English

Reading and Writing

Live:  All children will have the chance to live and breathe a range of texts from different cultures, genres and access exiting grammatical and writing sessions related to these.

Love:  Children will foster a love of all things English, learning which authors they love and enjoy reading for pleasure. Children will start to recognise the pieces of writing they thrive in producing, finding a style that works for them.

Learn: Children will have the knowledge and understanding to go into the next stage of life with the ability to accurately read, comprehend any text in which they are face and also the ability to write successfully.

Aims of the English curriculum:

In Reading:

Teaching a child to read is vital. We use a range of strategies, in addition to phonics, such as a variety of decoding methods, teaching high frequency words through sight recognition, discussion through picture books.

In KS1 reading is taught on the basis on Phonics, using Letters and Sounds until children are secure decoders! Once secure, children are exposed to a range of activities. These activities include reading with a teacher or teaching assistant and written comprehensions. In KS2, there is more focus on the comprehension, meaning of words, prediction and writer’s choice of words. One to one reading occurs throughout the school and vulnerable readers are identified in each class to ensure reading progression and a love of reading. During the reading sessions, there is an emphasis on vocabulary, the retrieval of facts and inference. Novels are used to teach reading as well as a range of non-fiction texts. These texts are carefully chosen to ensure that there is progression and challenge across the school. At Firs we aim to develop a love of reading, so children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and school. Teachers read a variety of high-quality texts to the children on a regular basis, during story time.

In Writing:

At Firs Primary School we implement the Talk for Writing approach to teaching English.  Below are more details about what this approach entails and why we adopted it.

Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities, rooted in grammar that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style. Schools that have adopted the approach have not only increased their children’s progress but have found that both children and teachers love it.

Talk for Writing is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.  It builds on three stages of teaching:

1) Imitation – the children learn a text and the language they need.

2) Innovation – the children adapt the model text with ideas of their own.

3) Invention – the children create their own text using the language and skills that the model taught them.

In Phonics:

At Firs, we are passionate about ensuring that all of our children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers – phonics teaching is an integral part of this and a high priority for us. A good grasp of phonics provides the foundations of learning so that fluent reading and writing becomes easier. Through phonics, children learn to orally blend and segment words to read words which, in turn, supports their ability to spell.

We use the Department of Education approved document ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach phonics. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Reception up to Year 2.  Children in Reception build on listening skills they have already developed and are introduced to Phase 2, which marks the start of systematic phonics work. They take part in discrete, daily phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes (a written symbol that represents a sound) and phonemes (units of sound), practise together and apply what they have learnt. Through ‘Letters and Sounds’, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. ‘Sound buttons’ are used to teach children how to blend single letters making one sound and a ‘sound bar’ is used for digraphs (two letters representing one sound) and trigraphs (three letters representing one sound). Children across Key Stage 1 continue to work through the different phases and, as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound.

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1.

 

Progression in the English curriculum:

Reading

Foundation Stage

At the end of the Foundation Stage the pupils will have experienced shared, guided and independent reading and learned the routines and responsibilities which enable the class to operate efficiently and effectively. Building on what pupils already know about reading and stories, the teacher helps develop early reading behaviours through  shared reading, e.g. holding a book the right way up and following the text from left to right, knowing that print carries meaning, identifying the protagonists in a story, recognising signs and symbols in environmental print. The pupils develop curiosity and enthusiasm about print. They are able to select, read and talk about a range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. They have many stories told and read to them and they have opportunities to retell narratives themselves. The focus, particularly at the early stage, is on developing understanding and conveying meaning of the texts they read rather than on reading words accurately.

Key Stage One

At Key Stage 1 the emphasis is on developing pupils’ interest and pleasure as they learn to read independently and with confidence. They focus on words and sentences and how they are put together to form texts. They bring meaning to the texts they read and say what they like or dislike about them. Enlarged texts, selected from the appropriate range of texts – fiction and non-fiction – are used for shared reading at Key Stage One. Teachers model a range of reading strategies, including the identification of sentence structure and the function of punctuation marks, and give pupils opportunities to practise phonic skills and word recognition in context.

