"Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible"
- Barack Obama
At Perry Hall, we hold the firm conviction that reading stands as the most paramount life skill we can impart to our pupils. We firmly believe that by mastering the art of reading, fostering an appreciation for it, and nurturing a love for books, we empower our pupils to excel across all facets of the curriculum, thereby exponentially enhancing their potential for success in life.
The teaching of reading is a cornerstone of a child's comprehension and appreciation of the world that surrounds them. It serves as a gateway, enabling our pupils to explore beyond their immediate experiences, engage with diverse cultures, and develop the vocabulary necessary for effective self-expression. Our reading curriculum is meticulously designed to instill a lifelong passion for reading, cultivating the habits that will mould our pupils into discerning and avid readers who immerse themselves in books on a regular and extensive basis.
Initially, our focus centres on equipping pupils with strong phonics skills and the ability to apply them in decoding words, thus achieving fluency in reading. We employ the comprehensive systematic synthetic phonics program, "Little Wandle," to achieve this goal. Vocabulary development is a central tenet not only within English but across the entire curriculum. We understand that a rich vocabulary greatly enhances a reader's ability to comprehend texts. Our pupils naturally expand their vocabulary through reading and listening to others, while also benefiting from direct vocabulary instruction.
As our pupils progress, they are guided in developing the skills necessary to comprehend what they read, interpret texts, and extract information. This includes cultivating an awareness of authorial intent, recognising genre purposes, and understanding the literary devices used to create impact. Comprehension, a multifaceted cognitive process, is explicitly taught through the use of "VIPERS," a framework created by Rob Smith of "The Literacy Shed."
Prosody, involving intonation, fluency, and expression, is another integral component of our reading curriculum, explicitly taught through "Echo Reading." Prosody not only provides readers with insight into how reading for meaning should sound but also demonstrates how books can come to life through readers and how words on the page can evoke vivid imagery.
Beyond these essential skills in reading fluency, prosody, and comprehension, our primary aim is to ignite in our pupils a genuine desire and passion for reading. At the heart of our curriculum lies "Reading for Pleasure," a key driver of educational outcomes for all our pupils. We are deeply committed to promoting a love for reading and strive to offer pupils opportunities to read not only in English lessons but also throughout the broader curriculum. We understand that while academic achievement is vital, the benefits of reading for pleasure extend far beyond, influencing every facet of an individual's lifelong journey.
Research demonstrates that reading for pleasure yields numerous advantages, including fostering understanding, aiding learning, providing comfort and solace, building confidence, enabling self-expression, enhancing self-understanding, nurturing empathy, improving interpersonal relationships, and promoting overall well-being. It is imperative that pupils are motivated to read regularly at home, as increased reading opportunities lead to improved fluency and stamina, ultimately heightening their enjoyment of reading. The relationship between a pupil's motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Moreover, we recognise that reading for pleasure not only benefits reading outcomes but also enhances broader enjoyment of learning and mental well-being.
Our ultimate aspiration is that all Perry Hall pupils will:
- Develop a lifelong love for reading and books.
- Read with accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.
- Apply their knowledge of structured synthetic phonics to decode unfamiliar words swiftly and accurately.
- Read with expression, clarity, and confidence.
- Cultivate a strong linguistic understanding of vocabulary and grammar.
- Engage with and respond to a diverse array of text types.
- Develop a heightened sense of emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Read fluently and confidently in any subject during their upcoming secondary education.
Phonics instruction at our school is grounded in the systematic synthetic program known as "Little Wandle Letters & Sounds".This comprehensive program takes a multi-sensory approach, incorporating letter frames, flashcards, phonic games, and listening activities to engage our pupils effectively.
Within the framework of "Little Wandle", each phonics session adheres to a consistent structure. It encompasses the key stages of introduction, revision, and review, followed by the teaching phase, ample opportunities for practice, and real-world application. This structured approach ensures that pupils not only acquire new phonetic sounds but also seamlessly integrate these sounds into their reading of unfamiliar words. Throughout these sessions, pupils actively engage in decoding, segmenting, and blending exercises, all while becoming proficient in using subject-specific technical vocabulary such as "phoneme" and "digraph." Our lessons are thoughtfully tailored to meet the specific needs of our pupils, informed by ongoing phonics assessments, which in turn guide our planning and streaming within year groups.
During the daily direct teaching sessions, our educators serve as exemplary models, enunciating sounds clearly and attentively assessing pupils' comprehension. They identify those pupils who have grasped the concept securely and are ready to progress while also providing necessary support to those who may need further reinforcement. Addressing misconceptions is an integral part of our instructional approach, ensuring that all pupils progress at their optimal pace. Moreover, we actively involve our pupils as participants in every lesson, fostering engagement and active learning.
