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ENGLISH

The more that yo'u read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

― Dr. Seuss

Learning English as part of a broad and balanced curriculum is crucial to the overall, combined impact on children enjoying a wide depth of experiences through EYFS, KS1 and KS2, in order to engage to the best of their ability and articulate their feelings and ideas fluently as they progress through the primary curriculum, with the aspired outcome of readiness for KS3 and the wider world beyond.

 

Our overall ethos is underpinned by a focused drive to encourage reading for pleasure.

This ethos sets out to enable our children to achieve the following:

  • Gain a life-long love of a broad range of literature.
  • Read with an increasing fluency and understanding.
  • To be able to discuss their favourite books and make connections between stories.
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary which enables them to articulate their thoughts and ideas across the curriculum.
  • Speak and write coherently in order to meet the expectations of context, audience and purpose.
  • Spell with increasing accuracy, as well as form letters, eventually in cursive handwriting.
  • Use discussion and debate to challenge ideas.
  • Increase their confidence with regard to speaking aloud in order to share ideas, give presentations and speak with growing articulacy.
  • Appreciate the wide heritage of English language and its influences around the world.

 

At Scholes, we believe that all children should leave at the end of KS2 fully-equipped in English skills in order to tackle the exciting challenges ahead in KS3. By striving to meet the above aims every day, we want our children to be articulate, fluent and confident in speaking, listening, reading and writing. We encourage our children to reach their full potential by viewing English as so much more than a timetabled lesson, as it sets out the foundations for a life-long love of learning.

               

Reading

'The teaching of early reading is effective.  There is a well-planned programme for teaching phonics.  This means that pupils get off to a good start in their reading.  Children enjoy listening and taking part in stories, poems and nursery rhymes'.  Ofsted 2019

Foundation Stage

Children in nursery begin Phase 1 Letters and Sounds where they explore environmental sounds, voice sounds, instrumental sounds and rhythm and rhyme. They do this through games, singing and story sessions in fun and practical ways. 

When children begin Reception, they move into Phase 2 where they begin to match sounds to letters. They soon begin to segment to spell words and and blend to read them. 

Throughout nursery and reception, children explore a range of texts to enhance the topic of the half term. High quality books are chosen and used to ‘hook’ children in from the very beginning, always promoting the love or reading. We have a vocabulary rich environment to ensure that children are being exposed to new and exciting vocabulary, and are readily using it in their play. At every opportunity, staff will be found sharing stories or singing with children, and this is often very well received. As a school, we fully appreciate the growing need to develop speech, language and communication skills in the early years, and we are dedicated to providing these skills through stories, games and interactions. 

Reading in KS1 / KS2

We believe that being able to 'read the words on the page' (decoding) is a tool to enable to our pupils to access books and texts, and therefore gain understanding (comprehension) and enjoyment from the texts. 

We have strong belief that the decoding of individual words and of short sentences is taught through the phonics work and that the two go hand in hand. In each KS1 class, there are daily guided reading sessions where staff use a range of books to develop pupils individual reading skills. These sessions involve small groups of pupils sharing a text together. They may read the text together, by themselves or even have the text read by an adult depending if the session has a focus on decoding or on comprehension. 

The range of books includes:  All Aboard, Soundstart, Oxford Reading Tree, Real books & Rigby Navigator.

As pupils move into KS2, they take part in two 'whole-class reading' sessions. In these sessions, they read an extract from a text, and they first of all focus on the vocabulary. They unpick the unknown words using dictionaries and using strategies likes looking at the root of the word or the history of the words. The classes are then asked lots of questions about the text to ensure understanding. Guided Reading sessions then take place around the same text where the pupils work in small groups and answer questions guided by an adult, and are then given some follow-up work to do independently.. They will then come back together as a class and do a final session on the same text. We believe that this strategy of spending longer on one text enables our children to gain a deeper understanding and equips them with the reading tools they will need later in life. 

Home Reading

All of our children in Reception to Y3 have a home reading record. We have an expectation that parents will support their child by reading with them at home at least 3 times per week. In return, we will provide children with a reading book at their level that will be regularly changed. We will read at least once every week with all of our children on a one-to-one basis (to supplement all of the group and class reading they are doing in school). 

Phonics

The teaching of phonics is a strength of our school, where both the staff and the children enjoy their learning. All staff are very committed to the teaching of phonics at the correct level for the pupils.

Between 11:35 and 12:00, the pupils between Reception and Y3 work in a phonics group which is meeting their individual needs. These children move around school and may be working with a different adult.