Key Stage Two

At Key Stage Two pupils meet a wider range of texts in fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Teaching focuses on developing pupils’ reading skills, e.g. generalising and making inferences by drawing on evidence from the text. There continues to be a high level of interaction between teacher and pupils with teachers inviting pupils’ individual responses and interpretations rather than narrowly focused comprehension. The texts chosen offer challenge to all pupils in the class. The texts chosen are of a high quality and children can follow as the text is read to them through having a book individually or with a partner. Throughout the reading part of the literacy journey, the children undertake tasks to deepen their understanding of the text. Sometimes these work best before the reading of the text (e.g. raising prior knowledge, making predictions on the basis of title and illustration, whetting the reader’s appetite), sometimes during (e.g. giving advice to a character at a point of crisis or decision, noting personal response in an on-going reading journal), sometimes after (providing opportunities for reflection on the whole text, mapping a character’s literal or emotional journey). The intention is to illuminate text and keep the pupils focused on their personal response and critical interpretation.

Writing

The Pie Corbett Talk for Writing and Storytelling techniques are used throughout the school as a model with which to teach writing. The principle of being able to speak their writing before writing it, is embedded through both fiction and non-fiction writing and involves techniques such as story maps, boxing up ideas into paragraphs as well as literacy games to develop vocabulary. All classes follow the structure of imitation, innovation and independent writing with all units of work to ensure progression.

Foundation Stage

Writing forms a central part of the Communication and Language and Literacy areas of development. We believe the foundation for writing is built on children’s oral work and children are encouraged to express their ideas at every opportunity throughout each of the Early Learning Goals. Staff model use of language and create opportunities for children to develop their talk in every lesson. Daily, weekly and medium term planning clearly demonstrates this focus and include early Talk for Writing techniques and storytelling. In addition to cross-curricular opportunities, specific writing objectives are planned in order to begin giving children the skills they will need as writers. A wide range of writing materials are always available to children in the classroom and a specific role play area which complements the termly topic is used to provide a real purpose for children’s early writing. We recognise both the importance of the teacher acting as scribe on occasions, in order to create stories and the importance of children writing freely as emergent writers.

Key Stage 1

We continue to provide a wide range of planned and incidental opportunities for children to develop their writing skills. We ensure that activities are purposeful and linked to other curriculum areas which provide contexts for children to apply their skills, endeavouring to ensure real audiences as often as possible. Our learning objectives are taken from the English New Curriculum which we use in conjunction with Talk for Writing techniques to support our planning of the teaching sequence; ensuring children develop their writing skills across a wide range of genres. Through the Talk for Writing techniques, an emphasis is still placed on children developing their oral skills as a prerequisite to writing and a wide range of speaking and listening and drama techniques are used to provide children with opportunities to explore and extend their talk as a preparation for writing. We make clear links with children’s reading skills and texts are often used as a basis for developing writing skills, reading and writing objectives being clearly linked in teacher’s planning. Children take part in text analysis activities in order to imitate the work of others before attempting work of their own. A range of techniques is used to teach writing. Teachers plan for modelled writing activities (using the teacher as a model and a scribe for the pupils’ ideas), guided writing groups (allowing staff to focus on particular objectives with different ability groups), and writing frameworks which provide structure for the children as they begin to write in a variety of genres as well as plentiful opportunities are given for independent writing.

Key Stage 2

We continue to use the English New Curriculum split into upper and lower KS2, links within our long term plan and Talk For Writing as a basis for planning. This guides us in the variety of genres we need to ensure children have access to. It also provides a model for the sequence of teaching whilst enabling us to achieve equal coverage across the key stage. All children should cover one fiction and one non-fiction unit per half term. Whilst focussing on developing key skills, teachers’ planning also aims to make links across the curriculum and uses topic themes, as well as educational visits and special events to provide real contexts for writing for real audiences. We recognise that where children see a purpose they will be motivated and the quality of their writing will be enhanced. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar In order to maintain rigour and accuracy within children’s writing and satisfy the demands of the new curriculum, children also have specific focussed lessons on grammar skills. Children are involved in a Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) lesson each day to aid the development of spelling, grammar and punctuation throughout KS2 which also feeds into English sessions. Where appropriate for the need of the children they are grouped by phonics stage and taught daily.

Explicit knowledge in the English curriculum:

Reading

Year 1

Word Recognition

Pupils should be taught to:

  • apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words
  • respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes
  • read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught
  • read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word
  • read words containing taught GPCs and –s, –es, –ing, –ed, –er and –est endings
  • read other words of more than one syllable that contain taught GPCs
  • read words with contractions [for example, I’m, I’ll, we’ll], and understand that the apostrophe represents the omitted letter(s)
  • read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them to use other strategies to work out words.

