English at Stondon Lower School
At Stondon School, we teach English as whole class for all children to have access to the age-related skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and Teaching Assistants target support for slower graspers to enable them to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible. This may involve a greater level of scaffolding and access to additional support materials such as Word Banks or a greater level of modelling. Rapid graspers are given opportunities to extend their writing in a variety of ways and by using a higher level of vocabulary and grammar features for instance.
Writing is taught through the use of quality texts, which expose children to inference, high –level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and characterisation. Each text is purposely selected in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child. All classes use a working wall to show the learning journey of the children.
Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine whether a child is working within age-related expectations, above or below. They will base their judgements on the quality of the extended piece of writing that pupils produce at the end of week, at the end of each unit and determine to what extent pupils have met the agreed success criteria for that genre of writing.
Grammar and punctuation knowledge and skills are embedded in the English lessons as much as possible. Teachers are using rich texts from The Literacy Tree to teach the required skills through the genres of writing and to make it more connected with the intended writing outcome. Teachers focus on particular grammar and punctuation skills as standalone lessons, if they feel that the class needs additional lessons to embed and develop their understanding or to consolidate their skills.
A weekly Handwriting session is timetabled in year 1 and year 2. Children at Stondon, from the beginning of year 2 are being taught to use cursive writing. Children at Shillington are taught to write using cursive handwriting from Reception. Handwriting is also taught in Year 3 and 4 on a weekly basis and is linked to their spellings.
Spellings are taught according to the rules and words contained in the English National Curriculum. Children are given spellings to learn each week and are given a spelling test the following week.
Phonics and Reading
Our school follows the Letters and Sounds scheme from Reception to Year 2. Phonics is timetabled from Monday to Friday and lasts for 15 to 20 minutes each day. In Year 1, pupils are also using Phonics Stiles independently to consolidate their phonics in a meaningful context hence increasing their reading comprehension and enthusiasm. When children first become readers they have access to our colour book banded system which starts with pink books right the way through to dark Blue.
Daily guided reading takes place for 15 min from Reception through to Year four. Some classes have been using whole class guided reading rather than a rotating approach. With this approach, children are not only learning comprehension skills but also independence, a love of wider reading and exposure to rich vocabulary, which is absolute key in all sessions for all learners.
Reading is not only celebrated in classrooms, we are using the Reading Challenge reward scheme to enhance reading for pleasure and competitiveness.
In addition, throughout the school year, the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day and a range of visits which enrich and complement children’s learning such as the pantomime and Widdershins puppet show as an example.