We teach Narrative, Non-Fiction and Poetry by using one or more quality texts as a starting point. Different genres of text include: picture books, traditional tales, plays, Greek myths, tales from other countries and stories from famous authors like Roald Dahl.
There is a big emphasis on transferable skills with the expectation that the standard of reading and writing in other lessons is as good as it is in discrete English lessons.
Speaking and listening skills are taught throughout English lessons including drama skills, role-play and debate.
In science Key Stage Two children are encouraged to create presentations in science and topic.
Phonics and Spelling
Phonics and Spellings are taught daily in discrete sessions or as part of an English lesson. We follow our own plan based on Letters and Sounds which leads the children through each phase (1-6) to become confident readers, writers and spellers. The ability to understand and use phonics is vital to a child’s development in these 3 areas and our Foundation Stage team put in a lot of work to give children the best start. (Phases 1-4). This is followed up in year 1 (phase 5) and year 2 (phase 6) and into years 3 and 4. The expectation is that children will have completed phase 6 by the end of KS1 but for many children it takes a bit longer. Phonics Play and Mr Thorne are valuable resources used for the teaching of phonics along with spelling games and activities.
Children learn spellings weekly and are tested on a Friday. Their spellings are appropriate to their phonic level. In Year 3 and 4 the spellings are based around the National Curriculum requirements with investigations into spelling rules and using dictionaries to expand vocabulary.
We are currently promoting the development of reading through the teaching of inference skills. In Foundation stage the children learn to read as they use their phonic knowledge to segment and blend sounds in words. Daily reading at home and school builds up this skill for them to become fluent and confident readers. This ability will continue to develop throughout years one and two. At all stages of the reading process children discuss the books with the adult to develop their understanding of the text, building up to making reasoned inferences about the meaning of what they read. Children are encouraged to read ‘in phrases’ so that they understand the sense of the text rather than just ‘decoding’ single words. Fluency and understanding are developed ‘hand in hand’ as the child makes progress at their own pace.
Children bring home a ‘reading scheme’ book appropriate to the phonic phase they are working at. They also choose books to read/enjoy from our extensive school library and individual class libraries. We provide as many opportunities as possible for children to listen to, read and enjoy a wide range of texts. Guided reading groups take place weekly with texts chosen to match the genre of writing studied and written comprehension work set, with an emphasis on well-structured answers based on the text.
In all stages of the writing process children are encouraged to ‘speak a sentence’ before committing it to paper. In the Foundation Stage this begins with mark making, copying sentences scribed by the teacher and making phonically plausible attempts at writing sentences (emergent writing). As the child grows in confidence they will become more independent in their writing and begin to apply grammar to improve their sentence structure. The National Curriculum places a large emphasis on grammar and spelling and these are taught as part of the English Unit lessons outlined above. Some aspects of grammar are taught discretely but mostly they are taught in conjunction with the writing aspect of the English lesson.
Our Foundation Stage children learn to form letters using a pre-cursive style. When they enter Key Stage 1 they learn to join letters using the school’s cursive style. Discrete handwriting sessions form part of the children’s phonics and spellings sessions but are also addressed in every lesson. In Key Stage Two this is continued with a focus on writing with a pen.