We promote the early acquisition of basic skills and believe that speaking and listening alongside developing good reading skills and habits underpin all aspects of learning. In Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Year 3 (if needed), children learn phonics to help them understand how to blend and segment words for reading and writing. We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ to support the teaching of phonics.
As well as learning phonics, children also have guided reading sessions and literacy lessons. In Early Years, KS1 and Y3 (if needed), guided reading uses levelled texts from a large range of resources including Oxford Reading Tree, Songbirds and Read Write Inc, to ensure children meet a wide range of different text types and genres. From Y3 onwards, as appropriate to pupil’s needs and abilities, pupils have whole class guided comprehension lessons to support both reading development and their ability to provide written answers to comprehension questions.
We also use VIPERS – Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence and Summarise; and ERNI – Everybody Reads, No Interruptions; to help develop good reading habits. All children are encouraged to read widely, expand their vocabulary and develop a love of reading by reading as often and as widely as possible.
We aim to ensure that children learn to read successfully and we encourage a love of books that we hope will continue into adult life. We ask all parents to support home reading and regularly borrow reading books from school to read with your child.
At Hillside we also have a beautiful, large library and pupils’ lending library. Both are well stocked with both fiction and non-fiction books, which we encourage the children to use. Pupils are taught how to find information, and replace books in their correct place. We are grateful for your support in promoting reading at home by sharing books and listening to your child read. We also have a “Reading Friends” initiative, supporting individual children’s reading with the help of local people who have undergone training. Reading is so important we have also converted a shed in KS1 playground into a cosy reading area for children to access during lunch and break times. Books are also available in the Hub for adults and children to borrow.
We use a variety of resources to develop writing skills, and children are helped to become independent writers at an early stage. We encourage correct letter formation leading to joined writing at an early age as we believe that this helps to improve presentation, writing speed and spelling whole words.
Children are sent home weekly spellings to learn. We encourage our children to enjoy books, and hope that this is the starting point for enjoying books for rest of their lives.