A love of language, stories and words opens up the children’s world to new information, adventure and experiences. In order for our children to become ‘Global Explorers’ we must foster in them a confidence and a curiosity over the written and the spoken word. Reading is a whole school focus as reading must come before writing. Children are regularly heard reading aloud as well as being read to on a daily basis. This enables them to feel successful and positive about reading early on in their school career.
The focus we place upon teaching and learning of English can be seen clearly across the school with English displays in every classroom and “working walls” which are regularly updated and reflect the skills the children are learning that week. These displays act as a prompt to enhance their independent writing throughout the day and across the curriculum.
We teach the basic building blocks of reading and writing through a structured daily phonics programme that runs throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1, followed by structured daily spelling sessions in Key Stage 2. At St Nicholas, we ensure our standards are high with excellent Year 1 Phonics Reading Test results each year. Our practise is shared with cluster schools and we have been involved in local authority professional development courses sharing our excellent practise with other schools.
As the children move into ks2 they continue to participate in daily spelling lessons following the patterns from the National Curriculum. As well as this, children are expected to learn termly spelling lists, these consist of High frequency words and statutory words list in the appendix of the English National Curriculum. Learning this and incorporating them into the school day, ensures that children are immersed in their spelling learning which leads to greater confidence when writing.
Word of the Day
We practice a language rich curriculum through all areas of the curriculum. All children are taught the key vocabulary for each topic be that in history or science. Pre-teaching of vocabulary is sometimes used to ensure inclusivity for all children. Teachers also peg back t vocabuarly previously taught in other year groups to ensure that this is embedded. As part of each English lesson children are introduced to Word of the Day- where children see a picture linked to their topic or current class text. Children attempt to guess the word generating a range of appropriate words. The children then see the actual word, dicss its word class and syllables and may put it in the context of a sentence. As the week goes on children recap each previous word of the day to ensure consolidation.
We teach cursive handwriting at St Nicholas. The children start to use lead ins and lead outs when they learn to form their letters in Reception and then learn to join their handwriting in Year One. Our expectation is that all children will be able to use joined cursive script by the end of Key Stage One. We encourage the children to take pride in the presentation of their written work and award them a pen licence once their script is formed correctly.
Grammar is taught through a weekly guided session, from which skills are then practised and applied throughout the remaining English writing sessions during that week and we expect the skills learned to be applied to their writing across the curriculum. We encourage involvement from the parents by sending home weekly spelling and grammar activities for homework.
Reading is taught daily through shared and modelled reading using big books or online texts and weekly through guided reading in groups to the teacher and other adults in the class. Class teachers also read books to the children in story time and pupils are strongly encouraged to read at home with their parents and we also encourage parents to read widely to their children.
We also provide the children with reading list and each child is expected to read the words on their list, understand what they mean before spelling them. We strongly believe that children must become confident with reading before being able to spell. Our reading list link with our spelling lists which enables all children to have the opportunity to read the words before being asked to spell them.
Please click the link for the reading lists.
At St Nicholas we provide a rich and varied English curriculum, where the children are introduced to poetry and non-fiction as well as narrative. We use story making at St Nicholas as a strategy that broadens and widens the children’s learning experience of the written and spoken word through drama, oral retelling and adapting the learned text using skills taught in the grammar and other English lessons to extend their sentence and word level skills.
To ensure we assess writing across the curriculum we use extended pieces of writing including cross-curricular writing linked to topics to asses writing and to set challenging goals for the children.
The children have many opportunities to engage further with their learning of English through planned events such as world book days, drama workshops, visiting authors and whole week events such as the poetry week. During events such as these, the wider community are encouraged to become involved, as parents and governors are invited in to share the experiences and to look at the work the children have produced. The children also have the opportunity to develop their confidence, use of expression and ability to speak in front of an audience by participating in Class and School Presentations to parents and visitors.
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