At Sherington, we aim to develop lifelong, fluent readers who read with purpose and passion, developing the skills to be successful across the school’s curriculum, wider curriculum and beyond. We foster both learning to read and reading to learn.
Through focusing on decoding, oracy, language acquisition and audience and purpose – using high-quality texts – children’s reading attainment, fluency, prosody and comprehension are developed in line with age-related expectations.
We use VIPERS to support the teaching of reading in Years 1-6. VIPERS aids the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the reading curriculum. The acronym represents the six key areas that support children to improve their comprehension of what is read.
Sequence (KS1) and Summarise (KS2)
Word of the day
Word of the day is a daily introduction to the reading session across KS1 and KS2, slightly modified for each year group. Each day, the children encounter a new word, learning meaning and use in real life contexts – discussing word choice. This part of the lesson really encourages the children to be curious.
Every class has a longer class read aloud text through which the teacher is the conduit to communicate the narrative as an expert.
Whole class reading time on Friday focuses on this read aloud text, with a focus on summarising what has happened in the story to date, listening to the teacher read aloud and making predictions about what will happen going forwards. Each teacher narrates their thoughts and children are given opportunities to discuss or debate with a partner or as part of a larger group.
Additional time is given to children each Friday to read freely, which can be solo reading or reciprocal reading. Teachers use this time for keep up group work with selected children to strengthen specific reading skills based around a Little Wandle decodable book that can be read with 90% fluency.
Throughout the week in KS2, children are encouraged to borrow a book/change a reading book from the class book corner. Some children may wish to recommend a book to the class.
Home reading and reading for pleasure
Reception and Year 1
Children take home a levelled Little Wandle decodable book twice a week and a reading for pleasure book once a week.
Developing readers take home a levelled Little Wandle decodable book twice a week and a book to read for pleasure once a week. Independent readers bring home a colour-banded book twice a week and a reading for pleasure book twice a week.
Years 3,4,5 and 6
Developing readers take home a levelled Little Wandle decodable book twice a week and a book to read for pleasure once a week. Independent readers bring home a book of their choice that has been signed out of the book corner.
At Sherington, phonics is taught daily to all children in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage One. We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised – a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme. It has been developed by Wandle and Little Sutton English Hubs and taken forward by Little Sutton Primary School and Wandle Learning Trust in partnership with other phonics and early reading experts.
By the end of Reception, the children are expected to know all of Phase Three; by the end of Year One all children are expected to know all of Phase Five; by the end of Key Stage One, children are expected to be secure in terms of Phase Six. This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns.
Alongside phonics, we teach the children how to spell. We believe that learning to spell is a crucial tool for your child to use as an essential part of navigating day-to-day life. We teach spelling by focusing on spelling patterns, prefixes and suffixes, knowledge of word origin and root words. Children from Year 1 upwards will be given weekly spellings for homework and they will be tested at the end of each week following.
At Sherington, we believe that a key component to developing great writers is to expose the children to a range of high-quality texts. We carefully select these for each year group, which align with the school’s humanities curriculum. We then explore a text in its entirety, or use key parts as a stimulus, to fully explore both writer’s intent and genre specifics.
During the time that the children are exploring a text and the features revealed within, they are tasked with creating their own writing – using the high-quality model and supplementary materials for inspiration. The writing outcome is developed over a period of time and, in some cases, the text may provide the information and vital knowledge for the work though not the model of the genre. For example: using Peter Pan as the source material through which to write an informal letter provides the children with in-depth knowledge of J.M. Barrie’s work, style and language in order to be able to create a letter written by Peter and sent to Wendy. They are not necessarily writing a story.
The beginning of the writing process begins with numerous ways to access the text so that all children are fully equipped. The ‘bookend’ approach might be used with some texts and this entails the very beginning and end of the text being shared, with the children exploring how to get from one point to the other. Reading journeys may be introduced to develop an understanding of the text and dissect the language and vocabulary used. Questioning will be used, such as ‘What impact does this have on the reader?’ or ‘Why has this particular word been used at this point?’ These questions serve to develop the children’s vocabulary and comprehension, and also more deeply explore the relationship between the writer and the reader. We believe that it is really important for children to understand the purpose of each model used. It is a key focus, which enables them as the writer to engage with, explore and enjoy the writing process.
After initial access to the text, in whichever form this takes, taster drafts may be written in the same style. A taster draft is a highly condensed version of what will develop into each child’s final piece. It contains the key points of the narrative or non-narrative in question, providing opportunities for the children to amass a bank of planning ideas. Further lessons introduce specifics of the text as key learning points. The children simply apply their new learning to solid foundations that have already been established. Other learning approaches, such as blackout poetry, are used to condense the text to its fundamentals as well as compare and contrast the author’s words to analyse what makes it what it is.
The children are constantly editing their writing, drafting and redrafting, responding to written and verbal feedback, and peer evaluation. Work is edited using green pen so that the improvements that have been made are unambiguous, with the children fully appreciating the ‘why’.
Finally, after being fully edited, the series of drafts are brought together and written as a finished piece. The progression of the writing process is clearly evident within the children’s books, illustrating that from a quality text, quality writing is produced.
Grammar and punctuation
At Sherington, grammar and punctuation is taught during English sessions through contextualised learning linked to the exemplar text. Grammar, language and punctuation skills are taught through analysis of the writer’s use of effective vocabulary choices, language structures and writing style. The children are given opportunities to practise and develop their own writing style using the skills they have learnt. They will also learn different grammar and punctuation styles in isolation to prepare them for end of key stage tests.
We follow the Nelson handwriting scheme. All handwriting sessions are well-planned and modelled. Children in Key Stage 2 focus on correct spelling as well as the correct starting point, letter formation and join. Children in year 6 who consistently show the Sherington expectations for handwriting and presentation in all of their books can earn their pen license, which enables them to use a handwriting pen.