Reading is the key to independent learning and a vital tool for life; therefore at Date Palm the teaching of reading is given a high priority by all staff. We have lots of opportunities for reading exciting books and materials. We understand that it is important that children experience reading a whole novel, therefore all pupils have an hour of English lessons in the morning and study a variety of narrative text types and genres that captures pupils’ emotions and promote critical thinking through writing and discussions. Whole class Teaching of Reading is used to specifically teach the strategies and skills involved in being a good reader, through immersing in a novel and reading for pleasure. Each week, parents and volunteers listen to children read in school and we ensure reading books are carefully matched to ability. We use Letters and sounds phonics daily across EYFS and KS1 that is delivered through fun and interactive sessions. Book corners are a staple of every classroom at Date Palm Primary which provides a comfortable space for pupils’ to sit and read, promoting reading for pleasure. We are very proud of our high standard of reading throughout the school and seeing reading as an everyday part of the pupil’s lives, something that they choose to do. Our school library is a warm and welcoming place where children can enjoy a wide range of books and a place to grow and learn.
Writing is an essential part of our curriculum offer and very important at Date Palm Primary School. However, we understand that writing is an activity that is highly demanding of cognitive resources, therefore transcription processes, such as handwriting and spelling are developed to ensure automaticity. In EYFS children learn how to hold a pencil properly and begin to form letters, words and sentences. In KS1 and onwards pupils’ are explicitly taught cursive handwriting using a structured PenPal lesson plan that incorporates, letter formation, four main joins, speed and fluency. Pen licence is awarded to children who can prove they can write across a range of subjects and genres. We teach writing using Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approach, employing the three stages of imitation, innovation and invention to range of non-fiction and fiction genres. We link our writing context to our curriculum topics, finding real life reasons for children’s writing to enthuse them with purpose; recent examples include school council speech, reports for our newsletter and performance poetry. As part of the English lessons, each day children are taught grammar, punctuation and word work related to specific writing genre and spelling. At Date Palm we have lots of wonderful opportunities to inspire pupils and make them feel like real ‘authors’ by having their writings published in ‘Young Writers’ and Scholastics, which provides children with a sense of purpose, confidence and concrete evidence of their achievements.