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When teaching the English curriculum our children acquire and develop the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become life-long learners and linguists.
We strive to ensure that all our children receive a well-rounded learning experience in reading, writing and speaking and listening, which will equip them with the fundamental tools to achieve throughout the school and beyond. It is our aim to ensure all children are able to transfer their developing skills in English across all areas of our curriculum. With confidence in English, children can access our full and broad curriculum.
We ensure that the children:
- Read fluently and with a secure and maturing understanding
- Develop the love and habit of reading frequently across a range of materials, for both pleasure and information.
- Develop an ever-growing, broadening vocabulary through reading a range of texts written for different purposes.
- Have a secure understanding of English grammar and how the language works,
- Write clearly, coherently and accurately, adapting their language and style for a range of purposeful contexts and audiences.
- Use high quality discussion in order to learn; our children should be able to both listen attentively and clearly explain their thinking and ideas to others.
We follow the National Curriculum for English in both reading and writing. Reading and writing are connected through the use of high-quality texts including spoken word, images, film clips as starting points for writing, which can be linked to the current topic.
English is divided into four areas:
- Speaking & listening
- Phonics into reading
- Reading, including comprehension
- Writing, including punctuation, grammar, spelling (phonics into writing) and handwriting
Speaking and Listening
We promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping children with a command of the spoken and written word. Developing a love and natural curiosity of language and words in our children is a crucial skill. We develop language skills throughout all curriculum areas providing the children with language that is layered and shows progression. The children are encouraged to listen attentively, to speak clearly and to express themselves confidently through conversation, class discussion and drama.
Reading is a high priority area of our English curriculum at Co-op Academy Smithies Moor. Reading is a fundamental skill, used to stimulate children’s imaginations and learn to acquire a love for books. We work in partnership to develop the children’s reading at home and encourage parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this in order to support their child’s ongoing development.
Children in all classes still have access to story time and have a class book for a sustained period: this ensures that reading is correctly modelled to children as well as giving them the opportunity to enjoy being read to!
We use Read Write Inc. Phonics as a systematic programme to help our children acquire the necessary skills they need to become fluent and confident readers. This programme is used throughout Reception and up to Autumn Year 2 and as an intervention programme for Year 2 upwards where necessary.
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As the children become more competent in their reading they begin to use a more shared reading approach that is based more whole class. The children have a range of reading texts to access in class and will have a range of activities that are linked to the reading skills for KS1. Children have daily reading sessions where they are focusing in on decoding and understanding books of the appropriate level.
In Key stage 2 the children’s individual reading system is based around Accelerated Reader and Renaissance Place. This is a reading system that uses texts at the child’s reading age. The children use these texts as their independent reading books and are given dedicated time to read these books daily. These texts have an online comprehension quiz that shows the depth of understanding the children have within that given text.
Daily whole class shared reading is used as an approach to the teaching of reading skills. As the children become more fluent readers, the emphasis goes towards understanding the texts at a deeper level and thinking about vocabulary and authorial choices. The teachers use a wide range of texts and teaching strategies to improve the reading skills within the class.
Fresh Start is the reading intervention programme that is used in Y4-6 to accelerate the progress in reading.
Foundation Stage and KS1
We use Read Write Inc. Phonics as a systematic programme to help our children acquire the necessary skills they need to understand the basics of writing and forming sentences. This programme is used throughout Reception and Year 1 and as an intervention programme for Year 2. The children will also access the whole class English writing sessions and have varied and frequent opportunities to develop and secure their writing skills.
English Writing Sessions
Writing is strengthened by instilling a love for reading within our pupils. We value the importance of reading to supplement writing, providing a purpose and a context to writing. We believe that children who are provided a reason for writing demonstrate flair and effective writing composition, leading to high quality outcomes.
Writing is an integral part of our curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. English writing lessons are comprised of a balance of reading and writing, as well as speaking and listening and are taught every day.
Our English writing sessions throughout the academy use a Talk for Writing approach. We use Reading as a Reader and Reading as a Writer approach to teach the skills of becoming an author. It is our intention that children develop a clear understanding of the writing process in order to establish themselves as writers. Children are taken on a writing journey which builds their knowledge of writing for context and purpose, allows the opportunities for the children to explore a variety of genres, planning, drafting and re-drafting their writing. In order to establish this, children will develop their knowledge of genre features, audience, language and effective composition. It is our intention to broaden their exposure to high level vocabulary to allow the children to apply their understanding of vocabulary and grammatical features within and across the English curriculum. The writing purposes link either to the current topic or to the current text the class is reading. The grammar requirements of the curriculum are integrated into writing with examples seen from real texts. Our writing curriculum is derived around a sequence of high quality age appropriate resources to engage all children, which can include whole class texts, snippets from texts, film clips and images. We develop writing skills so that our pupils have the stamina and ability to write at the age expected standard.
We promote the status of written work by providing opportunities for children’s writing to celebrated and show cased on display. Every effort is made to ensure that children develop a legible, fluent style of handwriting and we encourage the development of a cursive style when they have secured the letter formation based on Read Write Inc programme
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling strategies are taught explicitly in short interactive and investigative sessions and are linked to the skills required for their current writing purpose.
Children are taught to recognise which strategies they can use to improve their own spelling.
Children are encouraged to apply learnt strategies to their independent writing and are expected to be able to develop editing and redrafting skills to improve the grammar, punctuation and spelling.
In KS1 children learn spelling largely through their daily phonic Read Write Inc sessions. In KS2 children are taught spelling through discrete sessions using a range of resources including No Nonsense Spelling scheme.
The teaching and learning of grammar and punctuation is embedded within the English teaching sequence. This means, grammar and punctuation skills and knowledge are built into a sequence of preparatory work which is then applied within longer pieces of writing at the end of the teaching sequence.
As they become more confident, children are encouraged to check spellings using a dictionary and to expand their vocabulary using the thesaurus.
We strive to ensure that our children’s attainment is in line or exceeds their potential when we consider the varied starting points of all our children. We measure this using a range of materials, whilst always considering the expectations for each year group. Children will make at least good progress in Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening from their last point of statutory assessment or from their starting point in Nursery. We intend the impact of our English curriculum will ensure our children are academically prepared for life beyond primary school and throughout their educational journey.