The English curriculum develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes, including the communication of their ideas, opinions and feelings. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. They will gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins and use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.
Aims of English
- to enable children to speak clearly and audibly, to communicate effectively through speech and to take account of the perspective of those to whom they are speaking;
- to encourage children to listen with concentration, in order to identify the main points, and sometimes the detail, of what they have heard;
- to show children how to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands;
- to enable children to become effective communicators, both verbal and non-verbal, through a variety of drama activities;
- to help children become confident, independent readers, developing their understanding of meaning conveyed at word, sentence and whole text level;
- to enable children to develop as enthusiastic and reflective readers, through contact with a wide range of different types of material, including challenging and substantial texts;
- to foster the enjoyment of writing for a wide range of purposes, and a recognition of its value;
- to encourage accurate and meaningful writing, be it narrative or non-fiction;
- to develop skills in planning, drafting, evaluating and editing their writing;
- to engender in children a love of literature and an appreciation of our literary heritage;
- to enable and encourage pupils to apply their literacy skills across the whole curriculum.
We use a variety of teaching and learning approaches in our English lessons and we develop literacy skills throughout the day. Our timetable ensures that children have at least one substantial daily lesson which focuses specifically on the development of literacy skills, for example engaging in a whole-class reading or writing activity, including the teaching of phonics, a whole-class focused spelling or grammar analysis activity, a small group or independent reading or writing activity, or a whole-class session to review progress and learning. Whilst there is a high proportion of whole-class and group teaching, we incorporate partner work and independent activities which gives children an opportunity to talk and collaborate, and so embed and enhance their learning.
Reading and Writing in EYFS
Reception children carry out a range of early Literacy activities as part of their daily teaching and learning. Children have access to writing materials and a wide variety of resources to encourage high quality early literacy experiences. These include: opportunities for speaking and listening, reading, mark making, identification and use of phonic sounds, role play and activities to develop fine motor control. Early writing skills are also developed though activities such as story scribing.
Children have a daily phonics lesson as a crucial element in developing their early reading and writing skills.
Children are able to take home picture books to share with their grown-up at home to help develop their story telling and vocabulary linked to the pictures. Once a child can recall 20 phonic sounds, they are able to take a closely-matched phonics book home which will consolidate learning from the phonics sessions taught previously.
We aim to instil a love of reading for pleasure and a good knowledge of a range of authors, poets and illustrators. We do this by giving children access to high quality texts from a wide range of genres and we have a well-stocked age-related selection of books in both libraries as well as specially chosen books for each class. We have mapped our reading texts across the Key Stages to ensure that children have access to genres increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, non-fiction, books from other cultures, diaries, poetry, thought-provoking dilemma texts and many more. Children are able to use these different genres to inform their own reading preferences and include features of the texts in their own writing. The books planned across the Key Stages offer challenge and inspiration for all children, providing them with new, exciting authors, different writing styles and vocabulary the children may not be familiar with already.
Early reading is linked to the children's knowledge of phonics sounds. From EYFS to Year 2 the phonics teaching is mapped to ensure that children make good progress and build on their learning throughout KS1. The books the children take home to share with their grown-ups are linked to their current phonics levels to allow children to consolidate their phonics skills at that stage of their learning. As children progress, we also use a number of reading schemes in KS2 to match books to children’s current reading levels.
Regular opportunities are planned for children to listen to a class story, read by an adult for enjoyment and pleasure and children are regularly chosen to contribute readings during our whole school special Services. Adults guide the children into making appropriate reading choices, widening their repertoire and encouraging wider reading. Children have access to Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress which is accessed online and involves children reading material matched to their reading level and working through numerous, enjoyable, word decoding, comprehension and inference activities to develop their skills and receive online reward.
Children in KS1 have daily phonics sessions which helps the children to learn sounds to aid their reading and develops their segmenting and blending skills. We use Read Write Inc phonics across the school.
Guided Reading sessions also focus on a range of texts to inspire and develop reading skills across year 1 and year 2. These books are matched to the phonics skills taught at that stage in the year, allowing children to embed the phonics skills they have learnt. Pupils also receive frequent opportunities to develop their fluency skills.
Each week the children participate in whole-class reading lessons linked to their writing focus or topic using a high-quality text. We have whole class reading lessons and guided reading sessions which explicitly develop comprehension and inference skills, prediction, summarising, explanation and retrieval skills. The children learn new vocabulary from the texts we use which we then look for in their spoken language and writing.
