Literacy is a fundamental life skill. It develops a child’s ability to communicate effectively – to listen, speak, read and write for a range of purposes. Literacy has a significant impact on people’s life chances. With literacy skills, an individual gains control over their life. Without literacy, life experience is dramatically narrowed and opportunities are lost. This affects not only the individual’s personal success and happiness but also affects their family, the community they live in, and society as a whole.
Staff at Sutton Primary Academy work to ensure that all children develop the ability to communicate effectively and that barriers to learning are swiftly identified and steps taken to remove them. Literacy is an integral element of our whole school curriculum. Teachers use creative and purposeful ways to engage pupils in their learning, raising standards and narrowing gaps in attainment.
Teaching at Sutton Primary Academy is ‘learning centred.’ This means that the progress of children is at the heart of all that we do. Our literacy teaching is based on speaking and listening, the foundation of successful writing. We follow the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach.
Pupils have opportunities to share with and hear the ideas of others in each literacy lesson. Children are taught to plan, edit and reflect on their writing and they are given weekly opportunities to carry out a long piece of purposeful writing for an audience.
Children are encouraged to develop a love of literature through exposure to a wide range of texts.
At Sutton Primary Academy we believe that children learn best when:
Our literacy learning starts in Early Years when children learn phonics using Floppy’s Phonics and the THRASS programme. The children learn how to say and how to spell all the letters of the alphabet, moving onto key sounds. In Year 1, every child in England takes the Phonics Screening test in June.
Presentation of work is important at Lord Scudamore and children are encouraged to take a pride in their work. Handwriting is taught through the Penpals system and children practice letter formation at least once a week.
Grammar and spelling
Once the children move beyond Early Years, they have sets of spellings to learn and they have regular spelling tests. In Years 1 and 2 the spellings are closely linked to the phonics they are learning.
The children learn grammar in literacy lessons but also in daily, discrete ‘basic skills’ sessions. These sessions enable pupils to revise, consolidate and apply grammar knowledge. From September 2015 pupils in Year 2 will take a SPAG (spelling and grammar) test. Year 6 pupils also take a SPAG test.
Children’s books are checked daily in KS1 and weekly in KS2 and changed as necessary. The home/school link is essential and children make better progress when they read regularly at home. Reading is taught across the curriculum and is also taught in regular ‘Guided Reading’ sessions. In these sessions, children read a book or a section of the book and discuss it, answering comprehension questions or looking at key grammar, vocabulary or other elements. This is also an opportunity for children to practice reading with expression – using good tone and intonation to make their reading interesting.
Underpinning our teaching of writing at Lord Scudamore is the fantastic ‘Talk for Writing’ approach, pioneered by educational consultant, Pie Corbett. This process enables children to take part in drama, speaking and listening, and exciting activities as a precursor to writing. High quality writing is modelled to children and they plan and edit their writing until they have produced work they can be proud of. The ‘Talk for Writing’ approach ensures that we support children and show them how to write; we have high expectations of children and challenge them to do their best; and that children take ownership of their writing and make good progress.