English teaching at Staplecross Methodist Primary School aims to provide our children with firm foundations in reading, writing and speaking and listening. Secure skills in these areas will ensure that the children can confidently negotiate everyday life. Furthermore, we hope to develop a love of language and literature that will stay with them throughout their lives. English is at the heart of everything we do and teachers promote a love of the English language through daily, engaging lessons and a range of appropriate intervention groups.
Being able to read is a hugely important skill and here at Staplecross, we believe the key to enabling children to learn is a rich, cross-curricular approach with a high focus on reading for pleasure, combined with the consistent teaching of progressively more advanced skills. The children in our school are enthusiastic readers and are given many opportunities to engage with and discuss a variety of enjoyable and high quality texts in English lessons and in other areas of our Creative Curriculum; our children not only learn to read, they read to learn!
At Staplecross children learn phonics daily throughout Reception and Key stage 1. It is taught in short sessions so that children build up and learn the skills needed for both reading and writing. We use a range of resources which support every type of learner. We sing songs, practise articulating letter sounds and names and create letters using a wide range of materials. We also use a range of games to reinforce the children’s learning. We believe that high quality phonics teaching adds to the skills of early readers. Phonics will also be taught in Key Stage 2 as discrete lessons either individually or as a small group if there is a SEND requirement. These sessions will be planned by the teacher to focus on the specific phrase of learning based on the individual children’s needs.
At Staplecross we believe that children deserve a rich curriculum which encourages extensive reading of whole books and other kinds of texts. We believe that active encouragement of reading for pleasure is a core part of every child’s educational entitlement, because we know that extensive reading and exposure to a wide range of texts make a huge contribution to students’ educational achievements. In Reception and Key Stage 1 all children will take home a school reading book along with a reading record book. This forms an important dialogue and parents are encouraged to be involved in their child's literacy every day through a requirement to read with their child at home. We have a wide range of colour banded books from a range of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star and Collins Big Cat.
We teach English through The Power of Reading. We aim for our children to leave school as successful fluent readers. The Power of Reading uses high quality books and creative teaching approaches. A quality text is used as the basis for learning over several weeks. Teachers skilfully hang the curriculum requirements for the term around one book. For example, Kestrels studied Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill, as the focus of English and History work during their Life in the Freezer topic; Kingfishers studied I was there….. 1066 by Jim Eldridge’ within their Halt! Who Goes There? Battle of Hastings topic; while Swallows read Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke within their Homes and Gardens topic. Every unit that is taught is carefully planned to tie into each year group’s learning journey where possible. Within each unit, texts are analysed by drawing out key features and then a range of practical, skill-based and creative activities are delivered so that children are immersed in the genre. This then provides them with a solid foundation on which to base their own extended writing. These activities include music, art, drama, discussion and role-play with approaches such as, responding to illustrations, ‘Book Talk’, story-mapping and book making. Children take ownership of the books and engage with it fully by deepen their understanding of texts, providing a meaningful context for writing. They write in a range of genres as part of each unit. For example they might write a letter in role as a character or write a newspaper recount about the events in the text.
Reading aloud is a key part of the Power of Reading. This strategy enables all children to access quality texts. It also enables the teacher to model expressive and fluent reading to the children. Children then echo what they have heard read aloud in their own writing.
We encourage home reading with rewards for children who are reading consistently at home (4 reads per week which an adult will record in the reading planner). Reading encourages a wider vocabulary, as children are exposed to words they haven’t heard before, as well as feeding their imagination and creating interest and enthusiasm.
Comprehension is also key. Children need to be able to understand what they are reading and how characters and a storyline is developing, rather than just being able to decode the words. You can help by asking questions about the book your child is reading, such as how a character feels about a situation or what is going to happen next.
English teaching at Staplecross aims to provide our children with firm foundations in reading, writing and speaking and listening. Secure skills in these areas will ensure that the children can confidently negotiate everyday life. Furthermore, we hope to develop a love of language and literature that will remain with them throughout their lives.
Each year group is introduced to a wide range of genres and texts from narratives to newspaper reports, from play-scripts to instructions. Every unit that is taught is carefully planned to tie into each year group’s learning journey. Within each unit, texts are analysed by drawing out key features and then a range of practical and skill-based activities are delivered to immerse the children in the genre. We use a variety of stimuli for our ‘Wows’: educational visits, creative workshops and different starting points including pictures, photographs and artefacts. In addition, our children experience drama, role play and hot seating to stimulate the writing process. As a result, this provides a solid foundation on which to base their own extended writing.