Royal Rise School recognises that teaching and learning in English is an essential part of the whole development of all children, including SEN and disadvantaged children, for their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills
Our English Curriculum enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate effectively. The teaching of English is broken into three strands - Reading, Writing and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar, with reading being the key to developing the other skills together with skills and knowledge development across all other curriculum subjects.
Our teaching and learning in English is intended to help mitigate the barriers to learning identified in the School Development Plan. Speaking and listening skills are encouraged at every opportunity through all lessons especially English and reading lessons and through our assembly programme which is based on debating a range of issues related to current news events. (Picture News scheme)
The expectation that any written work, including for topic work, is of the same standard as the writing in the children’s English books. Reading across the curriculum is also encouraged with topic related books being available in each class to help children relate their learning in English to learning in the foundation subjects.
At Royal Rise we aim that all pupils will leave Year 6 reading and writing with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning including monitoring and correcting their own errors; with a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment; with an interest in words and their meanings.
We teach English – both reading and writing - daily from Reception class to Year 6 and base the content of our curriculum on National Curriculum guidelines.
By connecting our British Values through the teaching of English, we explore issues that affect us all in our lives and this helps the children develop skills they will need to be effective citizens now and in the future e.g. tolerance and respect are modelled through debates and discussions.
At Royal Rise Primary School, the teaching of reading is at the core of our curriculum. It is our intention to ensure 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. It is our intention that over their journey with us through Royal Rise Primary School, children develop a love for reading as well as learning how to read fluently (with automaticity, accuracy and with prosody) for meaning.
Each year group are immersed in a wide range of text types and diverse themes. They are inspired by a range of authors and poets with a range of literature. We have a Royal Rise ‘reading spine’ in which books have been chosen carefully for each year group which create a library of high-quality texts and rich vocabulary and language that will give them a good grounding for independent reading in the future. Books read across the school reflect the diversity of not only our local community and modern Britain, but the wider world. Through this careful selection of texts, children will be able to not only recognise themselves and their own experiences but also be immersed in the culture, beliefs and experiences of others. Through the exploration of these texts, children can reflect on and develop their own views and tolerance of other viewpoints particularly with respect to family, religion, culture, differences and adversity. Children will also be able to develop an understanding of their own emotional responses and their empathy for others.
We intent to encourage all pupils to read widely across fiction (including poetry and playscripts) and non-fiction so all children are exposed to a variety of literature, genre and authors to:
- develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live
- establish a love, appreciation, and desire for reading
- gain knowledge across the curriculum
- develop their comprehension skills
- develop self-awareness to understand the kind of reader they are and what they enjoy reading
At Royal Rise Primary School we are committed to providing a broad and diverse range of texts and books from across the curriculum which are rich in vocabulary. Sharing stories is a key part of our daily timetable so children enjoy both reading and being read to. We know reading feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.
We prioritise the systematic teaching of phonics throughout Reception and Key Stage 1. We use a systematic synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Our staff teach children the relationship between sounds and their grapheme representation. All children in Reception and KS1 and where necessary in KS2 have daily phonics sessions in small ability groups matched accurately through regular half termly assessments. Teachers draw upon observations, continuous and summative assessment to ensure children are stretched, challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Timely and immediate intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected expectations as soon as their needs are identified as we intend for all children to ‘keep up’ and not have to ‘catch up’.
We recognise that systematic, high quality phonics teaching is essential, but additional skills and opportunities are needed for children to achieve the goal of being a well-rounded reader including being able to comprehend. Communication and language weaves through the new EYFS statutory framework and our Reception curriculum as a ‘golden thread’ that is in everything we do in our Royal Rise Reception class. We strive towards all adults in our EYFS able to know when and how to have high quality, responsive and nurturing interactions with all pupils. Daily singing and story time begins as soon as children start with us in Reception and we support their ability to understand, acquire, practise, and use, new language and vocabulary and develop vital speaking, listening and communication skills with back-and-forth conversations and shared attention. Children read and enjoy high quality texts which (where possible) are linked to their topic.
In Reception, KS1 and KS2, all children read aloud during daily phonics or fluency lessons; in addition to this they read aloud in lessons throughout the day. In whole class reading lessons in KS1 and KS2, children develop their key reading skills of decoding and comprehension using VIPERS. VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarising. The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc. As such, VIPERS is a method of ensuring that we ask, and pupils are familiar with, a range of questions. They allow teachers to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.
In Reception and KS1, strong links are made between reading and writing using the Talk 4 Writing approach. We understand that the more words children hear, the more words they know and we encourage the re-reading of familiar picture books at home making these available to borrow and prioritise these in our daily immersive reading.
During the summer term in Year 1, pupils undertake the Phonics Screening Test which assesses their knowledge of letter sounds and if they can blend the sounds to read words. We know this is a vital first step to reading. After this, we continue to develop their fluency so they can pay attention to WHAT they are reading through reading familiar words speedily and working out unfamiliar words easily. We know children can only read at the speed they can decode so we continue to build fluency progressively until they can read all the grey storybooks in the final level of the Read Write Inc programme. We help children read familiar words ‘at a glance’ and new and longer words easily. Pupils who do not pass their Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 with continue to have intervention to support the acquisition of these skills and are retested in the summer term in Year 2.
