English subject coordinator – Mrs Spencer
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At Moat Farm Infant School, we aim to promote high standards of language and literacy by ensuring pupils have a strong understanding of spoken and written language. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening so they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. We aim to develop their love of literature and interest in words through widespread reading for enjoyment. We want our pupils to enjoy and understand language, especially vocabulary, as this will support the effectiveness of their writing as well as their competence. We believe that children need to develop a secure basis in literacy, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We want all pupils to leave Key Stage 1 reading and writing with confidence and understanding. We want them to use a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning, including monitoring and correcting their own errors.
By connecting our British Values through the teaching of English, we explore issues that affect us all in our lives and this helps the children develop skills they will need to be effective citizens e.g. tolerance and respect are modelled through debates and discussions.
Speaking and listening
Children are encouraged to develop their speaking and listening skills through role play, discussions and debates. These extend the children’s vocabulary, strengthening the connections with their learning in English, foundation subjects and maths. These communication skills are further developed through class discussions, paired and group work about reading books and in all lessons.
In EYFS, children begin to use anticlockwise movements and retrace vertical lines with a pencil and begin to form recognisable letters. Children develop good control and coordination in gross and fine motor skills. In Year 1, children produce writing with clear spaces between words. Most letters are correctly formed and orientated, including lower case, capital letters and digits although there may be some inconsistency in size. By Year 2, all letters and digits are consistently formed and of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another. Spacing is appropriate to the size of letters. Children begin to join letters using pre-cursive joins.
Our spelling lessons are based on units that follow clear patterns to aid understanding. Throughout the school, a spelling rule or new letter sounds are introduced weekly and relevant spellings are taught.
Key word banks, high frequency words, dictionaries and topic related vocabulary resources scaffold children as necessary.
Word Aware and Word Workout
At Moat Farm Infant we understand that listening to stories, poems and rhymes feed children’s imagination, enhance their vocabulary and develop their comprehension. We make words a priority: appreciating authors’ use of vocabulary, having a multi-sensory approach, playing word games, singing, nursery rhymes, role-play etc. We teach vocabulary every day, through songs, games and linking new knowledge to what is already known.
We value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our children to become lifelong readers. The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1. We also value and encourage the children to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills. By the time children leave Key Stage One, we expect that they have become fluent readers who can read with expression. That they have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.
The teaching of reading starts in EYFS, where the children have focused daily phonics sessions as part of the Letters and Sounds programme of systematic phonics. Children work in small groups of no more than 6 with an adult at least twice a week in guided reading. Children use their phonological awareness to read real and ‘alien’ words and to write the corresponding graphemes for each sound.
Children are taught a range of reading skills: decoding the text, understanding word meanings from context and comprehension including inference skills. Books are chosen at a challenging level for the group.
In order to further develop a love of reading, children are read to daily by the teacher. A range of fiction and non-fiction books are also available in the classrooms and children are encouraged to read them for pleasure and develop.
Home reading is strongly encouraged and parent meetings and letters keep parents and carers informed of the school’s expectations and provision. Home reading books are colour banded so that children are given books they can read with confidence. They can change their book daily and are given rewards for achieving certain milestones. Children also have weekly access to the school library.
Children have the opportunity to partake in World Book Week activities and can attend the Book Fair twice yearly to further cement their enjoyment of books.
In EYFS, children are taught the letter graphemes as they learn the sounds in phonics and are encouraged to have a go at writing by sounding out words and recording the sounds they hear. This takes place during teacher-led sessions and there are also plenty of opportunities during child-initiated sessions, with a range of materials and writing prompts available.
In Key Stage 1, the teaching of writing is also linked to the current curriculum topic so that children are immersed in the topic and they are provided with a range of stimuli including relevant vocabulary, books, PowerPoint images, pictures etc.
We follow the 2014 National Curriculum for guidance as to what is taught in each year group and, from this, have devised units of work based on different genres. We ensure progression in complexity of tasks and expectations for each year group.
Grammar and punctuation, together with the structural features of each genre, are then taught through a series of lessons, starting with the basics of sentence construction including full stops and capital letters. Children begin to identify word classes early on (noun, verb, adjective and adverb) and use this understanding in their writing. Teaching builds term on term and year on year using prior knowledge. Children are taught to edit and improve their work using a red pen, before writing it out neatly.
Teachers provide regular constructive feedback through marking, which also promotes reasoning about the work that has been completed. Children are encouraged to assess their work through discussions with their peers and teachers.
The 2014 National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
Our intent aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We teach English (phonics, reading and writing) daily from Reception class to Year 2 and base the content of our curriculum on National Curriculum guidelines. We provide many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion, but also ensure that cross curricular links with topic work are woven into the programme of study. This enables the children to apply the skills they have been taught in different contexts.
In addition to daily English lessons, children have guided reading lessons whereby they have the opportunity to read a range of books at an instructional level. This enables them to develop a range of reading skills, as well as a love of reading. We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. We participate in Talk for Writing which enables children to learn stories in an active and engaging way. We also have opportunities to participate in poetry and creative writing competitions.
Through the teaching of letters and sounds the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage and KS1. Extra support is provided to those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1 and interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels.
Staff systematically teach children the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is set and delivered according to ability so that lessons are tailored to the groups’ needs. Staff ensure the teaching of phonics is applied across subjects embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers.
Children have regular reading sessions with an adult which ensures they are practising and applying their phonics knowledge. In the EYFS the continuous provision matches the children’s current knowledge and understanding whilst ensuring the children are suitably challenged.
Teachers regularly assess the children’s phonics knowledge using the phonics assessment, reading milestones and Reading Early Learning Goal (in EYFS). These assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning.
The children have reading and library books which they are encouraged to read regularly at home which match their current phonics level.
We monitor the impact of our writing provision through termly assessments, in-house and external moderation, lesson observations and monitoring of English books. Regular and ongoing assessment informs teaching, as well as intervention, to support and enable the success of each child. These factors ensure that we are able to maintain high standards. The school has a supportive ethos and our approaches support the children in developing their collaborative and independent skills, as well as empathy and the need to recognise the achievement of others.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.