Here at St Antony’s we have developed an English curriculum that encourages our children to grow a love of Reading, Writing and discussion. Through providing varied learning opportunities, we aim to inspire an appreciation of literature and help them become confident, enthusiastic life-long learners.
We believe our children need to follow a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum, developing ‘real-word’ skills many of which links to our ‘Be-Attiudes,’ enabling them, to participate fully as a member of our community.
We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities that build our children’s Reading and Writing skills. English often links to other areas of the curriculum to enable our children to be fully immersed into the learning which in turns helps them to understand the value and importance of written and verbal communication.
Early Reading and Phonics
At St Antony's we aim for all our children to become fluent, confident readers who are passionate about reading. Children who read regularly or are read to regularly, have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds! More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners. We can achieve this through high quality phonics lessons using Read, Write inc as our systematic phonics programme, sharing high quality texts in class and giving children access to exciting, well-loved books in class book corners and the school library.
What is Read, Write inc (RWI)?
Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The programme begins in Nursery and continues until the child has worked through each colour group. It is a stage not age approach developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found at https://ruthmiskin.com/en/find-out-more/parents/.
How is RWI taught?
All children are assessed regularly (every 6 weeks). From these assessments children are grouped into stages (colour), where they work with peers on the same stage. The colours progress as follows:
Each stage builds on previous learning and introduces the children to new sounds. In Nursery, children will be introduced to the initial sounds in short five minutes sessions. This is developed as they move into Reception where all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. From Reception and above, the children have 30 minute, daily sessions.
What will the children learn?
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
- Learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
- Read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
- Work well with partners
- Develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions
- Learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
- Learn to write words by using Fred Talk
- Learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write
The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.
Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.
Down Maisie then over the two mountains. Maisie, mountain, mountain.
Round the apple, down the leaf.
Slide around the snake
Round the dinosaur's back, up his neck and down to his feet.
Down the tower, across the tower,
Down the insects body, dot for the head.
Down Nobby and over the net.
Down the plait, up and over the pirates face.
Round the girls face, down her hair and give her a curl
All around the orange
Curl around the caterpillar
Down the kangaroos body, tail and leg
Down and under the umbrella, up to the top and down to the puddle
Down the laces, over the toe and touch the heel
Down the stem and draw the leaves
Slice into the egg, go over the top, then under the egg
Down the long leg
Down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Slither down the snake, then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Down the robot's back, then up and curl
Down his body, curl and dot
Down a wing, up a wing
Down a horn, up a horn and under the yak's head.
Down, up, down, up the worm.
Down the tower, across the tower, then down the horse’s head to the hooves and over his back
Zig-zag-zig, down the zip.
Curl around the caterpillar, , then down the horse's head to the hooves and over his back
Round the queen’s head, up to her crown, down her hair and curl
Cross down the arm and leg and cross the other way
A thing on a string
I think I stink
Set 2 and 3:
The children are then taught Set 2 Sounds - the long vowels. When they are very confident with all of set 1 and 2 they are taught Set 3 Sounds.
Long vowel sound
Set 2 Speed Sound
Set 3 Speed Sound
ay: may I play
a-e: make a cake
ai: snail in the rain
ee: what can you see
ea: cup of tea
e: he me we she be
igh: fly high
i-e: nice smile
ow: blow the snow
o-e: phone home
ao: goat in a boat
oo: poo at the zoo
u-e: huge brute
ew: chew the stew
oo: look at a book
ar: start the car
or: shut the door
aw: yawn at dawn
air: that’s not fair
are: share and care
ir: whirl and twirl
ur: nurse for a purse
er: a better letter
ou: shout it out
ow: brown cow
oy: toy for a boy
oi: spoil the boy
ire: fire fire!
ear: hear with your ear
ure: sure it’s pure?
Within all the RWI sessions/books children will be exposed to red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.
What books will my child bring home?
Books are sent home on the final day of the teaching cycle. For children in Seat 1a to Ditty, they will bring home a blending book after a specific set of sounds have been taught. Children in Red to Grey, will change thier books every Friday. On the RWI e-library they will be set a core storybook, that they have been learning to read in school, and they will be given a 'Book bag book' to take home. The children will have read these books in school so will be familiar with the text. Please encourage them to read it to you and praise their reading. In addition to this, also on Friday, the children will choose a book from their class book corner or the school library to share at home for pleasure. They will need a little help reading these books.
Whole class reading (VIPERS)
We, as a school, explore reading through daily VIPERS whole class shared reading sessions as we feel it is the best way to ensure all children are able to increase their vocabulary, understanding and enjoyment of texts. It allows in-depth discussion of high quality books daily for every child. This is a huge difference to carousel guided reading which will only allow children the chance to discuss a text with an adult once a week. VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts. The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc. As such, VIPERS is not a reading scheme but rather a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions. They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.
VOCABULARY INFERENCE PREDICT EXPLAIN RETRIEVE SUMMARISE/SEQUENCE
VIPERS sessions are taught daily:
- Nursery and Reception sessions are 10 minutes
- Year 1 and 2 are 15-20 minutes
- Year 3-6 are 30 minutes
Outline of the session
- The session begins with reading a shared text. This is read by the teacher as a model to show expression and tone. During this reading, the teacher will ask questions to initiate discussions on the focus VIPERS skill that has been chosen for that session.
- The teacher will then model how to answer an example question. They will verbalise their thinking to the children which allows them to see the whole comprehension process.
- The children then work either independently or with a partner to answer a similar question using the teacher’s model as a guide.
- The children then complete a range of actives to further develop their understanding the focus VIPERS skill. This could be creating character profile, drama/role play, ranking vocab in order of importance, true or false quizzes, mood graphs, annotating extracts etc.
While VIPERS focuses on the comprehension aspect of reading, all children have opportunities throughout the week to develop their decoding skills in small group activities and 1-1 with an adult with the aim for our children to become independent, fluent readers.
Having been exposed to high quality discussion and ‘rich talk’ conversations about their class book in their daily VIPERS sessions, our children are well prepared to explore different techniques for writing. At St Antony’s we plan and teach writing lessons that encourage the children to be immersed in the whole writing experience. Starting with a creative hook, the children learn how to plan, draft, edit and publish their writing with the purpose and audience of the writing at the centre of each stage of the writing process.