Our English Strategy
Speaking and Listening
Children are encouraged to communicate effectively by providing them with the opportunity to talk for a range of purposes, e.g. telling stories, describing events, and through drama. Talk for Writing strategies are used in all English sessions and, where appropriate, across other curriculum areas. They are encouraged to listen with growing attention and concentration and situations are structured to help these skills.
Reading is of key importance and progress is carefully monitored. Both Key Stages have daily Phonics/Spelling sessions. Children are encouraged to take their reading books home and if parents become involved and interested in their child’s reading it is most beneficial. Reading workshops are held for parents to offer advice and assistance so that they can become more confident in helping their child with reading. These workshops extend from Nursery age to Year 6. In KS2, the children all take part in a scheme called Accelerated Reader where they are assessed regularly and given an appropriate reading band to allow enjoyment and suitable challenge. The children are encouraged to complete whole books and are offered suitable rewards for reading at home and passing any quizzes. We use a mixture of two main reading schemes – Read Write Inc Phonics and Oxford Reading Tree, together with non-fiction and poetry books to provide the children with a variety of materials. Each day the children have many opportunities to read for a range of purposes and are listened to. Reading is taught in Whole Class sessions and Guided Reading sessions in small focus groups. Regular cross-curricular opportunities for comprehension and similar application of skills are provided.
Our writing sessions are planned on a bi-weekly basis, following a similar structure throughout school. Using Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing techniques, opportunities for immersion at the beginning of a new genre are evident including story mapping and drama-based activities. Once the children have a good understanding of the taught genre and have had enough time to engage with varied examples and a model text, we then move on to the innovation stage where the children begin to plan and compose their own examples using paired write and analysis. The final stage of the two weeks is the invention stage. This is where the children independently plan, draft, write and redraft their invented genres independently. A final extended piece of writing, ‘The Hot Task’, is produced at the end as a means of assessment. Wherever possible, this final product is celebrated and published for its intended audience. Throughout all writing sessions, appropriate taught grammar objectives are embedded and analysed. Daily spelling sessions take place across the school. KS1 use Read Write Inc phonics and spelling programs.
The children need to learn the correct way to form letters so that they can go on to join up their letters as they get older. We use the Nelson Thornes Scheme for handwriting throughout school and record any handwriting practise at the back of English books. Effective activities for strengthening hand muscles used in school are cutting and sticking activities, playing with plasticine and using clothes pegs. Opportunities for celebrating handwriting are encouraged to further engage and motivate pupils to be proud of their presentation.