At Franche we are passionate about empowering children to become lifelong readers and therefore, the learning and teaching of reading is embedded in every area of the curriculum. Our creative curriculum allows the children to have opportunities to apply and continue to develop English skills in a fun, engaging and meaningful manner. Reading skills, such as decoding, word recognition and phonological awareness, are explored explicitly during daily phonics lessons in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, and continue to be built upon during Key Stage Two. Children are encouraged to practise a range of reading strategies to develop phonological awareness, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, grammar, attitude and motivation. Guided reading sessions focus upon explaining vocabulary, retrieving key information and interpreting the meaning of texts. Children explore a wide range of genres, both fiction and non-fiction, exposing them to a broad and balanced range of text. They are given opportunities to discuss the purpose of texts that they explore as well as consider both the texts’ themes and audience.
We encourage all children to share a book at home with their grown-ups. We believe that this not only helps to develop inferential skills but also supports a lifelong love of reading. Throughout the Key Stages, children become more independent in recording what they have read in their home reading diary/homework diaries. It is essential that pupils choose their own book to promote reading for pleasure. Pupils will work through book band colours and then become Free Readers. Each class has a ‘Home library’ where they can borrow high interest books in addition to their home reader. KS2 pupils also have weekly access to our fabulous school library which they can visit at break times, lunchtimes and with their class teachers during the week.
Our Reading Every Day (R.E.D.) incentive encourages pupils to read at home for pleasure. Parents need to sign the home learning diary 5 times a week in order for their child to be entered into the weekly prize draw. At the end of each half term, children who are selected in the weekly prize draw attend a special R.E.D. event.
We also recognise the value of adults (both in school and at home) reading aloud to children in order to improve their grasp of story language, enthuse them with a love of books and inspire them as writers.
Each year band has a designated day for parents to visit the classroom to listen to or share books with their child.
All writing at Franche is for a purpose and is at the core of each of our cross-curricular topics. We find this not only motivates pupils but also gives them a recognisable audience which leads to higher standards of work. This purpose might be letter writing requesting ingredients and materials to make items to sell to raise money for the local foodbank, information leaflets to encourage people to save water or creating a poem or storybook to entertain or inform a specific group of children or adults within the community.
Our writing model is taught through a specific writing journey, beginning with sharing a ‘WAGOLL’ (What A Good One Looks Like) text with the children. This text could be an extract from a book or one written by the teacher. We look at what makes the text effective, pull out key features and examine the language. This is then followed by giving the children an opportunity to plan their writing. To begin with, children are provided with planning templates to choose from. Explicit teaching of skills is then incorporated into the next few lessons in which the children will produce the specific genre. A slow writing technique is employed to help give children a structure but also to produce high quality work on a daily basis. Within this sequence, the teacher models writing similar texts. By the end of the teaching sequence the children will have written their version of the text which shows evidence that they have applied all of their newly acquired skills. This culminates with what we like to call a Franche Write, whereby the children are given the task of independently writing another version of the text but with a different stimulus. Editing and re-drafting time is later given so that their piece of writing is ready to be shared with the audience.
At Franche, we use PenPals for Handwriting. This is a complete handwriting scheme for 3–11 year olds that offers clear progression through five developmental stages: physical preparation for handwriting; securing correct letter formation; beginning to join along, securing the joins and practicing speed, fluency and developing a personal style. Because PenPals is focused on whole-class teaching, the teaching of explicit handwriting is timetabled weekly. The handwriting joins are displayed in each classroom and modelled throughout all teaching. PenPals is supported using digital resources to enable modelling and interactive learning, along with Practice Books and Workbooks to support independent work.
At Franche, we follow Letters and Sounds. Our aim is to deliver daily, high-quality phonics sessions to enable our children to blend and segment words with confidence, as well as ensuring phonics is part of a broad and rich language curriculum. In Early Years and Key Stage One, phonics is taught every morning and is embedded throughout our creative curriculum. During each session, we revisit and review previous sounds through fun and creative investigative activities. We then teach, practise and apply new skills to ensure the children are confident, independent learners. The children benefit from actions and rhymes to help them remember new sounds.
We involve our parents throughout the year through a variety of activities, including parent workshops, family learning, stay and share sessions and fun phonics mornings.