''I love writing stories and being creative'' Year 3
Through our English curriculum, we teach the children the importance of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Our English lessons are ambitious for all, developing children’s spoken language, reading, writing and grammar skills, and building on their ever-growing vocabulary. English is taught in a cross-curricular way, linking with other areas of the curriculum to make learning purposeful and allowing children to make the necessary links. We encourage our children to speak clearly, to convey their ideas fluently and confidently and to ask questions. This is done through engaging and interactive lessons, including drama, hot-seating, debates, performances, sharing ideas with their peers or simply enjoying listening to a story or play.
Our school's phonics programme exceeds the expectations of the national curriculum. At Grappenhall Heys, we know that reading is key to learning and we make sure it is central to our Early Years curriculum. We deliver a comprehensive and consistent approach to the teaching of early reading by combining high quality, multi-sensory phonics sessions with engaging guided reading sessions where children can apply their knowledge and develop their comprehension skills. Reading books are carefully selected to reflect the children’s current phonics knowledge. We believe that success in reading and writing is the key to developing a wealth of knowledge as the children continue their educational journey.
In guided and whole-class reading sessions, children are immersed in a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction, rhymes and poetry texts. Our newly developed library promotes a whole-school love of reading, allowing the children to develop into confident, fluent readers, with the ability to self-regulate and apply their reading skills to all other areas of the curriculum. Reading is a meta-cognitive act: being a confident reader allows children to be motivated and engaged in developing their decoding and comprehension skills. The children’s journey through reading enables them to build a repertoire of knowledge and skills, which they can subsequently apply to their own writing.
Through a range of opportunities, children develop the stamina and ability to be creative and purposeful writers. To develop further children’s use of vocabulary in different contexts, we continuously match writing genres with experiences and enrichment activities. To build resilience, children reflect upon their learning and edit their own and each other's work independently and collaboratively. They use a range of media platforms, including green screen technology, to showcase their learning and achievements and celebrate them with the wider school community.
We aim for all children to become...
The English Curriculum
The National Curriculum for English (2014) aims 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. Spoken language underpins the development for reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary, grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.
''Our new library is so amazing, it just makes me want to get better and better at reading'' Year 1
At Grappenhall Heys, we encourage the children to become authors, crafting their own style to become fluent in writing. Our children are taught a range of genres covering poetry,fiction and non-fiction writing styles. The writing and reading curriculum is very closely linked as we value the importance of reading to aid writing.
Our children are immersed into the genres through a variety of texts, film clips, posters and books - and above all we encourage daily writing. Your child will then publish their work giving them a sense of pride in their presentation. They are encouraged to write independently for a sustained length of time using prompt mats, word mats and the working wall to help them.
The teaching of the requirements of the National Curriculum are covered within the Writing and Reading Curriculum as well as making sure that at every opportunity the Grammar terminology and skills are referred to with cross-curricular links.
Below you will find links to the documents that you may find useful -
Click below to find some useful videos on BBC Bitesize to help with Grammar and Punctuation
One way to help your child is to help them build their vocabulary. Beginning readers use knowledge about words to help them make sense of what they’re reading. The more words a reader knows, the more they are able to comprehend what they’re reading or listening to.
Talking to and reading with your child are two terrific ways to help them hear and read new words. Conversations and questions about interesting words (“The book says, ‘The boy tumbled down the hill,’ and look at the picture! How do you think he went down the hill?”) are easy,non-threatening ways to get new words into everyday talk.
Sharing a new word with your child doesn’t have to take a long time: just a few minutes to talk about the word and then focus back on the book or conversation. Choose which words to talk about carefully – choosing every new word might make reading seem like a chore. The best words to explore with your child are ones that are common among adult speakers but are less common to see in the books your child might read.
When introducing new words to your child, keep the following four helpful hints in mind:
First, provide a simple, child-friendly definition for the new word: Enormous means that something is really big.
Second, provide a simple, example that makes sense within their daily life: remember that really big watermelon we got at the supermarket? That was an enormous watermelon.
Third, encourage your child to develop their own example: What enormous thing can you think of? Can you think of something really big that you saw today? That’s right! The bulldozer near the park was enormous! Those tires were huge.
Last, keep your new words active within your house. Over the next few days and weeks, take advantage of opportunities to use each new vocabulary word in conversation.
