King William Street CE Primary School

  1. Curriculum
  2. English

English

Our English lessons are based on the National Curriculum programmes of study and are subdivided into the following categories.

Phonics

Phonics is at the heart of learning to read and spell. It is about the sounds (phonemes) we make when we talk; we connect (blend) these sounds together when we read words, and split them up (segment) when we write.

All children are taught phonic skills through Letters and Sounds through dedicated phonics/spelling lessons for 20 minutes 5 times a week. These lessons have a specific focus either phonics for reading or phonics for writing. The input during these lessons are whole class so that all children have the opportunity to learn and be exposed to every sound.

Children identified as falling behind will be picked up during afternoon intervention sessions taught by the class teacher. At first, the children learn the sounds and names of the letters of the alphabet; then they begin to blend sounds together to read small words, e.g. p-a-n. Later, more complex sounds (digraphs/trigraphs) are taught, e.g. aias in 'rain' and 'igh' as in 'high'.

As the children progress they learn the different digraph/trigraph patterns which make up the same sound, e.g. ea/ee/ey. This structured teaching enables children to acquire a thorough knowledge of letters, spelling patterns and words, and of the phonetic translation of all three. The acquisition of these skills support the children’s development into fluent readers and writers. Once the children are secure within Phase 6 of Letters and Sounds they will progress to the school spelling scheme which will continue to develop their knowledge of sounds and words so they can become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.

Writing

At King William Street CE Primary School we want to make sure every child is not only skilled at writing but enjoys being creative too. We want our children to be excited about the effect that their writing will have on anyone who reads it.

The ability to produce fantastic writing depends on a sound understanding of basic skills and as a school we work hard to develop clear and well-formed handwriting, good spelling skills and a sound understanding of punctuation and grammar.

The writing curriculum across the school is broken down into units. These are often linked to each classes’ topic and are based around a range of high quality stimuli including books, visits, video clips or experiences. Each unit focuses on one text type and usually lasts 2-3 weeks.

We celebrate the children’s achievements in writing in many ways, including certificates presented during our celebration assemblies and displays on the walls around the school.

Key Unit Features:

Cold task

Each unit begins with a cold task that is the text type the unit is focusing on however it is in a different context to the hot task. The task is completed independently and is marked against a focused criteria for that text type as well that year group’s grammar objectives. The class teacher then uses this assessment to inform the planning for that unit. An overview sheet for each unit is stuck in each child’s book.

Purpose and audience

Each hot task within a unit should have a clear purpose and audience which is shared with the children. The audience may not be a ‘real’ audience however the children need to understand who would read their writing for example, when writing a diary the audience would be that person or character.


Sentence level work

Based on the assessments made, sentence level work focused on the year group’s grammar objectives is planned to ensure the children can understand and use the skills correctly. A challenge task may be given.

Short writing opportunities

Within the unit, opportunities are planned for the children to use the grammar skills they have been taught within a piece of writing. This is often a text type that has been covered before but does not have to link with the text type of the hot task.

Approaches to support writing

Modelled write – A piece of writing that is prepared by the class teacher to demonstrate the features and skills required in the children’s work.

Guided write – A piece of writing completed as a group with the adult scribing and using questioning to develop their writing choices.

Paired write – A piece of writing which the children complete in pairs to enable them to discuss their writing choices.

Hot task

This is completed at the end of the unit and should show the features and skills taught during the unit. This should show a clear progression from the cold task as it is the same text type but a different context. Time should be given to edit and redraft this piece of work.

Proofreading and editing

Proofreading should be an embedded skill which takes place at the end of each writing opportunity this is known as CUPS (capital letters, understanding, punctuation and spelling). A lesson focused on editing will also take place to allow the children to improve aspects of their writing such as word choice, grammar and sentence structure.

Redrafting

There is no expectation to redraft every hot task however it can be beneficial if linked to the purpose and audience of the piece.

