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English

Subject Leader - Miss Mercer

 

At St. Mary’s and St. Benedict’s Primary School we aim to develop pupils’ abilities within an integrated programme of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing.  We strive for children to be literate and confident with a love of reading and writing to enable them to flourish as life-long learners. 

 

We aim for every child to be able to: read easily, fluently and with good understanding; develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information; acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language; appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage; write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences; use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas; are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

 

We follow the Statutory requirements for the teaching and learning of English which are laid out in specific detail in the National Curriculum 2014.

 

The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for

 

English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate. 

Phonics

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.

Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.

Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.

 

At St. Mary’s and St. Benedict’s, we recognise the importance of phonics to decode.  Daily phonics teaching is prioritised throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1 and underpins both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Decoding skills are taught daily from EYFS using guidance and plans from Letters and Sounds as a core resource, adapted and augmented depending on the needs of the children. We also use jolly phonics actions to help children visualise the sounds and associate it with a letter.

 

Phonics sessions follow the teaching sequence recommended in Letters and Sounds and include fun and enjoyable activities which lead to rapid acquisition of skills. Regular application of phonics skills on a daily basis further strengthen our children’s reading ability. 

 

Phonics is taught progressively through 6 phases.  It is expected that children will reach Phase 6 in Year 2.  However, we understand that children all learn at their own level, therefore we stream our phonics groups across Key Stage 1 to ensure all children can access the Phonics Curriculum at their own level. We tailor our phonics teaching to meet the individual needs of children. We regularly monitor our children’s progress and so if children are not on track to meet the phonics expectations, interventions and additional support are put in place. 

To view an overview of the Phonics phases taught from EYFS to Year 2, please click on the document below.

In KS2 we have adopted a No-Nonsense Spelling Scheme to build upon the phonics skills obtained in EYFS and Key Stage 1. In Year 2, No Nonsense Spelling is taught alongside Letters and Sounds to teach phonics, to aid transition to Year 3. When children reach Year 3, we identify those children that may need extra support with Phonics and Spelling, and provide targeted intervention groups tailored to their needs.

 

Phonics Screening Check

At the end of Year 1, all children are required to undergo the statutory Phonics Screening Check, which takes place in the Summer Term. Children are presented with ‘pseudo words’ (nonsense words) and real words and are assessed on their ability to decode words using the sounds they have learnt in Phases 2-5. The test contains 40 words and children are required to read 32 of those words correctly in order to achieve the required standard. If your child does not meet the required standard in Year 1, they will be retested the following year in the Summer term of Year 2.

 

Sample materials from the Phonics Screening Check.

 

If you have any questions about phonics or the Phonics Screening Check, please speak to your child's teacher. 

 

At St. Mary’s and St. Benedict’s, we hold a Parent Phonics Meeting, both in Reception and in Year one. This is an opportunity to learn more about Phonics and ask questions to the class teacher. We also send home Phonics packs to help you support your child’s phonics at home.

During our parent meetings, we will talk about the importance of articulating sounds and using the ‘pure sound’ when decoding words.

 

Here is a useful video showing the correct pronunciation of phonemes.

 

Reading

We appreciate the vitality of pupils reading fluently when entering secondary school, and encourage reading for pleasure in addition to daily guided reading across school.  We hold high expectations towards reading at home which is reflected in our homework policy.

 

Reading milestones are celebrated across school with reading achievement displays, and children receive a free book when they have achieved 150 reads.  There is also a weekly reader celebrated from each class in celebration assembly and a Year 6 end of year award for reading progress. Our classroom environments encourage a love for language, displaying a working wall that encourages the children to reflect on what has been taught alongside boy-friendly reading displays. 

 

At St. Mary’s and St. Benedict’s we teach daily Guided Reading in the form of a carousel. Comprehension skills are developed in daily Guided Reading sessions as well as in the unit Reading phase. Children are given plenty of opportunities to respond to and reflect on the meaning of texts independently, in groups and in discussion with peers and adults. Children are questioned on a range of texts and asked a range of question types which focus on different domains including language and inference. Children are given opportunities for written responses depending on the age and ability of the children.

We use a Colour banding approach to organise our books. This is arranged progressively, as children move through the book bands when they progress with their phonics and reading. These begin with our Early Years books and extend all the way to our Year 6 books. The table below shows the order of the colour banding system.  Not all children will move through the book bands at the same rate but the table shows our expectations for each year group.  

 

                                       

 

Home Reading books

We encourage reading for pleasure and through our teaching of Phonics and reading, we progress children through our home reading book levels. We understand the importance of early reading, so our home reading books are in line with the phonics and spelling taught throughout school to allow children to apply their phonics to reading at home.

 

In our Reception class, our children work within the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, so our home reading books are closely matched to their Phonics Phase. The schemes we use are ‘Phonics Bug’ specifically designed for Phases 2 – 5. In Key Stage 1 we can also access the Phonics Bug Scheme, alongside ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ which children use throughout the school.

 

Writing

We strive to instil a love of writing in our children, so we aim to develop writing for pleasure. We introduce writing skills aimed at writing to entertain, persuade, inform and discuss. Teachers follow the teaching sequence from reading to writing as part of the phases of the Lancashire Planning Units. Writing includes modelled teacher writing, the teacher as the expert writer, actively composing a piece of writing in front of the children, and explicitly demonstrating the thought processes involved in planning, drafting and editing. These skills are transferred and encouraged across subject areas. Children learn the effects of different vocabulary and are encouraged to use a wide range of vocabulary in their own writing.

 

We use the English curriculum, alongside the Lancashire Planning Units to shape our teaching of English. Each year group works towards achieving the English Curriculum Objectives and the Key Skills for each year group are considered ‘non-negotiable’. These Key Skills are the progression steps required for our children to become fully literate and have a secure understanding of the English language. We plan varied and interesting lessons to ensure the skills are mastered and children are secure in these areas.

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SEND Pupils

For further information on how we cater for the needs of SEND pupils, please visit our SEND page and refer to our SEND policy.

 

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At St Mary’s and St. Benedict’s we love to provide opportunities for children to experience a range of activities relating to English and Drama.

 

Book Fair and World Book Day

Every year we have a visit from the Library bus and hold Book Fairs to encourage a love of books and wider reading.  Children and parents love visiting the book fair and we usually hold these around World Book Day celebrations in March. We also hold a book swap where children bring in their pre-loved books to swap with other children.

We are fortunate to have visits from the Lancashire Library Team who share books with our children and we also regularly enjoy visits from local Authors. 

 

Fun Phonics and English Games

Your child can access fun and engaging Phonics games by clicking on the pictures below:

 

               

 

                         

 

                                                         

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