When writing in English and across the curriculum, we use a wide range of starting points and ‘hooks’, including: drama, picture books, children’s fiction and non-fiction, poetry, visitors, visits, current world developments, pictures and video. By providing a variety of inspiring sources, the children are engaged and keen to write. The children write for a variety of purposes and audiences. They also develop their understanding of the writing genres for non-fiction and fiction. Careful tracking is in place to ensure that pupils in both KS1 and KS2 have opportunities to write in a variety of genres. The skills of grammar and punctuation are embedded across the curriculum, and children apply these in their writing in all subjects.
Across the school the adults strive to continually develop children’s language and give them a wide range of vocabulary to make interesting choices in their writing. Specific vocabulary is identified and promoted for each text and used to develop the children’s own writing. Children are supported in their understanding of these new and often ambitious words. Children’s vocabulary development is also promoted across the curriculum, like in Science sessions, where the children need to use specific terminology.
From Year 1 we follow the No-Nonsense spelling scheme which links to the National Curriculum guidelines for Statutory and Non-Statutory words and gives children numerous strategies for remembering words. We also have a number of mnemonic patterns which the children learn. Where possible, links are also made to learn spelling patterns in reading and writing in English lessons.
At Ivington, we use the Ruth Miskin letter formation and the Nelson Handwriting scheme to ensure consistency in letter formation and joins. The children have handwriting sessions taught during the week to ensure that they are regularly practising their handwriting. Throughout year 1 and year 2 the children are developing their letter formation and starting to learn how to join some of their letters using horizontal and diagonal joins. From Year 3, there is an expectation that children will be using joined handwriting.
Speaking, Presenting and Drama
Developing children’s confidence and level of self-esteem can be partly achieved through opportunities to practise and be familiar with speaking in front of an audience. At Ivington, we practise whole class and group reciting of poetry and song lyrics, present mini plays, take part in special Services on a regular basis and include debates and drama activities as part of our usual school life. Drama is especially beneficial for children in producing high quality writing, like recreating the scenes in The Island by Armin Greder. If children have physically acted something out, they find it so much easier to put pen to paper afterwards.
Children use ICT in English lessons where it enhances their learning, such as in research, note making or presenting their work.
In all classes, children have a wide range of abilities, and we seek to provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this through a range of strategies. In some lessons, we do it through differentiated group work, while in others, we ask children to work from the same starting point before moving on to develop their own ideas at a greater depth. We use classroom assistants to support some children to enable work to be matched to the needs of individuals.
Reading sessions at Ivington CE Primary and Pre-School develop pupils'
- positive attitude to reading and an understanding of what they read, including drawing inferences and summarising the main ideas
- discussion of an increasingly wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks
- reading of books that are structured in different ways and reading for a range of purposes
- familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions
- recommendation of books that they have read to their peers, giving reasons for their choices
- identification and discussion of themes and conventions in and across a wide range of writing
- comparisons within and across books
- learning of a wider range of poetry by heart
- preparation of poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience
- discussion and evaluation of how authors use language, including figurative language, considering the impact on the reader
- distinguishing between statements of fact and opinion
- retrieving, recording and presenting information from non-fiction
- participating in discussions about books that are read to them and those they can read for themselves, building on their own and others’ ideas and challenging views courteously
- explaining and discussing their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, maintaining a focus on the topic and using notes where necessary
- being able to provide reasoned justifications for their views
Writing sessions at Ivington CE Primary and Pre-School develop pupils'
- identification of the audience and purpose for their writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own
- development of initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary
- writing of narratives, considering how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed
- drafting and writing by selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning
- narratives, describing settings, characters and atmosphere and integrating dialogue to convey character and advance the action
- longer passages
- use of a wide range of devices to build cohesion within and across paragraphs
- use of further organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader [for example, headings, bullet points, underlining]
- evaluation and editing by assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing
- changes to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning
- consistency and correct use of tense throughout a piece of writing
- correct subject and verb agreement when using singular and plural, distinguishing between the language of speech and writing and choosing the appropriate register
- proofreading for spelling and punctuation errors
- performance of their own compositions, using appropriate intonation, volume, and movement so that meaning is clear
English lessons at Ivington CE Primary and Pre-School offers:
- an English Curriculum that will teach children 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.
- a chance for children to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development.
- reading strategies which enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.
- the skills of language which are essential to participating fully as a member of society