The staff are highly motivated and make phonics teaching fun with a wide variety of teaching strategies used (eg bingo sound games, word lotto, computer programs, treasure chest words etc).

We base our phonics teaching on the Letters and Sounds programme of synthetic phonics.  Each member of staff plans and delivers tailor made lessons to suit their group's needs.  

We also try to embed a love of reading into phonics sessions as we know that 'being able to do phonics' is not the end goal; 'being able to love reading' is the end goal and phonics is a tool to enable them to get there. We use some children's 'real' reading to support phonics when appropriate. 

We have a wide range of phonetically decodable books to support early reading (eg Floppy's phonics reading books)..

Assessment of Reading

At Scholes, we are very lucky to have a well-stocked selection of books, and our pupils are encouraged to change their book whenever necessary. We follow the 'Accelerated Reader' programme from Y1 to Y6. This is where children are given a zone in which they can read books from. The zone comes from a half-termly assessment carried out as an online test. All our books are then coded and children select their own book within their zone. We try to nurture a love of reading and so encourage them to select their books independently - as this is part of the fun. When they finish their book, they do an online quiz to assess their understanding of the text. There will be between 3 and 20 questions depending on the difficulty of the book. This score is then given to teachers, and to parents at home. Parents should just ask their class teacher for the code for email updates if they have not already been set up for this. Pupils are also tracked on the amount of reading they are doing and the types of books they are selecting. This enables the class teachers to guide the pupils appropriately. 

Each class also completes a written comprehension termly (3 times per year) at an age-appropriate level. 

Writing

Foundation Stage

Children in nursery take part in daily mark making sessions to promote gross and fine motor development, and progress onto making meaningful marks. Children are encouraged to add detail to their pictures, and are supported to make shapes to develop their pre-writing skills. By the end of nursery, most children are able to write their own names and draw recognisable pictures of familiar things like houses, people and trees. 

Children in reception learn to write words and short sentences as they progress through the phonics scheme. We use the texts we explore in our topic to stimulate some fantastic writing opportunities where children might write a letter from Goldilocks, they might write some instructions to plant a beanstalk, or they might invent their own character for their own story. We use weekly handwriting sessions to develop fine motor skills and ensure that letters are formed correctly. 

Staff will model writing at every opportunity. We will spend time in the continuous provision writing shopping lists, labelling a map, designing a model or taking order from the Chinese Restaurant. This encourages the most emergent of writing to develop into something amazing. 

KS1 / KS2 Writing

As previously mentioned, we believe that quality literature holds the key to success in Literacy, and as such, we have designed our Writing curriculum around quality children's texts. In our Literacy lessons, we spend a lot of time doing what we call 'book talk'. During this stage of a learning sequence, we will use lots of our reading skills such as inference, explaining, summarising and predicting. We ask lots of questions about why characters behave in certain ways, or about why the author has written a certain part in a certain way. We do lots of short writing pieces during this time. When we feel that we know the book well enough, we then do a piece of extended writing. Some examples of these things could be to write a different end to the story, or to write a story in the same style. We use lots of modelled writing and shared writing during this phase of our learning so that the pupils know what is expected of them. We then would edit our writing and do a final draft. 

Spelling

Spelling forms part of the phonics teaching and part of the daily English lesson. Because of this, children are asked to learn spellings each week that link to their learning in their phonics lessons. They are also given some extra words which they will have previously met but are unknown until the day. Scores are collected and rewards given to pupils achieving well over time. 

Punctuation and Grammar

Punctuation and Grammar form a large and challenging part of our English National Curriculum, and we believe that the best way to embed the learning is by constantly teaching punctauation and grammar as part of the daily Literacy lesson. Sometimes lessons may include short grammar starters, or there may be times when a Literacy lesson has a primary focus on a particular element of punctuation otr grammar. In Key Stage Two, we have two separate Punctuation and Grammar lessons which enable the pupils to learn new concepts whcih can then be applied into their writing. 

Handwriting

Click the following links to access our new handwriting scheme:

Alphabet - Capitals & Joins (no pics)

Alphabet - Capitals & Joins (pics)

Demonstrating Letter Groups

Suggested 'Patter' (DH Method)

 

Assessment of Writing

The nature of Writing means that pupils are never asked to sit and write solely for assessment purposes. Teachers assess writing by looking at a wide range of work and then assessing against a variety of statements to give them an overall judgement which is done half-termly. 

 

Click here to access our page all about Conrad Burdekin (our reading patron)

            

 

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