Our intent for English
Learning to read, write and communicate effectively are the most important things children will learn at primary school. At Turvey Primary School we will have the highest expectations for all pupils.
English will be taught through whole-class English lessons, small group work and individual work with an adult. Our curriculum will be built around studying great stories and literature ranging from fairy tales and poems to researching using non-fiction texts.
Oracy will have a central place in our curriculum, reflecting the vital importance of spoken language in our pupils’ development. Children will be supported and challenged to speak in Standard English at all times whilst at school. Adults will be expected to model effective speech when interacting with the children. There will be opportunities for children to talk right across the curriculum as this is an important way in which pupils develop their vocabulary and secure a deeper knowledge of a subject. In addition to regular opportunities to make formal presentations and participate in debates, pupils will be challenged to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and use language to explore ideas in lesson time.
The teaching of reading, both the technical aspects of decoding language and developing the ability to understand complicated texts will be one of the most important aspects of school life here at TPS. It is vital that every child learns to be a competent, confident reader if they are to access the wider curriculum and ultimately achieve well in later life. We hope that through inspirational English teaching and a school culture that values reading, we can help every child develop a love of books and become a lifelong reader.
They read regularly to an adult (staff and trained parent helpers) as well as having a guided group reading session each week. This gives the children the opportunity to discuss the books they are reading in detail and to develop their comprehension skills. We have a well-stocked library and the children are encouraged to change their books each week.
From our Reception class, all children will take part in daily synthetic phonics lessons based on the framework set out in Sounds Write. We aim to deliver high quality teaching to enable pupils to read fluently and automatically, allowing them to concentrate on the meaning of the text. Pupils are grouped within their year groups according to their phonic ability and receive a structured programme lasting for approximately 20 minutes. It is our intention that by Year 1 every child will be ready to achieve highly in the national phonics check.
Alongside word-reading, we will support children to develop strong comprehension skills through whole-class teaching, guided reading and listening to and discussing books and stories.
Small group-guided reading groups will be a key tool for teaching the comprehension strand of reading. Groups will be organised by attainment, but remain flexible enough for pupils to move between groups. On occasions pupils will work in slightly mismatched groups so they have the opportunity to work with stronger readers as role models. There will be a different focus for different groups, with some continuing to read as a group and focus on the mechanics of reading, whereas some groups will function more as a literature circle with pupils reading the texts individually at home, leaving a greater time for discussion and teaching of higher level concepts.
From Reception to Year 6, our English curriculum will be based on the study of high-quality literature. For younger children this will include modern and contemporary picture books, short chapter books, fairy tales and poetry. Planning for whole-class English lessons will be based on texts, with units lasting between one and six weeks. As children move through the school they will have the opportunity to study some great works of literature. At TPS, we feel learning to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage can play a key role in helping pupils develop culturally, emotionally, spiritually and socially, as well as learning to read easily, fluently and with good understanding.
Teachers from Reception to Year 6 will read to their classes each day, sharing good quality literature with them. This will help our pupils to develop their vocabulary as well as introducing them to unfamiliar ideas and concepts. It also gives pupils the opportunity to tackle longer or more challenging texts than they would be able to do alone.
In addition to teaching children to read, we will do everything we can to ensure every child wants to read. By creating an environment where reading is valued and championed, we can support children to develop a love of books. In addition to the positive effect this can have on children’s academic attainment, we hope it will help our children to become life-long readers.
Our reading books are organised according to a book banding system and incorporate a wide range of schemes and themes. The children are well motivated and enjoy selecting their own reading books. Each child will receive a Reading Record at the beginning of the year, where they will keep a written record of their reading with adults outside of school. Children are encouraged to read at home every day and also bring their reading books to school every day in order to take advantage of reading at any opportunity.
As the children become confident and fluent readers which is typically at the beginning of Key Stage 2 they progress onto a scheme called Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader is a computer-based program that we use to monitor reading practice and progress. It helps teachers guide children to books that are at their individual reading levels. The children take short quizzes after reading a book to check if they've understood it.
ERIC (Everyone Reading In Class) has been introduced into all classes. This is a regular 20 minute slot that occurs daily. Children use this time to read independently or to a member of staff and take quizzes when needed.
We also have curriculum enrichment activities such as our annual book day where the children partake in different book themed events.
Phonics is the first important step of a child’s journey when learning to read. It is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully by teaching them to recognise the sounds made by individual letters, combinations of letters and how to blend these sounds to make words. This knowledge can then be applied to de-code new words. Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way (systematic synthetic phonics SSP) it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. We follow the Sounds-Write phonics programme at Turvey Primary School. (http://www.sounds-write.co.uk) This is a systematic and synthetic programme that has been developed from research. We recognise the important role that parents play in supporting their children’s reading development and the children receive weekly phonic homework that consolidates what they have been learning in class.
All pupils who attend TPS will leave us able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, with the ability to adapt their language and style to a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Expectations with regard to handwriting and presentation will be high.
We support and encourage the children to become creative writers. This enables them to connect with the world around them. We find that developing writing skills builds confidence and it enables the children to become more reflective. The children participate in the talk for writing programme which embraces the art of storytelling as a foundation for their own creative writing. They also have many opportunities for extended writing sessions from Year 1 upwards. Writing skills are embedded throughout our curriculum.
A school-wide scheme for spelling will stretch from Reception to Year 6 and will be based on phoneme patterns and common exception words in the early part of the school. At the top of the school spellings will be closely linked to the development of children’s vocabulary and will use subject specific language, morphology and etymology to organise word lists.
Composition- At TPS we will teach children to become confident writers through following a clear writing process:-
- Drafting and Writing
- Evaluating and Editing
- Reading Aloud and Sharing
By teaching children to do all of these things rather than simply ‘doing some writing’, we will teach children to be craftsmen, shaping their words to match their intended purpose and audience. This process of planning-writing-improving-sharing will run through every key stage and year group, from a child saying aloud the sentence they’re going to write in Year 1, to a Year 6 student proof-reading their written chapter analysis.
Naturally, the emphasis given to each of these stages will depend on the purpose of the writing and the expected outcome. Writing notes ready for a discussion in class might not need much in the way of planning, but they will certainly benefit from being evaluated and proofread before they are used. A piece of non-fiction writing might be planned carefully, ensuring that the key information is organised and appropriate vocabulary is employed. A story might follow all the stages, even if the final outcome is very different from the initial plan. By explicitly teaching children how to go about each of these stages, we will be teaching them to hone a piece of writing until it communicates exactly what they want it to say.