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At Bishop Bridgeman, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Programme, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme.


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Children are taught how to:


  • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;

  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make- such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; 

  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.


We start teaching phonics in Nursery, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.


As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Bishop Bridgeman, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum, but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. With reading at the heart of our curriculum, we believe that we are providing our children with the tools to develop a love of reading and ultimately be independent and inquisitive learners. While children are learning to read through our phonics programme they will also take home a decodable text which is closely matched to their phonic ability.


At Bishop Bridgeman, we believe that reading is an important and vital life skill and we strive for all children to enjoy and value it. We recognise that enjoyment in reading arises from deriving meaning from text. It is our aim to develop and create passionate readers for life who are able to read confidently and fluently by the end of their primary school journey. Children who have not yet grasped the phonics code by the start of Key Stage 2 take part in regular phonics interventions tailored to their needs, following on from regular assessments. 


At our school, we inspire an interest in words and what they mean to enable children to develop an increasing oral and written vocabulary. We ensure all children read widely and experience a range of genres in stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction, to support vocabulary, language comprehension and foster a continued love of reading. Guided reading takes place daily as a whole class model, using the Pathways to Read programme.

Children share their home reading book with an appropriate adult in school at least once a fortnight. The adult asks questions relevant to the interest of the child and encourages comprehension and understanding. In KS2 we use the strategy of reciprocal reading. The children are encouraged to decode unknown words using appropriate strategies. Children develop independence in reading through completing activities related to their guided reading book. A ‘Class Reader’ is also used to encourage children’s enjoyment of literature. This is read regularly.

We celebrate our love of reading at Bishop Bridgeman in many ways, including 'super learning days', 'book fairs', ‘vending machine’ and through our whole school reading reward scheme.


At Bishop Bridgeman, we believe that the mastery of written language is one of the most powerful gifts that we can provide to our children. We believe that writing should be purposeful, rich and enjoyable for all. Writing at Bishop Bridgeman is delivered through an exciting and engaging curriculum which is taught from Early Years to Year 6. As the National Curriculum for writing sets out, children should learn about transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).


English is a core subject of the National Curriculum and a second language for many of our children.  We understand that English is a prerequisite for educational and social progress as it underpins the work undertaken in all other areas of the curriculum. The acquisition of language skills is of the utmost importance and therefore the teaching of all aspects English is given a high priority within our school. 

In Key Stage 1 and 2 writing is taught through the use of high quality texts and a recognised teaching sequence. Quality texts provide a stimulus for all children to develop their writing across different text types. 'Talk for writing' is used in KS1 to allow children to interact and engage with the text. Activities such as book talk, storytelling, role play, drama and word and language games are an important part of the writing process. Once children have gathered ideas and planned their writing, teachers model writing to support the writing process. During and after writing, children are given an opportunity to edit and redraft their work. Whenever possible, writing with a clear purpose is the priority as we find this leads to better outcomes and engagement.


The importance of legible handwriting cannot be underestimated. We follow the handwriting scheme Nelsons from Oxford University Press. This allows us to teach handwriting in a fun, interactive way. It helps the children develop a fluent, confident handwriting style. Flexible, fluent and legible handwriting allows children to write with confidence. Handwriting develops best when it is taught frequently for short periods of time which is the approach at Bishop Bridgeman. Whole school and parental engagement can also be improved through the use of Nelson Handwriting resources as home learning tasks. 


Our children’s handwriting will become automatic and to a high standard so that they are able to focus on the content of their writing rather than the presentation. The impact of the scheme should be noticeable within written work in all areas of the curriculum.

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