Core Books, Phonics & Reading (a creative literacy curriculum)
We use a core collection of high-quality picture books to inspire our wider curriculum and provide children with motivating experiences that invite thinking and learning as well as promoting rich opportunities that particularly support children’s developing literacy skills. These picture books have been specifically chosen as they include features such as rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, simple story structures etc., which, when read over and over again enable children to develop a love of books, develop their phonological awareness and phonic knowledge, be able to retell these stories as well as begin to make up their own stories. Using core books in this way also supports children to develop their writing skills. Imaginative writing skills are further supported through ‘Helicopter Stories’ where children are encouraged to invent their own stories which an early years practitioner scribes. The Talk for Writing approach which the whole school adopts brings all these features together.
Alongside the core book approach, activities are planned to prepare children for being able to read, that focus on developing children’s phonological awareness. Children who have good phonological awareness skills can identify that when the early years practitioner says b-a-t that the word is ‘bat’. Once children are assessed as being confident in this skill, we use the Read Write Inc. programme to teach children to read through a systematic phonics approach where children learn that letter symbols represent a sound. When children are ready, they will be given a levelled reading book matched to their phonic development, to take home and read with you. There will be a meeting in the Autumn term to explain the Read Write Inc. programme in more detail.
Our school uses a handwriting programme called Letter-Join. In EYFS we begin by building the physical skills needed to write such as, hand-eye coordination, muscle memory, posture, and body control. Activities indoors and outdoors support these skills and are prioritised to ensure children are ready to write. These include climbing equipment in the outdoor area, as well as fine motor activities indoors such as using tweezers. When children are assessed as being ready, we teach pre-cursive patterns and lower case letters with lead-in and lead-out lines.