Our intent through the English curriculum is to ensure that children develop the skills and knowledge that enables them to communicate sensitively, effectively, and creatively through spoken and written language, and to equip them with skills to become lifelong learners. We encourage children to enjoy, appreciate and be curious about literature written by authors from all over the world. We aim to develop a growing passion for reading. Every day, we teach reading and writing in varied and lively ways creating meaningful experiences and long-lasting memories for the children. Reading and writing are woven through all subjects and areas of provision; both indoors and out. Our children will acquire core literacy skills and have a love of language, inspired by their adventures in the forest.
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 Badbury Park develop a rich and diverse knowledge of language and use this appropriately to communicate effectively.
This is implemented across the curriculum by providing our children with a wide range of opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills such as discussion, debate, presentation, drama and movie making, and we use ‘Talk for Writing’ programmes across the school. During speaking activities, we will 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 are explicitly taught how to listen and speak with pace, poise and correct annunciation through English lessons. Each unit of work will start with ‘Talk for Writing’ and a vocabulary study often inspired by the great outdoors, which will introduce them to different tiers of vocabulary and theme specific words. Children are challenged to be ambitious with word choices and investigate origins of words throughout all curriculum areas.
Children will be adventurous through taking part in a range of drama activities and we will invite theatre groups and other performers, such as storytellers into the school. We also hold an annual Book Fair and dress up for World Book Day. We believe that children need precise vocabulary to articulate their learning. Therefore, we model speech in full sentences and where appropriate, expect the same from the children. We provide intervention programmes for any children arriving to school without English or with vocabulary gaps. In EYFS, children will retell stories that will be scribed by their adult and then role-played by their peers through ‘Helicopter Stories’. Class assemblies and productions will give children opportunities to speak in front of audiences.
Reading and Phonics
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 their 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 lifelong love of reading.
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 group reading and also develop comprehension at every opportunity; English lessons, other subject lessons, explore and learn time, forest school sessions and outdoor learning. Through quality phonic teaching, which will begin in Nursery, ‘Twinkl Phonics’, enriched with 'StoryTime Phonics' will be used to support the daily delivery of phonics. We also use online computer-based resources such as ‘Phonics Play’, to further help the pupils learn to read and write sounds. Pupils are taught to read tricky high frequency words and are given decodable books to read at home, that match their phonic and word knowledge; this boosts the child’s confidence in reading. We use Big Cat Collins books which are fully decodable and incorporate a range of different genres and text types. Children read books in line with their phonic ability.
Children learn and develop Level 1 Phonics throughout the first year of the Foundation Stage (Nursery). This comprises lots of engaging activities including sound walks and games. It is our intent that children can orally blend and segment everyday sounds and recognise rhyme before they move onto learning phonic sounds. These skills are essential as the foundations of all phonics learning. Children will then 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 our phonics programme. We have designed our curriculum to follow the sequence of ‘Twinkl Phonics’.
Oxford Owl - https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/
Access to over 40,000 books- https://www.getepic.com/
StoryTime Phonics - Please click here to view a video of the StoryTime Phonics Fairy delivering a phonics lesson
The 5 main skills taught during each level are as follows:
Learning the letter sounds. Children will be taught the 44 main sounds. This includes alphabet sounds as well as digraphs such as ‘sh’, ‘th’, ‘ai’ and ‘ue’. These are introduced through well-known picture books.
Learning the letter formation ‘sparkle marks’. Using a multi-sensory approach from ‘Storytime Phonics’, the children will learn how to form and write letters. We use the printed form and will follow the Penpals scheme for handwriting.
Blending. Children are taught how to blend the sounds together to read and write new words e.g. c-a-t becomes cat.
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’. They will be taught how to add sound buttons to words supporting them with their recognition of the individual sounds which come together to make the word.
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, which will help them embed their learning from the school phonics sessions. Children are assessed regularly on their phonic knowledge. This takes place through independent reading and writing activities where the children can demonstrate the phonics that have been committed to long term memory, away from the point of teaching. Some children will progress through the phonic phases quicker than others. Children develop blending and segmenting skills at different rates. It is essential to master these skills before applying it to reading and writing words.
Letters and Sounds - Please click here
Phonics Play - Please click here
StoryTime Phonics - Please click here to view a video of the StoryTime Phonics Fairy delivering a phonics lesson
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. When the children are reading with fluency, or from Year 2 upwards, in reading sessions pupils are taught the key skills of reading comprehension through the 4 Big Reading characters (Andrell Education); Rex Retriever, Dood Detective, Ansa Analyser and Expi-Explorer. They 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, they are curious!
Get to know more about our big reading characters here!
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?
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...?
At Badbury Park, our intent is for our pupils to become fluent and enthusiastic writers. We aim to use the outside to inspire writing and we write for a purpose, sharing the key features of each genre with the children. We implement this by teaching the writing objectives of the National Curriculum using an exciting cross-curricular approach, and feel it is important to give pupils rich experiences to write about and to provide a strong purpose where possible. Exciting stimuli help children to be enthusiastic about writing. We look for ways to motivate and inspire pupils so they see themselves as 'writers'. Units of work are planned using the ‘Talk 4 writing’ structure of imitate, innovate and create immersing children into a genre by reading, discussing, orally rehearsing and editing 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. Children are given feedback (from teachers and peers) to improve their writing and opportunities to be ambitious through editing and redrafting sections to create final outcomes that they are proud of. There are high expectations of presentation and handwriting. Across each year, we ensure that pupils 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 of common vocabulary is key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum. We aim to increase pupils' store of words, through their curiosity we help them make links between known and new vocabulary and discuss shades of meaning. We use model texts and class novels to teach vocabulary in context and encourage discussion around word choices when both reading and writing. Additionally, each year group focuses on a 'Word of the Week' which has been carefully selected to relate to the week's writing focus. We encourage and support pupils to be ambitious and precise in their vocabulary choices when writing their own pieces.
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. We encourage pupils to see the joys of language and to enjoy finding just the right words or phrases to express what they want to say.
Talk 4 Writing - https://www.talk4writing.com/
Handwriting is explicitly taught in the early stages through the ‘sparkle marks’ from Storytime Phonics. EYFS children learn the correct formation of letters and will print (non-cursive) as well as taking part in gross motor and fine motor activities to help strengthen fingertips and arm muscles such as ‘Squiggle while you wiggle’ and ‘Dough disco’. We spend time ensuring that each child has the correct pencil grip. They will begin to join digraphs once they are developmentally ready. In Year 2, children begin to join all letters once the teacher decides they are ready. When a child is fluently joining their handwriting, they will use a pen and be encouraged to maintain the correct letter sizing and height. We use the script from the Penpals handwriting scheme.
It is our intent that our pupils will acquire the ability to write ideas down fluently and this requires a good understanding of spelling. In Key Stage 1, we continue to implement the ‘Twinkl Phonics’ and ‘StoryTime Phonics’ approach and teach pupils how to write phonemes as graphemes. Children will be taught spelling rules in line with the National Curriculum through their English lessons, and it is assessed through their independent writing and specific dictations. Key year group topic spelling and subject specific words will be added to knowledge organisers and learnt through deliberate practise and assessed away from the point of teaching. We use a range of 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 pupils to develop their use of dictionaries and other tools to check their spelling.
The impact of our English curriculum will be assessed appropriately and regularly through teacher assessment and recorded on Target Tracker. This will be used to inform future planning and make next steps clear. We will use termly independent writing to assess and record when key objectives have been met. When children are fluent readers, we will use independent comprehension questions to asses reading.
To view our Spoken Language skills progression - please click here.