Phonics and Reading
We view reading as a fundamental life skill and aim to develop a genuine love and lasting passion for reading within every child. Children who enjoy reading, achieve more highly across the curriculum. We prioritise on ensuring that children gain the phonic and language comprehension skills necessary to read. These are essential to the foundations for their current and future learning. The reading curriculum at Woodfield is taught in a logical, systematic progression which enables children to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to develop as readers.
Adults in our school act as role models in our enthusiasm for reading and will regularly read to children. We recognise the importance of ensuring children access a wide range of high quality reading material. Through reading, we want our pupils to have the opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading will also empower our children both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. Reading is viewed as a key skill across the curriculum so is an integral part of every child’s school day at Woodfield.
At Woodfield Infant School, the systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority. We are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers and believe that phonics helps to give children the foundations to develop into fluent readers and writers. Phonics is the process that is used to help children read and spell by breaking words down into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. It enables children to blend sounds together to read whole words and to spell by segmenting words into individual sounds.
Talk 4 Writing is a nationwide project and a teaching approach that we use at Woodfield Infants School to inspire and encourage our young writers. It is used to help develop young, imaginative, creative and effective writers and for children to develop a love and enjoyment of writing. The concept was originally developed by the author Pie Corbett and is a fun, creative and exciting way to develop and accelerate children’s learning with their writing. Talk 4 Writing also improves children’s confidence to communicate through speech and develop their vocabulary to their peers as well as adults. It looks different within EYFS and Key Stage One but follows the same process and we build upon each stage within each year group. Most importantly, Talk 4 Writing starts with the enjoyment of sharing story books and can also be incorporated into non-fiction information texts. Talk 4 Writing draws on other areas of the curriculum and gives the children experiences of developing excellent communication skills, personal and emotional development, confidence to have a go and has a huge impact on their love of reading and learning. At Woodfield, we encourage the children to enjoy a range of literature to develop their use of vocabulary which can be shown through their communication in their writing as well as communicating verbally with peers and adults.
There are three stages of the Talk 4 Writing process that we follow at Woodfield. The first stage is the ‘imitation’ stage where children learn the text off by heart so they have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the story or text. To help children remember the story/text, a multi-sensory approach is used. This is reinforced by using story maps or text maps, the use of actions and animated expressions (which are created by the children). All of these tools help and reinforce their knowledge of the story or text which enables the children to retell it with confidence. As children learn the text word for word, it encourages the use of specific sentence structures and grammar which help them with their own independent writing. If the child can tell a story, then they will be able to write it.
Once the story or information text is learnt, the children are encouraged to adapt it; this is called the ‘innovation’ stage. This stage is when children develop and make the story/text their own. The children begin by improving a part of the story by adding adjectives or adverbs to make the story more exciting for the reader; for example, by changing a character or setting. The children will change their story map or text map to adapt to their own ideas, and then they will rehearse telling their new story/ text orally to embed their own changes.
The final stage of the Talk 4 Writing process is called, the ‘invent ’stage. This is when children write their own story or text independently and consolidate their learning. They are able to ‘hug’ closely to the text should they need to, and use their own ideas to create their own independent write. Specifically, in Year 2, the children complete this stage as a ‘hot write’; this means the writing is completely independent and gives the teachers a chance to assess the children’s writing.
Throughout the Talk 4 Writing process at Woodfield the children are expected to use the 7 R’s of learning. For example, getting ready and being responsible and resourceful for their writing, such as independently getting a pencil, sound mat and exercise book to begin their writing journey. We have seen the children take great pride in their final story and are proud of what they have achieved. We endeavour to ensure that the Talk 4 Writing process that we provide at Woodfield inspires and motivates our children to have a love and excitement to their writing and learning.