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Preston Primary School has welcomed the new (2014) National Curriculum and has used it as an opportunity to enrich pupil’s learning and set it, wherever possible, in real-life purposeful contexts. The teaching of English is an intrinsic part of this cross-curricular approach and as such, much of the children’s learning now relates to each particular class topic (see Curriculum overview). Texts have been chosen to complement the themes so that reading comprehension and writing skills are developed through them.

Whilst reading and writing skills are taught through the chosen topics and texts wherever possible, it is necessary to teach some aspects discretely.

In the Foundation Stage and key stage 1, phonics is taught systematically using an adapted Read Write Inc approach and a wide variety of well-chosen resources. This progresses into year 3 where phonic knowledge continues to underpin the teaching of spelling.

The majority of pupils learn to join their handwriting in year 2 though this is delayed, or revised in lower key stage 2, if necessary. Presentation skills, including those that are computer- generated are an important part of children’s learning across the school.

Children develop their ability to read in a variety of ways:

  • Shared reading sessions where children are read to and books are enjoyed and discussed
  • Guided reading sessions as a member of a small group
  • 1-1 reading with an adult where individual interests and needs are most easily addressed.
  • Taking books home to read regularly with family members.

Learning to decode text is important and the early stages of reading in particular, are closely linked to the teaching of phonics (letter sounds). At Preston School we use a wide variety of structured schemes that support the learning of phonics and enable children to read whole texts from a very early stage, helping them to quickly see themselves as readers.  The main scheme  we use is Oxford Reading Tree but this is also supplemented by other schemes such as GINN, Songbirds and Read Write Inc.

However, a great emphasis is also placed on understanding and comprehension and children will be exposed to a wide selection of other texts so that they become accustomed to different styles of writing and different types of books. As soon as possible, children will be reading a range of material from appropriate publishers and they will be encouraged to select books of different genres as well as comics, magazines, newspapers and and I.C.T. texts. The emphasis is very much on reading for pleasure as well as reading for learning and, through our approach, we hope to encourage a life-long love of books.