Wold Newton Primary School recognises that the teaching and learning of English is an essential part of the whole development of all children for their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate effectively. The teaching of English is broken into different strands – Speaking and Listening (Communication and Understanding), Reading, Writing and Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPaS). At Wold Newton, we believe that reading is the key to accessing and developing a wide range of skills and knowledge across the curriculum.
Our teaching and learning in English is intended to give our children the skills and knowledge they need to communicate effectively. At Wold Newton, we want all pupils to leave Year 6 reading and writing with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning, including monitoring and editing their own work as well as that of their peers. We encourage a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment; with an interest in words and their meanings.
Learning in English is effective when children:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
We teach English – both reading and writing – daily from EYFS class to Year 6 and base the content of our curriculum on National Curriculum expectations.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening skills are developed at every opportunity through all lessons, especially English and reading lessons.
The teaching of languages is effective when:
- Children are taught all aspects of language learning: speaking, listening, reading, writing and intercultural understanding
- Children are taught to listen for sounds and words, reading words and finding links with other languages, looking for patterns in words or phrases, using what they already know, to identify and work out new words
- Children are taught new vocabulary; this is taught and discussed. The children are involved in discussing the letter sounds and spelling patterns of new vocabulary also meaning and context
- Children are encouraged to practise their speaking and listening skills on a regular basis e.g., answering the register, using greetings and language in and around school and the classroom. They will be expected to be able to show visitors around school speaking appropriately.
- Children engage and participate in a range of practical activities to enhance their learning; matching cards, show me games, flash card activities, translation games, and language detective games.
We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ for the basis of our daily phonics learning and efficiently track children’s progress throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1 to ensure children are able to listen, decode, speak, read and spell effectively. If appropriate, we carry this practice on into Key Stage 2 to support children who may need to continue their phonics learning. Year one take part in the National Phonics Screening check and will retake the test in year 2 if they have needed further support.
For reading, we mainly use the ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ books that progress in-line with the phonics stage that the children are currently learning. Where appropriate, we use other books and schemes that we feel will add further interest and depth to this scheme. Guided reading is taught regularly in every class and this enables children to unpick the knowledge and skills needed to fully understand a text. In addition, the school places much emphasis on children reading with an adult at least three times a week and uses community support to assist with this. Reading and the use of appropriate and progressive vocabulary across the curriculum is also encouraged, with topic related books being available in each class and the school library, to help children relate their learning in English to learning in the foundation subjects.
Reading is effective when:
- Children progress from basic decoding of words to the more complex skills of inference and deduction
- Children are taught to give opinions about the texts they read
- Children are given the opportunity to read a variety of text types – both fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
- Children are taught the link between reading and writing
- Children are taught to ‘magpie words and ideas’ from authors
- Children have at least weekly Guided Reading sessions with an adult where they will be able to discuss books, share ideas, and gain an appreciation of a variety of literature
- Guided Reading sessions are taught through the use of ‘real books’ and e-books which are relevant to the children
- Children are expected to read at home three times a week and are guided to read a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
- Children are encouraged to read with/read to an adult – even in upper Key Stage 2
- Children are given books which challenge them but which they are still able to access independently. Additional reading material will be available to those who require it.
- Our aim is that all children will develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime.
Quality writing opportunities are planned across the curriculum and there is an expectation that any written work, including for foundation subjects such as History, is of the same high standard as the writing in the children’s English books. Early writing and fine motor skills are developed in EYFS and progresses from simple mark making to writing words and sentences. We use the principle that writing for different purposes and in different situations will foster a love of writing and an effective writing style. Posture is important and we ensure there are different heights and places where children can write and in turn, develop the coordination and strength to be an effective writer.
Writing is effective when:
- Children are not asked to write without preparation beforehand about what to write
- There is no loss of momentum between shared writing activities and independent writing activities
- Children know the reason (there must be a reason for writing) and purpose for what they are writing about
- The atmosphere is conducive to writing
- Writing sessions are divided with short breaks between bursts of intensive and focussed writing time
- Children have had time and the opportunity to imagine their work, use a range of dramatic techniques including ‘hot seating.’ ‘conscience alley,’ and verbalise their writing with a partner of group
- Young children verbalise their ideas before writing
- Writing tasks are broken down and linked to clear time limits, until the children have the maturity to do this for themselves
- Children what they have to do to make further progress and the standard they are aiming to reach
- Teachers use positive criticism with children and not accept basic answers; they should always challenge pupils and not accept mediocrity
- Writing in all subjects and in all situations, children must know the form, purpose and audience of the writing- handwriting must be the same standard in all written work.
- Children are reminded, when necessary, that ‘if they have been taught something, they are expected to do it!’
- Time targets are used when children write
- Children are taught active punctuation and with sound effects where appropriate
- Peer/paired marking is used when appropriate
- Skeleton frames are used to give children confidence and understanding when writing
- Children are exposed to good examples of the relevant, different elements of writing they tackle. Children must be able to appreciate ‘What a good one looks like.’
- Poetry is not underestimated as a powerful tool for language development
- The emotional ability of pupils to describe feelings/emotions is developed orally and in writing
- Visual and sensory stimulation (including sound and video clips) are used to excite children to write
- Planning writing, sometimes use a senses chart so that pupils consider, for example, what a character: saw, heard, smelt, touched, taste
Grammar is essential to ensure writing is effective, makes sense and fluently communicates meaning. The skills and knowledge taught in GPaS have uses across the whole of English as well as other subjects. It is essential therefore, that we teach this to the high expectations of The National Curriculum and in a challenging, progressive way throughout the school.