When children are off the RWI programme, it is our intent to continue to develop their reading skills and comprehension. Children who are off the programme participate in reading comprehension sessions using VIPERS and Pixl therapies and children in Year 2 have reader’s Theatre whole class lessons weekly. The Reader’s Theatre text is the same as their class text used for writing and immersive reading and the sessions teach and allows time to practise the three components of fluency: accuracy, automaticity and prosody. Lessons include echo, choral and repeated reading and exposes all children to higher level language and a rich and varied vocabulary. Readers’ Theatre aims to understand what it means to be a fluent reader, develops excellent comprehenders of oral language and helps all readers to reach independence.
We recognise the importance of developing a rich and extensive bank of vocabulary; therefore, we discreetly teach vocabulary directly linked to the text during phonics and reading sessions. All classes are exposed to a model of a fluent reader as their teacher reads a book daily to excite, immerse and engage the children in books, and to expose them to new and varied vocabulary. Reading at home is encouraged and promoted through different incentives and parental engagement sessions. It is our intent that an adult hears each child read at least once a week one-to-one, in a group, through echo and choral reading, performance reading or during comprehension or fluency whole class sessions.
Children working on the Read Write Inc. programme take home a phonics book they have read in school and a ‘book bag book’ matched directly to their current phonics level; they are also encouraged to choose an additional reading for pleasure book to share with their family at home. Reception families are encouraged to choose more books to read to their children at the end of each day which they can sign in and out themselves from a selection of high-quality, rich selection of picture books.
Following this, children work through ‘banded’ books which are levelled books which match the child’s current reading ability. Each term, children are assessed using the Hertfordshire Reading Age Test and read with to determine their current reading level and books are then matched to their reading ability. Parent sessions and the Read Write Inc virtual classroom resources help parents when reading to and with their child/ren at home. The National Curriculum sees progression in comprehension being provided primarily through the increasing challenge of the texts children read.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident word readers by the end of Key Stage1. As a Year 6 reader, transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident, and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning and all areas of the curriculum. We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.
- In EYFS, children are taught the letter graphemes as they learn the sounds in RWI and are encouraged to have a go at writing by sounding out words and recording the sounds they hear. This takes place during teacher led sessions and there are also plenty of opportunities during child initiated sessions, with a range of materials and writing prompts available.
- From Year 1 to Year 6, the teaching of writing is strongly connected to the current curriculum topic so that children are immersed in the topic and they are provided with a range of stimuli including relevant vocabulary, books, PowerPoint images, pictures etc
- We follow the 2014 National Curriculum for guidance as to what is taught in each year group and, from this, have devised a specific structure for our school, detailing end of year expectations year by year. Units of work are based on different genres, and a purpose and audience for each piece of writing is decided from the outset. We ensure progression in complexity of tasks and expectations year on year.
- Lessons follow a sequence from a Cold Write, which is used to assess their achievement at the start, through a series of linked Learning Challenges including analysis of a good example of the genre (WAGOLL) Grammar and punctuation, together with the structural features of each genre, are then taught through a series of lessons, starting with the basics of sentence construction including full stops and capital letters. Children begin to identify word classes early on (noun, verb, adjective and adverb) and use this understanding in their writing. Teaching builds term on term and year on year using prior knowledge.
- The final piece of writing – the Hot Write- is then written using learning from the previous sessions. This is written in draft form, is then edited and improved by the children before being written out neatly. Children are taught these skills using age appropriate strategies and children work with a purple pen to differentiate their work from adult marking.
- Teachers provide regular constructive feedback through marking, which also promotes reasoning about the work that has been completed. Peer and self-assessment are an important part of our learning and peer discussion and marking is encouraged, with time planned into lessons for children to respond to marking and feedback.
Speaking and listening
From the very beginning of their time in school, children are encouraged to develop their speaking and listening skills through role play, discussions and debates. These extend the children’s vocabulary, strengthening the connections with their learning in English, foundation subjects and maths. These communication skills are further developed through to the end of KS2 by class discussions, paired and group work about reading books and in all lessons.
These skills are further strengthened through our debating assembly programme where current issues from the news are discussed through whole school and Key stage assemblies then debated at the end of the week. All children including SEN and disadvantaged are encouraged to participate in these debates.
Our spelling lessons are based on the No Nonsense Spelling units that follow clear patterns to aid understanding. Throughout KS2, a spelling rule or new letter sounds are introduced weekly and relevant spellings are taught, e.g. through mnemonics, word sorting and spelling games.
Key word banks, high frequency words, dictionaries and topic related vocabulary resources scaffold children as necessary. When marking, spellings are identified by teachers and support staff using an agreed code and children practise spelling corrections as part of their response to marked work.
- In EYFS, children begin to use anticlockwise movements and retrace vertical lines with a pencil and begin to form recognisable letters. Children show good control and coordination in large and small movement
- In Year 1, children produce writing with clear spaces between words. Most letters are correctly formed and orientated, including lower case, capital letters and digits although there may be some inconsistency in size. By Year 2, All letters and digits are consistently formed and of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another. Spacing is appropriate to the size of letters.
- In KS2, handwriting is legible, fluent and consistently. Legibility in joined handwriting is maintained when writing at speed.
The English Lead monitors the teaching and learning of English through classroom visits, environment walks and through talking to children and teachers about their work, using their books. A picture of English as a whole in each class can therefore be developed.