Our English curriculum ensures that pupils’ develop spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.
The reading leaders role is to assess each child at the beginning of the year and at the end of each half term after that. Any new children to the school will be assessed within 2 weeks of their arrival and placed in the group that best matches their reading ability. Reading assessments involve identifying the sound represented, ability to read real and nonsense words containing taught graphemes and reading fluency.
If at any point children are identified as working below the expected standard for reading, they may receive interventions (small group or 1:1) with a specialist RWI teacher.
All children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 are taught a daily phonics session following the RWI program. Teachers and LSA’s have been trained to plan and deliver a speed sound session using RWI resources and planning guides.
These lessons will happen at the same time every day for each class and will follow the same structure. Children will learn and use a new speed sound in their reading and writing. This will include the reading of nonsense words in preparation for the Phonics Screening Check (PSC) that all pupils in Year 1 sit during the Summer term.
At the end of Year 1 children are tested on their reading skills (through the PSC). If children are working below the expected standard for reading they will continue to access RWI lessons when they enter Year 2, if they meet the expected standard they will move into a reading comprehension lesson.
Following on from passing the Phonics Screening Check in Key Stage 1, all children will be taught reading comprehension.
Each teacher will deliver 4 reading lessons a week where each lesson will focus on a specific reading skill. These skills can be found on the English overviews for each year group. Priority will be given to vocabulary and word meaning questions and then to retrieval so that pupils are secure in this area. Regular opportunities for inference will also be planned for.
Texts used during a reading comprehension will vary, with teachers sometimes using extracts and/or core texts to support with the development of the Horizon topic.
All children at Phoenix St. Peter Academy are expected to read at home every day. They will be supplied with a selection of 2-3 books (reading scheme, RWI and library books) that they are encouraged to share, read and discuss with an adult at home. We encourage adults to record all home reading in the reading records so that teachers can monitor home reading and communicate next steps with parents. All reading records are checked by an adult daily.
We celebrate home reading by choosing a reading champion from each class every week!
All children at Phoenix St. Peter Academy visit the school library at least once a week. Here they are encouraged to choose, read and share books for pleasure. Staff model reading for pleasure and focus discussions around why we have chosen particular books, how we can use the library to help us to learn and who the most famous and up-to-date authors are.
Writing is taught through the use of the ‘Talk for Writing ‘ framework; alongside discrete grammar, handwriting and spelling lessons.
The Talk for Writing approach to Literacy is used from Nursery through to Year 6. Talk for Writing was developed by the author Pie Corbett. It is fundamentally based on the key principles of how children learn. Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need orally before they try reading, analysing and recording it. It is a fun, creative yet also rigorous approach to develop writers.
Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:
During this phase the children create actions to accompany the oral re-telling of the story. They also create story maps, using pictures and symbols, to depict actions and events from the text. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They also begin to look closely at the language and text features that have been used.
During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure. This process enables the children to write their own versions through developing their ability to generate powerful words and phrases.
During this phase the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text before finally writing their version of the text.
In addition to using Talk for Writing during English lessons, children also have discreet grammar lessons, planned and taught to support the text type the pupils are working on.
Spelling lessons follow the school spelling programme, covering spelling rules, common exception words and the year group spelling list. Spelling is taught through immersion in one spelling rule per week through games, vocabulary development and English lessons.
Handwriting is taught using the Nelson Handwriting scheme, that introduces cursive handwriting in step-by-step stages. The scheme also includes games and activities for building hand muscle strength and stamina.