Our inspiring and exciting English curriculum here at St John’s will enable our children to be avid readers who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions confidently. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their favourites. We want to develop children who write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes and audiences whilst using a rich vocabulary and developing their own individual style. We expect our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly using a cursive handwriting style.
In Early Years (Nursery and Reception) children are given opportunities to:
Talk and communicate in a widening range of situations, to respond to adults and each other, to listen carefully and to practise and extend their communication skills.
Explore words and texts in a vocabulary rich environment with a new story or traditional tale every day to enjoy, to decode and to read for pleasure.
Enjoy rhyme. Did you know that if children know eight nursery rhymes by the time they're four years old, they're usually among the best readers by the time they're eight? Rhyming helps children to break words down and to hear the sounds that make up words in preparation for reading and writing. So we sing songs and have a rhyme time with children every day.
Begin our structured Read Write Inc phonics teaching programme in Nursery and Reception through a daily phonics and writing lesson
Encourage writing, discussion and storytelling in our role play areas and linked in to the topics we are studying and our Harmony curriculum, using the Write Way approach to teaching writing techniques.
The importance of spoken language to underpin the development of reading and writing is reflected in opportunities to develop vocabulary and confidence in speaking and listening. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. Here at St John’s C of E Primary School, children are given regular opportunities to speak out in worship, in front of the class when presenting work, drama, debate and group activities. We also have a strong and active Pupil Parliament, which represents the voices of each class.
Phonics: Children begin their reading journey at St John’s through the rigorous Read Write Inc Phonics programme. They receive daily phonics sessions from Reception and are regularly assessed and grouped.
Children are taught to decode, comprehend and read for pleasure through engaging texts and a variety of reading experiences as part of the English lesson,
As a school we have adopted ‘Book Talk’ by Jane Considine. It is a systematic way to teach reading strategies across the whole school. It is underpinned by certain guiding principles:
Pupils are organised into reading attainment groups and share a set of the ‘same’ books pitched at their level with appropriate challenge.
All pupils in the classroom will be accessing narrative, non-fiction or poetry at the same time.
Pupils will receive a daily 30 minute ‘Book Talk’ session and once a week will intensively work with the class teacher on reading strategies and comprehension skills.
Each Book Talk session is layered with open-ended whole class questions to tackle the three layers of the reading rainbow.
Book Talk is structured with three reasons to read. The reasons to read are taken from ‘The Reading Rainbow’. One reason is taken from the top layer of the rainbow under FANTASTIC. The second reason is taken from the STYLISTIC layer. The third reason is taken from the ANALYTICS layer. These are introduced to the pupils in chunks and it is through these generic lenses they think and discuss their reading material.
Informal Book Talk encourages children to share their own reading for pleasure in our wonderful library, class or outdoor reading areas.
To provide children with a breadth of reading opportunities we use a range of reading texts from Read Write Inc, Oxford University Press and Collins. These are book banded into coloured levels to provide progression and engage children in a love of reading.
Each child takes home a ‘Planner,’ where they are encouraged to read on a daily basis and record comments. .Books sent home to read link to the phonics sound being learnt and also to the colour book band level which the children are currently reading at. Children are also challenged to read 100 books before they finish KS1 and KS2 https://www.tes.com/news/100-fiction-books-read-leaving-primary or see planners for details.
Within the Early Years setting, children are encouraged to begin making marks on paper, before learning correct letter formation and using their understanding of phonics to build words and form sentences.
At St John’s we have adopted "The Write Stuff" by Jane Considine to bring a whole school approach to the mechanics of writing. We use "Sentence Stacking" to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. Each writing lesson is based on a sentence model, broken into three chunks:
Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION
"The Write Stuff" also reinforces grammar through the use of:
The FANTASTICS which are an acronym that summarise the ideas of writing.
The GRAMMARISTICS is a classroom tool that enables the teacher to drive key grammar messages.
The BOOMTASTICS which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual.
Punctuation is taught through the “non-negotiables” of the Writing Laundry and the Grammaristics so that children never forget to clean up their writing.
Spelling: In the EYFS and KS1, children are given a set of spellings to learn through a variety of multi-sensory methods using the Read Write Inc approach. In KS2, spelling patterns are learnt. and Big Spell is used to support differentiated spelling learning. A monthly spelling competition for KS1 and KS2 encourages children to learn spelling patterns and age related spellings.
to secure their writing skills across a range of topics.
Children at St John’s flourish in their English learning and enjoy a life-long love of reading and writing. Pupils have a wide vocabulary that they use within their spoken and written work to communicate effectively and confidently and write for a range of meaningful purposes with accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation and legible handwriting.
Author Cath Howe came to visit us in school
Author Debi Evans visiting with her amazing adventures of Rolo