English is a fundamental area of the curriculum. The gradual mastery of it is not restricted to the specific daily lessons, but is further developed and encouraged throughout the curriculum. English includes spoken language, phonics, reading, writing, punctuation, grammar and spelling. Our aim is to equip all our pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for information and enjoyment.
Speaking and Listening
The development of speaking and listening skills is at the heart of the teaching and learning of reading and writing. We aim to teach pupils to communicate effectively and to listen and respond appropriately in different circumstances. An important way in which we learn is by listening in order to absorb new ideas, and by talking about new experiences and situations. Opportunities are given for all pupils to join in discussions and to share their opinions and experiences with each other and with their teachers. Activities such as ‘circle time’ and cross-curricular tasks give ideal opportunities to develop these skills. We recognise and value drama to develop imagination and understanding. Prior to some writing activities pupils will be given a ‘talk task’ to enable them to develop the vocabulary and sentence structure required for the written activity.
One of the greatest gifts we can give a child is the ability to read fluently, confidently accurately and for pleasure. We believe that reading should be an enjoyable activity and our approach to teaching reading is based on this. We use the synthetic phonics scheme ‘Read Write Inc.’ which starts with our children in Nursery and continues until they are fluent readers. The aim of this scheme is to get children to the fluent stage as soon as possible so they can go on to explore the world of books confidently. In KS2, we are then able to explore longer more complex texts with classes and develop their comprehension skills. Books are sent home on a weekly basis and children are encouraged to share this with someone at home.
All classes have a library time, when pupils can select a book to take home and spend some time browsing and listening to a recorded story. Our library is well equipped; we have fiction and non-fiction books which pupils can use to support their work in school. Pupils also have the opportunity to read a variety of texts such as leaflets, children’s newspapers, comics, advertisements, notices, signs and labels. Reading is promoted wherever possible. ‘World Book Day’ is celebrated annually; we also have author visits and fun activities to promote enjoyment of reading.
Pupils write to express their emotions, to convey their thoughts and opinions and to present evidence of research. By developing these skills, we can encourage pupils to use writing across a range of curricular activities in which they are involved. We aim to includes many skills and develop within our pupils an ability to write effectively in various forms according to purpose and audience. All attempts at writing are valued from early mark making in Nursery and Reception to long reports in Year 6. In Foundation Stage and KS1, writing is taught as part of the ‘Read Write Inc.’ scheme. Children’s writing is linked directly to the current book they are reading to give inspiration and vocabulary ideas. In KS2, a range of text types are studied, often linked to a class reading book or cross curricular subject. Pupils are taught to use a range of grammatical features to have an impact on the reader, always focussing on the purpose for writing.