We aim to encourage our pupils to be confident, articulate people using speech, writing and reading to the best of their ability so that they are able to communicate with others at different levels. Pupils take part in daily Literacy lessons based on the National Curriculum and wherever possible, a cross-curricular approach is taken to make links with topic, Science and RE. This enables children to master and apply the skills that they have learnt in a variety of contexts. We also deliver learning sessions focusing on Literacy skills which encompass: reading, grammar, Phonics/spelling and handwriting.

 

Speaking and Listening

As part of their learning, children have opportunities for talking and listening to teachers, other adults and their peers in a variety of environments and situations. Children are encouraged to verbalise their ideas and work collaboratively in groups, during discussions, drama, hot seating and presenting work, so speaking and listening becomes integral to every part of learning.

 

Reading

At St. Thomas More, we continue with the good example you have shown your children in their early years and enjoy sharing the love of books and reading with children. In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 we also focus on phonics which supports early reading and writing. Each child has a reading record book which parents are encouraged to fill in regularly when they have heard their child read at home (as children progress through the school the challenge in the reading record book increases and it becomes the pupil’s responsibility). Children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 use a range of different published schemes to support the learning of reading including: Read, Write, Inc; Dandelion books, Oxford Reading Tree and Project X. In Key Stage 1 and 2 children take part in regular group reading sessions (guided reading) where they all read the same text and develop different reading comprehension skills. We believe that Good Readers make Good Writers and have developed Whole class Shared Reading sessions which happen regularly as part of Literacy lessons. This not only promotes an enthusiasm among the children for reading for pleasure but wherever possible provides cross-curricular links to the class topic. These lessons support the development of higher level thinking and comprehension skills as well as helping to embed the understanding of grammar and punctuation. Also, wherever possible, links between reading and writing are encouraged, to provide children with a stimulus and inspiration for their own creative writing.

 

Writing

Pupils will be encouraged to write in a manner which is appropriate bearing in mind the audience and the importance of presenting their thoughts and ideas in a clear, concise manner. The writer will acquire a distinct style of writing which will show due regard for spelling, syntax, punctuation and handwriting. Where a storytelling approach is used, children learn stories and non-fiction texts. Through a range of activities including drama they embed the text and become able to tell it independently. This allows them to gain experience and understanding of a range of language features, sentence, structures and higher level vocabulary. From here the children use the known story and innovate it; make some changes to the original to create their own story. Through this process they are actively composing, talking and writing at a high level. The final stage is to take the language features, plot structures, etc. that they have been taught and use them to compose their own story from scratch.

 

Cursive Writing

 

Please click the links below for advice on cursive writing.

 

Phonics

Synthetic Phonics and Spelling are taught in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 through Letters and Sounds and the follow on programme Support for Spelling. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children with a national expectation of starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. We begin teaching synthetic phonics at the age of 3 on admission to the Nursery.

Phonics Information

 

Phonics Phases

There are six overlapping phases which are summarized below:

Phase
Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One(Nursery/Reception)
Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two(Reception) up to 6 weeks
Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three(Reception) up to 12 weeks
The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks
No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five(Throughout Year 1)
Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)
Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.