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.
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.
Foci for learning:
- To acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills associated with Spoken Language.
- To acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills associated with Reading, including:
- Word reading;
3.To acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills associated with Writing, including:
- Handwriting and presentation;
- Vocabulary and grammar;
- Phonics and Spelling.
Progression of skills
During their time in pre-school, our children participate in planned activities to support the development of speaking and listening skills. Activities are planned to develop auditory memory and sequencing skills, which in turn lay the foundations for future phonics teaching. We use the Read Write Inc (RWI) synthetic phonics scheme to deliver our phonics teaching. This is a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme that is validated by the Department for Education.
From the start of the Reception year, we introduce daily phonics sessions. These phonics sessions might be only ten minutes long in the first few days. However, by the end of Reception, children will receive about an hour of phonics teaching a day to consolidate previous learning, learn new content and practise and apply what they have learnt.
Phonics teaching continues into Key Stage 1, until children are confident with all Set 1, 2 and 3 sounds and can read 70 -80 + words per minute. Once children reach this stage, they then read Accelerated Reader levelled books and follow the Read Write Inc Spelling programme.
Parent tutorial videos for Read Write Inc. Phonics
Phonics Assessment and Progression
Our progression document below shows the expected Read Write Inc level for each year group at the end of each half-term.
Once children have a secure knowledge of the Read Write Inc. Set 1, 2 and 3 sounds and are using these independently in their writing, they are taught spelling using the Read, Write Inc spelling programme. This covers the objectives outlined in the programme of study laid out in Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.
Read Write Inc Spelling is an interactive programme which teaches spellings in a fun and engaging way. It helps children to learn spellings with common patterns and uses rules in order to help them recall spellings (as well as teaching exceptions to these rules). The children have individual spelling workbooks where they practise their spellings through a range of different activities. To consolidate their understanding of the phonic and spelling and rules they have learned, all children in Year 1 to 6 have weekly spelling lists to practise at home. They then have a ‘spelling quiz’ the following week in school.
Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
We believe that Reading fluently is the key skill that children need to acquire, to be successful in all areas of learning. Whilst children are in the Early Years, we take every opportunity to share books and stories on a daily basis and use resources such as storysacks and puppets to enthuse learners and encourage a love of books. Staff model good practice, teaching children how to handle books carefully. We teach our children to develop their awareness of print in the environment and to understand that print carries meaning. Reading aloud with intonation and expression and explaining new vocabulary, helps children to develop an understanding of what is happening in the text.
Once children start to learn phonics during Read Write Inc Phonics lessons, they begin to learn to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. The phonics books the children read are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words so that, early on, they experience plenty of success. Across the week, the children practise reading the same text at least three times. This supports their decoding and accurate word reading, fluency and comprehension.
Key Stage 2
When children are confident with all Read Write Inc Set 1, 2 and 3 sounds, and can read 70 – 80 + words per minute, they then read Accelerated Reader levelled books.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a computer program that helps teachers to manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Each child is supported to choose a book at their own level and reads it at their own pace. When finished, they take a short online quiz. Passing the quiz is an indication that the child has understood what has been read.
Each child’s reading level is determined by a Star Reading assessment. Star Reader is a computer-based reading assessment program that uses computer-adaptive technology. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Following the test, each child receives a ZPD, or reading range. ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation.
Children choose from levelled books based on their ZPD range recommended by their Star Reading test. These book levels are reported using the ATOS™ readability formula and represent the difficulty of the text. The levels range from 0.5 – 13.5. Class teachers monitor each child’s reading progress and the children take a Star Reader test at the end of each term.
For the children who are reading Accelerated Reader levelled books, they will also have access to Renaissance myON® Reader. This is a library of more than 6,000 enhanced digital eBooks and news articles that are matched to their interests, school year and Lexile® reading level. The children can choose from personalised recommendations, browse by topic or genre, or search using keywords.
Teaching staff also use texts from Renaissance myON® Reader to support whole-class teaching and reading across different subjects.
All classes have regular Guided Reading lessons each week. In these lessons, teachers use a range of comprehension questions and activities using the Totally Pawsome Reading Gang. The Totally Totally Pawsome Reading Gang is a group of canine characters who each represent one of the reading content domains for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Teachers use the characters to ask a range of comprehension questions and teach the children the necessary skills needed to interpret a text in different ways.
The Key Stage 1 characters are:
The Key Stage 2 characters are:
Each class has a class text that is linked the topic for that term. These texts are used to support the children’s reading and writing skills across the wider curriculum. The use of these high-quality books is used to engage and support children to become motivated and independent readers and writers.
Using the class text, teachers plan writing opportunities that allow the children to practise, learn and apply grammar, punctuation and spelling skills within a context. These texts also enable teachers to teach a range of comprehension strategies using a text that may be of a level beyond the children’s own reading fluency level.
We also believe that children produce the most effective writing when they are offered real experiences and purposes for their writing. Where possible, writing opportunities are also linked to educational visits, events or memorable experiences. The process of editing and redrafting is introduced to pupils from Key Stage 1 onwards, so that they can evaluate and improve their own work effectively.
Vocabulary and Grammar
As a staff, we are aware that the more words children know and understand, the more successful they are likely to be in their learning. We therefore take every opportunity to extend pupils’ vocabulary. Key vocabulary is identified for each topic taught and pupils are provided with a glossary or word mat and encouraged to use the vocabulary in spoken language and writing. Staff ensure that the meanings of the vocabulary identified are explained to pupils. Where possible, grammar is taught as part of the teaching of writing and new features are introduced with the relevant genre, but some discrete teaching of grammar is also necessary to ensure effective coverage.
To ensure a consistent whole-school approach to teaching handwriting for Reception to Year 6, we follow the Nelson Handwriting scheme. Nelson Handwriting is a whole-school programme designed to help all children develop a confident, legible and personal handwriting style and meet higher curriculum expectations. Our aim is to teach each child to write legibly, fluently and at reasonable speed.
In our schools, class teachers are generally responsible for teaching handwriting to their own classes, and there are many opportunities to practise the skills of handwriting in the course of writing across the curriculum. However, it is also necessary to provide regular lessons for the teaching and/or revision of handwriting skills. The frequency and length of handwriting lessons is likely to vary according to the age and competence of the pupils. With young children it is appropriate to have short, daily lessons, while older pupils may benefit from one or two longer sessions each week. The amount of time devoted to handwriting may also depend on the point reached in the programme. For example, it may be helpful to provide extra lessons when joins are being introduced.