Our commitment to phonics education is evident in the consistent availability of phonics resources throughout our school. This consistency enables pupils to apply their phonic knowledge across various subjects within the curriculum. Phonics and word mats serve as invaluable aids in spelling and writing across all disciplines. Additionally, our Phonics displays are strategically placed within classrooms, offering pupils easy access to their acquired knowledge and skills, empowering them to decode unfamiliar words confidently.
To reinforce and consolidate their phonics proficiency, we provide reading scheme books that offer decodable reading materials. These materials align closely with the pupils' evolving phonic knowledge and skills, ensuring that they have ample opportunities to practice their reading at a level that matches their phonetic attainment. They are meticulously organised according to phonics phases and color-coded reading bands, ensuring that our pupils read with fluency, aiming for a proficiency level of 90%.
At Perry Hall Primary School, we hold the firm belief that writing is an essential life skill, with applications both inside and outside of the realm of education. This conviction drives our commitment to infuse the art of writing throughout every subject we teach. Our primary objective is to equip children with the fundamental, transferable writing skills that will serve as a solid foundation year after year, ensuring their preparedness for the challenges of secondary school and beyond.
Our approach to teaching writing is infused with excitement, where we employ a variety of engaging methods to captivate the imaginations of our young learners. We firmly advocate that all children should possess the confidence to articulate their knowledge, ideas, and emotions through the written word. Our progressive writing curriculum is meticulously designed to instill the ability to plan, draft, and refine written work over time, fostering independence by encouraging pupils to identify areas for improvement on their own.
Our goal extends to enabling children to confidently spell new words, achieved through the effective application of spelling patterns and rules they acquire during their primary school journey. Clarity, accuracy, coherence, and creativity are paramount in their writing, with adaptability in language and style to suit various contexts, purposes, and audiences.
The explicit teaching of handwriting, spelling, and grammar forms an integral part of our approach to ensure that children grasp the conventions of effective writing. We firmly believe that every child should take pride in the presentation of their work, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility.
In our writing curriculum, we prioritise oracy to enrich vocabulary and enhance comprehension of more complex texts featured across our curriculum. Through engaging in discussions, asking questions, and diving into diverse texts, our pupils sharpen their understanding and acquire the tools essential for success in their writing endeavours.
By the culmination of Key Stage 2, our students will have honed their skills to craft impactful writing. They will find joy in sustained writing and possess the ability to deftly manipulate language, grammar, and punctuation to achieve desired effects. Our overarching aspiration is to enable each and every learner to reach their full potential in writing. We remain resolute in our commitment to furnishing them with a curriculum rich in textual diversity, propelling them towards this lofty achievement.
Oracy, the development of effective spoken communication skills, holds paramount importance at Perry Hall. It serves as the cornerstone for various facets of a child's growth and development. Oracy skills are the gateway to literacy; by honing children’s ability to express themselves verbally, pupils lay a robust foundation for reading and writing, facilitating their academic journey. It nurtures social interaction, enabling pupils to articulate their thoughts, collaborate with peers, and resolve conflicts, fostering empathy and an appreciation of diverse viewpoints and cultures. Furthermore, oracy promotes critical thinking. Through discussions and debates, pupils learn to analyse information, express their ideas, and evaluate different perspectives, vital for problem-solving and decision-making. Oracy also instils confidence: by speaking in front of peers and actively participating in class discussions, pupils gain self-assurance and leadership skills, which prove invaluable in their personal and academic lives. Additionally, effective oral communication prepares pupils for future careers, as almost every profession demands the ability to communicate ideas clearly and collaborate with colleagues. It nurtures public speaking skills, essential for presentations, interviews, and leadership roles. Our dedicated focus on oracy at Perry Hall equips children with the skills they require for success in academics, social interactions, and future endeavours, ensuring they evolve into informed and engaged global citizens.
At Perry Hall we promote oracy by:
- Planned progressive opportunities to develop debating skills embedded throughout the curriculum.
- Oracy stems are used throughout to support curriculum discussion.
- Weekly performance poetry classes for Key Stage 2, led by a specialist drama teacher.
- Philosophy for Children (P4C) sessions.
- Extracurricular debating club for children interested in furthering their skills in this area.
- Extracurricular activites in acting and performance (offered by Vibe Arts).
- Biannual opportunities for all children to perform in school productions.