ENGLISH

Developing in our children the skills to express themselves articulately, both orally and in writing, is central to our approach to teaching Literacy.  We also seek to foster in our children a love of reading and literature, which lasts for their whole lives, and helps them to build up a wide vocabulary and range of ideas which can be used creatively in their own writing.

We have adopted the ‘Power of Reading’ scheme across the school; this approach is based on the children really immersing themselves in high-quality texts.  Through deep exploration of the texts studied and the use of a range of drama activities, the children build up a bank of ideas, which has a striking impact on the writing they go on to produce.  From these texts, creative opportunities for writing in a range of genres, both fiction and non-fiction, are identified.

Wherever possible, we have selected texts which link to learning in the Thematic curriculum; more information on links between texts and themes can be found in the Curriculum Maps for each year group.  We find that this approach helps our children to deepen their understanding of their thematic learning whilst also developing their reading and writing skills.  There are also opportunities within thematic lessons for children to apply their Literacy skills; more information on this can be found in our Thematic curriculum plans.

Guided Reading:
Alongside teaching reading skills within Literacy lessons, we also have daily guided reading sessions across Key Stage 1 and 2.  In these sessions, the children read a range of high-quality texts, and through discussion with and questioning from adults, develop the ability to discuss and analyse texts at a gradually higher level.  In Key Stage 1, the Collins ‘Big Cat’ guided reading scheme is used in all classes.

Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling:
The teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling is integrated into our daily Literacy teaching, so that our children clearly see the purpose of using correct grammar in relation to the genres they are learning to write in.  Often our lessons begin with short, discrete grammar, punctuation or spelling activities, which then feed into the other activities within the lessons.  We also ensure that success criteria for writing tasks include the appropriate grammatical and punctuation elements, so that the children apply their learning in these areas in their own writing.

Phonics:
Phonics is taught daily in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme.  This programme has six distinct phases, and our children are grouped (within year groups) according to their current phase of development.  The table below summarises the content of each of the phases of the programme:

Phase 1 Activities are divided into seven aspects, which are: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase 2 Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase 3 Learning the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each.  Learning graphemes such as as, ch, oo, th.  Representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters.  Reading captions, sentences and questions.  On completion of this phase, children will have learnt one grapheme for each phoneme of the English language.
Phase 4 No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase.  Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump etc.
Phase 5 Children move on to ‘complex code’.  Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, as well as different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase 6 Children work on spelling strategies, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters and other strategies.

Our children are moved on to the next stage once they have demonstrated that they are secure with the phonetic knowledge and skills of the previous phase.