At Hawthorns, we believe that a secure knowledge of phonics is the foundation for reading.
Following his independent review of early reading in 2006, Jim Rose concluded that;
‘high quality phonic work should be the prime means for teaching children how to read and spell words’.
Following this review, Letters and Sounds was set up by the Department of Education in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills and prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills.
It’s taught in 6 different phases, gradually progressing in difficulty, and it has been proven many times to be the most effective way of children learning to read and spell.
Letters and Sounds, which embodies the principles and practice of high-quality phonics, is the tool used at Hawthorns to teach phonics systematically and discretely. Once children enter the classroom, the teaching of phonics, alongside reading, is a priority. Focused phonic sessions are delivered regularly throughout each week to small groups. Phonic activities are set within a broad and rich language curriculum and the transfer of knowledge and skills are encouraged whenever possible.
‘The two best predictors of early reading success are alphabet recognition and phonemic awareness’ – Marlyn Jager Adam
‘To learn to read is to light a fire’ – Victor Hugo
We believe reading to be one of the most important skills that any child can acquire. It opens up the world of learning, brings great pleasure and enjoyment and builds children’s self-esteem and confidence.
To this end, reading is given the highest priority in Hawthorns school curriculum and is tailored to the needs of every child.
There are numerous approaches to teaching reading so we have developed a Hawthorns Reading Framework, which we believe embodies the essential ingredients to promote accelerated progress in Reading.
High quality, carefully structured, Guided Reading sessions take place in every classroom four days a week, underpinned by daily discrete phonic sessions. Quality resources and creative approaches ensure these learning opportunities are engaging and fun.
The wide range of reading resources are chosen to tap into the children’s interests and capture their imagination.
Children are exposed daily to text displayed in their classrooms and around school.
Wherever possible children are given opportunities to develop their reading skills through cross curricular studies.
‘Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.’
Additionally, there are a number of 1:1 interventions to provide extra support where needed. These are Reading Recovery, Five Minute Box and Precision Teaching.
‘ Once you learn to read, you will be forever free’ – Frederick Douglass
We encourage all our parents to work in partnership with us to support their children in developing reading skills because we know that our pupils greatly benefit when home and school work together.
‘There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.’ – Jacqueline Kennedy
‘Learning to read and write changes lives’ – Queen Rania of Jordan
At Hawthorns, we believe that writing, along with reading, is one of the most important skills that any child can acquire. Writing and reading are interwoven and the development of one supports the development of the other. As an important life skill, it builds children’s self-esteem and confidence and supports pupils in other areas of learning.
Learning to write requires highly skilled teaching, which for Hawthorns pupils, must be explicit, systematic and carefully scaffolded.
To this end, a bespoke Writing Framework has been developed which includes the 4 stages of the writing continuum; Modelled, Shared, Guided and Independent writing. Each stage has an important role to play.
High quality, small step, skillfully structured writing sessions take place in every classroom and pupils are encouraged to write for different purposes throughout the week, underpinned by talk for writing and daily discrete phonic sessions. Quality resources and creative approaches ensure these learning opportunities are engaging and relevant.
‘You learn to write by writing’ William Zinsser