English



 

 

 

 

Phonics

Phonics has a very prominent part in the school curriculum across all of the year groups.  Within Yr R Phonics teaching begins once all the children are in full time.  We use the Letters and Sounds program to teach each child a new phoneme daily.  The pure phonics sound is taught within a multi-sensory approach.  Each phonics session lasts approximately 20 minutes and follows the same pattern with the children listening to a story introducing the phoneme, learning the action that accompanies it and then practising writing that sound to make the link to the grapheme in a variety of fun ways.  A fun memorable activity ends each session which practises the daily sound.  Children are encouraged to use phonics to segment and blend letters into words for reading and writing.  All 44 initial phonemes are taught within the four classes.  At this point the children are sorted into ability groups to either reinforce and embed phonics learnt so far or to extend and develop phonics skills using the higher phases from Letters and Sounds.  Parents are invited to a Phonics and Writing meeting in Autumn Term 1 to learn how it is taught in school.

 
Within Year 1 and Year 2 Phonics is taught within ability groups, rather than by the class teacher.  This ensures that all children cover the required teaching at a pace which suits them, allowing time for reinforcement of some phonemes if required.  In Year 1 there are four dedicated sessions held weekly, with each session lasts for approximately 25 minutes and is taught as a separate lesson to English.  These sessions focus on extending phonics knowledge in line with all children being able to sit the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1.  We are proud of our successful pass rate.Within Year 2, phonics is taught within English sessions, lasting approximately 20 minutes.  These dedicated sessions also encompass the new curriculum guidance linked to Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPAG) for example, leaving spaces between words; using capital letters for sentences and names; using the correct grammatical terminology.  Any child failing to meet the required standard for the Phonics Screening is required to undertake the check again at the end of Year 2.

 

Reading

The school uses Oxford Reading Tree books as the Core Home Reading books.  At each reading stage, children will initially take home a wide range of ORT stories to practise their skills.  This scheme is used due to the repetitive language, use of familiar and key words and characters.  A wider breath of books is also available in each reading stage, including a range of non-fiction texts, which allow children to broaden their reading and comprehension skills.  
 
In Year R, a lot of emphasis is placed on understanding the conventions of how to read a book, for example, reading left to right and top to bottom of a page.   Books containing no words are used to encourage and promote speaking as well as story telling language.  When ready, all children are given books to take home and read or share with their parents.  Year 1 continue to embed phonic skills whilst a wider range of reading strategies are taught using a range of different books.  By Year 2 comprehension skills are the key focus, along with improving expression, fluency and pace within reading.  
 

Handwriting

Handwriting is a key element of writing and as such communication.  From YR we teach handwriting using a cursive script.  This has been chosen to allow children to naturally develop joined-up handwriting when they are ready.  In order to write neatly and accurately, all children need to be holding a pencil or pen with the correct grip.  Within school, we use Hand-gym activities to strengthen pencil grip.This is the first important step on the way to forming letters and writing words.
 
Children are taught how to form each letter using the correct entry and exit stroke, for example, each entry stroke begins in the same place on a line.  This ensures that when a child is ready, joined-up handwriting is easily achievable.  The joining of letters is explored within Y1 or Y2 with continued focus on the need for clear entry and exit strokes.  As children develop their confidence and skills, emphasis is placed upon the importance of handwriting being legible.  Indeed, the purpose of writing is to be read!