Through our English Curriculum we aim to promote high standards of communication and literacy, developing the essential and life-long skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Through providing a secure knowledge base in literacy which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum, we aim to equip our children with the tools they need to participate not only in the wider curriculum but also as members of society. We aim to make the learning journey an exciting, enriching and holistic one whereby we weave our English learning with our wider learning journey; discussing, reading and writing about topics that are relevant, challenging and engaging.
We believe that the skills of speaking and listening are essential in developing effective, curious and resilient learners. Therefore, speaking and listening are core to our curriculum and underpin not only the development of reading and writing but also the wider learning journey for all learners.
In line with the English National Curriculum (2014), we teach the Statutory requirements set out in the English Programme of Study which underpin all aspects of spoken language. These are reflected and contextualised within the reading and writing domains. We seek to create opportunities where new vocabulary can be acquired and rehearsed orally in relevant contexts. Further, we create opportunities where we model and encourage all learners to engage in discussion and debate in a meaningful and respectful way, thus developing life-long skills. Through promoting the use of drama in our classrooms, we give children the opportunities to take on and adapt to a variety of roles, thus developing new vocabulary as well as deepening understanding of a character or a situation.
Pupils should be taught to:
At Selling School we place a priority on reading not just because it is an essential, life-long skill but because it is the gateway to wider learning. In our aim to foster a life-long love of books and reading for our learners, we immerse our pupils in high quality texts that we hope will excite them, challenge them, develop their imagination and open them up to worlds of possibilities.
Phonics - Little Wandle:
We start at the very beginning of learning to read by using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics in Reception. Children will continue having daily phonics lessons until they have mastered phase 5 sounds. Reading Practice sessions are also part of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. These are taught three times a week and allow the children to embed their phonics knowledge in decodable reading books. Please see our "Phonics" page for further information on how we teach phonics.
Whole-Class reading lessons - VIPERS:
Once reading fluency is established, children participate in whole-class reading lessons. We follow a whole-school, quality text based approach to English lessons which also feed into our reading lessons. We have planned a progressive and engaging English curriculum based around high-quality, challenging texts for each year group. The children are immersed into the same text via English lessons and the daily reading lesson. These sessions are led by the class teacher and allow the children to develop their comprehension skills through following a clear progression from year to year. We use reading VIPERS as our way of supporting children with their reading comprehension skills. All children work on VIPERS during class reading, whether it is reading as a class, in a small group, or one-to-one with an adult. Class teachers plan reading lessons that explicitly teach, model and then practice each of the VIPERS skills. Please see below for tips on how to support your child using VIPERS at home.
Once children have mastered Phase 5 phonics and have developed secure fluency with their reading, they move on to Accelerated Reader. The AR program enables the children to choose a book of their choice from a range of suitable texts that are accessible but still extending their reading skills. To ensure children are reading books that are the right level of challenge for them, they are individually levelled and given a ZPD range through completing a Star Test. The ZPD range means that children can choose any book that has a level within their range. After reading each book, a short quiz assesses their comprehension and grasp of vocabulary. The AR program gives both the children and teachers valuable information about reading progress as well as helping to identify any potential problems. Parents and Carers can also be informed of their child’s success in the quizzes by signing up to the Home Connect facility on the AR program. For more information about AR, click here:
In addition to the daily reading lesson, children are given opportunities throughout the week to read their (Accelerated Reader) reading book. All children in KS2 will read independently for at least 15 minutes every day. In EYFS and KS1, children will read 3x per week in their reading practice sessions. In addition, any children who we identify as needing additional support with comprehension or fluency will join in with small group or 1:1 reading sessions with a trained adult.
At Selling, writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. For example, these opportunities may arise from the focus text of the term, from the topic that they are studying or from an experience that they children have encountered.
Our aim is for pupils to be able to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. To be able to do this effectively, pupils will focus on developing effective transcription and effective composition. They will also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Further, we want children to make well-informed and considered word choices to produce confident creative writers, who can compose, edit and improve their writing.
We also intend for pupils to leave school being able to use fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.
We teach English lessons every day for all pupils. The curriculum is designed to ensure coverage and develop skills progressively. Writing is evident in every aspect of our curriculum and varying text types are taught throughout the school for a variety of audiences. The objectives of The National Curriculum are followed to ensure that the skills learnt in spelling, punctuation and grammar are embedded and transferred into writing. Lessons are planned so that skills are taught, developed and revisited in a sequential way which promotes learning and retention of knowledge and skills.
Strategies are used throughout the school which encourage oral composition and rehearsal as part of the writing process. Pupils are given a language rich curriculum and environment and are shown how to effectively select and use well chosen, interesting and adventurous language in their writing.
In addition to the daily English lesson, pupils also have a spelling lesson at least 3 times per week from year 3 and daily in year 2. Following a well-structured and sequenced programme, pupils are taught: spelling rules and patterns, how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. We also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Furthermore, children are taught strategies for how to practice and learn spellings.
In line with the Primary Curriculum statutory expectations, children must be taught to write with ease, speed and legibility. It is important that the child’s handwriting becomes a skill that ultimately requires little effort and thought so that creative and physical energy can be focused on the content of writing rather than upon the act. At Selling, all children take part in handwriting lessons. In EYFS, KS1 and lower KS2 when children are learning letter formation and then letter joins, they will practice their handwriting daily. In upper KS2 teachers will meet the needs of their class and practice handwriting as much as is required.
In EYFS, children begin their handwriting journey by practising handwriting patterns. We use a sensory approach with children making set patterns in sand, flour or using chalk for example. We begin using gross-motor skills, gradually moving to smaller movements as the children are ready. Following on from this, the children are taught to form the print version of all letters. We teach groups of letters in “handwriting families” which is when letters are grouped together according to the natural flow that is needed to form the letter. In Year 1, children will continue to practice the correct letter formation in print style ensuring that they start and finish letters in the right place. They will also practice forming capital letters. In year 2 (or earlier if necessary), when the children are ready, they can begin to move to the un-joined cursive version of all letters which is using some diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters. As soon as the children can form letters correctly with appropriate diagonal and horizontal strokes, they are taught to write with a joined cursive style which is then practiced and refined throughout KS2. Through regular practice, we aim for legibility, consistency and quality in the handwriting of all children. Children will receive a special ‘pen licence’ at the point at which they are successfully, accurately and consistently joining all letters. This can be revoked at any point if the standard of handwriting deteriorates.