“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write.” – John Jakes
At St. Richard’s we see English as more than a core subject; as good levels of English unlock learning across the whole curriculum. We look to empower our children with skills and love of English that creates resilient children who are intrinsically motivated to read and write.
Teachers plan units of work that move children through a journey of creating interest, reading, gathering content and writing phases. Lessons consistently demonstrate effective teaching and learning, allowing children to become equipped with valuable communication skills, which will be facilitated and supported by staff who strive for high standards.
Phonics is an integral part of our early English teaching, taking a systematic, synthetic approach to ensure children establish strong foundations, which will be developed and built on as they progress.
Children have a secure understanding of tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary which enables them to comprehend texts as well as embed this rich and meaningful vocabulary in their own writing. Opportunities to develop higher tier vocabulary are made across all curriculum subjects and teachers revisit new words to secure understanding.
Knowledge of linguistic terminology, having a reasonable degree of accuracy whilst writing legibly and creatively at an age appropriate level develop children as writers and readers to move forward as they ‘learn to live’ at our school.
To ensure that all learners in our school are offered a broad range of learning experiences in language, literature and media text so that they can, as speakers, listeners, readers and writers:
• Take pleasure in all aspects of English;
• Evaluate critically the power language exercises in our lives;
• Appreciate the impact of language in creating and recreating emotion and the ways in which it can be used to get things done.
It seeks to ensure that teachers plan for continuity and progression so that learners can progress appropriately at the highest possible level for them.
Role of the class teacher.
• To plan for and deliver the requirements of the Primary National Curriculum and Letters and Sounds following a validated SSP ( Pearson ). For children in the Early Years and Keys Stage 1, phonics is part of daily classroom life, with carefully planned and focused sessions matched to the ability and development of the children. Early readers or those who have not met the requirements of the phonics screening test will continue to follow the SSP.
• Children across the key stages are given specific teaching in grammar and spelling and in KS2 these will take place in specific focused grammar and spelling workshop sessions.
• To plan for the appropriate age and stage of the children, including adapting teaching and implementing support for children with additional needs.
• To plan units of work which allow opportunities for reading, analysis and writing of the appropriate text types for the age of the children.
• To include rich opportunities for speaking & listening, drama and role play.
• To consider learning styles and adapting teaching as appropriate.
• To build into their plans assessment opportunities including self –assessment. All children are tracked against age expectant targets for each year group.
• To set realistic and challenging targets (including the whole school layered targets).
• To include any support staff in the assessment and recording process.
• To gather and use appropriate resources.
• To assess and record children’s progress.
• To look for appropriate opportunities to incorporate ICT into the lessons.
• To provide rich, meaningful opportunities to develop skills in English, making links where possible to other subjects.
• Other subjects should allow for opportunities for all children to assess and use challenging texts to further develop and stretch their reading and comprehension skills.
All children across school will be confident and resilient learners. They will possess the age appropriate writing and reading skills which will provide them access all areas of the curriculum. Their achievements in English will allow them to become excellent communicators able to convey their thoughts, ideas and opinions confidently whilst listening and reading material in the world around them.
Our Vision for Phonics
Children will all have the phonetic knowledge, which gives them the confidence to attempt unfamiliar and more complex words; ensuring their vocabulary is not limited. Staff are trained in teaching systematic, synthetic phonics and this is taught using a consistent approach to ensure fidelity. Children love their phonics lessons, which are rigorous, robust and consistent. Teachers work to embed the skills learnt in lessons across individual, group and whole class reading. Children learn the purpose of phonics, and how it applies to real life.
Phonics is at the heart of all curriculum areas – not just a discrete subject.
Children recognise phonics as a tool for any reading and writing by embedding and applying phonics in every aspect of the curriculum. All reading books used match a child’s current phonetic ability/ phase of learning.
Reading and Phonics
Reading is fundamental and it is a vital step to the educational success of our pupils. It extends an opportunity to develop a rich vocabulary, influence high quality writing and also allows children to access other subjects.
We want our children to also develop a love of reading that will open their minds to a world of adventures and opportunities. We aim to develop their reading skills and provide opportunities that will take them beyond their day to day life experiences, developing a sense of curiosity and understanding of the world. Reading is central to day to day life in our school. Children are read to as a whole class daily, read in groups, read individually to an adult and read independently.
Our children’s journey to become fluent, independent readers begins at the very start of school in EYFS with Phonics.
The Pearson Phonics Bug programme follows an approach of synthesising phonemes associated with graphemes a child sees; learning to read by blending the sounds associated with the letters a child sees. Children are taught a daily structured, systematic, synthetic phonics session for approximately 30 minutes, following the Phonics Bug scheme. This is a DfE approved scheme and our school has complete fidelity to it. Daily sessions follow the same components:
- Revisit and review session – to reinforce prior learning to help children to know and remember more of their phonics learning
- Teach session for new learning – children learn a new grapheme/phoneme (letter/sound) correspondence
- Practise session – to consolidate new learning
- Application – children apply new learning into sentence reading or writing contexts to strengthen understanding
Grapheme/ phoneme (letter/ sound) correspondences for reading and spelling are taught in a specified order. ‘Tricky Words’ that cannot be decoded using phonics and need a whole word approach are also taught systematically throughout. Children are assessed regularly to ensure that any children experiencing difficulties are identified quickly and appropriate support can be put in place in a timely manner.
Bug Club Phonics E-books
Children read books from the Phonics Bug scheme that only contain phoneme/grapheme correspondences and ‘Tricky Words’ that they have already been taught. Some children may require additional support with their reading, and in that case, they receive additional phonics support. In addition to opportunities in school, children take books home to practise and apply their skills. Children and parents are encouraged to read each book together and reread these books to encourage children to read as fluently as possible. Children have log in details to their own Active Learn account where they can access a library rich with eBooks and phonics games to practise and reinforce their learning. In Reception and Year 1 E-books are allocated alongside a range of interactive games and sessions to support phoneme/grapheme correspondence.
As detailed above, a phonics-based approach is used to start our children on their independent reading journey. Children learn to decode books that are closely matched to the graphemes (letters) and phonemes (sounds) they are currently learning.
When children are able to read fluently and independently, they are assessed using the Star Reading system for Accelerated Reader. The assessment provides a standardised score and a reading age for the child. If they achieve the required standard, they are then eligible to begin using Accelerated Reader. Teachers monitor children’s reading scores to ensure the system is right for them. In our school, Accelerated Reader is used to help children to develop a motivation for and love of reading independently as well as helping them to progress.
This approach moves away from the traditional reading scheme to include real books by a range of popular, modern and classic authors and poets. There are also non-fiction texts, graphic novels and play scripts to name a few additional text types. The system determines the level of readability for this vast range of texts. After assessment, children are allocated a numerical range from which they can choose books. This is closely monitored by teachers and support staff.
There is an expectation that children will read for at least 25 minutes each day between home and school. Independent reading and level of understanding is confirmed through an online retrieval quiz taken on the completion of a book. The aim is for children to achieve a minimum of 85% success rate over the term. Children are rewarded for achieving an average of 85% or above for the books they’ve read and with an engaged time of 25 minutes per day. They also achieve reading certificates based on their targets.
Links for Children