At Rowanfield Infant School we have developed a knowledge-rich Curriculum which is engaging and exciting, and which draws on our local context.
Our core curriculum focuses on doing the basics well, helping children develop their knowledge of Reading, Writing and Maths through first practising an area of learning, then applying that knowledge and exploring links within and around it, before using this developing knowledge to create something new with it.
We call it PAC and you'll see it throughout the children's books and on teacher’s planning.
Practise > Apply > Create
This approach to teaching and learning deepens a child's understanding and is heavily influenced by taxonomies of learning, specifically the Blooms Taxonomy and the SOLO Taxonomy.
Find out more about each below:
We believe that mathematics is an important foundation stone to learning that embraces every part of life. At Rowanfield we aim to teach for a deep and secure understanding in line with the aims of the National Curriculum. Learning is sequenced to allow all children to develop mathematical fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills. Key concepts of number and place value, calculation, fractions, geometry, statistics and space are broken into small steps to ensure all children are able to access the learning. Children are challenged appropriately through rich, deep tasks which encourage them to think deeply, reason mathematically and apply their understanding in a range of contexts.
For more detailed information about how we do Maths, clich here.
Throughout our curriculum, we ensure children are given a wide range of opportunities to develop and practise their Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening skills. All of these skills are taught through the class Big Idea. This thematic approach allows children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, communicating effectively with others.
In English lessons, children are taught to write a wide range of non-fiction texts, as well as narratives, poetry and drama, during their school journey. Throughout the school we use a strategy called 'Talk for Writing' to immerse children in the model texts. It is a process which follows the notion that if you can't say a sentence, you won't be able to write it. Each text type is introduced and explored, looking at its key features and structures as well as its associated vocabulary. The children then learn the text through recital, pictorial prompts, actions, drama or dictation. They are then supported in the creation of their own innovations of the text. Talk 4 Writing is a nationally recognised method for teaching children to write, developed by former Children's Laureate Pie Corbett and you can find out more about it here.
Further support is given to children in the use of punctuation and sentence through use of VGPS (vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and spelling sessions). This programme allows children to practise and apply their learning across a range of contexts outside their current text type. It also allows children to explore further areas of the English curriculum such as Spellings, Choral Speaking and Handwriting.
An overview of our Writing Text-Type Coverage can be found here
An example of a Talk 4 Writing Learning Journey can be found here
Y2 National Curriculum Spellings can be found here
Phonics is way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Using a phonetic approach, children are taught how to:
- · recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes
- · identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as 'ch' or 'oi'
- · blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word
At Rowanfield Infant School we use the Letters and Sounds programme to enable us to teach phonics using a synthetic approach.
Phonics is taught daily and throughout these sessions’ children use actions to support them when learning the sounds. Our lessons are lively, engaging and fast paced which we have found to be highly effective in preparing the children. The children are assessed regularly by the teachers, which enables quality first teaching. Alongside the daily phonics teaching, we have a wide range of colour banded reading books for children to take home and read with their parents or 1:1 with a teacher or teaching assistant.
Children learn in Reception how to read with a partner, how to blend their sounds, how to read 'tricky' words and how to 'segment' sounds to write a word. Eventually, through daily modelling, they learn what a sentence is and how to write one.
Throughout their time in Year 1, children build on their knowledge to master Phase 5 of Phonics - the fundamental step for many children to become more confident readers. In June, children sit the national Phonics Screening Check.
Staff receive regular training in the teaching of phonics which enables them to deliver interesting, interactive sessions that engage and motivate the children.
Reading at Rowanfield Infant School
The Big 5 of Reading Reading runs throughout a child’s entire school life. Here at Rowanfield Infant School our Reading Curriculum is centred around The Big Five. The Big 5 are evidence-based components of reading which all need to be taught, practised and embedded for children to be successful, confident readers.
Phonics is the understanding that there is a predictable relationship between phonemes (individual sounds of spoken language) and graphemes (letters of written language).
This refers to the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds, or phonemes, in spoken words. Phonemic awareness is important because it improves children’s word reading and reading comprehension. It also helps them learn to spell.
Vocabulary refers to the words we must know to communicate effectively. Oral vocabulary describes words we use in speaking or recognise in listening, while reading vocabulary refers to words we recognise or use in print.
Fluency refers to the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. Fluent readers are able to focus their attention on comprehension (i.e., making connections between the ideas in a text and their background knowledge), while less fluent readers are focused on decoding individual words and have little attention left for comprehending the text.
