At Tewkesbury C of E we aim to inspire the children with a love of literature, a passion for writing and the necessary skills to become effective communicators. We believe children produce their best writing when they are given exciting experiences or are writing for a purpose. We achieve these aims through an engaging and varied curriculum in line with the National Curriculum for English. (English National Curriculum.)
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritag
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate
The English curriculum is made up of 4 key areas:
- Spoken Language
- Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation
Spoken Language (Taken from the National Curriculum)
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.
At Tewkesbury C of E, Spoken Language is taught through the Talk for writing process and underpins all that we do in Literacy.
Reading (Taken from the National Curriculum)
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading)
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (ie unskilled readers) when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
Reading at Tewkesbury C of E
At Tewkesbury C of E Reading is taught through phonics, English lessons, individual and guided reading sessions. Reading for pleasure is promoted and we aim to nurture a life long love of reading in every child.
Synthetic phonics is used as the main approach to teaching reading at our school. We follow ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme outlined by the DfES. It is an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. We also incorporate ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions to go with the sounds where each new sound is linked to an action to help the children remember the sound more easily.
Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children have time to practise and expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words that are not phonetically decodable.
Phonic sessions are fun, fast-paced, interactive and involve lots of speaking and listening games. Children learn phonics daily and are grouped according to the level appropriate for them.
All Tewkesbury C of E the children have the opportunity to take part weekly in a shared reading experience in a smaller group guided by an adult. Guided Reading in school is where reading and comprehension skills are taught. We use a range of text types to enable our pupils to be challenged and motivated by what they read. We aim to promote interest and offer scope for discussion whilst also developing their fluency and comprehension skills.
Reading for pleasure
Children have regular experiences of reading throughout the school day and through a range of subjects. They may be researching information on the internet, using non‐fiction books in History or RE, or finding out about processes in science. Opportunities for individual, paired and group reading take place throughout the curriculum.
At Tewkesbury C of E we promote regular reading at home. Children read a variety of fiction and non-fiction books that progress in stages. Children will progress through the book bands at their own pace. Once a child is fluently reading and can comprehensively comprehend what they are reading they can become a ‘free reader’ where they are able to choose their own books at home or from the library.
In addition to this, pupils in years 1-6 are given a weekly home task which is designed to encourage children to practise a wide range of comprehension skills. It also provides the children with an opportunity to develop their ability to respond to a range of question types.
The tasks are designed to be interesting, enjoyable and exciting, prompting discussion with the children about their own experiences linked to the texts that they have read.
Writing (Taken from the National Curriculum)
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these 2 dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting
Writing at Tewkesbury C of E
At Tewkesbury C of E we have adopted the ‘Talk for writing’ approach to deliver writing. This innovative approach to teaching writing was developed by the author and literacy specialist Pie Corbett It is a fun, creative yet also rigorous approach to develop writing and uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye.
Through it’s multi-sensory and interactive teaching it enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of story/text types using various methods including:
- listening to and learning texts and stories;
- taking part in drama and role-play;
- drawing and story mapping;
- collecting words and language strategies
- building their working knowledge of grammar.
Talk for writing
During the Talk for writing process the children learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types to create different effects including suspense or adventure.
Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:
1.Imitation and immersion
Our Talk for Writing units always begin with a ‘hook’ starter which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they immerse themselves in the model text.
During this phase the children learn a model text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. We call this process ‘read as a writer’. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later.
During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model
text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.
It is during this phase that the children work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind children of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making.
At Tewkesbury C of E we call this stage the ‘big write’.
The children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text.
The same approach is used to deliver the different non-fiction text types.
Spelling, Vocabulary grammar and punctuation
Our spelling teaching is based on the National Curriculum requirements for each year group, Grammar is taught through our Talk for Writing (English) lessons, guided reading, spelling and handwriting sessions.