English

Introduction

Our innovative English curriculum enables and encourages children’s reading, writing and oral communication and overall creativity. Pupils are taught to read fluently with understanding whilst developing the desire to read widely and deeply for pleasure and information. Pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary and will apply the key skills of spelling, grammar and punctuation for reading, writing and spoken language. They will write clearly, accurately, coherently and neatly for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.

Also see related English and Handwriting Policies on our Policies and Documents page.

Curriculum Overviews

Writing Long Term Overviews

National Curriculum

Phonics

Our priority is both the teaching of reading skills and the enjoyment of literature, enabling children to become lifelong, confident readers. We know that for all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme.

What is Essential Letters and Sounds?

We follow the Essential Letters and Sounds scheme to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. The daily, same structure approach to teaching phonics  gives children and teachers consistency and security and helps children become independent learners.

This programme has been developed for teachers by teachers from Knowledge Schools Trust and is designed to ensure that all children learn to read well and make speedy progress. All staff involved in the teaching of phonics are fully trained in this scheme and receive regular updates as needed.

The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, children can still use this programme beyond the age of seven if they still need support with their reading.

More information can be found on the Essential Letters and Sounds website

How will Essential Letters and Sounds be taught?

All children will be part of a whole class phonic lesson. Within the lesson, children will be assessed by their teacher and any child who is struggling, will be quickly addressed within the lesson and support will be given.

In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent sounds, and that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are then put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading and writing.

Our explicit phonics teaching begins in the first week of Reception and follows a careful, research-based sequence that allows children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master all phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they may discover. We also model these phonic strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum and school.

Reception

In Reception all the children will be introduced to the initial sounds and they will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. They will work week by week through the progression document focussing on Phase 2 to Phase 4.

Key Stage 1

Throughout KS1, children will secure their understanding of how to blend and segment sounds for reading and spelling, aiming for automatic recall and fluency. They will predominately be working within Phase 5, consolidating and reviewing their learning.

All children in EYFS and KS1 will:

  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
  • Learn to read words using ‘robot arms’ and ‘me then you’ to help with blending new words.
  • Read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
  • Work well with partners.
  • Develop comprehension skills.
  • Bring a copy of the school oxford texts to share at home or have access to an online book through Oxford Owl.

ELS Overview: Phases 1 to 5

As children build fluency, comprehension skills become our main area of focus and questioning looks at skills such as re-telling, inference and prediction. We believe that high-quality literature is key to motivating children to read and instilling in children a love of literature and children throughout the school are read a high quality story every day. This may be part of their Guided Reading sessions or a shared read at the end of the day.

Children are expected to read every night at home and take home a phonically decodable book that matches the sounds taught in school, as well as a shared reading book to enjoy with adult support.

Throughout the school, parents are encouraged to share how children are responding to books at home and adults communicate in the records so that parents are aware of what books children are reading, which sounds they have been learning and how they are responding to texts at school.

Phonics Pronunciation

The presentation below explains why we have chosen Essential Letters and Sounds as our systematic phonic programme. It explains what phonics is and how you can support your child at home:

In addition, the following videos show you pronouncing sounds in a 'pure' way is the most effective for teaching children how to read:


Phase 2 Sounds
 
Phase 3 Sounds

Reading in our School

We begin teaching reading with a focus on phonics from the first days in Reception and we use The Essential Letters and Sounds programme.

The foundations are laid before the children arrive at our school where primary focus is developing a love for looking at books. Once your child starts at our school, we will develop their listening skills, give them the opportunity to look at a range of books then develop their fun with sounds, use these sounds to read simple words and finally build these words within a sentence. The children learn good reading behaviour by imitating our teachers’ excellent models. Our children are encouraged to ‘read’ words and captions around our text rich learning environment. The Essential Letters and Sounds phonics programme begins in Reception and continues into Key Stage 1. Interventions using this programme will also continue for identified children in Key Stage 2.

Parents are invited to phonics meetings so that they are better able to help their children at home. The children are assessed every half term in order to effectively track progress and identify any children not keeping up with the programme. Our phonics screening check results are increasing and we hope this will continue as we progress further into our new scheme.

Once children have completed The Essential Letters and Sounds phonics programme, they continue to develop their love of reading through studying a range of different class books. During the Early Years and Key Stage 1, children take a reading book home every week to practise their reading skills and to continue their reading development at home with their families. Our phonic reading books have been carefully matched to our programme and children will receive a book matched to the current phase they are working at. We have a selection of fiction and non-fiction books. Most of these books are Oxford Reading Tree books, and children are assessed half-termly to ensure they are on the correct reading band.

In Key Stage 2, children are given the opportunity to change their own books within their reading band. In addition to this, we take all year groups to visit the local library in Acocks Green every term. Children can also visit our outside school library during their recreation time.

Each classroom has a reading corner where children can choose their own books to read in the classroom.

In EYFS and Year 1, they participate in daily guided reading sessions. Children from Year 2 to Year 6 participate in whole class guided reading sessions where they share the book together.

Every year we celebrate World Book day and all the children and staff dress up as their favourite book character. All the children love sharing their favourite stories together.

Recommended Reads

We have put together a recommended reading list for each year group across the school. These books have been carefully selected by each year group with the end of year objectives in mind.

Reading at Home

As parents, you are your child's most influential teacher with an important part to play in helping your child to learn to read. Here are some suggestions on how you can help to make this a positive experience: