English

Subject Leader: Mrs Palmer

palmerh@saintgeorgescofe.kent.sch.uk

Intent
At Saint George’s Primary Phase, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing, and discussion, enabling our pupils to access all areas of the curriculum and the wider world. We aim to inspire our pupils with a rich exposure to texts, and opportunities to read widely for pleasure. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately, and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and encourage the art of debate to further their learning.

We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial and supports learning across all areas of the curriculum.  Literacy skills will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as members of society.

 

Implementation
Our intention to ensure that all children develop a love of reading, writing, and discussion is embedded across our English lessons as well as the wider curriculum. Our English curriculum is organised to ensure that it provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing, and discussion. The school follows the Quigley Essentials Curriculum, which ensures teachers are empowered to plan creatively with flexibility around timetabling. Cross-curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014.

The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
● read easily, fluently, and with a 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.

In addition to daily English lessons, children excel in reading through high-quality phonics teaching through the ‘Little Wandle’ programme and daily opportunities for storytelling. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. We also provide a wealth of enrichment opportunities, including, World Book Day, Library Club, and shared reading opportunities across the Primary Phase, as well as competitions throughout the year.

Impact
As a result, we have a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their reading and writing and love to discuss and share their ideas. This is evident when speaking to our children, looking in their books and around our school.

For our Primary Phase Overview for English Click here

 

Accelerated Reader

At Saint George’s Primary Phase the children from Year Two upwards follow Accelerated Reader. Class teachers will decide when it is appropriate for the children to start using Accelerated Reader. A child needs to have some fluency in their reading as this programme does not help children learn to read – it consolidates their learning and promotes reading comprehension rather than decoding and word reading skills.

Accelerated Reader is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children, with the support of their class teacher pick a book at their own level and read it at their own pace. When finished, the children take a short quiz on the computer or IPAD. (Passing the quiz is an indication that the child understood what was read.) Accelerated Reader gives children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help the children set goals and direct ongoing reading practice. Children using Accelerated Reader choose their own books to read within their reading level, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them. Teachers help the children choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that the children can pass the quiz and experience success. If a child does not do well on the quiz, the teacher may help them choose another book that is more appropriate or ask more probing questions as they read and before they take their next quiz. In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they’re reading books at their reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all, they learn and grow at their own pace.

 

Writing

Our focus at Saint George’s Primary Phase is on grammatically accurate and fluent writing. Teachers model the writing and planning process through shared writing sessions where ideas are collected and developed. 

In KS1, time is given for pupils to orally compose sentences before writing them and later to evaluate their writing with the teacher or other pupils. 

In KS2, pupils may use writing similar to that which they are planning to write, in order to understand more about the structure. They will discuss ideas and draft their writing, later evaluating and editing their work. 

Across the school, the children use drama, presentations, and debate to enhance their literacy skills. 

Grammar and punctuation are contextually taught within English lessons but also through discrete sessions where appropriate. Objectives taught within literacy are used to develop writing across the curriculum. Word processing, combining text and graphics, is developed using computer programs such as Word and Publisher where possible. 

 

Handwriting

We encourage pupils to take pride in the presentation of their written work and reward pupils who maintain high standards in handwriting through incentives such as a pen licence. We aim to teach all children to write in a fluid, legible, and joined style. 

In KS1 and KS2, handwriting is taught frequently and through discrete, direct sessions, using ‘Letter-join’. ‘Letter-join’ is also used to support children’s learning at home.

Reading

At Saint George’s Primary Phase, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, we want children to be able to read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

In Early Years Foundation Stage and early Key Stage 1, children largely follow the ‘Little Wandle’ reading scheme books, to support their learning of systematic, synthetic phonics. These books may also be supplemented by books from either Super Phonics or Dandelion Readers. As pupils continue to progress in reading, they choose from a wider range of books which are within a colour banded scheme. 

Reading takes place throughout the school day and may be as part of a guided reading group or individually. We actively encourage the children to read every day at home and promote the importance of reading throughout school. We use Book Week and other country-wide events to develop children’s love of books and reading for enjoyment.

Learning outcomes linked to reading are taught within English lessons and in other areas of the curriculum, where appropriate.  During this time children are taught using whole class texts. Teachers read regularly to their class to model the reading process and teach skills such as inference and deduction, as well as grammatical and punctuation conventions. Poetry and play reading are taught with an awareness of final performance, and this is taught during our weekly drama lessons. Analysis and comprehension activities involving “real” texts are used to develop skills in these areas. 

For information on recommended books for each year group: core reading texts

Grammatical terminology is used and taught throughout the school, with the aim being that children will be familiar with the correct vocabulary and have a basic understanding that can then be built upon in Key Stage 2.

Grammar may be a focus within the teaching of reading, writing, and speaking. Once children have been taught a new grammatical concept, they are then given opportunities to apply and explore it further in their own writing and speech and to identify its use in texts shared in class.

Spelling Shed is used across the school to teach and help children practise spelling patterns and common exception words in a fun and interactive way. Children also work on spellings through weekly spelling tests, phonic activities and ‘word of the week’ tasks. Spellings are modelled and corrected regularly for them by the teaching staff.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, children are taught to read and write using ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme . 

We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

 

We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

 

We teach phonics for between 20 and 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.

 

The ‘Little Wandle’ programme has six incremental phases. In phase one, which is mostly covered in preschool and early on in Foundation Stage, the activities concentrate on phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting. Phases two to six focus on high quality phonics work which incorporates reading and spelling. The aim is to ensure that by the end of Key Stage 1, children have developed fluent word reading skills and have good foundations in spelling. 

Pupils across EYFS and KS1 are taught Phonics as part of daily whole class teaching sessions and take part in daily catch-up lessons if needed.