ENGLISH

Our intent through the English curriculum is to ensure that children develop the skills and knowledge that enables them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language, and to equip them with skills to become lifelong learners. We help children to enjoy and appreciate literature and develop a passion for reading. Everyday, we teach reading and writing in varied and lively ways, as well as promoting reading and writing in all subjects. We want our children to acquire core literacy skills and have a love of language.

Spoken Language

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.  It is our intent that the children at William Morris develop a rich and diverse knowledge of language. This is to be implemented across the curriculum; we provide our children with a wide range of opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills such as discussion, debate, presentation, drama and movie making. During speaking activities, we assist children in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing, and children’s knowledge across the curriculum, the impact of which can be seen in all subjects.

Children will participate in a range of drama activities and we will invite theatre groups and other performers, such as storytellers into the school. We will also hold an annual Book Fair and dress up for World Book Day.

Reading

Our intent is that pupils learn to read fluently and with a good understanding. Reading enables pupils to acquire knowledge, develop a wide vocabulary and stimulate the imagination. It helps pupils to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Through reading high quality literature, pupils develop a good understanding of the world and a love of reading.

Ways we teach children to learn to read:

  • Learning to read comprises of two core elements: word reading and comprehension.  We implement the teaching of these skills in a range of ways

  • We balance individual reading with guided group reading and also develop comprehension in our daily literacy skills sessions

  • Rewards for reading regularly at home will be given out in assembly

  • Books linked to phonic stages will enable a clear progression in reading through the use of quality reading texts. We use the Collins Big Cat reading scheme for fiction books and other schemes for non-fiction to ensure a variety of genres are accessed. The phonic readers will provide children with texts that are decodable and contain the sounds that the children have been taught, as well the common exception words

  • Ongoing formative assessment will take place throughout the term and teachers will hear the children read weekly within the EYFS and KS1

  • There are summative tests to assess word reading and comprehension and inform progress and help us to identify rigorous next steps for learning through question level analysis

  • Teachers read a class book to the pupils so that they get to know a range of stories, poetry and information books, promoting reading for enjoyment, a love of books and the development of knowledge and language

 

Comprehension and Inference

In Early Years and Key Stage One, the pupils’ understanding of a text is developed orally through opened ended questions and through discussing the meaning of words.  From Year 2 upwards, in reading sessions pupils are taught how to find evidence in the text to back up their ideas.  With the support of a teacher, they are taught the wider skills of reading and are given the opportunity to look at texts in more depth. 

When reading with your child at home, in order to help them understand the text further you can ask the ask them a range of questions that encourages them to retrieve information, infer information or encourages them to give their own thoughts and opinions.

Questions to develop comprehension skills

Can your child find evidence directly and indirectly from the story? 

  • What did……… do?

  • How many……… were/are there?

  • Where did it happen?

  • Who was there?

  • Who are………?

  • How does he describe it?

  • How do you make/do……?

  • What happened when……… did………?

  • What happened to………?

  • How is the character feeling? How do you know?

Can your child answer questions without referring to the story?

  • Have you ever....?

  • If you could....?

  • If you were going to....?

  • In your opinion...?

  • Do you agree with...? Why...?

  • Do you know anyone who...?

  • How do you feel about....?

  • What do you think will happen next...? 

Phonics

Through quality phonic teaching, which begins in Nursery, we use the ‘StoryTime Phonics' and ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach to teach phonics, and use ‘Phonics Play’, a computer based resource, to further help the pupils learn to read and write sounds. Pupils are taught to read tricky high frequency words and are given books to read at home that match their phonic and word knowledge; this boosts the child’s confidence in reading. Rewards for reading regularly at home will be given out in assembly. Book bands will enable a clear progression in reading through the use of quality reading texts. We use a range of books from Collins Big Cat and other schemes that incorporates different genres and text types.

Children learn Phase 1 Phonics throughout the first year of the Foundation Stage. This comprises of lots of fun activities including sound walks and games. It is our intent that children can blend and segment everyday sounds before they move onto learning phonic sounds. These skills are essential as the foundations of all phonic learning. Children will begin to name letters and begin to learn letters and sounds relevant to their life, e.g. the letters in their name.

Once into Foundation Stage 2 (Reception), children start a phonics programme. We have designed our curriculum to follow the sequence of the Letters and Sounds scheme. This will continue through Year 1 and into Year 2.

