English: Subject Leader - Mrs Brumfitt
Intent: English teaches you to speak and write fluently. This means you can communicate your ideas and emotions to others easily and with confidence. Reading lots of different books will develop your emotional, cultural, social and spiritual intelligence. You learn new facts from information books. You learn how to write creatively from story books. You learn lots of new words from reading different books. Listening to others is another key aspect of English. It helps your knowledge of others grow. You learn how to understand people’s ideas, thoughts and feelings. English develops your confidence in performing in front of others. You learn how to speak with a loud, clear voice and put expression into your acting and performing.
At St Walburga’s, we strive to instil a love for books. We take great pride in our library, where children from Years 1-6 have the opportunity to visit weekly and borrow books to take home and enjoy with their families. All classes at St Walburga’s have a list of books that are enjoyed throughout the year as class readers, where the teacher reads aloud to the children to develop their listening skills and deepen their enjoyment of a range of genres and authors. Every shared area (Years 1&2, Years 3&4 and Years 5&6) at St Walburga’s has a well stocked, easily accessible reading corner for the children to enjoy. In our Foundation Stage and Year 1, books are fundamental to the continuous provision, giving children the opportunity to deepen their understanding of books enjoyed together as a class.
Teaching of Reading
Learning to read involves the combination of two main strands: word recognition and language comprehension.
Throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, children learn to read through the use of daily phonics teaching (see phonics section for further details). In addition to this, high quality books are tailored precisely to the children’s phonics stage and they read 1:1 with an adult on a weekly basis. Children also receive books to read at home (matched to their phonic ability) to further boost their reading progress.
Throughout Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, Reading is also taught through Guided Reading lessons. At St Walburga’s, we use One Education’s Reading Gems to ensure the children develop language comprehension skills in all areas of the National Curriculum. A variety of engaging texts (whole books and extracts) are used as a basis for our lessons.
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds 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.
Teaching of Phonics
We are embarking on an exciting new programme for the teaching of Phonics at St Walburga’s. Across the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, children will be taught Phonics through Super Sonic Phonic Friends: a validated, systematic, synthetic approach created by Anna Lucas. This approach uses a variety of engaging characters to help the children learn the complex spellings of the alphabetic code through carefully designed stages. It ensures children develop confidence in their reading and writing and helps them to apply these skills in all areas of their learning.
Writing at St Walburga’s further builds on a love of books. We use exciting and engaging texts and film extracts to provide inspiration for our writing units across school. As children move through school, they are introduced to an increasing number of genres which build on their skill and stamina for writing. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar are taught alongside our units and are linked to the text and genre to further engage the children.
Teaching of Writing
At St Walburga’s, we use a combination of Philip Webb’s 5 Phases (prediction, comprehension, text structure, planning & drafting, editing & publishing) and Pie Corbett’s Talk4Writing (where writing is discussed, shared and modelled) to structure our writing lessons. A unit of writing, based on a genre, lasts for 2-4 weeks. In this time, children learn how to use the features of the genre, learn new SPaG skills, complete mini writing tasks and produce their own piece of writing in the genre at the end. In Key Stage One, spelling is is taught through daily phonics sessions (see phonics section for further details). In Key Stage Two, children engage in a weekly spelling lesson to ensure the breadth of the spelling curriculum is covered. From Foundation Stage to Year 4, children have a weekly handwriting lesson which builds from learning how to form letters with letter families in Foundation and Key Stage One to successfully joining writing in Key Stage Two.
By the time children leave us here at St Walburga’s, they are fluent, confident readers and writers. Our Reading lessons provide exposure to a variety of high quality texts and enable children to develop their own understanding of books they enjoy reading. Children are confident in reading aloud to adults and in front of their peers, and put these skills into practice in class assemblies, Masses and other performances. Our wider English curriculum empowers children to write with confidence and for real purpose, meaning they leave primary school with a strong foundation of writing skills.