home, children are given access to decodable Rocket Phonics reading books which complement and are fully aligned to the phonics programme. These are used as soon as all the letter-sounds in a particular colour band have been taught.
In addition to our robust phonics programme, our reading curriculum also ensures children explore a wide range of high-quality picture books and age-appropriate texts, which are closely matched to enhance the wider curriculum provision. Through whole class, adult led discussion, paired reading and one-to-one reading, children in Reception and Year 1 learn to make basic predictions, identify genre specific features of texts and comment on character motives and story plots.
At Brookvale Primary School we want to develop our children’s passion for reading by exposing them to various literature across all curriculum areas. Quality literature is implicitly interwoven into our curriculum. Key texts expose our children to various genres and famous authors and enhance the variety of exciting topics that we teach. We have carefully curated texts children access by using the Brookvale 4Cs (Classics, Curriculum, Culture, Choice). These are closely matched to the Lexile measures assigned to each year group and are ambitious in their scope and vocabulary. Building children’s vocabulary is a core principle of our whole school curriculum.
We also understand that reading is a key life-skill need to overcome disadvantage and we strive to embed a culture of reading into the core of what we do. Teachers expertly use key texts and supplementary curriculum-based texts to deliver whole class, daily reading lessons, focussing on the development of: fluency, comprehension domains, language and the ‘inner-thought’ process of reading.
To develop fluency and comprehension further, all children in Key Stage 2 access Reading Plus intervention sessions at least 3-4 times per week. This bespoke programme aims to develop age-appropriate fluency and understanding as children progress through school and close attainment gaps.
We believe reading opens up a new world for children and gives them the opportunity to explore new ideas, visit new places, meet new characters and develop a better understanding of other cultures. Weekly visits to our school library allow children to access high quality literature, non-fiction texts and poetry, which instils a passion for reading and supports their studies.
Furthermore, our whole-school reading scheme, Rising Stars, gives children access to high quality, progressive and culturally diverse texts, aligned to the Lexile measure for each individual child. These texts enable them to consolidate their reading as assessed against year group end points.
At Brookvale Primary School, the teaching of writing is of paramount importance within the context of a broad and balanced curriculum, with teachers planning purposeful opportunities for children to apply their writing skills across different subject disciplines.
Across school, children are exposed to a wide range of genres, authors and styles to develop their awareness and understanding of the conventions of writing and standard English. Through well-planned, cohesive and sequential units, which expertly build on what children already know and can do, the writing curriculum develops children’s handwriting, transcription, composition, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.
Learning Journeys map out the necessary skills needed in writing for each year group and these build progressively and systematically to ensure all children develop the ability to write well, with a clear understanding of purpose, genre and audience.