English is taught across the school with a focus on using good quality texts. Speaking and Listening are hugely important elements of our curriculum and both of these skills are encouraged from the earliest days in school as they are essential to all learning. Speaking and listening occur throughout the day in different forms through role play, drama and discussions with partners or adults. We encourage children to speak clearly and to reply to questions by giving more than a one word answer. A wide range of texts (fiction and non-fiction) are used to provide enhanced reading opportunities. Writing, including grammar and punctuation, are taught within the context of English lessons in a way that supports the learning and chosen text.
In addition to English lessons, basic skills in English are promoted through daily phonic sessions in EYFS and KS1 and daily spelling sessions in KS2. Phonics is formally taught through the Letter and Sounds programme. In KS2 spellings are taught using the No Nonsense Spelling Programme, The Spelling Shed and a variety of spelling games and activities to support this.
Our approach to the teaching of reading is through working with children one to one in EYFS and into year 1; through group guided reading in class (from when they are ready in year 1 and throughout year 2) and whole class teaching of reading (years 3 – 6.) There are also individual / small group programmes of support for children who are not on track for meeting the expected standard for their age group in reading. We strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. We believe this is achievable through a combination of high quality, systematic, discrete, interactive and multisensory phonics teaching combined with a whole school approach that aims to promote a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ culture.
Click the link below to see each phase’s overview for Themes and Texts that the English curriculum is based upon.
Phonics and Spellings
Both phonics and spelling are taught using the ‘Revisit / review, teach, practise, apply’ approach.
The Letters and Sounds Programme is followed from year R to year 2 to support the teaching of phonics. We approach phonics in an active way, and link actions, activities and outdoor learning to the teaching of phonics as well as the daily whole-class input sessions. Phonics sessions are structured in the same way each day, building consistent and familiar routines. In this way children know what to expect, are aware of expectations and are not distracted in their progress towards the learning intention. They follow the structure of ‘Review, Teach, Practise, Apply and Assess’ to ensure that children are consolidating phonic knowledge and skills over time and that they are able to apply them in context.
How we Teach Phonics at Shawley Year R
How we Teach Phonics at Shawley Year 1
How we Teach Phonics and Spelling at Shawley Year 2
How we Teach Spelling at Shawley Year 3
How we Teach Spelling at Shawley Year 4
How we Teach Spelling at Shawley Year 5
How we Teach Spelling at Shawley Year 6
As children reach the end of the Letters and Sounds Programme and begin KS2, spellings are taught each day in sessions of 20 minutes.
High Frequency Words
In line with the current curriculum, year group related high frequency spellings are incorporated into phonics and spelling lessons. The links to these lists are below.
Strategies for Reading
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 comprises of two parts:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading).
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both these areas. This is done through one-to-one reading and regular teaching of reading sessions.
One-to-one reading focuses on word reading, developing phrasing and fluency and comprehension. Adults working one-to-one aim to develop a child’s skills in applying phonics to unknown words, using their knowledge of sentence structure and reading for meaning. Throughout the school we have adults who have been trained in the skills of being a good reading partner and these adults work with selected children from each year group in order to focus on further developing an individual child’s skills as necessary.
Guided reading focuses on meeting the needs of groups of children. The children are grouped by ability within the class and all read the same text with a focus on teaching the children the skills they need in order to develop as readers. Each session, pupils will share a book at their level within a group led by the teacher or Learning Support Assistant. The follow-up work focuses on skills such as responding to the text, using inference and deduction, skimming and scanning texts to find information or considering choices made by the author.
Within the whole class teaching of reading (Years 3 – 6), children explore a range of texts from different genres. Through a close study of a text, the aim is to expand pupils' vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the texts they are reading. Teachers do this with a focus on developing the children’s ability to answer questions relating to Vocabulary, Inference, Predictions, Explanations, Retrieval and Summarising (VIPERS). Extracts are carefully chosen to expose children to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts and to ‘whet the reading appetite’ so that children go on to read either the full text or other books by the same author.
At Shawley, we do not have one specific scheme, instead we have a variety of scheme based non-fiction and fiction books on offer for children to choose from.
In KS1 these are kept in levelled, colour banded boxes. The books are organised in the order in which sounds are taught in their phonics sessions. The books the children take home are matched to the child’s current reading ability and aim to allow the child to practise sounds they have learnt and therefore increase fluency. We have a range of books including Collins Big Cat, Smart Kids Letters and Sounds series, Ranson Reading Stars, Booktime, Rising Stars.
Additionally, all classes have a designated book area, with a variety of texts for book browsing and reading for pleasure.
Strategies for Writing
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- Transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- Composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Each week 5 lessons are dedicated to English, in which writing plays a part and strong cross curricular links are made where possible. Our English teaching has high quality texts at its core and we use The Literacy Tree units to complement this. The aim is to ‘Hook children into their learning through a book’ and offer opportunities for writing for a range of purposes. In Foundation Stage, Children begin to develop writing in accordance with the Early Learning Goals and the Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage document. Across the school, there are many more opportunities for children to progress in their writing skills as English is weaved throughout our curriculum.
At Shawley grammar skills are taught and applied within the context of English lessons in a cohesive and creative approach. To provide further opportunities for retrieval practice, there are also discrete Grammar lessons known as ‘Grammar Hammer’ which are timetabled throughout the week in key stage 2.
World Book Day
Every year in March we celebrate World Book Day. The day is focussed on a range of learning experiences and activities that are designed to celebrate reading and further promote reading for enjoyment. A highlight of the day is the whole school assembly when each class gets a chance to parade around the hall for the rest of the school to see their book day costumes and work out the books that the characters come from!
Every year workshops are held for Reception parents early in the Autumn term so that they can become familiar with our approach to teaching phonics and reading and how parents can support this at home.
In addition to these annual workshops, we also offer a range of curriculum evenings to parents of children in all year groups. These seek to further inform parents about their children’s’ learning. Previously we have hosted writing, phonics, spelling and reading meetings for all parents.
We hold Book Fairs each term and host ‘Read With Me’ afternoons each term where parents come in to read with their own child and others. We encourage parent volunteers to come into school to hear children read as much as possible.
Reading for Pleasure
Throughout the year, events are planned to promote reading for pleasure in the school community.
Each class is read to daily. Books are chosen by the teacher or sometimes chosen by a child from our class reading areas. Read Aloud time at Shawley is a treasured time. Teachers and / or staff members use the opportunity to model expression and fluency, explore new vocabulary, make mistakes sometimes for the children to correct and so on. We also aim to make it engaging and fun to promote a love of reading.
Every classroom has an engaging book corner with a range of interesting books and a display to stimulate interest and reading in every classroom.
As a school, we have good links with the local library and different classes visit the library throughout the year. One of the librarians visits the school during the Summer term to promote the summer reading challenge.
We have reading buddies in each Key Stage 2 class who read with children in Key Stage 1 and EYFS.
We organise book swaps, where children can bring in unwanted books and swap for a new book that they have not read.