SPOKEN LANGUAGE, READING & WRITING
In English we aim to develop pupils’ abilities within an integrated programme of Spoken Language, Reading and Writing. Pupils are given opportunities to interrelate the requirements of English within a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English across the curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught skills. This is set against the Christian ethos and values of our school.
At Aston St Mary’s we aim to enable every child to:
- read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, orchestrating a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct;
- have an interest in books and read for enjoyment;
- have an interest in words and their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms;
- understand a range of text types and genres – be able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation;
- be developing the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness;
- have a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses.
Statutory requirements for the teaching and learning of English are laid out in the National Curriculum in England: English Programmes of Study – Key Stages 1 and 2 and in the Communication and Language and Literacy sections of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. At Aston St. Mary’s, we have developed our own Reading Spine which is a key driver for our planning of English. This enables us to ensure that children have access to a rich and varied range of texts and authors during their time at our school. Within our Reading Spine, we have included units based upon some of the HfL planning and also the ‘Opening Doors’ resources by Bob Cox.
Reading for pleasure is promoted throughout the school. We have a well-stocked library as well as reading corners in each class room. Children in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and lower Key Stage 2 read colour banded books from our reading scheme which includes a wide variety of texts from a range of published schemes. All children also choose a library book to take home each week. Included within our scheme at the higher bands (Gold, White and Lime) are some ‘real’ books which have been carefully matched to the colour bands. This enables a smooth transition from the reading scheme to our older pupils becoming free readers.
The teaching of grammar is very successfully embedded within our English lessons. For spelling we use the ‘No Nonsense’ spelling scheme; the children make regular use of their spelling journals both at home and in school and enjoy using a range of strategies to embed their learning.
Throughout EYFS, children learn how to form all letters correctly. Once this is established, children are taught to write in a cursive script. Initially, they are taught the correct letter formation to print individual letters with a lead in stroke, then to join their handwriting. By the end of Year 1 most children write in a cursive style. Once their cursive writing is sufficiently controlled and letters are of an appropriate size, children move on from pencil to gel pen, usually during Year 3 or 4. A school portfolio is kept of samples of children’s work. This is used to set expectations for handwriting across the school.
We are proud of the progress that our children make during their time at Aston. Children leaving us for the next phase of their education are able to articulate their ideas clearly, confidently and accurately. They also become fluent readers with a clear love of books. They are able to express their ideas in writing accurately and in an appropriate form using a rich and varied vocabulary. This progress is reflected in our consistently excellent end of Key Stage 2 results.