“A BOOK IS CHEAPER THAN A STEAK. READ ONE, LEARN A LITTLE AND EAT BETTER.”
(Sign in pop Becker’s Book Emporium, Bugsy Malone)
The academic year 2014-15 saw the introduction of the new curriculum for everyone which states that its
overarching aim … 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.
Link to national curriculum for English
Key Stage 1
We teach in differentiated groups across Year 1 and 2. These groups are determined by the Read Write Inc (RWI) scheme. The children are assessed half termly and the groups are arranged accordingly. The RWI scheme is followed to ensure progression. The start of each lesson involves learning a new sound, reading and writing words that contain the new sound. Each new sound is reviewed daily to encourage quick recall and speedy reading. Towards the end of the week the focus moves from the reading to the writing. Comprehension skills and guided reading all form part of the factors that form a pacey lesson. Some groups are taught by our trained teaching assistants, and this means that the groups can be made up of smaller numbers of children. Those children that have completed the RWI scheme then move on to more traditional English lessons where reading a wide variety of text and writing well in a variety of different styles (genres) is the focus.
Key Stage 2
English across Key Stage 2 is taught in mixed ability classes. Our school aims to make “learning irresistible” and to this end English lessons encompass activities which promote reading widely for pleasure. The children read both fiction and non- fiction texts. In school we use a variety of reading schemes, such as Oxford Reading Tree, Big Cat and Project X. There is also a wide choice of reading material available in our school library. We aim to get children reading fluently as soon as possible.
The children are encouraged when reading to analyse a text for new knowledge and meaning which is not immediately apparent. To help develop these skills, we have regular “reading weeks” which help build up the children’s reading stamina. The focus of the reading week is to gain a deeper understanding of a text by exploring it through role play. Children consider the writer’s intention and the context and purpose of the text.
Children are taught to write legibly and present their work to a high standard. They learn to recognise a variety of different genres and become confident writers themselves. To this end, much of the writing is taught using Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing techniques.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar across the school.
The world of work in to which our children will graduate is one where communication skills are key. The common language of that world is English. We do our children no favours if we send them on to the next stage of their education unable to master the demands of both spoken and written Standard English. When children use English grammar incorrectly in the working environment of the school, either written or spoken, they will be corrected. Our aim is not to stop children using local words and phrases, but to equip them with the skills to switch between Standard English and the local dialect and to ensure that they know when it is necessary to use Standard English.
To this end, the teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) is embedded into all lessons, including maths. In addition 2 x 45 minute discrete SPaG session per week are taught in each year group along with 2 early morning “basic skills” sessions a week. There is a school wide emphasis on these basic skills being non – negotiable, according to year group, in line with demands of the 2014 curriculum. All children from year 1 onwards are taught how to edit their own writing and how to collaboratively improve their own and other’s writing. The emphasis is on ensuring that non-negotiables are used and sentence structure follows the conventions of English grammar. Children in years 5 and 6 are set grammar homework.
All children are taught spelling rules (and the exceptions) and given a weekly spelling list to practice at home. All children complete weekly dictations based on the spellings they have learned. Please see the spelling policy for further details.