This core curriculum area covers speaking, listening, reading and writing (including handwriting). Children enter school at different stages of development of their English skills. We aim to develop these skills so that each child becomes an increasingly confident and proficient language user. English is taught daily and through other areas of the curriculum.
These skills are developed in a variety of settings and throughout all curriculum areas to encourage communication in purposeful, clear and orderly dialogue, that is appropriate for a range of occasions and purposes, and which invites careful, sympathetic and responsive listening. Children are given the opportunity to express and explore thoughts, feelings and emotions through speaking. They are encouraged to listen carefully to stories, discussion, other ideas and feelings and to respond appropriately. They are expected to learn to respect and respond to the views of others.
Reading has extremely high status within the school and we seek to create fluent, discerning, life-long readers who love and value books. We actively involve parents in the process of reading and acknowledge the role of parents in the development of reading. We encourage parents and children to enjoy reading and sharing books together. Where this is regular practice at home, children make significant progress. Time is set aside for regular reading and children are given the experience of reading a variety of texts alone and together. They are encouraged to discuss these and make choices about their reading. We have a wide range of high quality reading materials to support children's reading development.
Phonics is taught daily in the Early Years Unit and Key Stage 1 and through discrete lessons in KS2, as needed. The sessions are carefully planned to be fun, engaging and challenging. We follow the Junior Learning Letters and Sounds validated Phonics scheme. We have invested in a range of quality resources including the interactive online resource to support teaching. The children have many opportunities to apply their learning through child initiated and adult directed activities.
Assessment is ongoing and used to inform next steps and planning. Using the assessments we can plan for rapid intervention where necessary to ensure no child is left behind. Any children entering Key Stage 2 who are still experiencing difficulties in reading and/or writing because they have missed or misunderstood a phase of phonics teaching receive support from their class teacher and Teaching Assistants trained in phonics intervention using quality teaching methods and resources to support the individual child.
We use the Power of Reading scheme as the basis for much of our Literacy work throughout all school years. Quality texts are chosen approximately each half term and the children become fully engaged in the text. The tasks linked to the books foster a love of reading, understanding and analysis of the text, opportunities for drama, speaking and listening and we incorporate opportunities for a variety of writing.
Children learn to write by using the language they speak. We actively encourage children to ‘have a go’, and then with skilful teacher input and support we work through the recognised stages of development to achieve standard written English. Spelling, phonics and punctuation are developed gradually through the children’s writing. As they develop, children are encouraged to see writing as a powerful means of self - expression and communication and to write for a range of purposes.
In the nursery and reception classes, the children are taught how to value books and how to handle them with care. The environment is enhanced with quality fiction and non-fiction texts and the children are encouraged to bring in books from home to share. During induction sessions and parent information evenings, we encourage the parents and carers to donate a book to celebrate their child's birthday, instead of sweet treats, to further promote the value of reading.
In the Reception and Key Stage 1 classes Whole Class and smaller group Guided Reading is taught twice a week. Sessions are led by The class teacher and Teaching Assistants. The children access a range of quality texts, fiction and non-fiction, from Junior Learning, Big Cat, Phonics Bug, Literacy Shed VIPERS texts and some Oxford Reading Tree. During guided reading sessions the children focus on key words and phonemes linked to the phonic phase they are working in. The sessions include opportunities to respond to the texts and develop early awareness of punctuation, grammar and comprehension. Guided reading sessions are planned to challenge and progress skills and confidence. Children are taught the VIPERS acronym and use these to develop their comprehension skills.
The children are allocated home reading books each week. These comprise of a physical book and an online book. These books are chosen from the Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree and Bug Club schemes and Bug Club Online. Books are carefully chosen and are pitched at a slightly lower level than the books they are accessing in school. This enables the children to gain confidence and experience success whilst sharing their developing skills with their parents and carers.
In Key Stage 2, Guided Reading is taught at least twice each week. Sessions are led by either the class teacher or a teaching assistant and are usually delivered to the whole class, with additional support for groups and/or individuals as appropriate to their level of attainment.
During Guided Reading, children access and encounter a variety of genre and their VIPERS reading skills (please see diagram above) are developed through investigating material from Pobble 365, Literacy Shed Plus and short film clips.
Home Reading is something which enriches the children's learning both in their English and across other subjects. We feel it is vitally important that children are inspired to read and it be something which they get lots of enjoyment out of. Each child in Key Stage 2 is given a home reading book each week. The books are banded and so are linked to the reading ability of that child and more confident, fluent readers may choose a book to read at home from our extensive school library. Children are encouraged to share their books with family members and to keep a record of the texts they've read.