We celebrate the children’s achievements in writing in many ways, including certificates presented during our celebration assemblies and displays on the walls around the school.

 

Spoken Language

We teach and encourage children to develop their skills in speaking clearly and confidently in front of others. The children are expected to be able to work well in groups so we cultivate their listening skills through paired discussion across the curriculum.

In Key Stage 1 we encourage the children to use clear language to express their feelings and ideas as well as developing their imaginative language for use in their writing. We teach the children how to work collaboratively in groups and the skills needed to listen carefully and actively.

Once the children move to Key Stage 2 we build on their existing skills to help them progress in their ability to speak in a range of contexts with increasing sense of audience. 

Spelling

In years 2-6, there is a discrete spelling session using a progressive spelling scheme based upon objectives from the National Curriculum. This outlines the spelling patterns for each year group, the order they should be taught in and some suggested examples. Each spelling session focuses on one rule and will have an investigative approach and be drip fed across the week. In addition, each class will have non-negotiable spellings which have been identified from errors in books. These are displayed and children are expected to spell these correctly in all writing.

Reading

It is important that we develop in our children a lifelong enjoyment of books and reading. We build on the interests, personality and different levels of ability each child brings to school. All children are expected to read regularly at home, and the close partnership we have with our parents is vital to the process of learning to read. All classrooms have a class book corner which contains a variety of high-quality text both fiction/non-fiction and authors. The children are read to from a class book on a daily basis which is chosen from the Pie Corbett Reading Spine books for that year group. Reading is taught and practised individually, or as a whole class and children are given access to a range of stimulating reading materials from their first days at school

Whole class reading

At least four times a week, every child in each class takes part in whole class reading for approximately 30 minutes. The focus of each session is based on six key skills (VIPERS) which are vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieval and summarise or sequence for Key Stage One. The whole class read a text together and then in a mostly verbal way, the class have a discussion about the text with the teacher asking some key questions also. There is also an expectation that children complete at least one written activity a week during reading. This could be a set of questions focusing on one of the key skills that the children have to answer or it could be a writing opportunity that shows that the children have understood what they have read. During whole class reading, the children will have the opportunity to read a variety of texts including poetry, non-fiction, extracts and whole novels as well as being exposed to pictures and film clips to develop their comprehension.

In Key Stage one, whole class reading is carried out more flexibly with the class teacher carrying out a mix of individual sessions and whole class reading sessions. In year one, two sessions a week will be individual reading and two will be whole class reading. In year two this is less with the majority of sessions being whole class with only being one individual reading session a week when necessary.

In Key Stage two, whole class reading is completed at least four days a week , with the class teacher reading a mixture of novels, poetry, extracts and non-fiction texts with the children. Between units there is also the flexibility for class teachers to complete individual reading weeks so they have the opportunity to hear the children read to assess their fluency.

Individual Reading

In school there are opportunities for children to enjoy reading independently, this could be during quiet/silent reading. To support this all children have at least one individual reading book either from the school’s graded reading scheme or a book of their own choice if they are a free reader. This book can be a fictional book or non-fiction book. Children who are free readers may also bring a book of their own choice from home with the agreement of their teacher. Children can change their book once they have finished reading and they have shown a good understanding of the text. In some cases children may need to read the text more than once to gain a deeper understanding of what they have read. The reading books that the children read either in school or at home are part of a progressive reading scheme. The children are benchmarked, using PM Benchmark materials to assess accuracy, fluency and comprehension. If fluency, accuracy and comprehension have improved enough, the child moves through the progressive scheme. Once the child has reached the highest level of the reading scheme, the child is a free-reader and can choose a book they would like to read either from home or from their class’s book corner.

Reading Aloud

In addition to reading aloud during whole class reading, staff read aloud to their class daily as well as an appropriate text to a different class every Friday.

We encourage children to read at home to an adult through our reading nights scheme and every summer we also encourage the children to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge in association with the local library.