Our phonics curriculum follows the clear systematic approach set out in Little Wandle Letters & Sounds. Key skills are developed through the Review, Teach, Practice, Apply teaching structure.
At the Woodland Academy Trust, children are taught to use phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words, alongside language comprehension processes (our ability to acquire and understand vocabulary).
When pupils are secure with all phases of the SSP and can apply this in their reading, pupils are taught to read books that are not fully decodable. These books are high quality texts, covering a range of literature types seen in fiction, non-fiction and poetry across each half term. At the Woodland Academy Trust, we enhance learning in the wider curriculum by linking the books that are studied during these lessons, to topics learnt in geography, science and history topics. This may include core texts, which can be found in each school’s curriculum handbook. We ensure that the content domains from the National Curriculum are taught through this approach. The Woodland Academy Trust also draw on strategies from Just Imagine’s Take One Book programme, to ensure that learning is engaging and relatable to pupils.
Reading for Pleasure
We are committed to developing our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy and are committed to ensuring that pupils’ experiences of reading are enriched through commitment to well-resourced library areas and book corners.Our aim is to build a community of readers.
Our writing curriculum aims to enhance topical learning through the use of core texts and teaching draws upon the EEF Improving Literacy Recommendations and Talk for Writing principles. The writing process is constantly adapted to meet the needs of the pupils in our schools. There is a culture of writing for a range of purposes to best prepare our pupils for the world beyond primary school. Children are taught to formulate and articulate increasingly sophisticated sentences as well as having regular opportunities to develop quality vocabulary and language choices. Children are given regular opportunities to apply their writing skills in extended, quality pieces of writing.
Pupils should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They are taught the correct use of grammar. Pupils will write for a range of purposes that include different narrative texts as well as a range of non-fiction such as: explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations. Such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.
Pupils are taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication. They are taught to give well-structured descriptions and explanations and develop their understanding through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. This will enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.
Pupils’ acquisition and command of vocabulary are key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum. Teachers should therefore, develop vocabulary actively, building systematically on pupils’ current knowledge. They should increase pupils’ store of words in general; simultaneously, they should also make links between known and new vocabulary and discuss the semantical meanings of words. In this way, pupils expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them when they write. Vocabulary is explicitly taught in all curriculum areas.
We have developed our very own bespoke Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling curriculum. Each year group covers key aspects linked to the National Curriculum starting with a ‘ready to write’ and culminating in consolidation of learning opportunities. Each year group has a clear long term overview which covers progression of grammar and punctuation skills. We use Spelling Shed to cover progression of spelling skills and knowledge. Our bespoke curriculum sets out the knowledge that children should learn for each GPS skill in each year group, includes model questioning and ideas for teaching the content.
At the Woodland Academy Trust, we follow the Improvement in Schools through Handwriting and Art (ISHA) approach to handwriting. Systematically following the programme ensures that letters are correctly formed and joins are taught once pupils are secure with letter formation. The style is semi cursive with no loops or lead ins.