At Ripon Cathedral School we believe that the secret to developing good readers is developing reading for pleasure. We recognise and teach the two dimensions of reading - word reading and comprehension through a carefully planned and dynamic curriculum. Phonics is emphasised in early teaching of reading and throughout school where children are encouraged to read widely and to develop a love of reading.
We teach phonics using a systematic teaching programme called Read Write Inc. which involves teaching children all 44 sounds of the English language in a particular order. The programme uses a synthetic approach to teaching phonics. It’s called synthetic for the word synthesis – putting together – because children are taught to blend individual sounds together in order to read the word.
Our teaching of writing starts with immersion in quality texts. We believe that it is essential that children see what good writing looks like. If they love reading it then children are more likely to want to write it! We use a range of techniques here depending on the learning outcomes. For example, children could be detectives hunting for an aspect of grammar, or they could become one of the characters in a drama activity. We also use the Talk For Writing approach where appropriate, which allows children to ‘learn’ a text through actions and drawings.
Children are taught specific skills throughout this stage of the writing process but also take part in discreet lessons to teach them grammar or punctuation skills. These are reinforced by our fortnightly ‘grammar hammer’ skills check where children compete against themselves to beat their last score.
Children are then taught how to plan and write their own texts using the specific skills taught. Teachers will model and scaffold the writing to help children write independently.
Children are given a range of opportunities to apply their writing knowledge across the curriculum , every lesson can be an English lesson!
At Cathedral we want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of books. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, and during their weekly guided reading sessions.
Mrs McCormick - Head of English
Specialist Leader of Education