Knowledge of English, and a command of the spoken and written word, is an essential resource for a child’s learning, not only in school, but throughout life.
At St Michael & All Angels reading and writing are not only taught in daily discrete lessons but are the cornerstone of the entire curriculum, allowing children to communicate their ideas and knowledge and enrich their learning by reading about the topics they study from a variety of sources. They are embedded within all of our lessons and throughout our school high value is placed on developing a passion for these key learning skills and high levels of English for all our students.
Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at St Michael & All Angels are exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enables them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening skills.
We ensure that pupils acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammatical terms and functions as well as being able to spell new words through the effective application of spelling patterns and rules. We strive to develop a neat, joined, handwriting style by the end of KS2 and insist that children take pride in the presentation of their writing. Our children know that effective authors refine and edit their writing over time and they are encouraged to develop independence in being able to identify areas for improvement in all pieces of their writing and will edit their own work during and after the writing process.
We wholeheartedly believe that reading is a key life skill, not just as a learning tool but as a means of allowing our children to explore the world in which they live. We are dedicated to developing a passion for reading in all of our children and in enabling them to become lifelong readers. We encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, to gain knowledge across the curriculum and develop their comprehension skills. It is our intention to ensure that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, not only to access any subject in their secondary education, but to provide them with the skills they will need in their adult life.
Speaking & Listening
Starting in the EYFS and continuing throughout all the primary years, our children are taught to develop their capacity to express themselves effectively for a variety of purposes. Beginning in the EYFS our children are exposed to language rich environments and staff throughout school model good speaking and listening skills and the use of high level vocabulary. Speaking & Listening is a key focus for our Early Years children with the initial stages of our phonics programme focused on developing the children's skills in this area.
In other aspects of the EYFS curriculum children are encouraged to take part in story sessions, singing and music sessions. Throughout these sessions and through adult and peer interaction in continuous provision children's speaking and listening skills are further developed.
In KS1 & KS2 children continue to be exposed to the language rich environments they have become accustomed to and the modelling of a deep vocabulary and good speaking and listening skills remains paramount. Children's skills are extended in these areas through opportunities to recount events, take on dramatic roles, report on and summarise events, read aloud for an audience and make predictions. Children also have the opportunity to compose, recite and perform poetry and take part in school performances.
By the time children leave St Michael & All Angels, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, 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.
Reading is an incredibly important skills for our children to develop and from their first day in EYFS children are exposed to a wide array of texts through story time, phonics, continuous provision and opportunities to read with adults 1 to 1. These opportunities continue throughout school so that children will have experienced a wide array of books and developed a love of reading by the end of KS2.
We use the Read Write Inc phonics programme as a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. As part of this, children have daily phonics sessions where they participate in speaking, listening, reading and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different sets of sounds, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge. This phonics programme is continued into KS1 where children will also take part in whole class reading sessions. Reading is also taught by ensuring that children read through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the children’s current reading and phonetic ability and it is expected that children also read these books with a family member, who makes comments in the child’s reading record.
Moving into KS2 children take part in daily guided reading sessions which focus on using high-level texts with the children as a means of developing not only a love of reading but also comprehension skills. These skills are developed using the VIPERS system where each comprehension strand has a separate set of questions linked to the book the children are reading, helping them to develop the appropriate skills to comprehend the texts they are reading. Teachers use ongoing assessment to ensure that children who need further support to access and comprehend the text are able to access it. This ensures that all the children in our class are accessing age appropriate texts and language to help develop their vocabulary and in turn their writing. Where issues in reading are identified these are addressed through additional intervention groups and support such as IDL and small group intervention schemes.
As children progress through KS2 we also ensure that they are able to apply these same skills to not only fiction texts but also non-fiction through the use of weekly guided reading sessions which focus on applying their VIPERS skills to newspaper articles which are written specifically for this purpose by Literacy Shed. In this way children become accustomed to the differences in fiction and non-fiction pieces such as use of technical language, layout and purpose if the text.
KS2 children continue to use the school reading scheme which is designed to challenge and stretch the children who are regularly assessed to ensure that they are on the correct stage to provide this challenge. As with everything else we ensure that we have a strong reading scheme which is rich in vocabulary which the children can apply in their wiring.
We also provide a range of other opportunities to develop our children's skills and passion for reading including daily reading sessions with the class teacher, a classroom library system which provides an exciting range of books for their reading age and ensure that, along with their banded reading book, all children have at least 2 books at home that they can read and change regularly. In addition to this each class has access to EPIC books where children can choose online books to read for pleasure from either a selection chosen by the teacher or freely chosen by the child based on their own interests.
At St Michael and All Angels we endeavour to teach writing in context; to underpin our children's writing in rich literature experiences, using a skills and knowledge based curriculum at every opportunity.
In Class 1 writing takes place as part of the children's daily phonics lessons. We aim to allow the children to apply their phonetic skills to their writing to create labels, captions and simple sentences. This takes place in the Get Writing section of the phonics sessions and is carefully planned to enable the children to apply their phonics sounds as they learn them.
Throughout the rest of school our curriculum for writing is structured into three sections - Explore, Develop & Create - and is always proceeded by a pre-assessment in the form of a cold piece of writing. Each of our writing units is linked to a high quality text which inspires the children's creativity in their writing.
For the pre-assessment, the children are given a task, for example letter writing, and this is then used to assess the children's current knowledge base and plan any elements of the forthcoming unit which may need to be covered in addition to those already planned. Following the pre-assessment we then have the Explore section in which children explore an example of the given text, focusing on the key features of the text. They will look at different examples of the given text and explore difference and similarities between them. In the Develop section children focus on developing the the key skills they will need for their writing, which they build into pieces of writing to be used in their final piece. In the Create section the children will implement all of the taught skills to plan, draft and edit and then re-draft their final piece.
During each stage of the writing process the children are taught that handwriting and spelling are essential skills with editing our writing being a key focus. Strategies such as shared writing, paired work, imitation and innovation are used throughout the units to ensure our children develop their writing skills in a range of ways.
The impact of our curriculum on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the reading and writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in all key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in Year 6, many genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
We will measure the impact of science through:
- Pupil attainment data
- Pupil voice
- Learning walks
- Lesson observations
- Work Scrutinies
In our literacy lessons some of the things you will see are:
- Children will enjoy reading and writing across a range of genres
- Children will be able to succeed in all English lessons because work will be appropriately scaffolded
- Children will have a wide range of effective and specific vocabulary that they use both within conversations and writing
- Children will be discussing the different elements of the text they are exploring focusing on the key features of the text
- Children will be supporting one another in editing and improving their writing