English is a vital way of communicating in school, in public life and internationally. Literature in English is rich and influential, reflecting the experience of people from many countries and times. In studying English, pupils develop skills in speaking and listening, reading and writing. It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate with others effectively.
We deliver an English curriculum that:
The effectiveness of literacy teaching determines the success of the whole curriculum. Language is cross-curricular - it is an essential element of learning in all areas of the curriculum. We follow the National Curriculum and believe the development of literacy skills is best ensured by providing a rich and varied linguistic environment.
Talking is fundamental to a pupil’s learning. Pupils are encouraged and helped to talk clearly and confidently and with expression in order to communicate ideas and feelings. Similarly, and just as importantly, is the need to listen to others and respond appropriately. All children are provided with opportunities in all areas of the curriculum to develop skills in speaking and listening.
At Claypole CE Primary School our aim is not only to teach children the skills to read with confidence, fluency and understanding but, also to foster a genuine desire to read for pleasure and purpose. We want our pupils to become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama as well as non-fiction and media texts. All children are encouraged to take books home each evening to practise and reinforce the skills taught in school. Guidance is provided on how parents can best support their children’s learning in this area.
Pupils are helped to develop the ability to express their thoughts and ideas and communication skills through the written word. We believe it is important that children see their writing as having purpose and that they regard themselves as authors of their work. Opportunities are provided for children to develop the necessary writing skills required for different purposes and audiences. The link between reading and writing is strongly emphasised.
Phonics & Early Reading
Our pupils learn to read and write effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme.
The programme is for pupils in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 who are learning to read and write and any pupils in Years 3 or 4 who need to catch up rapidly. Children take part in the Phonics programme until they are fluent in word reading (decoding) and transcription (spelling & handwriting).
In Read Write Inc. Phonics pupils:
• Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills
• Read common exception words on sight
• Understand what they read
• Read aloud with fluency and expression
• Write confidently, with a strong focus on vocabulary and grammar
• Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
• Acquire good handwriting.
There are daily opportunities for children to apply their knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC) by reading ‘decodable’ books that support their fluency in word reading. Teachers focus on the early identification of children who are not able to decode accurately (or are otherwise at risk of not learning to read) and prioritise teaching them to read. The programme of reading develops pupils’ accuracy and speed. Children practise composition through oral activities before their transcription becomes fluent. Children practise what they need in order to acquire fluent transcription skills (spelling and handwriting); this is the foundation for their progress in writing. Carefully chosen dictation activities enable pupils to practise and apply their spelling knowledge and segmenting skills, to use the content they have been taught and to do so without having their working memories overloaded by composing sentences.
In addition, we teach pupils to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.
We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.
In EYFS, we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – common exception words.
We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.
Alongside this, the teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils; they are soon able to read these texts for themselves.
Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day.
Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.
Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.
For more information about Read Write Inc. please see the website:
To find out how to pronounce the sounds your children learn in school watch this clip:
Spoken language is an important goal of the curriculum as research indicates it strongly correlates with pupils’ academic outcomes. Talk is undervalued and thought of as only a social tool but in classrooms, it is used cognitively and culturally too. Provision for developing pupils’ spoken language is planned across the curriculum. For pupils to use spoken language successfully, they need to make progress in the following aspects of language:
Opportunities to develop spoken language proficiency is planned in literacy and across the curriculum and modelled by adults for spoken language (including the use of Standard English and unfamiliar vocabulary, key words and phrases) including asking pupils to repeat these. There are opportunities for experiences of different kinds of talk, with explicit teaching and practice including:
Our curriculum provides frequent opportunities for children to practise, refine and apply their spoken language knowledge and skills.
On our website (following the link: Children - Reading for Fun), you will find a recommended reading list for each year group. The lists contain a range of books for different abilities. Books are not easily categorised by age, but by a child's personal interests and ability to read. Therefore you will notice that some books may appear on more than one year group list.
Reading and comprehension are equally an important aspect of our curriculum too. Children are heard read as often as possible and whole class reading is completed at least three times a week. We are now in our second year of Whole Class Guided Reading and the children have taken on these sessions wonderfully.
The three factors that make up the foundation for reading comprehension are:
Readers use the factors (above) to create a mental model of a text. Comprehending a text is integral to the enjoyment of reading it – if you don’t understand what the text is about then it just becomes words on a page! Comprehension skills are taught explicitly in our curriculum as specific lessons and also through combined learning opportunities.
When choosing appropriate texts for the children to read/be taught from, the following complexities are considered:
Challenging texts are carefully selected and built upon to provide children with the adequate practice and experience required for them to acquire knowledge and build comprehension skills. Reading ambitious literature is the endpoint of the national curriculum and children are helped to progress in this area through exposure to a broad range of increasingly challenging texts.
Reading is taught through:
We really encourage the children to read as often as possible, including at home. Every teacher reads aloud a class story book, which the children thoroughly enjoy hearing and sharing. Children also enjoy bringing in their own books that have been linked to our topics.
The lists on our 'Reading Is Fun' page are to help you be aware of the variety of good books out there, however it is more important that the child is able to read and enjoy their book. I would also recommend looking at reading lists for the years above or below your child's year group, especially if they are a strong reader or find reading difficult.
We understand the link between good talking and skilful writing. We also know that children will be motivated to write if the purpose is clear. Writing in English lessons is wherever possible linked to books and/or real-life scenarios, giving the children a secure context and purpose for their writing. Pupils are taught key skills to help them plan, draft and edit their work, learning to proof-read and improve their own writing, as well as having opportunities to discuss their writing with peers. Pupils’ stamina for writing is developed through extended writing tasks which are linked to other areas of the curriculum, whilst building upon the writing skills taught during English lessons.
Our curriculum secures the knowledge needed for successful writing: knowledge about the topic/themes and knowledge about how to write. Children’s accuracy and automaticity in transcription are developed early on and we aim for it be secured by lower Key Stage 2 so that older children are able to pay attention to the higher-level processes of composition, planning, writing and revision.
Children write frequently, for a range of audiences and purposes (once they have sufficient accuracy and automaticity in transcription) and are directly/explicitly taught sentence construction & control of grammar and syntax so they can use them with accuracy, confidence and increasing flair! Children are also taught how to plan, draft, revise and edit their writing.
Grammar and punctuation are taught explicitly through focused activities within the context of reading and writing. Once familiar with a grammatical concept, pupils are encouraged to explore and apply this concept to their own writing and speech.
Spelling begins with the phonics where children develop the confidence and accuracy in matching the letters to sounds. The teaching of spelling includes the alphabet, syllables, word meaning and history of words. After mastering the alphabetic code, Key Stage 1 children work to apply it to their writing. From Key Stage 2 onwards, spelling is taught explicitly (through Read Write Inc Spelling) and is supported by:
Our literacy curriculum ensures that children leave Claypole: