In English, a Roundwood leaver will know:
…the way in which we communicate, be it written or spoken, shapes all areas of life. Through opportunities to develop a love of reading and language, pupils explore a variety of texts chosen for their range of vocabulary, genre, characterisation, historical context, cultural content or authorial voice. Reading opportunities enable pupils to develop their writing skills across the curriculum, learning to write as readers, engaging the audience, demonstrating their ability to manipulate language to meet the needs of the audience and the purpose of the piece. In all areas of the curriculum, pupils will develop their ability to speak, discuss, question and analyse using their skills to debate, report and discuss.
Our curriculum is designed around key texts to promote a love of reading and writing; both are lifelong skills that interweave through the whole curriculum. We aim to deliver a rich and varied curriculum, one which is not simply focused on teaching to the tests or achieving good exam results but to develop a lifelong love of learning.
The use of inspirational key texts is fundamental to the teaching of English at Roundwood Primary School. This is where the teaching of specific grammatical skills is linked, and feeds in to, the all-important higher-level literacy skills so that the foundation of a good English curriculum – the engagement with wonderful children’s literature in several media – is at the heart of all our teaching.
PHONICS IN EYFS AND KS1
Developing reading fluency is a priority in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 to enable pupils to access all areas of the curriculum over time. Children’s reading is developed through the thorough and systematic daily teaching of phonics, one to one reading, guided reading and whole class shared reading.
In reception and Year One, we use the Sounds-Write approach to teaching phonics. Sounds-Write is a quality first phonics programme acknowledged by the DfE as meeting all its criteria for an effective phonics teaching programme. It is an exciting and highly successful approach to the teaching of reading, spelling and writing.
Sounds-Write is effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of the English language. From there, children are taught in small steps how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt.
Children begin by learning simple alphabet code and then progress through to more complex coding.
The programme teaches the following concepts:
- that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language
- that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters – examples are: s a t, f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t
- that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound ‘ae’, spelt as in ‘name’, can be represented as in ‘table’, in ‘rain’, in ‘eight’, in ‘play’, and so on
- that many spellings can represent more than one sound: can be the sound ‘e’ in ‘head’, ‘a-e’ in ‘break’, or ‘ee’ in ‘seat’
Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:
- segment, or separate sounds in words
- blend, or push sounds together to form words
- manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words
PHONIC SCREENING CHECK
In Year 1 pupils sit a Phonic Screening Check in June. The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.
The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn’t think the word is a mistake because it doesn’t make sense!).
READING IN EYFS AND KS1
In EYFS and Y1 children’s reading books are closely aligned to their phonological knowledge. We use Sounds Write Decodable Readers, Dandelion Readers and a range of other schemes. These books are organised to match the progression of sounds taught in Sounds Write. Most children in Year 2 have secure understanding of a wide number of Sound Spelling Correspondences and can read books that contain a higher number of Common Exception words. At this point children move onto banded reading books. Children’s reading levels are assessed each half term, these assessments are used to ensure the book band they are reading is of the correct level of challenge for them. When children can read complex books with fluency, accuracy and a high level of comprehension they become a ‘free reader’ and can choose any text from their class library or our school library to read.
When children are not reading at a level in line with the expectations for their year group, we are quick to put interventions in place, such as Reading Revival, to help and support them to make accelerated progress with their reading.
All children choose a book of their own choice from the class library box each week. High quality literature is used for the teaching of reading in groups and whole class teaching of reading.
We encourage children to read regularly at home. A growing number of studies show that promoting reading can have a major impact on children and adults and their future. Upon reviewing the research literature, Clark and Rumbold (2006) identify several main areas of the benefits to reading for pleasure:
• Reading attainment and writing ability
• Text comprehension and grammar
• Breadth of vocabulary
• Positive reading attitudes
• Greater self-confidence as a reader
• Pleasure in reading in later life
• General knowledge
• A better understanding of other cultures
• Community participation
• A greater insight into human nature and decision-making
WRITING IN EYFS
Writing is initially taught through the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, which is supported through Sounds Write.
