"The more you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you'll go."
We are very proud of our high attainment in English. Our children make excellent progress from their individual starting points and attainment is consistently above local and national averages. Our children are articulate, imaginative and engaged in learning; it is a joy to watch them learn and develop their English skills.
The English curriculum is split equally into three areas: Talk, Reading and Writing. These skills are taught in English lessons and across the wider school curriculum. This is done in a variety of ways:-
We teach weekly philosophy lessons from Nursery through to Year 2 which help the children to develop their ‘bigger thinking’ skills and enables them to widen their vocabulary, reasoning skills and ability to articulate. It also helps to develop their questioning and debating skills. We use discussion, drama and visualisation as a way into a text and as tools to help the children develop a deeper understanding of a story, which is then reflected within their writing.
We use a wide range of techniques to get the children really thinking about a setting, the plot or perhaps the thoughts and feelings of a particular character. This process helps to build their vocabulary and develop their ideas. The children may work in small groups, pairs or individually and they will be expected to think about their body language, gestures and posture as well as what they are saying and how they are saying it.
How You Can Help
Talk to your children about their lives and what is going on around them. Take them to museums, the park, galleries and if possible to the theatre. Provide them with real life experiences that they can use when writing stories and give them a whole host of memories and experiences that they can refer to when reading or during discussions. Encourage your child to use a rich vocabulary and as they develop, to speak in sentences.
We plan topics around our amazing books and the teachers spend a long time ensuring the children have fabulous texts to read and work from.
Reading is essential for success in all walks of life; it is also one of life’s pleasures! We help our children learn the skills to read for purpose as well as enjoyment. We aim to encourage and inspire all our children to develop a love and appreciation of literature as we believe that good reading habits instilled in them at an early age will stay with them throughout life.
We use the Oxford Reading Tree book scheme as our main texts but we also have the Jelly and Bean readers for our phonetic readers. In a school week the children will read individually to their teachers and learning assistants and take part in group reading activities that focus on developing their comprehension and higher order thinking skills. The children are encouraged to visit the reading areas within the classrooms and the library areas to develop their love of reading independently. We understand the importance of parental involvement when teaching a child to read and we value the crucial support that parents and carers give to their children when helping them to read at home.
We ensure that the teaching of reading focuses on developing each child’s skill in word reading and comprehension as both these skills are vital to developing our children’s fluency and confidence and we are very proud of our children’s continued high levels of progress and achievement.
How You Can Help
Your child will bring home a reading book from school. Encourage them to read these books daily.
Encourage your child to read widely and often. The best readers read a variety of texts, for example stories, information books, comics, signs, captions, labels and websites (with your permission). Take them to the library where they can choose from a whole variety of books and audio books or join in a story telling session.
Read to your child regularly so that they hear language correctly modelled. If your child is lucky enough to speak more than one language, share books in your mother tongue as well.
Talk to your child about their reading and make sure that they really understand the text, even if they appear to be fluent. You could ask what they like or don’t like about the book, what has happened so far? What might happen next? What are the characters like? How does the author describe the setting? You could look for information together and answer questions about the text.
We use the Jolly Phonics program which is a fun and interactive for your children. Phonics teaching starts in nursery and continues throughout the school. Using phonics helps the children to decode words using the 44 sounds in the English language. As soon as children recognise sounds they can use them to blend words and read simple stories. We also teach children other strategies to support the development of their reading skills. These include thinking about the context of a word, using picture clues and recognition of whole words. Children can also learn ‘tricky’ words that are not decodable using phonics e.g. the, come, done.
How You Can Help
Practise the sounds your child brings home and encourage them to try and use their sounds when reading or writing simple sentences.
Children need lots of different skills to become a good writer. These include having ideas, an awareness of why you are writing something and who it is for, a wide vocabulary, the ability to spell and punctuate accurately, and an understanding of grammar and neat handwriting. These skills take time to learn; children develop their speaking and listening skills first, then reading and finally writing. It is therefore vital that children learn to articulate their ideas and have the opportunity to read widely in order to broaden their vocabulary and understanding of language.
The children begin to mark make in nursery and are encouraged to talk about what they have written. They are also taught to hold a pencil correctly and should be able to recognise the letters within their names. The children in reception begin to use their phonetic knowledge to write common words and ‘have a go’ at more complex spellings. They are also encouraged to write simple sentences with support and there is a focus on correct letter formation. From Year 1 the children are introduced to the pre- cursive style of writing and the expectation is that by the end of Year 2 most children will be writing in the cursive style.
The children are expected to use their phonics knowledge to help them to spell and as they progress through the school they learn more about the sound families and the alternative spelling patterns. Children will be expected to be able to spell the common exception words correctly in KS1.
During the initial stages of early writing the children will be taught to use capital letters, full stops and finger spaces. As they progress through the school the grammar expectations will increase. By the end of Year 2 they will be using a wide range of punctuation and have developed a deeper understanding of how to create an interesting and detailed sentence to captivate the reader and make their writing more compelling.
How You Can Help
Encourage your child to develop their speaking and listening skills and read widely. Practise mark making and write as often as possible from as early as possible and encourage them to read what they have written to you. Make paper, pencils, pens etc. available to them so they can write at home. Listen to their stories and help them to develop their vocabulary and develop their understanding of story structure. Encourage them to keep diaries, write letters/postcards/ greetings cards and make lists. Point out writing around the home and local environment, play spelling games with the children and encourage their use of phonics during early writing.
Most importantly, have fun. We all do well at the things we enjoy!