All pupils are assessed on arrival using the Ruth Miskin scheme Read, Write, Inc assessment. They are then grouped accordingly and access RWI either in small groups or on a 1-1 basis to develop early reading and writing skills. Daily lessons consist of learning new sounds and practising previously learnt sounds before learning to ‘Fred talk’ words to blend and read them. Pupils will also be taught to form the letters correctly and sound out the words to segment to speed them before learning to hold a sentence in their head to write it.
Pupils that can read accurately and fluently will access a 15 minute interactive daily RWI Spelling lesson which teaches spelling rules systematically.
At Engage Academy, we want every child to be a successful and passionate reader. We believe reading is key to future academic success and is firmly embedded in all areas of our curriculum. Our approach is bespoke to the children we teach and appropriately meets their needs. By the time they leave Engage Academy, our students have re-engaged with their reading journey, made progress from their unique starting points and have developed a love of reading. We aim for our children to be fluent, confident and passionate readers.
Reading at Engage can be broken down into two strands, including early reading and phonics. Depending on their unique starting points, children are either taught reading through a synthetic phonics approach or a comprehension-driven approach. On arrival, children are quickly assessed so phonetic gaps are identified (using RWI assessment tools), and key reading skills need to be developed (using PM benchmarking). Every child reads every day.
Early Reading and Phonics
Our early reading scheme is Read, Write, Inc. This scheme ensures that phonic skills are applied with increasing fluency and improved comprehension. Our RWI reading books are levelled to match the progression in phonics and offer a range of fiction and non-fiction. Children accessing phonics are taught 1-1, so their reading learning is unique. Each RWI session comprises:
- reviewing known sounds,
- introducing new sound (depending on the learner, this can be a new sound daily or every two days to ensure it is firmly embedded in their working memory)
- reading green words (3 times – Fred Talk, Fred in their Head, Speedy Read)
- writing green words
- storybook session
See the appendix to see the order of sounds and irregular words.
Reading for understanding and comprehension
Children who are secure in their phonic knowledge are taught reading through either 1-1 reading sessions or whole class guided reading sessions. These children may be working on a range of skills, from improving fluency to developing their inference skills. Children who need one-to-one sessions will read alongside an adult and answer questions throughout, building up to written responses. These questions are personalised to the child, based on the skills they are practising, the level of book they are reading, their resilience to learning and concentration time.
Children who are accessing whole class guided reading sessions follow VIPERS. VIPERS are the key areas we feel our children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of a text. VIPERS stand for vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval, and sequence/summarise. This method of teaching reading ensures adults ask and students are familiar with a range of questions.
During the reading session, an adult will read an extract to the children, with opportunities created for children to join in. This allows all children in the class to access a text that may be above what they could read independently. The teacher models reading aloud, finding information and writing answers before children practise independently. Any children identified as needing additional support in this group will access further 1-1 reading in addition to whole class activities.
Some writing sessions will be linked to high-quality reading books using the Power of Reading scheme of learning, providing a further opportunity for children to unpick and enjoy a text.
Reading is embedded into our curriculum. Each class has a dedicated story time each day, where a story is shared. These can range from high-quality picture books to short chapter books to more complex class novels. Adults choose these stories based on children’s interests, links to the wider learning and the development of literacy skills, including developing vocabulary. Accidental reading happens across the school and is a key feature in most lessons, such as following a recipe in food technology. A love of reading is promoted through weekly library sessions with the head teacher, key worker sessions with parents, book bags and whole school celebration days such as World Book Day.
Please see the Reading Curriculum Progression document for further information.
Pupils access daily English lessons which are planned mainly using the Power of Reading scheme at a level appropriate for each class. These lessons cover the national curriculum for English over the course of the year. Other opportunities for writing with a purpose are built into the curriculum in a cross curricular way. This can be using trips and visits as a stimulus or linking the English into activities run by our forest school’s practitioner.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening is an integral part of our curriculum, and activities to promote this are threaded throughout the day. Pupils participate in breakfast assembly, snack time and lunchtime with a focus on conversational skills and such communication is consistently modelled by staff. Many pupils access personalised intervention in this area of need whilst with us at Engage.
In addition to this, we took part in a project run by Voice 21 called Get Talking in PRUs. The programme focuses on the importance of oracy and supports us to create a whole school ethos of oracy, enabling staff, pupils and parents to understand the value, and impact of, a talk-rich approach on pupils’ social and emotional development.
At Engage Academy, we believe writing is a key skill for life, both inside and outside education. We aim to provide children with transferable writing skills that can be used successfully within lessons at Engage and at their next educational setting.
Children arrive at Engage at very different starting points in their writing journey. However, by the time they leave, we want all children to be confident writers who will ‘have a go’, to be coherent in their writing, and increasingly accurate in their spelling and transcription.
Children have daily opportunities to write for various purposes, access new learning and practise key skills. Writing is taught through explicit English lessons, supported in daily handwriting/SPAG activities, and applied across the wider curriculum. Children may be working on explicit cognition and learning targets from their EHCP/MSP or individual/whole class writing targets identified by their teacher.
Teachers have a wide range of schemes to support their writing teaching and learning and have the confidence and skill to adapt these to meet the complex needs of our young people. Schemes include Power of Reading and Literacy Shed. Units of work are chosen based on their links to the wider learning and the interests of pupils meaning they are driven by high-quality texts and media.