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.
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.
Read Write Inc.
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.
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.
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 Year R 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:
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.
We have Oxford Reading Tree schemes, Read Write Inc books and many more titles in our class & shared libraries.
The lists 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.
There is an additional attachment which is provided by RWI (our Phonics and Literacy program). This contains a list of books which support the texts covered in the Literacy & Language groups for each year.
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.
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 in our curriculum as specific lessons and also through our guided reading sessions.
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.
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.
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.
From years 1 to 6, the children take part in Spelling Shed. Spelling Shed is a scheme designed to meet the needs of the 2014 National Curriculum in a manageable way. The focus of the programme is on the teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions, patterns and rules. Spelling Shed is an online programme, where the children can learn their weekly spellings, play games and have fun whilst learning.
Key Stage One Word Work
Key Stage One Sentence Work
BBC Starship – Make a Sentence
Key Stage Two Word Work
Spelling Rule Songs
Key Stage Two Sentence Work
Are these sentences?
Sort Verbs, nouns & adjectives