Comprehension

Pupils should be taught to:

Develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:

  • listening to and discussing a wide range of poems, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently
  • being encouraged to link what they read or hear read to their own experiences
  • becoming very familiar with key stories, fairy stories and traditional tales, retelling them and considering their particular characteristics
  • recognising and joining in with predictable phrases
  • learning to appreciate rhymes and poems, and to recite some by heart
  • discussing word meanings, linking new meanings to those already known

Understand both the books they can already read accurately and fluently and those they listen to by:

  • drawing on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher
  • checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting inaccurate reading
  • discussing the significance of the title and events
  • making inferences on the basis of what is being said and done
  • predicting what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far
  • participate in discussion about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say

Year 2

Word Recognition

Pupils should be taught to:

  • continue to apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words until automatic decoding has become embedded and reading is fluent
  • read accurately by blending the sounds in words that contain the graphemes taught so far, especially recognising alternative sounds for graphemes
  • read accurately words of two or more syllables that contain the same graphemes as above
  • read words containing common suffixes
  • read further common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word
  • read most words quickly and accurately, without overt sounding and blending, when they have been frequently encountered
  • read aloud books closely matched to their improving phonic knowledge, sounding out unfamiliar words accurately, automatically and without undue hesitation

Comprehension

Pupils should be taught to:

Develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:

  • listening to, discussing and expressing views about a wide range of contemporary and classic poetry, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently
  • discussing the sequence of events in books and how items of information are related
  • becoming increasingly familiar with and retelling a wider range of stories, fairy stories and traditional tales
  • being introduced to non-fiction books that are structured in different ways
  • recognising simple recurring literary language in stories and poetry
  • discussing and clarifying the meanings of words, linking new meanings to known vocabulary
  • discussing their favourite words and phrases
  • continuing to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, appreciating these and reciting some, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear

Understand both the books that they can already read accurately and fluently and those that they

listen to by:

  • drawing on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher
  • checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting inaccurate reading
  • making inferences on the basis of what is being said and done
  • answering and asking questions
  • predicting what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far
  • participate in discussion about books, poems and other works that are read to them and those that they can read for themselves, taking turns and listening to what others say

Year 3 and 4

Word Recognition

Pupils should be taught to:

  • apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (etymology and morphology) both to read aloud and to understand the meaning of new words they meet

Comprehension

Pupils should be taught to:

Develop positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by:

  • listening to and discussing a wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks
  • reading books that are structured in different ways and reading for a range of purposes
  • using dictionaries to check the meaning of words that they have read
  • increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books, including fairy stories, myths and legends, and retelling some of these orally
  • identifying themes and conventions in a wide range of books preparing poems and play scripts to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action
  • discussing words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination
  • recognising some different forms of poetry [for example, free verse, narrative poetry]

Understand what they read, in books they can read independently, by:

  • checking that the text makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and explaining the meaning of words in context
  • asking questions to improve their understanding of a text
  • drawing inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence
  • predicting what might happen from details stated and implied
  • identifying main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph and summarising these
  • identifying how language, structure, and presentation contribute to meaning
  • retrieve and record information from non-fiction

Year 5/6

Word Recognition

Pupils should be taught to:

  • apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (morphology and etymology), both to read aloud and to understand the meaning of new words that they meet.

Comprehension

Pupils should be taught to:

Maintain positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by:

  • continuing to read and discuss an increasingly wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, nonfiction and reference books or textbooks
  • reading books that are structured in different ways and reading for a range of purposes
  • increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions recommending books that they have read to their peers, giving reasons for their choices
  • identifying and discussing themes and conventions in and across a wide range of writing
  • making comparisons within and across books
  • learning a wider range of poetry by heart preparing poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience

Understand what they read by:

  • checking that the book makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and exploring the meaning of words in context
  • asking questions to improve their understanding
  • drawing inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence
  • predicting what might happen from details stated and implied
  • summarising the main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph, identifying key details that support the main ideas
  • identifying how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning
  • discuss and evaluate how authors use language, including figurative language, considering the impact on the reader
  • distinguish between statements of fact and opinion
  • retrieve, record and present information from non-fiction
  • participate in discussions about books that are read to them and those they can read for themselves, building on their own and others’ ideas and challenging views courteously
  • explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, maintaining a focus on the topic and using notes where necessary

Writing

Pupils will write effectively for a wide range of purposes:

  • Identify audience and purpose for their writing.
  • Write in a wide range of text types.
  • Read a wide variety of high quality texts (different genres and authors) to use as good quality writing models.
  • Identify and use key features of different text types.
  • Write fluently, and coherently using appropriate vocabulary, grammar and tone.

