Intent, implementation and impact of our English Curriculum at St Bridget’s C.E. School
At St Bridget’s CE Primary School we use English to communicate in both written and spoken form. We use language to build our view and opinion of the world and our community. We believe that developing a love of our language in our children is vital in achieving success at school and later in life.
Intent-The aim of our teaching of reading is to produce competent readers who read for enjoyment and the discovery about the world around us.
Implementation-We use a variety of different reading schemes at St Bridget’s. Initially, children are taught using Discussion books (with either none or very few words) – these are ideal for building confidence at reading picture clues and making up endless stories. This level is followed by a range of decodable and early sight vocabulary reading books. As a school, we use Jolly Phonics and Grammar to provide phonic progression and structure, and the books we have selected support that progression within the different steps.
The books are “banded” so that books from different manufacturers, but of comparable level, are grouped together. The first few bands are divided into phonics based books and word level books so children’s phonic knowledge is matched to the phonic phase they are learning. As they move past the early phases they read books which require a variety of reading skills such as phonic, whole word, comprehension etc and provide for depth and consolidation as they are learning to read.
Within the book bands are both fiction and non-fiction, plus a wide variety of genres – poetry, play scripts etc. as well as novels and information books. As the children become more confident, they move onto carefully selected paperbacks, which are still “banded” to provide structure and guidance.
In KS1, as well as their reading books, children have a variety of books to take home including easy readers to encourage fluency and re-reading and stories and non-fiction books to share with their family for enjoyment.
Right from the start, children are encouraged to use the school library (for fiction and non-fiction as well as story sacks) and the mobile library van, which visits once a term.
The children are taught to read in several ways: including a 1-1 basis and in Guided reading groups. Both methods are taught by either the class teacher or an experienced teaching assistant.
One to one reading sessions allow a child to be taught on their own with a supporting adult. Prior to actual reading the book the book cover and pages are discussed and ‘walked through’ – this way the teacher can drop into the discussion any key vocabulary that the child will come across. When reading begins it can take the form of the child reading it themselves or as a shared read experience with the class teacher (possibly reading alternate pages).
Volunteers also come regularly to listen to children read for added practice and to allow sharing of a book with an adult. Priority is given to children who find reading more of a struggle.
Guided Reading Sessions
These are again delivered by experienced teaching adults. The books read in these sessions tend to be at an instructional level (where the children can read approximately 90-95% of the words). A similar format is followed to the 1-1 reading sessions prior to reading. Once reading is underway the children can either read aloud to the group in a turn taking manner or they can read silently with the teacher circulating around the group to hear individual readers. There is always a focus time in the session to discuss the book – to clarify understanding of the plot, vocabulary, and a synopsis so far and any prediction skills regarding what next or what would the children like to happen next.
In KS2 children are encouraged to read topical issues which are happening in the news. This is taught through Espresso or Picture News where children read and discuss extracts which encourage deep thinking and builds on their comprehension skills.
Enjoying stories throughout the curriculum
Children are read to at various times of the day – books feature regularly in the daily maths lesson as well as the more usual literacy lesson. At the end of the day the children are read to by one of the teaching adults.
Story books are often used in other areas of the curriculum such as: modelling writing, history, maths, RE, DT & Geography. This allows children to escape back in time and find out what life was like for others, or to immerse themselves in a character’s life discovering their point of view.
In Class 4, Wellington Square is designed to meet the needs of children aged 7-13+ who are having difficulty in learning to read. It provides straightforward progression through all 5 levels of the scheme, from wordless picture books to storybooks with full-text. Wellington Square widens our pupils' reading experience through imaginative and stimulating support material.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is used in St Bridget’s in the Junior Classrooms to encourage children to continue to progress with their reading through choosing books which are appropriate for their ability and interest level. Pupils develop reading skills most effectively when they read appropriately challenging books – difficult enough to keep them engaged but not so difficult that they become frustrated.
As part of AR, children take a STAR Reading Test to determine their reading level. It is a computer based reading assessment program which uses computer adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to the child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child cannot answer a question or answers incorrectly, the difficulty level is reduced.
The books in the library have been colour coded according to their reading level. After taking their STAR Reading Test, the children are given a ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) which dictates the colour of books they should be reading. Reading books within their ZPD will challenge a child without causing frustration or lack of motivation. It is important that children read with a high level of comprehension and within his/her ZPD.
