English Reading, Writing & Phonics
Daily English lessons develop the skills of written and verbal communication. We aim to equip the children with the ability and confidence to express themselves with clarity. Through speaking and listening activities, we help children to sustain and develop their ideas and adopt active listening strategies. Drama is used as a medium to learn across the curriculum, providing opportunities to improvise, work in role and perform. Children are encouraged to work collaboratively and join in group discussions; they are also taught the skills of critical analysis. Children are equipped with the important skills necessary to read for both enjoyment and understanding. We aim to foster a love of reading and our classrooms contain a broad range of both fiction and non-fiction books. There is a progressive reading scheme that is used to support the teaching of specific reading strategies such as using phonics, visual and contextual clues. Much time is spent during a typical week with reading opportunities, including individual, group and class reading. All children have a reading book that they will bring home on a daily basis for you to share and enjoy with them. We follow letters and sounds programme to teach phonics and hold parents sessions to support parents .
Writing is taught to enable children to coherently communicate their thoughts, ideas and experiences. Grammar, punctuation and spelling skills are taught in a structured way enabling children to write effectively for a range of audiences. Much emphasis is placed on children being creative in their use of language, and they will learn how to write in a variety of styles and for different contexts.
Phonics and Reading
Our Approach to Phonics
At The Forest Federation, we follow the Sounds Write scheme. Initially children's listening skills are developed through the use of music, environmental sounds and rhyme. In Foundation Stage, children are introduced to phonemes (sounds) linked to the letters of the alphabet, as well as one way of spelling each of the other 16 phonemes used in the English language, such as 'igh' and 'ch'. Children are taught to blend or sound out phonics to read a variety of words and segment or break down the sounds in simple words for spelling.
In Year 1, children learn more about the variety of ways in which each phoneme can be spelt and they also learn about the different pronunciations made by different letters or groups of letters, such as 'a' in 'ant' and 'was'. At the end of Year 1, children will be tested on their phonics knowledge, using a national test featuring 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words. From Year 2 onwards, children consolidate their phonics knowledge, learning when to apply different spelling rules as well as how to spell plurals and different verb tenses.
Our Approach to Reading Schemes
At The Forest Federation, children are encouraged to read at home every day. In Foundation Stage, children are matched to books that reflect the phonics they are learning but also may begin by taking home wordless books when they first start , to allow them to spend time talking to a parent about the book, without being constrained by the necessity to read words. Once children have a good understanding of how books work and have gained some phonics knowledge, they begin to read books containing simple words which can be blended or sounded out. The reading books are colour banded and, as children become more confident and able readers, they will take home books from different colour bands. The books in the first few colour bands are primarily phonics based, allowing children to apply their phonics knowledge. Once children become fluent readers, a range of books is provided to allow children to engage in more lengthy discussions about the content of the book.
Talk 4 Writing
Across all of the Forest Federation schools, English is taught following the Talk4Writing approach.
Talk4Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. The movement from imitation to innovation to independent application can be adapted to suit the needs of learners of any stage.
The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.
Schools underpin their English work by establishing a core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction that all children experience and draw upon. Imaginative units of work are developed to create a whole-school plan that is refined over the years, is well-resourced and documented to release teachers from planning and preparation so that they can focus on adapting their teaching for children’s learning. The approach moves through different phases as outlined below.
For more information about this innovative approach, click here to visit the Talk4Writing website.
What Talk4Writing looks like at The Forest Federation
Below you will find information in regards to our approach to writing taken from our parent information evening.
Thank you to those who attended the evening, we had some lovely feedback which you can read below.
“Understanding how the ‘system’ fits together with the day-to-day writing has been really helpful, thank you.”
”Really useful to understand the context of what the children come home and talk about, and more importantly, what we as parents can do to support them at home. Thank you. “
“Very impressive learning process. Well explained and presented. Looking forward to see results.”
”Very informative and helpful talk on how the children’s are taught. Really glad we can amend and are so pleased with the children’s being taught this way. Thank you”
You can also find some resources linked to suggested reading material for each year group.
Our approach to reading is multifaceted. It begins with the mechanics of reading combined with an understanding how to be a reader. Most importantly we aim to inspire a LOVE of reading.
This picture sums up the impact of reading nicely...
The diagram below outlines the different elements that are needed to be taught in order to create skilled readers.
To gain further insight into our reading approach within our schools, please take a look at the Reading presentation below. Suggested texts etc.. can also be found in the links below.