Literacy at Bowerham
At Bowerham Primary and Nursery School we believe that literacy is a strand that runs throughout the curriculum. We endeavour to provide a pupil led, exciting and enriched curriculum, whilst developing the key literacy skills children need to succeed. This area outlines the various schemes and approaches we use to ensure children make good progress in English.
The Golden Purple Pen Award
This is awarded weekly to children in each class who show great progress in their writing.
The Golden Purple Pen winners receive a certificate, their name is put up on the school website, their work is displayed in the classroom and they are able to use the Golden Purple Pen in all their work for the rest of the following week.
Just Write and Just Talk
Each week your child will be sent home with their ‘Just Talk’ homework. We ask that you talk through the topic with your child over the weekend so that they are ready for their ‘Just Write’ the following week. Each half term we launch a whole school ‘Just Talk’ so that the children have the opportunity to discuss the topic with children from other year groups and the whole school community. Where possible we like to invite parents/carers and extended families to these event to join in with these wonderful events and get some top tips from the teachers.
We use a wide range of reading schemes to ensure breadth and depth in the early stages of reading. Our schemes include The Oxford Reading Tree, Collins and Heinemann. Children are informally assessed on a regular basis to ensure that they are reading at the right level. Children should be able to read the books sent home to an adult with ease and should be able to discuss the content of the book and make predictions. Books of a higher level are used within Guided Reading session in school to teach new skills and to make sure that children are making progress. We believe it is important that children have a rich diet of texts so we ensure that our reading schemes are supplemented by a selection of other reading material. All classes have a weekly trip to the school library where they are shown how to select their own books using the Junior Library system and encouraged to read a wide selection of books. In class children us reference books and dictionaries, both as hard copies and online, through out the curriculum. In addition to this stories, non-fiction and poetry are read to the children.
Reading in the EYFS
At Bowerham we believe it’s never too early to read with a child. Sharing books, stories and rhymes is a daily part of learning to read, this not only promotes a love of reading but also an awareness of how information can be retrieved from text. Learning how to read is magical, for both children and their parents. At Bowerham Primary and Nursery School we respect and support early reading skills with a fun and interactive approach which kindles a lifelong love of books and the joy that reading can bring.
Letters and Sounds – Early Phonics
We believe it is important that children build up an awareness of reading and those basic reading skills as soon as possible. In Nursery we introduce Phase One Phonics from the Letters and Sounds document. This phase provides children with lots of speaking and listening activities which are essential to early reading development. The aim of phase one is for children to become attuned to the sounds around them as they engage in lots of rhyme and rhythmic activities. This is something we explore in lots of detail within Nursery to ensure these basic skills are embedded before the children move on to Phase Two in Reception Class. Parents can help their children at home by singing lots of nursery rhymes and sharing stories together every single day. Please click here to access the nursery rhymes we enjoy sharing in Nursery.
In Reception Class the children move on to Phase Two, Three, Four and begin Phase Five Phonics from the Letters and Sounds document. We teach the children the sounds of the letters of the alphabet using the scheme ‘Jolly Phonics’. Each sound is taught using a picture, an action, a basic story and a song to help the child to remember it. Some sounds are written with just one letter, but others are written with two letters, such as ee and or. When we teach the children the sounds, we say the sounds as they are in words. The sounds are not introduced in alphabetical order. The first sounds introduced are s, a, t, p, i and n. This is because they make more three letter words than any other set of six letters, and once the children know these they can start learning to blend the sounds together in order to read words.
Please click on the attachment to find a list of the sounds in the order that they will be taught and the corresponding actions- Jolly_Phonics_actions
You can also read the Bowerham guide to phonics here – Phonics booklet
You can find a helpful video for ks1 Phonics here
An active, fun approach is taken to teaching within each phase. During these phases the children are not only introduced to the sounds but they also learn how to blend and segment letter sounds as they make the first steps of reading and writing. Children are first introduced to books without words. These are shared both in class as well as at home with parents. Books without words allow the children to develop their speaking skills as well as their imagination. Once children begin to blend and segment words and are working confidently within phase two phonics, phase two appropriate books are sent home. These books are carefully selected to ensure that children are able to practise identifying and blending the sounds they have already learnt. Children will not be sent home with books that include sounds they have not yet learnt in school. As each child progresses through the phonic phases and become more confident with a wider variety of sounds, they will receive books of suitable challenge, again including only familiar sounds. Workshops are provided for parents in order to support them in developing early reading skills that will assist them with their child at home.
In Year One the children move on to phase 5 phonics. Phonics children are grouped according to their Phonic ability and taught daily. They ensure that Spelling homework linked to their phonics and for these children who are not achieving year group expectations year one will ensure there are booster groups and phonics support pack are sent home. Parents have access to phonics videos on the website as well as opportunities o for parental phonics training throughout the year in preparation for the Phonics Screening Check. Year 2 build on Phase 6 phonics and for children who did not pass the phonic screening check extra provision is provided.
