The teaching of literacy at Moreton is tailored to suit the needs of the children in each different class with teachers draw upon a range of skills and practices in order to achieve this. This varied approach ensures that the requirements of the curriculum are being met, whilst making the subject matter as engaging, immersive and creative as possible.
The skill of reading begins with learning the sounds that an individual letter can make and how groups of letters can sound when put together. This practice is known as 'phonics' and it begins in Early Years.
At Moreton we follow the 'Read Write Inc Phonics' programme and this is taught daily in year R, year 1 and year 2. This then leads logically and progressively into the 'Read, Write Inc Spelling' programme that children will encounter towards the end of year 2 (See 'Writing' for more information on spelling). Below you can find a button that will take you to the 'Ruth Miskin Read, Write Inc for Parents' site, which will provide you with information on how to best support your child at home with the teaching of phonics.
By the end of year 2, children should be able to 'sound out' words and then 'blend' the sounds together to read whole words and in turn, sentences, confidently. When these skills have been achieved, children will then begin their work on comprehending a wide range of age-appropriate texts e.g. fiction books, non-fiction books, encyclopedias, newspapers, fact-files etc.
Comprehension is the set of skills needed to be able to understand and explore ideas behind the words you have just read. Comprehension skills are particularly valuable as children progress further up the school, as reading and decoding the meaning behind words has a 'knock-on' effect in every subject - particularly in maths when solving problems.
At Moreton we mainly assess children's comprehension skills summatively by using the 'Oxford Primary Assessment' package. Examples of these assessment requirements can be accessed using the buttons below. Years 2 and 6 will also be tested formatively during their SATs testing period and some formative testing is carried out termly in other year groups to aid teacher assessment.
Children in year 2-6 will be taught comprehension skills using a variety of teaching styles: some classes will do this in whole class guided reading sessions in the form of activities in a 'carousel' with some activities being teacher led, others as independent, some classes may be taught through a whole class discussion about a text or extract from a text to draw out specific skills, older children are often given the same book to read as a class and questions around that text may be given as homework to then come into class to discuss in a follow-up session. We believe that the fluidity and flexibility of these approaches allows teachers to be able to adopt the practice that best works for the students in their year group at that time. A variety of these approaches is often used and it is likely the children will experience all of the above practices in their comprehension and reading sessions throughout the year.
The Essex Library Services 'Book Bus' arrives at school fortnightly and allows children to go on board to register with the library and select books of their choice. The children have shown a great interest in the library bus and allowing the children to choose a book outside of their class reading book (for those children who are not yet free readers) helps children take ownership over their learning in literacy.
In the past two years, Moreton has taken part in the 'Reading Gladiators' scheme which is an annual competition for schools to compete against each other in a multitude of tasks based around the same set of books. There are 24 titles that children have the opportunity to read across the school year and they are all linked by different themes. Year 6 and year 4 have taken part in the scheme and it has been thoroughly enjoyable for all involved. Our year 4 team even won an award in the last competition for their creativity based around the book, "How to Train Your Dragon" by Cressida Cowell.
With a shift in the expectations of reading skills following the introduction of the New National Curriculum in 2014, Moreton has a keen focus on providing children with opportunities to encounter a range of high-quality, challenging and exciting texts throughout their schooling, which will enable them to become more Worldly readers and will instill a passion for reading, which will stay with them for a lifetime.
Similarly to reading, writing at Moreton begins in early years where the children will be encouraged to work on their fine motor skills through a series of engaging (and often messy!) activities such as, using a paintbrush to draw letters into sand, or using tools to make detailed patterns in clay. Children will also have the opportunity to put pencil to paper to write their 'news', or use letter scaffolds to begin learning letter formations, joins and practise writing simple sentences. Although there is heavy emphasis on the teaching of phonics in year R as the basis of early reading and writing, stories are often taught orally to children, so they can then write a series of simple sentences to retell the tale. During free-flow time, children are often given the choice of an activity which will require them to record their ideas or findings in a legible form. By the middle of year R, most children are able to write and join words without the need for a scaffold, build simple sentences and understand the need to leave 'finger spaces' between words.
When children progress to year 1, children still receive their phonics input (as mentioned above) as the foundations for spelling and writing, but the retelling of stories orally, through drama and then in written form becomes a larger part of the children's education in literacy. Through a series of exciting themes in topic, a collection of stories and non-fiction texts are carefully selected to meet the needs of the children in that year group.
Spelling is an important part of breeding writers that write coherently and make their writing accessible to their audience. At Moreton children follow the 'Read, Write Inc Spelling' programme that leads directly on from the phonics scheme (as mentioned above). Children will start the spelling programme towards the end of year 2 and will continue up until the end of year 6. Using a range of approaches to teach children spelling patterns, the programme draws upon prior phonics knowledge and builds year on year to create a sound knowledge base for accurate spelling by the time children reach year 6.
Similarly to reading, children are summatively assessed on their writing using the 'Oxford Primary Writing Assessment' package. Links to examples of these assessment can be found using the buttons below. Formative assessment is no longer required in writing, but children in year 6 will put together a 'portfolio' of their best writing that shows by the end of the year that they have met all the statutory requirements needed to meet the expected standard at year 6.
As our teachers have come from a variety of different areas and schools, we are very lucky at Moreton to have 'experts' on a range of teaching strategies that enable children to become more effective writers. Deploying different parts of these strategies at different times in the year, or at different stages in the same literacy units makes for a stimulating, engaging and creative writing experience in the classroom. Click the links below to discover more about some of the techniques we use to teach literacy at Moreton.