Our inspiring and exciting English curriculum here at St Mark and All Saints will enable our children to foster a love of literature, reading fluently and widely with an ability to express preferences and opinions confidently. Our aim is for our children 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.
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 Mark and All Saints 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 School Council, which represents the voices of each class.
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.
To provide children with a breadth of reading opportunities we use a range of reading texts. 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. We use a number of reading schemes, including PM, Bug Club, Ginn Lighthouse and Songbirds.
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 Mark and All Saints we have adopted Talk for Writing. Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. This is based on a 3-4 week cycle of learning
In the EYFS and KS1, children are given a set of spellings to learn through a variety of multi-sensory methods. In KS2, spelling patterns are learnt. And No Nonsense Spelling is used to support differentiated spelling learning. A weekly spelling test 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 Mark and All Saints 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.
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 phonics teaching programme in Nursery and Reception through a daily phonics and writing lesson. We follow Letters and Sounds and incorporate the actions and jingles from Jolly Phonics.
Encourage writing, discussion and storytelling in our role play areas and linked in to the topics we are studying, using the Talk for Writing approach to teaching writing techniques.