Purpose of study
English teaches children to communicate their ideas and emotions. Children must be able to speak and write fluently for a range of purposes and audiences. They must also be inspired to communicate by real experiences, literature and the factual information they acquire about our world. Our English curriculum is centred around children experiencing and immersing themselves in high quality Literature. Reading fluently for knowledge and for pleasure is the highest prize for our children to achieve. Children are taught explicitly the skills of both decoding and comprehension with an expectation that this is applied every day in all that they learn and do.
The over arching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy be equipping children with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all children:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
Units of Study
Our English curriculum is driven by carefully chosen books or narratives that are mapped out in our long term overviews. High quality texts help to inspire and motivate our children to write for different purposes, in different styles and for different audiences. Writing lessons are organised in units that normally last between two to three weeks. Lessons are sequenced in phases following guidance from the Hampshire local authority English team. Children learn composition and effect, sentence structure, grammar and punctuation and vocabulary through a blend of lesson activities. Children conclude every unit of writing with an independent or published piece of writing.
Reading is taught daily. Lessons are focused on a class or group text each week. The children enjoy a rich and diverse range of narratives, poetry and non-fiction texts. Children are taught to develop their fluency and appreciation of narrative. In addition to this, they learn prompts and skills to help evaluate, analyse and articulate answers to comprehension questions. The skills they learn are linked to what we call VIPERS. These are the VIPERS skills:
Children who are not yet fluent at Reading are comprehensively assessed when they start in Year 3 to pinpoint any weak areas and gaps within their phonic understanding. Children are then targeted with daily phonics teaching at the relevant stage of their development.
We follow the Read, Write Inc programme. This is also used at Wootey Infant School so many of our children can seamlessly continue their phonics journey with familiar resources and teaching approaches. Children learning phonics all receive a Read, Write Inc book carefully matched to the sound they are learning. Parents are encouraged to support reading at home by reading the book four times with a different purpose for each session.
When children have a robust grasp of phonics they leave the Read, Write Inc scheme but may continue to be supported with their comprehension through the Rapid Read programme. This builds children's confidence to develop fluency and comprehension with books that are appropriately challenging and interesting for junior readers.
We encourage all our children to read every day and to record their reading in their reading journals. This is monitored by the teacher each week and celebrated in our Friday assembly when children achieve a significant milestone e.g. 25 days. Children who read over 300 days in a year are taken to Waterstones and are presented with a brand new book for their efforts.
Throughout the year we also encourage children to love books through our Love Library events, library competitions, visiting authors and World Book day celebrations.
In each year group we have also developed a Recommended Reading list for the children to challenge themselves to read by the end of the year. The children write book reviews and received a certificate when they have completed the list.
Reading Long Term Overviews
Reading for Pleasure
Reading Policy 2021
Spelling is taught and tested weekly based on the No-Nonsense Spelling programme of work.The focus of this programme is on the teaching of spelling - specifically the knowledge of spelling conventions, patterns and rules. However, integral to this teaching is the learning of spelling including statutory words, common exceptions and targeted word-banks.
Your child will receive their list of words on a Monday and these will also be available on the Class Pages of the website. Active participation in their home learning is strongly encouraged and there are links to a range of tips and activities, as well as the National Curriculum Statutory Spelling Lists, available below.
A weekly pass-rate of 8 out of 10 (or 80% depending on the number of spellings set) is expected and the children's achievements are regularly celebrated both in Class and during Assembly. Wootey Junior School also has a reputation as a recent winner of the local schools' Spelling Bee competition, of which we are justifiably proud!
At Wootey, we believe that the cursive handwriting technique is integral not only to the fluency and legibility of the children's written work, but also to the pride which they take in their output across the whole curriculum.
A video-link to explain the cursive script can be accessed below, along with a prompt-sheet and handwriting paper available to download. Your child's teacher will always be happy to supply additional support, guidance and practise materials.
As ever, we celebrate the children's success by awarding them a handwriting pen and Certificate once they have shown that they can achieve - and maintain - the required standard.