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. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.
Teachers and pupils in our school usually use the term ‘English’ to describe the English curriculum. English skills will be taught and practised in many areas across the curriculum, and not just in ‘English’ lessons.
Our objectives in the teaching of English skills are:
- 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 English heritage;
- to enable and encourage pupils to apply their English skills across the whole curriculum.
We do not use one single structured ‘reading scheme’ in our school, but believe in guiding and supporting children to read ‘real books’ with text of an appropriate level of difficulty. For this reason, many of our books, fiction and non-fiction are colour-coded to indicate their level of difficulty, in the EYFS, Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2. Alongside ensuring that children read books of progressive difficulty, we do not deny children access to books which interest them but which may be too difficult for them to read independently. We seek to support children in accessing such books and encourage the use of ‘paired reading’ with an adult or a more able reader.
Examples of the schemes used in guided reading;
Collins – Sky Racer / Spotlight/ Big Cat
Longman – The Book Project
Oxford Reading Tree / Songbirds
Pearson – Phonics Bug
Examples of the schemes used for home reading:
Oxford Reading Tree / Songbirds/ Tree Tops
Collins – Sky Racer
Please note we have recently purchased new home reading books, which include a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books to help motivate and inspire the children to read at home.
‘Letters and Sounds’ is the government programme for teaching phonics and high frequency words. It is split into phases with the different phases being covered consecutively in different years in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. The children are taught in groups according to their need.
Letters and Sounds progresses from the simple to the more complex aspects of phonics at a pace that is suitable for the children who are learning.
We teach phonics daily in KS1 and three times a week in LKS2 using pictures, cards, whiteboards, computer programs and a range of practical activities.
A phonics screening test will take place at the end of KS1 and results compared nationally.