At Clerkenwell Parochial School, we believe that Literacy is the very foundation of a high-quality education and is fundamental to learning across the entire curriculum. It is known that if a child can read and write, they can access all areas of learning and their chances of success will be significantly higher. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that each child leaves our school with the level of Literacy required to reach their full potential and live a life without socio-economic or academic limitations. We believe that equipping our children with strong Literacy skills is crucial for them to fully and confidently participate in society and community life, as well as opening doors to infinite personal and professional opportunities. We aim to teach the skills that not only develop children into proficient and passionate readers and writers, but are also transferable across the curriculum. This includes applying their learning to their own social, moral, ethical, cultural and spiritual development. We aspire to develop a love for reading and writing through a rich and tailored curriculum that will cultivate life-long learners and readers. To achieve this, we insist that our children are exposed to a beautiful and expansive selection of high-quality literature produced only by the best writers and illustrators. Early Reading is a poignant part of every child's learning journey, therefore a robust Early Reading Programme is a critical part of our Reading curriculum. We recognise the importance of this strong foundation and are committed to developing Early Reading Experts across the school. We are also passionate about fostering strong conversationalists and keen orators.
At Clerkenwell, we endeavour to make learning fun, engaging and memorable. Literacy skills are taught through immersive, creative and exciting lessons underpinned by the requirements of the National Curriculum. The Programme of Study is tailored to incorporate the interests of the children and are relevant to the children in today's world.
Our Literacy provision incorporates all the tenets that develop a child's Literacy, which are the following:
- Reading, including Early Reading (Phonics)
- Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar (SPAG)
- Speaking & Listening
Reading, including Early Reading (Phonics)
Reading is a core Literacy skill and the cornerstone of all learning across the National Curriculum. We believe in teaching children the skills needed to be avid readers who can comprehend and infer from texts, as well as developing a love for reading. As a school, we promote a love for reading across all areas of the curriculum and our environments reflect this through beautiful reading corners in each class, as well exposing children to rich and high-quality literature. Our Reading curriculum feeds directly into our writing curriculum to give children the most immersive experience across Literacy.
At Clerkenwell, Early Reading is taught through daily streamed Phonics sessions facilitated by our Early Reading experts (EYFS and Key Stage 1 teachers, as well as the Literacy Leader). Phonics is the teaching of reading through ‘sounds’ that are represented through written graphemes (letter combinations). We follow the Letters & Sounds scheme, created and endorsed by the Department for Education. Our Early reading Experts are supported by the Senior Leadership Team and The Literacy Leader. We stream our sessions in order to provide each child with a tailored approach to their sound acquisition. The scheme is organised by Phases, which enables teachers to deliver the Phonics programme systematically.
Phonics at Clerkenwell is taught from the very start of a child's school journey in Reception. Phase 1 is usually taught before Reception, followed by Phase 2 and 3 which are taught throughout Reception. Phase 4 (a recap of Phases 2 & 3 and consonant-blend exposure) and Phase 5 are taught in Year 1. Phase 6 (consolidation and introduction to spelling and reading rules) is taught in Year 2. Throughout Phases 2-5, children read words through decoding, segmenting and blending.
Children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and 2) are taught Phonics for 20 minutes each day and our lessons are split into four parts: Revisit, Teach, Practise and Apply. The sessions are planned to be fun and engaging using a multi-sensory approach to make learning memorable. We use a variety of resources, songs and hands-on learning to make learning as 'sticky' as possible. Progress is tracked diligently which helps us to identify gaps, which can then be addressed with further interventions throughout the day. Children who are learning Phonics are also given reading books that match the stage and sound they are currently learning, which is another way for them to apply and remember their learning.
At the end of Year 1, children are assessed on their progress in Phonics through the Phonics Screening Check. This is not a test, but a way for teachers to know where children are with their sound acquisition and reading skills.
Reading Across the School
Reading in Key Stage 2 is primarily taught through daily Guided Reading sessions. Key Stage 1 also receive daily Guided Reading. Each session lasts around half an hour and is documented through a Guided Reading Journal. Children work directly with their teacher at least once a week using a high-quality book or short story from a variety of genres to develop their comprehension and inference skills. This time is also used to develop a love for reading and a culture of reading throughout the school. Children explore how to choose books to read and it is also their time to express their opinions on books they have been reading. Throughout the week, children work on independent activities to further their reading skills based on the story they are reading.
To further develop a reading culture at Clerkenwell and promote a love for reading, we are participants of the Islington Reading Road Map in partnership with the Islington Library Service. This a fun and exciting way to get children reading books from across a variety of genres and expose them to many fantastic authors. The children track their reading on the Road Map and there are lots of fun incentives to promote reading for pleasure.
Teachers allocate time to simply enjoy reading each day; this is a time for relaxation and unwinding with a book. We aspire to embed the feeling of pleasure for reading in our children, which in turn will develop a love for reading. Teachers also bring in their own reading book, which they read at the same time as the children in order to model what a life-long reader looks like. We also use Book Talk to generate menaingful and interesting discussions about books and reading.
We believe that strong Writing skills lend themselves to all areas of the curriculum and are crucial to developing Literacy. To make Writing lessons as creative and immersive as possible, we use the Power of Reading approach, which uses reading as a way to generate writing. We incorporate the Centre of Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE; https://clpe.org.uk/) as a tool to deliver lessons, which places high-quality children’s books at the heart of all learning. The children use selected texts as a vehicle to develop their writing skills and work towards a final written outcome each week. The units are planned to develop children’s skills in order to write for a purpose and in context of the book they are using. We ensure that children are covering a range of different writing purposes and styles in order to give them as much breadth of study as possible, based on National curriculum requirements. This also incorporates Speaking & Listening, as well as Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. Children work towards a Speaking & Listening and SPAG outcome each week. The selected texts are linked to other areas of the curriculum where possible in order to make learning memorable, as well as holistic. This approach also allows us to expose children to the very best children’s literature, which feeds into developing a love for reading and an awareness of high quality literature.
2019-20 Selected Texts
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG)
At Clerkenwell, we believe that children learn better when they are taught something in context. This applies to Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar, which are all taught through the CLPE selected text that each class is using. All the teaching and activities use these high-quality texts as a way to make learning more relevant and memorable. We follow a progression for Punctuation and Grammar, which can be found below:
We also have bi-weekly spelling sessions based on the No Nonsense Spelling Programme for Years 2-6, which can be found below for each year group:
Children at Clerkenwell receive daily Handwriting input following the Nelson Handwriting Scheme. We are teaching our children to write using Cursive handwriting. Teachers use this handwriting themselves when modelling any writing and this handwriting is also displayed across the school. In Key Stage 1, there is a focus on correct letter formation and simple joins. In Key Stage 2, there is more emphasis on joins and the cursive handwriting style.