English is taught as a subject on its own, often known as literacy. It is practised and developed as children use it when they are learning in other parts of the curriculum. Children are taught the skills to express themselves in writing, to develop a fluent and legible handwriting style, to use grammar to make their meaning clear and to spell accurately. They will also build on their reading and comprehensions skills so that they can read an increasing range of texts with real understanding. We often use discussion skills and drama to develop this understanding further.
As with reading and writing, effective speaking and listening is important for learning in every part of the curriculum. These skills are developed through the use of ‘talk partner’ pairs as well as in small and larger group discussions. Children are encouraged to discuss answers in these pairs or groups before giving an answer to the whole class. Not only does this allow every child to make a contribution, but also to rehearse and refine their answers before sharing them in the larger group.
The reading curriculum (Reading Curriculum) covers all of the skills we teach children as they move through the school. You will notice that there are two sets of objectives for reading – one set for years 3 and 4 and one set for years 5 and 6. Progression is built into every year group through the range and difficulty of the texts we use with the children.
We encourage children to practice reading both at school and at home. Children need to develop their love of reading by reading an increasing range of different kinds of texts. Every child is given access to a selection of e-books at the appropriate level on the Big Club website add link https://www.activelearnprimary.co.uk/login?c=0 This website also has comprehension quizzes and grammar practise available.
At school, we often start teaching a reading skill as a whole class. This skill is then developed in guided reading groups where children read and discuss the texts, sometimes with a teacher and sometimes independently. Learning new vocabulary is an important part of this work. Children learn to make sense of the text by working out what it means and how it relates to their own experiences. This is best taught through practise and discussion. We encourage parents to have the same approach at home; talking to their children about the text, what it means and also how useful or enjoyable it is.
Writing units often begin with a piece of text. Children are encouraged to see the links between reading and writing. Our writing curriculum (The writing Curriculum) provides a variety of reasons for writing and also how these link together. Sometimes we use current events, short films or books and poetry to inspire writing. Children learn to write different text forms (Whole School Genre Overview) Children plan their ideas, then write and then learn to redraft their writing to improve it further. For details of the sort of writing activities covered in each year group click here (Y3 Grammar Y4 Grammar Y5 Grammar Y6 Grammar)
Grammar knowledge is taught in short lessons, usually once a week. Children are then taught how to use this knowledge to make their meaning clear in their own writing. For further information about the grammar knowledge taught in each year, click here (Y3 Spelling Y4 Spelling Y5 Spelling Y6 Spelling)
To make their writing understandable, children need to spell accurately and also develop fluent and legible handwriting. Children have spelling lessons three times a week. They learn spelling rules and ways to remember the spellings that do not follow the rules. They are given spelling lists to learn and are expected to practise these at home. Their spelling knowledge is tested once a week. For details of the spellings taught in each year group, click here (Y3 Literacy Curriculum Map Y4 Literacy Curriculum Map Y5 Literacy Curriculum Map Y6 Literacy Curriculum Map).
If children’s writing cannot be read, the only audience for their writing with be themselves. It is therefore essential that children learn to write fluently and legibly. Handwriting is taught in each year group and some children will need more of this than others. Children need to form their letters and join them correctly. Click here (Handwriting model) to see the handwriting model that the school teaches.