Pupils will evaluate and edit writing, assessing the effectiveness of his/her own and others’ writing with reasoning:

  • Read and listen to a wide range of genres and authors
  • Engage in discussions and debates
  • Use relevant strategies to build vocabulary
  • Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • Consider and evaluate different viewpoints.
  • Understand and know how to use all grammar and punctuation, in line with the National Curriculum for KS1 and KS2.

Pupils will write legibly and fluently with accurate spelling:

  • Write fluently with correct letter formation using joined cursive handwriting.
  • Achieve accuracy in spelling.

Pupils will develop a suitable technical vocabulary through which to

  • understand and discuss their writing.

Curriculum organisation of the English curriculum:

There are five allocated English sessions per week, however, we recognise the need for flexible timetabling to allow for cross-curricular work, curriculum enrichment activities, etc. English lessons typically take place during the mornings, but this again depends on the activities within a week and the needs of the class.

Reading

EYFS

In EYFS, reading is an important feature inside and outside the classroom. We have a range of ways in which we promote reading:

  • Book corners that are stimulating and accessible, owned and loved by children, indoors and outdoors.
  • Using core books to plan for children’s interests and class topics
  • Children have the opportunity to read to an adult using levelled reading books once a week. Children can choose a new book twice a week, as well as taking a story book home. Reading records communicate reading progress between home and school, and include teachers’ and parents’ feedback.
  • Having enthusiastic staff who share their excitement of books with children
  • Having a range of quality books available in all areas of the classroom
  • Having opportunities for independent writing in all areas of the classroom
  • Using story props, story sacks, role play areas and displays to enhance core books
  • Having well planned, shared reading sessions that all practitioners are confident to take part in
  • Opportunities for children to learn from clearly modelled ‘reading behaviours’, for example, the recognition that print conveys meaning, the left to right directionality of English text, the purpose of punctuation
  • Involving parents in understanding the importance of early literacy though parents’ workshops, modelling during “soft start”, newsletters, home shared reading and reading books etc.
  • Listening to and joining in a variety of genres, for example, non-fiction, poems, taped stories, rhymes etc.
  • Opportunities to retell and to act out stories using props and story maps.

Key Stage 1

Children in KS1 have reading at the heart of their English lessons to develop happy, healthy and curious learners who read confidently and independently.

Children in Year 1 and 2 take part in daily 20 minute Phonics lessons to help improve word reading skills and strategies to engage with texts. We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ approach and use phonetic reading scheme books and rhymes so pupils practise and develop the ability to segment and blend phoneme/grapheme sounds independently.

The children in Year1 and 2 also have daily Guided Reading sessions that last for 20 minutes. Reading is taught through a carousel approach of activities where children are encouraged to work independently. The activities are linked to the texts the children are reading and promote the independent application of skills previously taught.

Key Stage 2

Children in Years 3 to 6 take part in daily Guided Reading lessons. A five day model is used, where the children will be taught new skills in order to progress with their Reading. These skills are based on teachers’ assessment and the children’s next steps. Children take on a range of “Reading roles” within their group, giving a clear purpose to their reading and discussions and enabling them to work independently. The activities are linked to the texts the children are reading and promote the independent application of skills previously taught.

Writing

Daily Writing lessons are planned and delivered through the Talk for Writing (T4W) scheme and follow the 3 I’s structure below. Talk for Writing allows children to internalise a text’s language and structure across a range of genres. Talk for Writing is taught from Reception to Year 6 and follows a similar pattern, tailored to each year group and the National Curriculum.

To be productive, Talk for writing needs to be extensively embedded in every phase of this teaching sequence, that is:

  • During reading: When familiarising with the genre/text type and its key features; when responding to, exploring and drawing on models.
  • Before writing: When generating ideas, preparing for and planning writing.
  • During all stages of writing (teacher’s demonstration and scribing, and children’s supported, guided and independent writing): When making the choices involved in creating, developing and improving texts.
  • After writing: When reflecting on and learning from a writing experience.

