English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.
‘Reading is the creative centre of a writer’s life. I take a book with me everywhere I go, and find that there are all sorts of opportunities to dip in.’ – Steven King
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is 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.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 include:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils will be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
In September 2018, we implemented a new approach to teaching writing called Talk for Writing. Talk for Writing was developed by the author Pie Corbett. It is fundamentally based on the key principles of how children learn. Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need orally before they try reading, analysing and recording it. It is a fun, creative yet also rigorous approach to develop writers.
Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:
During this phase the children create actions to accompany the oral re-telling of the story. They also create story maps, using pictures and symbols, to depict actions and events from the text. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They also begin to look closely at the language and text features that have been used.
During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate good words and phrases.
During this phase the children plan and write their own version of the text type they have been learning.
For further information please visit the Talk for Writing website.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation
Phonics is taught throughout the school using the Read Write Inc. scheme, a whole-school literacy programme for 5-11-year-olds, which ensures systematic coverage and progression.
In Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2), the children are taught in smaller groups, led either by class teachers or by trained learning support staff. The children are assessed regularly to ensure that they are making progress and that they are in the appropriate group for supporting and extending their individual needs. Year 1 children take part in statutory Phonics Screening during Term 6, and parents are informed of their child’s achievement at the end of the school year.
Writing progresses from talking and composing sentences orally to being able to write sentences with support and, later on, independently. Writing is linked to storytelling and to the children’s own experiences, as well as to the topics taught. Phonics is used to support the early stages of writing, and spelling patterns are taught as the children’s skills progress. Great emphasis is also placed on handwriting and learning the correct letter formation and pencil control from early on.
Read Write Inc. continues to form the basis for literacy teaching as children move into Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6) and develop their writing, spelling and grammar skills.
Please use the links below to access videos related to phonics and early reading.
Guided reading takes place on a daily basis throughout the school.
Volunteers come into school regularly to listen to individual children read.
The school does not use one specific reading scheme, and has instead classified a wide range of books into different colour bands to create reading progression. Children work their way through the colour bands until they reaching books from the school or class libraries. Some children in Key Stage 2 follow the Project X or Rapid Reading schemes.
Children are encouraged to read on a daily basis at home and record this in their reading records. Daily reading could include: reading to an adult, reading to a sibling, reading to themselves or being read to by an adult.
Parents are encouraged to ask their child questions about what they have read in order to develop their comprehension skills, which is another important part of the reading process.
Please use the links below to access websites related to reading.
Please use the links below to access websites related to English.