Phonics and Phonemic Awareness
We use the Letters and Sounds programme to enable us to teach phonics using a synthetic approach. Phonics is taught daily and throughout these sessions’ children use actions to support them when learning the sounds. Our lessons are lively, engaging and fast paced which we have found to be highly effective in preparing the children. The children are assessed regularly by the teachers, which enables quality first teaching. Alongside the daily phonics teaching, we have a wide range of colour banded reading books for children to take home and read with their parents or 1:1 with a teacher or teaching assistant.
1:1 Reading is important for all children. It is a time where phonics and fluency can be developed, comprehension assessed and individual problems tackled. Our Teachers hear all children read within the reading for pleasure cycle. Any extra support can be provided by TAs, volunteers and parents at an appropriate time.
During our 2-week guided reading cycle, week 1 uses the Reciprocal Reading approach. Reciprocal Reading is a structured approach to teaching strategies (questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting) that our students use to improve their reading comprehension. Initially, students develop their use of these strategies by observing a teacher ‘thinking aloud’. This is followed by opportunities for students to work as a class so that they can continue to observe others using the strategies and experiment with the strategies whilst receiving feedback. Ultimately, the aim is for students to use the strategies with increasing independence. This strategy is not only used for guided reading cycle but also as part class reader sessions.
Guided Reading and Reading for Pleasure Cycles
At Rowanfield Infant school we have a guided reading cycle which the children work through throughout the week. Within this cycle there will be a taught session with the teacher (using the Reciprocal Read approach) and a chance for the children to tackle comprehension questions independently. In a Reading for Pleasure cycle, there is time assigned for the teacher to hear each child read and give them feedback on their fluency, time for children to read silently, cross curricular reading for a purpose, book related tasks which promote the love of reading and children to visit the school library. Our cycle runs over 2 weeks, ensuring all children have access to all activities over the time period.
Here at Rowanfield Infant School, we are fortunate enough to have a whole school library. Children love visiting our library and all classes have the opportunity to visit during the reading for pleasure week of our guided reading cycle. To support our school’s culture of reading, all of our classrooms have a reading area where a selection of quality stories are available for the children to select and read in a comfortable and quiet place to help develop their love for reading.
Reading at Home
As a school we send home 3 phonic decodable books per week. This is to encourage children to re-read their books to develop their fluency. We expect children to read at least 5 times a week for 10 minutes a day and their reading record to be completed to we ensure children are praised for reading at home.
Below are 10 top tips for parents to support children to read from the Department of Education, 2020
1. Encourage your child to read Reading helps your child’s wellbeing, develops imagination and has educational benefits too. Just a few minutes a day can have a big impact on children of all ages.
2. Read aloud regularly Try to read to your child every day. It’s a special time to snuggle up and enjoy a story. Stories matter and children love re-reading them and poring over the pictures. Try adding funny voices to bring characters to life.
3. Encourage reading choice Give children lots of opportunities to read different things in their own time - it doesn’t just have to be books. There’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, magazines, recipes and much more. Try leaving interesting reading material in different places around the home and see who picks it up.
4. Read together Choose a favourite time to read together as a family and enjoy it. This might be everyone reading the same book together, reading different things at the same time, or getting your children to read to each other. This time spent reading together can be relaxing for all.
5. Create a comfortable environment Make a calm, comfortable place for your family to relax and read independently - or together.
6. Make use of your local library Libraries in England are able to open from 4 July, so visit them when you’re able to and explore all sorts of reading ideas. Local libraries also offer brilliant online materials, including audiobooks and ebooks to borrow. See Libraries Connected for more digital library services and resources.
7. Talk about books This is a great way to make connections, develop understanding and make reading even more enjoyable. Start by discussing the front cover and talking about what it reveals and suggests the book could be about. Then talk about what you’ve been reading and share ideas. You could discuss something that happened that surprised you, or something new that you found out. You could talk about how the book makes you feel and whether it reminds you of anything.
8. Bring reading to life You could try cooking a recipe you’ve read together. Would you recommend it to a friend? Alternatively, play a game where you pretend to be the characters in a book, or discuss an interesting article you’ve read.
9. Make reading active Play games that involve making connections between pictures, objects and words, such as reading about an object and finding similar things in your home. You could organise treasure hunts related to what you’re reading. Try creating your child’s very own book by using photos from your day and adding captions.
10. Engage your child in reading in a way that suits them You know your child best and you’ll know the best times for your child to read. If they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) then short, creative activities may be the way to get them most interested. If English is an additional language, encourage reading in a child’s first language, as well as in English. What matters most is that they enjoy it.