Old Stratford Primary School English Curriculum Rationale
Our English curriculum develops children's love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and develop a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the improtance of nurturing a culture where chidren take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and are able to adapt their language and style fr a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We encourage our children to acquire a wide range of vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell words effectively applying their knowledge of rules and patterns. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas of improvement.
We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as the advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis of literacy skills is crucial to high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Through high quality teaching, we develop the following essential characteristics of readers and writiers:
- Develop a love of reading for pleasure and to aquire information
- Read fluently and deploy strategies to support the decoding of unfamiliar words
- Comprehend texts, and to use reading skills to understand the intentions of the author
- Understand grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, wrting and spoken language
- Appreciate how an author uses grammr to impact the reader
- Purposefully use grammar and punctuation within independent writing to navigate and influence the reader
- Write accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of different purposes and audiences
- Engage in debates and discussions, and appreciate others viewpoints
English is a core subject and is taught daily but it is also intergrated into other areas of the curriculum.
Phonics and Reading
Our Approach to Phonics
At Old Stratford Primary School, we follow the Read Write Inc programme. Initially children's listening skills are developed through the use of music, environmental sounds and rhyme. In Foundation Stage, children are introduced to phonemes (sounds) linked to the letters of the alphabet, as well as one way of spelling each of the other 16 phonemes used in the English language, such as 'igh' and 'ch'. Children are taught to blend or sound out phonics to read a variety of words and segment or break down the sounds in simple words for spelling. Read Write Inc gives children an action for each sound, which supports children who learn in an active way.
In Year 1, children learn more about the variety of ways in which each phoneme can be spelled and they also learn about the different pronunciations made by different letters or groups of letters, such as 'a' in 'ant' and 'was'. At the end of Year 1, children will be tested on their phonics knowledge, using a national test featuring 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words. From Year 2 onwards, children consolidate their phonics knowledge, learning when to apply different spelling rules as well as how to spell plurals and different verb tenses.
Our Approach to Reading Schemes
At Old Stratford Primary School, children are encouraged to read at home every day. In Foundation Stage, children begin by taking home wordless books, to allow them to spend time talking to a parent about the book, without being constrained by the necessity to read words. Once children have a good understanding of how books work and have gained some phonics knowledge, they begin to read books containing simple words which can be blended or sounded out. The reading books are colour banded and, as children become more confident and able readers, they will take home books from different colour bands. The books are phonics based books that are linked directly to the sounds that the children are learning in class. Once children become fluent readers, a range of books are provided to allow children to engage in more lengthy discussions about the content of the book.
Once children have entered Key Stage 2, they will follow the Accelerated Reading Programme. This programme focuses more on the children's comprehension skills and is supported by an online assessment tool to ensure each child is accessing the correct book of complexity to develop their comprehension skills.
Throughout the school day, children will have the opportunity to read in many different lessons. They will also have dedicated quiet time to read to encourage their ability to read for a sustained time. Each class will visit the school library on a weekly basis to choose a non-fiction book of their choice. At Old Stratford Primary School, we want our children to access books that are also beyond their reading ability. Therefore, each class will study a class book that will be read by the teacher.
We deliver our writing with the support of the Jane Considine scheme, The write Stuff. High quality texts from this scheme are selected to compliment the Old Stratfords Curriculum so that children engage in meaningful discussions, learn key vocabulary, understand grammar and punctuation skills and inspire independent writing. The key aspects of The Write Stuff include:
- Building confidence with sentence structure.
- Pupils gain an unsersatnding of the 'whole' piece that they are writing.
- Organisation between ideas and cohesion between them is strengthened.
- Children will make at least good progress in Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening from their last starting point of statutory assessment or from their starting point in EYFS.
- Children will have a love of reading.
- Children will have a knowledge of key authors and engage in conversations about their texts.
- children will have the knowledge and skills to read a range of texts and to be able to explain and justify their thoughts of their own and others written work.
- Children will appreciae how writing impacts the reader.
- Children will be able to produce written work in all areas of the curriculum of a similar standard to that written in English books to enable them to remember more.
- Children will use their reading skills as a tool in helping them to learn, and as a result, know more, remeber more and understand more.