In the Early Years, children are encouraged to attempt their own emergent writing and their efforts are valued and praised. As their phonic knowledge increases, this will be reflected in their writing. At the same time, their knowledge of key words and sentence construction is supported through reading and writing activities, including shared reading and writing, independent writing and talk for writing.
WRITING IN KS1
We use a range of teaching approaches to help develop children’s writing, including:
Modelled, shared and guided writing
- Independent or paired writing
- Peer and self-assessment against success criteria
- Continual opportunities for oral rehearsal of sentences and texts
- Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation activities, taught both discretely and as part of writing units
- Sounds Write Phonics
Our curriculum coverage follows the National Curriculum 2014 and ensures that a range of text types are taught from Years 1 to 6. During each term, we teach poetry, non-fiction and narrative text types. Oral rehearsal strategies are used regularly, as we strongly believe, “If you can say it, you can write it.” Alongside explicit English lessons, we include additional writing experiences where they link to the wider curriculum.
READING AND WRITING IN KS2
In Key Stage Two, children are encouraged to read regularly, both fiction and non-fiction. We focus on developing children’s reading habits with the expectation that broadening the range of books that they are experiencing will result in a more sophisticated level of writing. High quality texts pitched appropriately will allow children to synthesise important language patterns whilst exposing them to ambitious vocabulary. Our Active reading approach (including Home Learning) encourages children to analyse authorial techniques by explicitly discussing language choices and identifying the structural organisation of texts and the sentence structures within them. By jotting down sentence openers, descriptive phrases and cohesive devices, a child will come to his or her own writing with a bank of ideas to dip into, putting them into an enviable position to tackle a range of different genres as a writer. Studies consistently show that children who are prolific readers are also adept at writing.
We teach a range of literature that develops spiritual development through discussion and debate. This allows the pupils to identify good and bad characters or actions which in turn gives them an opportunity to think about the consequences of right and wrong behaviour, applying this to their own lives. This may be very simply through exploring the actions of Goldilocks in Years one and two or at a deeper level exploring childhood fears and compassion as themes in ‘The Valley of Lost Secrets’ in Years five and six.
Creative writing and the study of poetry gives students the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs and helps them to establish their own relationship with language. Writing is expressive and allows for a reflective process and the freedom to be creative and experiment.
Many texts encourage moral thinking through the recognition of values such as goodwill, humility and kindness. Students are able to analyse character and events to explore the consequences of negative actions.
During the study of fiction, students are given the opportunity to consider different perspectives and empathise with other characters and allow pupils to explore moral questions, such as equal rights for men and women, deforestation and homelessness, giving students the opportunity to produce their own writing. Writing non-fiction texts such as newspaper articles, leaflets, reports and reviews help to develop students’ ability to apply fiction to real life scenarios.
English lessons promote cooperation and teamwork through being able to work in groups, listening to presentations and asking questions. We give students the opportunity to speak in different contexts and regarding a range of different real-life issues, applying learning to careers and life after school. Real issues encourage students to think about the world outside school and give opinions on topics that may affect them in the future for example, imagining it has been proposed that a new supermarket is to be built in the local area or learning about the impact of climate change and its consequences for the world. Students are required to take on a role and argue a point of view.
Students learn about respecting others through the study of poetry from different cultures. Many poems deal with conditions faced by those in impoverished or less fortunate situations. Through exposure to these texts pupils develop an appreciation of different cultures and develop empathy.
The study of World War Two in Years five and six is an example of how we appreciate British history and culture with the children exploring evacuation from a child’s perspective as well as the emotional impact of the D Day Landings through carefully chosen film clips.
Speaking and listening activities promote the opportunity to share their own experiences and appreciate other students’ perspectives and experiences.
Theatre trips, visits from drama groups and published authors give all students the opportunity to access cultural activity alongside the viewing of live and online performances, which otherwise some pupils may not have the opportunity to experience.
We teach a cursive style of handwriting using the system Letterjoin.