The 5 main skills taught during each phase are as follows:

  1. Learning the letter sounds. Children will be taught the 44 main sounds. This include alphabet sounds as well as digraphs such as ‘sh’, ‘th’, ‘ai’ and ‘ue’.

  2. Learning the letter formation. Using a multi-sensory approach the children will learn how to form and write letters. We will use the printed form and will follow the rising stars scheme for handwriting.

  3. Blending. Children are taught how to blend the sounds together to read and write new words e.g. c-a-t becomes cat.

  4. Identifying the sounds in words (segmenting). Children are taught the 44 main letter sounds. This includes the alphabet sounds and the digraphs such as ‘th’, ‘sh’, ‘ai’ and ‘ue’.

  5. Tricky words (or Beegu words). These are the words with irregular spellings. Children will learn to read and spell these separately.

 

Children take home flash cards to play games with, to help them embed their learning from the school phonics sessions. They also have a reading book that is carefully matched to their phonics level and ability, to help them to practise and master their phonics. We use the Collins Big Cat reading scheme as children begin learning to read, as this matches the Letters and Sounds scheme. We also encourage children to take non-fiction books home to read as well as a phonics based reader. Children are continuously assessed on their phonic knowledge.

Writing

At William Morris, our intent is for our pupils to become fluent, articulate and enthusiastic writers. We teach the writing objectives of the National Curriculum using an exciting cross-curricular approach, and feel it is important to give pupils rich experiences to inspire writing and to provide a strong purpose where possible. Exciting stimuli helps children to be enthused about writing. We look for ways to motivate and inspire pupils so they see themselves as 'writers'.

Ways we teach children to learn to write:

  • Units of work are planned that immerse children in a genre by reading and discussing good examples of writing before the children plan and write their own.

  • We believe that pupils need to hear how sentences are spoken, speak these sentences aloud and then read and analyse them written in a text before attempting to write them for themselves.

  • We use carefully chosen or created model texts as well as live modelling and shared writing so that pupils can see the process involved in creating a piece of writing.

  • The pupils are given time to edit, and improve their writing and they are encouraged to evaluate both with the teacher and with peers.

  • We ensure the pupils have the opportunity to write for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.

  • We recognise the vital importance of exposing our pupils to a rich and varied vocabulary and understand that their acquisition and common of vocabulary are key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum.

  • Where possible, our teaching of the grammar requirements of the National Curriculum are embedded into our writing lessons because we believe that grammar makes most sense when it is taught as an active process, related to the teaching of writing and reading.

Spelling

The ability to write ideas down fluently requires a good understanding of spelling.

In Key Stage 1, we continue to follow the ‘StoryTime Phonics’ and ‘Letters and Sounds’ approaches and teach pupils how to write phonemes as graphemes, using ‘Phonics Play’ and ‘Rising Stars’. 

In Key Stage 2, we will use the Rising Stars spelling scheme. These schemes ensure full coverage of, and progression within the National Curriculum requirements.

Strategies to support pupils with their spelling:

  • Phonetic spelling strategies. Segmenting, to see how a word is composed of individual sounds, is crucial for spelling.

  • Visual spelling strategy. Learning how a word looks and visualising the word can be an effective strategy.

  • Rule-based strategies. Pupils are taught through investigations to understand rules behind spelling patterns.

  • Word-meaning strategies. Helping pupils understand what words mean can support their spelling of those words. Explaining how words are derived, how prefixes and suffixes are added on to root words and how to form compound words, can all support confidence and accurate spelling.

  • We also encourage the pupils to develop their use of dictionaries and other tools to check their spelling.

Handwriting

Handwriting is taught explicitly in the early stages with handwriting practice within the day. EYFS children learn the correct formation of letters and will print as well as taking part in gross motor and fine motor activities to help strengthen finger tips and arm muscles. We spend time ensuring children have the correct pencil grip. They will begin to join digraphs once they are developmentally ready and this will continue into Year 1. In Year 2, children will begin to join all letters once the teacher decides they are ready. Once a child is fluently joining their handwriting they will use a pen and be encouraged to develop their own style. We will use the script from the Rising Stars handwriting scheme. In Key Stage 2, pupils who demonstrate good handwriting are awarded a handwriting licence.  This enables them to use handwriting pens and to further develop their fluency.

© 2019 William Morris Primary School

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