Reading at Home and in School
To be ready to start reading, children need to have a variety of skills in place. These early reading skills include matching, rhyming, awareness of phonics and the skills associated with language development such as listening, attention, alliteration and sound discrimination. At Bowerham Primary and Nursery School we feel it is just as important that we help to develop these skills in school as it is for you to help develop them at home. In Nursery we have a lending library that not only allows children to borrow books but also to borrow resource packs suitable to your child’s needs and stage of development. Our lending library resource packs aim to support the development of these early skills for our youngest children. A focus is placed on developing listening and attention skills as well as early speaking skills through a selection of fun and inviting activities.
Children in Reception Class visit the library each week in order to choose a library book to take home and share with their families. These books range in difficulty and are sent home in order to be shared with family and not necessarily for the children to access independently.
As mentioned above, children in Reception Class will be sent home with books that are suitable for their reading level. These will be changed as often as the child and parent requests. We recommend that parents and children read daily in order to continue to practise the relevant reading skills in order for our children to become confident and fluid readers.
In Key Stage One we continue to develop a love of reading and build upon our strong reading foundation developed in EYFS. Children have access to daily story time, they visit the library on a weekly basis, and are taught at the instructional level through guided reading at least once a week. Reading books are changed as and when a child has finished their book, staff regularly check a child’s understanding through questioning as well as listening to them read regularly. Each class has a beautiful reading area with home reading books available at their level. The KS 1 corridor also two settees where children and adults have lots of opportunities to share books.
Throughout school each year group has an author of the term or half term, each class has a class novel that is shared throughout the week. As well as this each term we have a ‘We are reading’ assembly where parents are invited to come and share a book and a biscuit with their child/ren. Children also have an opportunity to access a wide variety of books at playtime in our outdoor reading area.
Our Reading Areas
Children enjoy cuddling up, looking at books and listening to stories. We ensure that we create an inviting book area that provides children with opportunities to experience different kinds of print.
It is important that children experience an environment that is rich with texts so therefore we have:
- a range of reading materials throughout our setting, including outside
- magazines in our role play area and cookery books in our home corner
- home-made instruction books in our construction area
- home-made books celebrating our experiences in our reading area
- meaningful labels with words and pictures displayed throughout your setting
- props from familiar stories in your role play area so children can act out their favourite stories
- a range of visual cues and props that can support children to understand words.
Rhymes and rhyme times
Did you know that if children know eight nursery rhymes by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight? Rhyming helps children to break words down and to hear the sounds that make up words in preparation for reading and writing. At Bowerham we really do love singing songs and have a rhyme time with children every day.
We also try to make up our own songs and rhymes. We use rhymes with actions and props to support multi-sensory learning. And draw children’s attention to alliteration and rhyming words.
Support for parents at home
Author of the Half Term
Each year group learns about and reads texts by a different author each half term.
In KS2 we send out words each week as part of your child’s homework ready for their weekly spelling test on Friday, and every half term we will have a ‘Big Spell’ test.
At Bowerham we teach correct letter formation alongside the sounds.
Before putting pen to paper, look at the letter with your child and encourage them to trace it on the page with their finger. Have a go at finger-writing it in the air, on the table, the page, and even on each-other’s back! In the sand on the beach when on holiday is a great time to practise! Let your child see you ‘modelling’ the letter formation in this way. When they feel confident that they know the formation, try using a pencil to get the letter down on the page.
Encourage your child to hold their pencil correctly (putting it down in front of them with the point facing towards them encourages them to pick it up with the correct grip).
Try to let your child see you writing whenever possible, whether it be a shopping list, birthday card, or even a note on the calendar – they love to copy grown ups, and again you are modelling the skill for them.
Finally, allow your child time to experiment with different pens, pencils, paintbrushes and crayons independently, so that they have time to try ideas and skills out for themselves. Give them lots of praise when they attempt to write for themselves – they will be encouraged to try it more often if they know their efforts are appreciated!
Note: When your child is writing their name please encourage your child to only use a capital letter for the beginning of their name and use lower case letters for the remaining part of their name.
By the time pupils leave Bowerham Primary and Nursery school, we intend that they:
- Will have secure knowledge and understanding of the following strands of Maths:
- ratio and proportion,
- shape space and measure.
- Will have fluency in mathematics ready for the next stages in their learning.
- Will be able to apply their learning in a range of ways by the time they leave Bowerham Primary and Nursery School at the end of Key Stage Two.
In KS1, we teach and practice Maths skills before applying them in many ways using a same but different approach. There is an emphasis on the understanding of Maths through the use of concrete representations.
In KS2 we plan a choice and challenge Maths curriculum based on the White Rose materials from the Maths Hub. This is where children are assessed prior to the topic and a series of challenges are planned to meet the learning needs of the class. Previous strategies or knowledge is revisited and new strategies are modelled clearly by the teacher. Pupils are then guided in their practise and given a series of challenges where they can begin their journey of these at an appropriate stage, independently. Throughout these challenges the children reflect on their progress and move on when they are ready. The challenges are designed to ensure children gain a secure understanding of the key learning outcomes before using these to solve increasingly difficult reasoning tasks. We use BIG MATHS weekly to give children opportunities to apply their learning in a timed situation to develop their fluency of number, shape, amounts, fractions and explaining data.