Once a child has read their book, they log into their account to take a quiz where they get immediate feedback. Passing the quiz is an indication that the child has understood what they have read. The children respond to regular feedback and are motivated to make progress with their reading skills.
‘Spell Binding Challenges’ take place in Juniors to introduce new authors and different types of genres to the children.
Every book that has an AR Reading Practice Quiz is given a points value. AR points are based on the length of the book (number of words). Pupils earn a percentage of points according to how well they pass the quiz.
Once a certain number of points have been achieved, children are awarded a certificate and a Reader Certification Level. These levels are motivational benchmarks for the children which allow them to progress through 8 levels from Ready Reader to Honours Reader.
Guided Reading in Upper Key stage 2 is taught through the Reciprocal Reading philosophy. This involves reading comprehension strategies, which focus on the learners’ understanding of written text, are rated as high impact on the EEF Toolkit. This is a structured approach to teaching strategies (questioning, clarifying, summarising and predicting) that students can use to improve their reading comprehension. This approach is rated as high impact on the EEF Toolkit (Education Endowment Foundation).
At St Bridget’s CE Primary School we aim for children to be independent writers. We encourage them to write clearly and with confidence in any given genre. We teach them to use punctuation and grammar accurately, to be able to proofread their own work and make amendments and improvements. We give children a wide range of opportunities across the curriculum in which to develop their writing skills and display work of which they are proud. Through our English curriculum, we aim to nurture in the children a love of literature and language, and the confidence to continue reading and writing throughout their lives.
Opportunities, organisation and provision for the teaching and learning of writing are as follows:
In our Nursery class mark making is encouraged in many of the areas of Continuous provision (both indoors and outdoors) In Reception the children are given opportunities to write across the continuous provision as well as in the daily phonics sessions as well as literacy based and other curriculum areas. Our Key Stage One children are given opportunities to write freely within a particular genre and across the curriculum. This gives them the opportunity to become emergent writers.
Within each teaching sequences shared writing is a key part. In our Reception class support is given to the children through a share the pen approach – this involves the children having a go at writing the sounds they can hear before passing the pen to the teacher who may write the rest of the word or part of it before passing it back to the child who may be able to hear and write the final sound. This step is often further broken down into hearing the sound but not able to record it therefore the teacher will do this for the child.
Guided Writing/Independent Writing:
Each teaching sequence ends with an opportunity for guided and independent writing. There are also frequent opportunities for independent writing throughout the other curriculum areas.
Throughout the term there are opportunities for extended writing. On a termly basis samples of these extended writing outcomes are used for assessment purposes. Through extended writing children are given the opportunities to plan, draft, edit and re-draft their writing.
Talk for writing:
This is also used to model writing skills- children are taught to speak their writing before putting it down on paper.
As soon as our Nursery children are physically ready to write (i.e. good effective pincer grip in readiness for writing and names are recognised) then the children are supported to write their names following the school’s handwriting scheme. Once the children reach Reception the children write corresponding graphemes from our Jolly Phonics programme.
At St Bridget’s we use Berol handwriting scheme to teach cursive and pre-cursive handwriting. Our Year 1 children follow the Jolly Phonics pre-cursive style of handwriting and this is taught within the daily phonics lessons. While the year 2 children move to the Berol Handwriting programme which is taught as a discrete handwriting session, where we teach and encourage use of the cursive style from the Berol teaching programme. Our Lower Key Stage 2 children experience a discrete Handwriting session once a week. It is an expectation that all children demonstrate good posture when writing and hold their pencil/pen accordingly. High standards of handwriting are expected across all subjects.
Speaking and Listening
Intent-Talking is fundamental to learning. Pupils are encouraged to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to state their ideas and opinions. Just as important is the need to listen carefully to others and respond in appropriate ways.
Implementation-Pupils are given opportunities in all areas of the curriculum to develop their speaking and listening skills, in paired, group or whole class situations. Therefore, role play, small world, show & tell, presentations, leading worship and drama activities performed for a variety of audiences are intrinsic elements of speaking and listening across the school. In both our Early Years classes speaking and listening is promoted through our Everywhere Bear initiative and the sharing of our home learning leaves and WOWs.
Extra support is given to children with Speaking and Listening difficulties and with English as an Additional Language.
Impact- Our children will acquire the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. They will have been introduced to rich and varied literature with a love of reading, they will be confident in the art of speaking and listening and write clearly and accurately, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts
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 word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
Literacy in Key Stage 1
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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