Marshwood School aims to develop confident, articulate children who are able to communicate through the written and spoken word.

Developing speaking and listening skills is a priority, and this starts from day one in early years. We plan our English units of work to closely match our topics thereby providing purposeful and engaging opportunities for the children to write. We facilitate this learning by sharing with the children a wide range of high-quality texts and genres to expose the children to a substantial variety of writing styles and authors.

Reading is a key strength and passion at the school. We strive to develop a passion for reading and use this as a tool to unlock interests and topics. We strongly promote reading for pleasure through our new library, celebrating World Book Day, and through engagement days. We place huge emphasis on reading from the start. In Reception, we use Read, Write, Inc. reading to give every child a daily, high-quality start to early literacy. We identify children needing extra support very early on, because we monitor their progress at all times and track how they are doing. Where needed, we use a number of different interventions to develop early skills and help each child to gain confidence. 

We have a whole school approach to daily phonics teaching, and it takes place with children going to small groups for lessons matched to their need.  Those children no longer needing phonics lessons work with a teacher in a spelling group or use a computer-based programme to develop reading, comprehension skills and vocabulary.

The children have access to a great selection of books in their classrooms and in our library. We encourage all children to read every day at home so that children read for pleasure. It is particularly important that parents read to and read with their children. We ask that parents listen to their children read as much as possible, not only using books sent home but for example, reading labels in the supermarket or reading notices in the environment. In class, children enjoy guided or whole class reading with their teachers each week.

We teach writing through genre and link this to a high-quality text. This high-quality text is used within some of our reading sessions each week which supports the children’s skills further. Furthermore, we find ways to connect our writing and reading to other areas of the curriculum so that the children are exposed to a wide range of vocabulary on more than one occasion, as well as enabling them to make connections across their learning.

We dedicate time to share a class novel and explore its vocabulary and ensure the reading skills are covered in depth and with progression, focusing on a specific reading skill each half term.

Where possible, teaching of reading and grammar is interwoven into English lessons so that the skills can be embedded alongside writing. Discussions, debates, presentations, drama and other speaking and listening activities are also used so that all learners can explore the themes and ideas of texts and genres in a variety of ways. The children are really proud of their literacy work, and this is celebrated through displays, sharing work with other adults and children, and as part of our collective worships.

In the early years, we encourage writing and mark making through continuous provision activities.

We ensure that children form their letters correctly as they progress through their reception year and cursive handwriting is taught as children develop through the school.  The aim is for all children to have neat, legible, well-formed handwriting. Children may earn a pen licence when they prove they can maintain this neat style consistently.