In this, it will need to be structured at the following three levels:

  • Teacher talk: The verbalisation of the reader’s or writer’s thought processes as the teacher is demonstrating, modelling and discussing.
  • Supported pupil talk: Structured and scaffolded opportunities for children to develop and practise Talk for Writing through class and group conversations and activities.
  • Independent pupil talk: Opportunities for children to develop and practise Talk for Writing in pairs and small groups, independent of the teacher.

All of this needs to be applied in whole-class learning and teaching and in guided writing.

The Talk for Writing approach consists of three key stages from imitation through innovation onto independent application (invent). The first task for any unit will be the choice of a model text, ensuring it is pitched correctly, according to the Writing Progression of Skills document and the National Curriculum. Teachers will use Cornerstones Maestro specific resources to make links between core and non-core lessons.

Reading, writing and talking in the English curriculum:

The skills that children develop in English are linked to and applied in every subject of our curriculum. The skills allow children to express themselves in all areas of their work at school. Teachers will consider the opportunities for developing English skills across the curriculum at the initial theme planning stage. At Firs, we take every opportunity to develop literacy skills across the curriculum. The focus of teaching in the English lesson focuses on the objectives from the National Curriculum (2014). However, it is completely appropriate for literacy work to provide a context for related activities in other curricular areas. Practising and applying new skills in independent work should be productively linked to the whole curriculum. Children need to be able to use the specialist vocabulary associated with a subject accurately and easily. They need to use relevant written forms, some of which are subject-specific. They need to be able to apply their understanding of language and written forms to particular contexts, and to adapt their writing to suit the purpose and audience. It is in English that written forms are the focus of study and where children develop their awareness of writing and its variety. Specific skills can be taught in the context of particular subjects and reinforced and practised in later lessons in English and different subjects.

Delivery of the English curriculum:

At Firs our vision for Teaching and Learning is rooted in high expectations and an unconditional belief that every child can achieve and succeed according to their unique abilities. We believe in challenge, engagement and deep learning (mastery). This is promoted through careful curriculum planning, modelled examples of practice and the use of responsive teaching through planned and purposeful checking for understanding. A positive and stimulating learning environment ensure behaviour for learning is central to our vision, as we strive for a warm and productive classroom climate. We carefully plan assessment to ensure we develop retrieval and schema to build on learning and make connections between subjects.  Finally, we explicitly plan for the delivery of Reading, Talking and Vocabulary in all subjects and this underpins our approach to teaching and learning at Firs.

Firs Foundation of Effective Practice ensures we have a whole school approach to delivering our curriculum vision.  The six Foundations provide staff with a learning model to ensure we deliver lessons based on research evidence, the six Foundations we model our Teaching and Learning on:

Foundation 1: Culture and Climate.

Foundation 2: Checking For Understanding.

Foundation 3: Explaining and Modelling.

Foundation 4: Reading, Talking and Vocabulary.

Foundation 5: Curriculum Planning.

Foundation 6: Retrieval and Schema building.

In summary the impact of a powerful knowledge English curriculum at Firs will have the following features:

  • Subject driven.
  • Knowledge-rich.
  • Pupils enjoy reading regularly, for information and for enjoyment/pleasure and discuss books with excitement and interest.
  • Pupils enjoy writing and use the features of different genres and styles. They can write for different purposes and audiences.
  • Skills progression (spelling, grammar and punctuation) throughout the school is evident in children’s books.
  • Pupils are adventurous with vocabulary choices and they continue to grow a varied vocabulary throughout their time at Firs.
  • Skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives.
  • Pupils have a strong sense of ownership of their writing. They are able to identify mistakes in their own writing and are able to use a bank of strategies to help them to edit and improve their own work.
  • Ensure children are Ready For Learning and Ready For Life.

 

 

Reading for Pleasure at Firs:
At Firs, we recognise the importance of reading for pleasure in supporting our children’s education and mental well-being. Our children love to access books in the library, in their book corners and designated reading areas around the school. To ensure we have up to date books, throughout the school, we have curated a wishlist with the help of the children and A New Chapter Book shop. If you would like to support our endeavours to ensure all children are reading for pleasure, please follow the link and purchase a book for our school.
Many Thanks,
Mrs Aktar