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English Curriculum

Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing are an essential part of all activities in our curriculum. We ensure that children experience a wide range of creative and inspiring activities to develop these skills both independently and within a team. We want all children to develop a love of reading, read regularly and the ability to write confidently and fluently. English is taught using the Power of Reading linked with Cornerstones Creative Curriculum. We always use high quality texts to engage children in their English learning. Computers, trips, drama, art and music are all used to support the learning experience in English.

Children will learn to read in EYFS and Key Stage 1 following Book Banded reading books, along with phonic books. Teachers will read daily to the class to promote a love of reading. We monitor pupils' progress closely and work is targeted towards the individual's needs and ability, we use Target Cards, Assertive Mentoring and Target Tracker to do this. The National Curriculum for English aims to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Language

Spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary are important aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is a standalone subject and the medium for teaching all other subjects. Ensuring children understand the English language will provide access to the whole curriculum and allow them to learn in all areas.

Spoken language

Children will be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. We will teach children to give reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication. We will support children in giving well-structured descriptions and explanations and time to explore their own and others ideas. This will enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.

Reading

We will develop children’s reading and writing through all subjects. Children will be taught to read fluently, understand both fiction and non-fiction and will be encouraged to read for pleasure. We provide library facilities and set expectations for reading at home. We teach English daily as a discrete subject in the ‘Literacy hour’ from Year 1 to Year 6 following the New English Curriculum, with opportunities for English in the Foundation Stage being incorporated into the child’s day according to the principles of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Guided reading is taught to small groups of children, ensuring that the class teacher listens to every child read weekly. The class teacher works with a group of about 6 children to teach the decoding of words and the skills needed for fluent and expressive reading. As the children become fluent readers, the focus for these guided sessions moves towards improving comprehension skills. By Key Stage 2 during Guided Reading children have opportunities for the independent reading of a variety of texts, small group work with the class teacher to boost reading comprehension skills and time to practice these comprehension skills independently.

During Reception and Key Stage 1 all children will read at least weekly to a member of our educational support staff team. Extra support for individual children is provided by volunteer readers. This is to help achieve regular reading with the children and help to improve reading skills, develop language and vocabulary and build confidence and self esteem. If you are interested in volunteering to listen to readers in school please contact Mrs Sampson.

The Power of Reading is taught in English alongside the Primary English Framework and Cornerstones creative curriculum. Depending on the length of the text the class will focus on it for 2-6 weeks. English will be taught using the text and the children will produce a range of work from book talk and discussion to drama and role-play and writing in different genres. Children are encouraged to read at home for at least ten minutes every day and we will provide good quality, exciting texts in order to inspire a love of reading. If your child has completed the book band scheme then they may select a text from within school or at home with you. Please join your local library and teach your child how to select books of interest to them.

Research shows a positive link between reading frequently and enjoyment and educational attainment. Reading for pleasure has positive emotional and social benefits, improves text comprehension and grammar skills and increases general knowledge.

At school we believe that teaching all children to be confident able readers is very important. Teachers have class texts and read to their class regularly. We hold two book fairs and character dressing up days a year to promote enjoyment in reading. We have a reading display in school where we encourage children to complete a book review and share it on the display.

Things you can do at home to help develop your child’s reading ability and enthusiasm;

Ensure that you child reads at least four times a week and record this in their reading record. If your child completes the reading scheme and becomes a ‘free reader’ it is still very important that they read.

  • Talk to your child about the book they are reading.
  • Ask questions while they are reading, please see question prompts.
  • Read books to your child/read together.
  • Visit the library.

Stuck for what to read?

  • Register for free on the CLPE’s core books website for free to view regularly updated booklists sorted by age range, genre, author and publisher (www.corebooks.org.uk).
  • Visit www.arbookfinder.co.uk which is an easy to use free online tool which allows you or your child to search for books by interest and topic. You will also find a list of current popular books.
  • Visit www.booktrust.org.uk where you will find recommended books and quizzes.
  • These website also have ideas to develop reading in the home.

Phonics

Phonics is the systematic teaching of the sounds, or 'phonemes', that accompany the written letters ('graphemes') in English. It is designed to teach children to become confident and fluent readers by the end of Year 2.

All children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have a 20 minute phonics session every day where they are introduced to new sounds and practise the sounds that they are unfamiliar with.

We follow 'Letters and Sounds', a document published by the Department for Education. It is broken down into 6 parts, or 'phases'.

  • Phase 1 is completed in Nursery and focuses on sounds in the environment, instrumental sounds, body sounds, voice sounds and rhythm.
  • Phase 2 begins in Reception. Children are taught 19 letters of the alphabet along with the sound that goes with them.
  • Phase 3 is also started in Reception. During this phase, the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet and their sounds are taught. Digraphs (where two letters make one sound) eg. /sh/ and /ch/ are taught in this phase for the remaining sounds in the English language.
  • During Phase 4, children are taught to segment (break down) and blend (read fluently) longer words. Phase 4 is a chance for children to practise and apply the phonics skills they have already learnt.
  • Phase 5 is taught throughout Year 1 and focuses on different ways of spelling the same sound eg. /oi/ and /oy/ and different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know eg. /ear/ in 'hear' and /ear/ in 'bear'.
  • Phase 6 is taught throughout Year 2. This phase focuses on consolidating all of the other phases, as well as introducing 'rules' for reading and spelling, such as prefixes, suffixes and when to double or drop a letter.

Year 1 phonics screening check

At the end of Year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to an appropriate standard. There are 40 words in the screening check which children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of 'real words' (eg. 'mud') and 'non-words' (eg. 'splog') and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words.

Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session, but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis. There are lots of books, games and apps that support Phonics. www.phonicsplay.co.uk is one that we use regularly in school. If your child is in Year 1 Mrs Sampson will hold a phonics information session with all parents during the Spring Term.

Phonic resources are available to take home during parent’s evening.

Writing

Children will develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They will be taught the correct use of grammar. Pupils will build on what they have been taught to expand their writing skills. Pupils will experience a variety of writing genres.

Vocabulary development

Children’s command of vocabulary is key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum. Teachers will therefore develop vocabulary actively, building systematically on children’s current knowledge. They will increase pupils’ store of words in general.

Simultaneously, they should also make links between known and new vocabulary and discuss the shades of meaning in similar words. In this way, children will expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them when they write. It is particularly important to introduce children to the language which defines each subject in its own right, such as accurate mathematical and scientific language.

Library

Our library is an integral part of the learning environment. As well as a school library we also have book corners in every classroom so that children have access to books in class. Reading is an essential life skill. Our school library aims to contribute to our pupils’ learning and development by providing a safe, stimulating and well-maintained environment which helps support teaching and learning and assists in our aim to raise achievement.

As well as providing information for learning in a variety of formats, we also want our library to encourage a real love of reading for pleasure to develop readers for life.

Through the use of our school library, we aim to improve reading skills and, in turn, improve both levels of attainment and progress in reading and writing.