Take the time to share new words and build your child’s vocabulary. You’ll be enormously glad you did!
we believe that each child should receive a high standard of education that is broad, challenging, exciting and encourages creative thinking. We encourage every learner to be the best they can be, to reflect and plan the next steps in their life- long learning journey and to contribute to the communities of which they are a part. Reading is a key life skill which enables children to express themselves, communicate with others and access other areas of the curriculum.
We aim to show the school’s reading ethos and how it is practiced through reading sessions in Reading Skills as well as other areas across the school and curriculum.
Through the curriculum and our practice, we strive to develop a culture of reading through consistently using high quality texts, that demonstrate aspirational language and grammatical structure; a variety of texts that inspire and enthuse children; texts with themes that help our children to develop and promote the school’s values as well as ensuring their personal, social, spiritual and emotion needs are met and where children are able to progress and reach their full potential.
Your child needs to be a fluent reader to reach National Standard for their Year group. This means that they are not segmenting and sounding out words out loud, but reading with pace and expression.
Below you will find some prompts and websites to help you with supporting your child in this at home.
Whole Class Reading
Children in KS1 and KS2 actively engage in Whole Class Reading sessions each week. Children use the VIPERS to address specific reading skills.
Each time we open a book with children it is an opportunity to walk into a new world together, to explore the inner workings of great literary minds and practise their reading skills.
In KS1 and KS2, whole class reading is taught at least 4 times a week to teach the skills needed to understand and comprehend the texts and how a range of questions can be used to deepen knowledge.
An application of reading skills session is also carried out with the children linked to their book band. This may take place as a guided reading session or a chance to apply the skills taught in the Reading Skills sessions.
As part of our English lessons, children are also taught reading skills. In these lessons we equip our children with the skills and strategies they need to be able to interpret the texts they read - and therefore become masters of reading.
These reading skills sessions can either be taught as an explicit 'lesson within a lesson' or be woven into the English learning of the day. They then practice their skills of retrieval, interpretation and choice to understand the text, the authors point of view and the underlying messages and to have the vocabulary to discuss these features.
Our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) – Nursery and Reception – is the first formal step in your child’s reading and writing journey. We want your child’s first experience with English to be a happy one, which is why, our Early Years' programme develops a positive attitude to learning that will allow children to build resilience and make good choices. Through a combination of engaging, well-planned activities, stories, songs, movement and crafts, we set out to create a sensory, exploratory setting for your child to have fun and learn in a nurturing and caring environment.
Click here to read the Letters and sound document:
Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds, they also write some irregular common words.
They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others, some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
Moving and Handling
Children show good control and coordination in large and small movements, they handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.
Before children are able to form letters, they need to learn how to make marks. They're working out how writing works, how to hold their pencil, what pressure to put on the paper and how to control the marks they make.
We have mark-making resources available for children to use in every area of the Early Years' provision in our setting, including our outdoor provision.
Phonics is one method of teaching children how to read and write.
It's all about sounds. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like 't', and some by two or more, like 'ck'in duck and 'air' in chair. Children are taught the sounds first, then how to match them to letters, and finally how to use the letter sounds for reading and spelling.
The teaching of phonics begins in the EYFS and is guided by the 'Letters and Sounds' documentation. Pupils are gradually introduced to initial sounds through repetition and playing games involving the sounds. Carefully planned activities are set up to consolidate phonic learning. Phonics is taught in phases with the pupils being split into smaller groups to ensure each child's needs are met. Pupils across EYFS and KS1 (KS2 where necessary) participate in daily sessions, which allows for rigorous coverage of the phases. At the end of Year 1, each child's phonic knowledge is tested in a phonics screening test carried out on a one to one basis with the class teacher.
The Learning Environment
All classrooms all have reading areas in their classrooms from EYFS to Year 6. These vary in provision opportunity based on age and need. All areas are linked to themes and offer role play, challenges linked to curriculum and topic books. They aim to be engaging and stimulating, whilst still promoting a place for children to sit and read.
Why is reading so important?
At Grappenhall Heys the children are given the opportunity to read a mixture of books including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The books the children bring home are suitable for their reading ability and look to build upon fluency and pace as well as developing a love for reading.
