© 2019 Badbury Park Primary School

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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 Badbury Park develop a rich and diverse knowledge of language. This is 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, 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 vocabulary study, which will introduce them to different tiers of vocabulary and theme specific words. Children are challenged to improve word choices and investigate origins of words throughout all curriculum areas.

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 also hold an annual Book Fair and dress up for World Book Day. We believe children need precise vocabulary to articulate their learning. 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 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.

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 in our daily English skills sessions. Through quality phonic teaching, which will begin in Nursery, ‘Letters and Sounds’ and '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 books to read at home, that match their phonic and word knowledge; this boosts the child’s confidence in reading. We use a range of books from a variety of schemes, including Collins Big Cat, that incorporates different genres and text types.

Children learn Phase 1 Phonics throughout the first year of the Foundation Stage (Nursery). 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 phonics 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 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, which will help them embed their learning from the school phonics sessions.  We 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. 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.

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...? 

Writing

At Badbury Park, our intent is for our pupils to become fluent, articulate and enthusiastic writers. 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 inspire writing 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 that immerse children in a genre by reading and discussing good examples of writing before the children plan and write their own. Children are given feedback to improve their writing and opportunities to edit and redraft sections to create final outcomes that they are proud of. There is a high emphasis on presentation and handwriting. 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. We aim to increase pupils' store of words, 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.

Handwriting

Handwriting is explicitly taught in the early stages, with handwriting practice within the day. 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 finger tips and arm muscles. We spend time ensuring each child has the correct pencil grip. They will begin to join digraphs once they are developmentally ready and this continues into Year 1. In Year 2, children 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 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.

Spelling

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 ‘Letters and Sounds’ 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. 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 the pupils to develop their use of dictionaries and other tools to check their spelling. Spelling bees are held in year groups on a termly basis. These fun event aims to raise the profile of spelling across the school and to encourage pupils to learn the statutory words for their year.

Useful Websites:

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