At Welbourne, we know that language is power and we believe that children reach their potential when they learn in a creative and purposeful way. We aim to provide an ambitious curriculum designed to give all children writing skills, knowledge and literary capital to succeed in their future no matter their backgrounds or learning needs.
We achieve this through being part of the CLPE Power of Reading Project, which aims to help us to find the ‘reader in the writer.’
Using the Power of Reading Project, each class bases its English teaching over a number of weeks on one text, combining speaking and listening, drama, reading, and writing activities in a variety of genres. Teachers also use Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ for writing quality texts. These activities take place in the daily English lesson which lasts for approximately an hour.
Speaking and Listening
At Welbourne, we understand that the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. We ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language by encouraging our pupils to speak clearly and to articulate their views and opinions. We teach children to express themselves orally in an appropriate way, matching their style and response to audience and purpose, listening and responding to literature and giving and receiving instructions. They develop the skills of participating effectively in group discussions.
As part of our Pie Corbett Talk for Writing Units, children in all year groups learn a variety of text genres off by heart, in order to develop the language of a writer.
Reading and Phonics
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum at Welbourne. We empower children to be fluent and confident readers through a structured and creative English curriculum with high-quality texts at its heart.
From Reception, a rigorous programme of systematic synthetic phonics is taught through our Welbourne Phonics Programme. It is introduced in the Nursery and continues into Year 2. This provides children with the tools to decode words, before building fluency and the ability to comprehend and question independently. As outlined in The Reading Framework, our lessons include the consistent use of actions, mnemonics, prompts, key words and routines to teach the knowledge and skills needed for children to become competent readers. Alongside quality first teaching from our skilled teaching staff, we also have a specialist Phonics Champion and trained TAs who do additional sessions with children identified to need extra phonic support. We use the Precision Teaching approach for our identified early readers so that they get tailored support to close the achievement gap.
Guided reading is introduced in the later part of the Autumn term in Reception and is consolidated throughout Key Stage 1. During daily guided reading, the staff focus on teaching reading skills to different groups, whilst the rest of the class are engaged in reading activities linked to their targets.
Daily reading, where vocabulary and oracy development is a major focus, starts in Nursery at Welbourne. Our teachers use Power of Reading texts or an equivalent high-quality text that are chosen primarily for its literary features but often links to other areas of the curriculum which allow children to build a broad and rich schema. Once children become confident decoders, the focus is then to explicitly teach the key reading skills including: retrieval, summarising, inferring, predicting, comparing texts and clarifying words.
In Key Stage 2 all children are taught through the same high quality text with vocabulary support for all children that require it. The lessons involve shared reading as well as activities to support children to engage with the text, ranging from drama to written responses.
Alongside technical reading skills, we place great emphasis on reading for pleasure and endeavour to develop a lifelong love of reading in our children. Teachers read to their pupils every day and children are motivated to read widely both inside and outside of school. Our team is highly skilled in prompting child-led book talk when reading to encourage early language development and instil a passion for books.
Additionally, each class has an opportunity to visit the school library to immerse themselves in the pleasure of reading, borrow books that can be read in class or come together to share and enjoy a story. The school library is open at lunchtimes to encourage children and adults to read for pleasure.
Home Reading at Welbourne
At Welbourne, we have created reading pathways to develop children’s reading in lessons, at home and when reading for pleasure so that every child sees themselves as a reader. Each class has a reading area where children can select a book to read for pleasure that offers a wide and diverse selection of texts which include picture books, novels, short chapter books, graphic novels, poetry anthologies and non-fiction text.
- Nursery – children take home a sharing book to share with their adult.
- Reception – children take home a decodable book and a sharing book (this is not a decodable book but is designed to be shared by the parent and child).
- Year 1 – children take home a decodable book and a sharing book.
- Year 2 – children take home either a decodable book or a banded book and a sharing book.
- Key Stage 2 – children take home an Accelerated Reader colour band book and a free choice book that they may read with their adult or by themselves.
Fundamentally, our ambition for our children is that they develop as passionate readers, where reading is used not just to develop their subject-specific knowledge, but to widen their understanding of their own and other cultures and societies, build their emotional intelligence and grow their imagination both inside and outside of school.
Writing is taught within our English lessons as a tool to craft and communicate ideas. We model the writing process though shared and guided writing. In our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), we provide a variety of fun and engaging contexts for children to experiment independently with mark making. Our EYFS teachers facilitate this creativity through their targeted guided sessions.
In Year 1 to Year 6 the children have extended writing sessions, which is a chance for them to complete a piece of writing with a ‘real’ purpose. Within these sessions, children and teachers use drama, role-play and talk partners to develop their ideas and to use the key vocabulary taught before they tackle writing tasks. We also teach a discrete grammar, spelling and handwriting lesson on a weekly basis.
Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ is used from Nursery to Year 6 as a tool to structure writing and provide opportunities for children to orally rehearse language and vocabulary to build fluency for writing. The repertoire of vocabulary, language structures and patterns that are learnt, enable the children to then innovate and invent their own ideas before writing their own creative piece.
We build a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly, accurately and coherently whilst being able to change their language and style, for a range of contexts.
When children are ready in Year 2, teaching of spelling begins following the Spelling Shed scheme. This fun and engaging way of teaching spelling helps embed common spelling rules and build on the understanding of new words whilst children engage in games and quizzes to develop their skills.