RC Primary School, Stevenage
Jesus is our guide, let us follow Him
Our Learning / English
English is an integral and fundamental component of the whole Primary Curriculum. A good literacy education is pivotal for all learning in every curriculum area.Developing good communication skills are at the core of our English curriculum and ensure that children are able to function effectively in everyday life.
The National Curriculum for English divides the subject up into the following areas:
Spoken language: speaking, listening & responding;
Reading: word reading;
Writing: transcription: spelling and handwriting;
Writing: composition; and
Writing: vocabulary, grammar & punctuation. English is taught daily and is woven into many other curriculum areas.
How do we teach reading at St. Margaret Clitherow School?
Developing a love of reading is key to achieving excellence. For this reason we treat reading as a treasure to be enjoyed and cherished, and encourage our children to do the same.
We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our scheme for teaching phonics and early reading. In the Early Years, children begin to read by developing their ability to differentiate between the range of sounds they hear around them, before being introduced to letter/sound correspondences in Reception through a daily phonics session. We use strategies including pictures and phrases to help children remember these letter/sound correspondences. Daily phonics sessions continue throughout Reception and Year One. In Year Two, children learn to apply more complex spelling rules. Alongside their phonics sessions, children also participate in reading practice sessions three times a week, where they read a book matched to their ability. This is a crucial part of developing their love of reading. Each session has a different focus. The first session works on decoding the text, the second on prosody (reading with expression) and the third on comprehension, or understanding.
As children move into key stage two, these reading skills are further developed through their English lessons, as well as additional reading practice sessions. Children are exposed to high quality texts and encouraged to think about the audience, purpose and effect on the reader, before learning more about the features of the different text types. The children notice interesting vocabulary, recall information, make inferences about characters and events, make predictions and sequence events. In key stage two, children also learn how to explain authorial choices, as well as summarise information found in texts. Children are given opportunities to enjoy reading aloud to others in an expressive way which show understanding, as well as having the opportunity to listen to their teacher reading to them each day.
Please find below a powerpoint that was shared in our parent information session about Little Wandle earlier this year.
Learning to Read at SMC
How do we teach writing at St. Margaret Clitherow School?
All writing begins with reading. The children are immersed in the language of high-quality texts as a starting point for their own writing. This text then provides hooks, or reasons to write as well as providing new vocabulary, language patterns or text structures which will be used in children’s independent writing. Children are exposed to a broad range of text types throughout their school life. It is vital that our children are able to write for a range of purposes, audiences and in a range of styles.
From Early Years onwards, we provide our children with opportunities to develop their spoken and written language and to record their ideas through speech, role play, drawing, writing and photographs. As a school, we promote the “Think it, say it, write it, read it” model to help the children write coherently. As the children become more confident and skilled, we aim to develop an evaluative approach to writing, encouraging our children to plan, draft, and edit their work. This opportunity for self- reflection and feedback, whether in spoken or written form, is key to the development of confident and creative writers.
Children begin to learn to spell during their phonics lessons in Reception and Year One, as they apply their knowledge of phoneme/grapheme correspondences. In Year Two, children begin to learn the spelling rules foreach year group as outlined in the National Curriculum.
How can you help at home?
Make reading a fun activity to share together.
Show children you are excited about sharing books they have chosen to read, and celebrate their successes when they share their practice book with you.
Discuss favourite genres and authors with your child and talk about what you enjoy.
Read different texts to your child. Reading bedtime stories, which your child is unable to read independently, will awaken their desire to explore new worlds and new experiences. It will also expose your child to ambitious vocabulary and more complex sentence structures.
Develop favourite books that your child reads and re-reads many times over. This will give your child a familiarity which will develop confidence in using the vocabulary and also the structure of a good story.
Encourage them to notice new vocabulary and then find out what it tells them about characters and setting.
As your child becomes more fluent, they will want to read silently. As well as reading silently, provide opportunities for your child to read aloud to an audience, dramatically and expressively.
Remember– reading isn’t limited to fiction or books. Magazines, comics menus, leaflets and instructions are all rich sources of reading material.
Above all, have fun!
Visit Little Wandle Letters and Sounds for further support and resources:
At SMC we believe that the basis of good writing begins with good talk.
Encourage your child to talk about what they’ve done, seen, heard, smelt, and touched.
Encourage them to describe in detail and model good adjectives to extend their descriptions.
Let your children see you writing – notes, cards letters or shopping lists.
Show them that you are not perfect! Revise, redraft and correct your written work, explaining what you are doing.
Encourage your child to write their own notes, cards and lists. Provide different sizes, types and colours of paper. Use special pens, pencils, stampers, envelope. Maybe you could create a special writing box or area.
Play games which might include Boggle, Scrabble or Guess Who.
Help your child to organise and sequence ideas. Draw simple pictures to show how events in a story can be organised.
Use magnetic letters to build words or cut out words from newspapers to build sentences.
As children get older and their skills develop they might enjoy keeping a journal or notebook of ideas, including favourite words, phrases or descriptions from books they have read. Encourage them to write in their favourite genres, whether this is writing fiction or non-fiction. They could write stories or they could research topics of interest and write information leaflets, or even write instructions or recipes.
Support your child with their weekly spellings by using a dictionary or search engine to find their meaning, looking for patterns within the words and using the Spelling Shed tasks and online games.