English is planned using the National Curriculum 2014 and is taught daily. Many lessons involve shared reading or writing with the whole class and a focus on words and/or grammar.
Children are encouraged to speak confidently and to listen to what others say. They are encouraged to express themselves correctly using standard English and to adapt their speech to suit different purposes and audiences. Children’s vocabulary is extended through their work in all areas of the curriculum. Reading is taught in whole class sessions, in groups and individually. Group reading takes place outside English lessons. Children are taught the strategies to help them read with accuracy, fluency and understanding. They are encouraged to read for pleasure but are also taught how to locate and use information and to use their reading skills to enhance learning in other areas. There is a wide variety of literature and information texts available in the school.
Children are encouraged to write confidently and independently. They are taught spelling strategies and are encouraged to spell and punctuate their work correctly and to follow grammatical conventions. Children write creatively and factually for different purposes and audiences throughout the curriculum. They are taught how to plan, organise and review their writing and high standards of presentation are encouraged. Handwriting is taught separately with joined up writing being taught once correct letter formation is established.
Reading and Phonics
At Redland Primary School we are passionate about teaching children to read. Reading helps develop children’s vocabulary, their writing and their spelling. Reading gives children access to the wider curriculum and enriches their lives. It is our intention that all children leave the school as confident and competent readers.
Reading and phonics are taught in accordance with the new National Curriculum 2014. We use a selection of decodable phonics reading books from various reading schemes including Jelly & Bean, Oxford Reading Tree, Rising Stars and Collins Big Cat, that encourage the children to be confident independent readers. All children take reading scheme books home which are linked to the phonics stage they are working on at school. They will also take home a book to share with an adult to develop an understanding of vocabulary. Parents are encouraged to use the Reading Record Book as a way of communicating with the school about reading. As children develop as readers they move on to our ‘Free Reader’ texts which are drawn from current and classic children’s literature. We want children to have a diet of ‘real’ books. We have a non-fiction library and all classes have their own stock of fiction and non-fiction texts.
We acknowledge that each child’s reading journey begins before they start school. In the EYFS and KS1 phonics is a key focus of our teaching and children are introduced to this using the Letters and Sounds programme alongside other multi-sensory approaches and schemes to teach phonics. Teaching phonics in this systematic way gives children the knowledge and skills to crack the ‘reading code’. We operate a multi-sensory approach to our teaching with children using Phonics Play and the Jolly Phonics actions to help learn the letters and their sounds. Developing a vocabulary of known words is also prioritised by the school. As soon as possible, we want children to both recognise the majority of words they encounter and have the phonic knowledge and skills to decode those words they cannot read on sight.
At Redland reading is taught in English lessons and in guided group sessions. Children also read individually to practice and refine their skills. Alongside phonic knowledge and skills children are taught to use a range of decoding strategies. These include using the context to make sure any word fits in the text. Children are also taught how to use the punctuation and other reading cues to make the best use of voice inflection and expression.
Reading for meaning is vital at every stage of learning to read and this continues a significant focus throughout the school. Once children can read independently comprehension becomes a vital component of many reading sessions and English activities.
As a school we encourage all our pupils to read both in school and at home. ‘Book share’ is a proven method of helping children develop as readers but any discussion about what has been read, has benefits beyond words. Parents are given our leaflet ‘How to help your reception child with Literacy’ as part of our welcome sessions and all staff encourage parents to come in and discuss any issues relating to their children’s reading.