We do not follow one particular scheme and we use a mixture of 'real books' and scheme books. Scheme books that we use include Oxford Reading Tree, Cambridge Big Cats, Big Cat Phonics, Songbird Phonics, TTS, Bug Cub and Lighthouse. These books allow for a balance of analytical and synthetic phonics to support the way the children are taught to read. The books are written with a mix of high frequency and decodable words to develop a range of reading strategies. When the children have progressed through the colour coded levels, they move onto ‘free readers’ (real, non-scheme books, suitable for their age).
Reading at home
The expectation is that all children in the school will read at home to an adult daily. A child’s reading development benefits greatly when they read and answer questions about their book every day. It is just as important that the children understand what they are reading, as well as being able to read the words, so please ask your children questions as they read to you (examples of questions for KS1 and KS2 can be found below). Please take time to sign your child’s reading diary every time they have read at home.
Why is writing so important?
At Grappenhall Heys, we love writing a range of different genres and for a variety of audiences. Through carefully planned English units, our children develop into thoughtful, reflective and creative writers.
We tailor our planning carefully to suit the needs of the children and they are taught a range of grammar, sentence structure, word/vocabulary building and spelling skills and how to apply this to their writing. Each term we aim to apply all of the skills the children have learnt by completing various pieces of extended writing.
During the year, the children will have the opportunity to study high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry units.
Parents play a key role in the development of reading. Ideas to try at home include the following:
- Find a place to sit together that suits you both away from any distractions and noise.
- Try to listen to your child read daily and always sign their reading record.
- Find some time to talk about the book as well as reading it.
- Encourage children to discuss vocabulary and discuss any new words together.
- Encourage expressive reading by drawing attention to punctuation.
Key question to ask:
- Where is the story set?
- What is the character's main problem in the story?
- What is the main idea in the story?
- Is this a fiction or non-fiction book?
- Summarise the story in three sentences.
- How and why has the author used certain phrases?
- How do you think that the character feels?
Curriculum/English homework will be set on a fortnightly basis, it will be given on a Monday and will be due in a week on Wednesday (9 days later). The focus will be on producing quality work linked to our curriculum. Once homework is submitted on the Wednesday, it will be marked by staff showing areas of strength and next steps. These targets can then directly feed into following tasks. Task sheets will be provided in the book to support parents when helping their child with the requirements of the task. We expect children to take pride in the presentation of their homework as they do their work in school. After your child has completed their homework, they must complete their pupil comment at home (parents can write this for them). Discuss with them their next steps from the previous week before your child starts their homework. Parental comments are also very helpful for us – they inform us about how much support a child has needed with a piece of work and what elements they found easy or hard. You can also tell us how long they spent on their homework and how you feel they are doing towards their next steps.
How is my child assessed?
Alongside regular informal assessmentsand observations , staff record pupils’ progress against year group specific English objectives. These targets are recorded in children's books and referred to by teachers in lessons.
Termly assessments in reading take place (Years 1 - 6) to carefully track the progress of the children and allow teachers to form next steps in their learning. Regular ongoing assessments monitor the progress of children's writing throughout the year. At both end of key stages (Years 2 and 6), reading is assessed formally in end of Key Stage tests.
In Year 2 and 6 children's writing is assessed throughout a number of pieces of writing in their books, it is assessed against the End of Key Stage frameworks.
All relevant information on these assessments is shared with parents at SATs information evenings. In the Early Years, ongoing assessment is used; children’s progress is clearly marked and tracked in children’s individual trackers. Staff communicate with parents on a regular basis and parents receive annual written reports and are invited into parents evenings to discuss progress.
How do we teach spellings?
At Grappenhall Heys, we intend to develop in every child a positive, confident and reflective attitude towards spelling. Being able to spell, remains an incredibly important skill. Children who can spell well are often more confident writers, writing their ideas fluently and being more adventurous through risk taking with vocabulary choices to express themselves. All Year 1-6 pupils will have regular and sustained weekly teaching of spelling. Within the spelling lesson, children will be taught spelling patterns through an enquiry approach.
Nursery and Reception pupils will also engage in activities that support early spelling development – these may be adult-led sessions or independent phonics and spelling games. The curriculum offered in school is supported by parents through engaging with their child in Curriculum /English homework, where a set spelling activity is sent home as part of the fortnightly task.
Spelling is taught in aseparate lesson, where the children are given creative tasks around the spelling patterns and meanings of words. Children have a spelling activity which is part of their homework whereby they practise the spelling rule we are learning each week.