English

English

National Curriculum:

Purpose of study
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils 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. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

Aims
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with 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.

Spoken language
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Pupils should also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.


All pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.


Statutory requirements which underpin all aspects of spoken language across the six years of primary education form part of the national curriculum. These are reflected and contextualised within the reading and writing domains which follow.

Reading
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading).

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

Writing
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.


Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and glossary
The two statutory appendices – on spelling and on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation – give an overview of the specific features that should be included in teaching the programmes of study.
Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers should show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. References to developing pupils’ vocabulary are also included within the appendices.


Pupils should be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed. This is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, but simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons. A non-statutory Glossary is provided for teachers.


Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.

 

At St Michael’s, we encourage children to communicate effectively, purposefully and with enjoyment through their spoken and written work.

Speaking and Listening
We believe that developing speaking and listening skills is the key to success in all aspects of literacy and plan many exciting activities to encourage the children to express their ideas, opinions and emotions. We use talk partners to share ideas before presenting to a group, drama to immerse children in a narrative, historical setting or to find out about a character in a story we are reading. We encourage the children to develop a wide vocabulary which they use to express themselves, both verbally and in writing.

Reading
Reading skills are taught through phonics, guided reading, comprehension and shared reading across the curriculum. We use Oxford Reading Tree as our core reading scheme but supplement this with other good quality texts aimed at developing specific reading skills. Read Write Inc. is used as the basis of our phonics work in school which we also supplement by many high quality resources and creative ideas.  We encourage children to read for pleasure and encourage them to use the school library and local library, with whom we have built strong links. Authors and librarians are invited to school to talk about their work and lead with the children. These activities, in turn, enable the children to have some ‘real life’ moments to write about, encouraging creative plots, thoughtful settings and exciting characters to include in their story writing.

Writing
The daily English lesson is focused on developing writing skills and we teach all age groups a range of writing genres in both fiction and non-fiction. We understand that learners require core skills to be successful writers and so teach the ‘nuts and bolts’ of writing in the form of grammar and punctuation, spelling, text organisation and composition and effect. However, we have linked our English work to our Creative Curriculum so that children are constantly learning for a purpose and see the connections between, for example, describing a setting in writing to creating one in art, or reading A Snowy Night and taking part in the story in the role play area.

ICT
ICT 
is used at whole-class, group and independent levels. The screen projection of text enables it to be read and shared, and computers used to create and shape texts when appropriate. In addition, ICT is used to research, practise spellings and reading in phonics lessons.

How do we teach Phonics at St Michael's Church of England Primary School?

 

All children from Reception in our school now access a phonics programme called Read Write Inc. They begin with Read Write Inc phonics lessons and then once all their sounds are learnt and they are confident at writing words containing those sounds they progress onto Guided Reading sessions or RWI Literacy and Language lessons.

Children in Nursery continue to access Letters and Sound Phase phonics which concentrates on listening skills, music, songs and rhymes to support the start of phonics learning.  You can see information on our website with some examples of their phonics lessons. When ready they will progress onto Read Write Inc.

We wanted to put in place a systematic and structured approach to teaching phonics in school which all children would be familiar with and would create confident and enthusiastic readers and writers.

The phonics programme we have chosen has had much success in schools similar to ours. It is also important that phonics is taught consistently and regularly and in a way which is appealing to children.

In addition to Read Write Inc we use the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme.

Reading information for parents:
Reading
At St Michael's we aim to develop pupils with a love of reading who:
  • read with confidence, fluency and understanding whilst using a range of independent strategies to help.
  • Understand the sound and spelling system (through Read Write Inc) and use this to read accurately.
  • Have an interest in a wide range of texts and read for enjoyment and information.
Phonics
At St Michael's we teach phonics in a variety of ways depending on the age of the child.
 
In Nursery we teach phonics through Letters and Sounds Phase One which focuses on listening skills, music, songs and rhymes to support phonics skills in Early Years. We use a variety of fun activities and the outdoor environment to tune children's speaking and listening skills.
 
From Reception and into Key Stage One we teach phonics through a systematic, synthetic phonics scheme called Read Write Inc which supports children in learning how to read and write. Children learn in small ability groups; learning sounds, reading words, reading books and writing. 
 
All our teachers and teaching assistants are trained Read Write Inc teachers and deliver a phonics session to their group once a day. (please see attached Read Write Inc information for more details).
 
Children will bring home Phonics homework to support the learning of sounds and parental support is, as always, essential for their success and progress in Reading.
 
Guided Reading
From Year 2 children are developing their Guided Reading skills through daily sessions. They share books in groups and focus not just on their reading ability but on their ability to discuss the text, interpret the information they are reading, increase the reading challenge and develop new reading skills. Children read quality texts both fiction and non-fiction to increase their experience of a variety of reading material.
 
Our Reading scheme
 
Our reading scheme books support and recognise the use of phonics in the early stages of reading.
At St Michael's we use a variety of books to support children's reading. However, the majority of the reading books which come home for reading will be Oxford Reading Tree books.  These books are both fiction and non-fiction books.
 
Our reading scheme books initially may be encouraging children to discuss and answer questions by looking at and talking about the pictures within the book. This is an important and essential skill that readers need to develop. The next books will support and recognise the use of phonics in the early stages of reading. Once phonics is no longer necessary in the decoding process then books will be chosen to challenge and engage the proficient and confident reader however children are still developing a variety of essential skills necessary to becoming a life long reader.
 
Parents as reading teachers.
Children begin their reading journey at an early age with adults sharing books with them, asking them lots of questions, having conversations, singing songs and rhymes or by having fun with words but this doesn't need to stop when they get older. Older children continue to enjoy being read to and talking about the texts that they are reading.
 
Michael Rosen tells us - 
•‘From the day our children are born (yes) to the day they tell us to stop, we should read to them’
Useful resources to support SPaG: