English at St. Paul’s develops our children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes, using language to learn and communicate their ideas, views and feelings.
It empowers children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively so that they can deepen and enrich their learning across the curriculum.
All of our children have access to a wide range of opportunities that are designed to maximise development and achieve the highest possible standards across the school. We have lots of exciting events each year such as World Book Day, Theatre Workshops, Creation Myth Puppet Shows and various reading awards, all of which are designed to promote the love of English.
English is a core subject in the National Curriculum. We use the National Curriculum 2014 English Programmes of Study as the basis for implementing the statutory requirements of the new curriculum, alongside our core policies on the Curriculum, Learning and Teaching and Assessment.
At St Paul’s we encourage our children to read a variety of books and genres. Underpinning all teaching of reading is an emphasis on reading for pleasure, with an aim to enthuse all children with a love of books. In the early stages of reading, the children focus on letters and sounds, developing reading strategies to help them decode words and sentences. As they move through the school, they pay close attention to punctuation and expression. Once in the upper end of the school, we encourage analytical readers who read between the lines and interpret the implied, focusing on the children’s comprehension.
Please see below a useful video to support you at home reading with your child, kindly given to us by Hampton School, Mauritius.
Guided Reading is taught in all year groups on a weekly basis. From the summer of Year 1, a whole-class approach is adopted focusing on a particular text. In EYFS and KS1, this can range from traditional tales, to picture books, before moving on to more challenging texts. Further up the school in KS2, children are exposed to a wide range of literary styles, genres and authors through deep exploration and immersion in challenging and exciting texts.
The 10-Minute Pledge
The 10-Minute Pledge is a strategy of developing reading for pleasure, whilst also exposing children to a great text, usually slightly above their reading comprehension level, that is shared with the whole class by a member of staff. This can range from a novel shared over a long period, such as the entire term, to a short poem enjoyed just for that day.
The theory behind introducing the 10-Minute Pledge is that over the course of a school year, it can expose children to over 700,000 words whilst sharing the joy of reading.
The Periodic Table of Must-Read Key Stage Two Books
Below you will find a suggested list of books suitable for older readers that may be of use to inspire your child to try something new! The table is broken down into genres, making finding something new to try easy to find.
In each year group, children are exposed to a range of poetry, fiction and non-fiction texts. Pupils first read and analyse a variety of texts within the text type, before developing their own ideas through drama and discussion, and finally drafting, editing and composing a piece of writing at the end of each unit. We write regularly, giving the children the opportunity to reach personal goals and individual targets, developing their creativity, accuracy and personal style. Throughout the school years, the children focus particularly on grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting, with an aim to develop a deeper understanding of the structures of the English language.
Wherever possible, we explore texts further with interactive video clips and software programmes, and we build writing opportunities through the use of ICT, especially using our iPads to locate e-books. Topics and text types are linked to a variety of wider subjects such as history and geography.
READING IN EARLY YEARS AND KS1
Children begin in EYFS by working through The Oxford Reading Tree schemes: Songbirds, Floppy Phonics and Snapdragons. The schemes progress in difficulty, in relation to the decoding and comprehension skills they require from the child. Children are assessed by the class teacher and moved up through the stages within the schemes when the teacher deems the child to be ready for their next reading challenge. Once the schemes have been completed, the children will become 'free readers' and are helped to choose their own books from our magnificent library.
At St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, we are following the Read Write Inc Phonics System, which teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step.
Starting from Reception, EYFS children are taught Phonics as individual, stand-alone lessons, where they are split into 3 different groups according to their individual levels and rhythms of learning and achievement. An initial assessment is carried out at the beginning of the year, for teachers to get a baseline assessment for each child. After that, we deliver lessons that are carefully planned to maximise children’s potential and extend their learning at the same time. We ensure that children have many opportunities to apply their phonics knowledge in other activities; we read with children daily and encourage them to develop the process of sounding out and blending each word.
Moving into Year 1, children are following the same system, using the same vocabulary and learning process. Continuity is the key, and the vocabulary consistency, together with the learning process, ensures children’s development in Phonics - and later on in reading. Parents are informed about the Y1 Phonics Screening Check and our methods for teaching Phonics in school. We send information booklets home at the beginning of each year, and, where needed, we will send home additional booklets to further support the children’s learning.
In the summer term, children in Year 1 have their Screening Test. Prior to this, we monitor progress and identify areas where more support is needed. Interventions are put in place for children who require extra help.
- learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
- learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
- read from a range of storybooks and non-fiction books matched to their phonic knowledge
- work well with partners
- develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions
- learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
- learn to write words by using Fred Talk
- learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write
The children work in pairs so that they:
- answer every question
- practise every activity with their partner
- take turns in talking and reading to each other
- develop ambitious vocabulary
Year One & Year Two
Children follow the same format as Reception, but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for one hour. Once children become fluent, speedy readers, they will move on to literacy in Year One and Active English in Year Two.
Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:
Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about
Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning
Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, notability
Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning
Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally.
We use pure sounds (‘m’ not ‘muh’; ‘s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.
At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! We call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.
The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEzfpod5w_Q
Other useful links: