ENGLISH CURRICULUM STATEMENT
At Clare Community Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading and writing. We have an ambitious, fulfilling and rewarding English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading and writing. Our English curriculum is taught using the Rising Stars scheme ‘Read in to Writing’. ‘Read in to Writing’ delivers the entire National Curriculum for English in spoken language, reading, grammar and writing, providing challenge and progression within each year group. Further information about ‘Read in to Writing’ curriculum can be accessed here. All of our pupils are encouraged to read widely, for a variety of purposes and across different subjects. There is a strong emphasis on comprehension skills, developed through high quality discussions with staff and peers in English lessons, guided reading sessions and when reading 1:1 with an adult. High quality texts in lessons, class libraries and the school library expose pupils to ambitious words, phrases and ideas. Our aim is to help pupils develop the key skills in mastering reading and writing, to develop confidence and independence.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and is fundamental to children’s learning in all subjects. Our aim is to encourage a love of reading, from the very start of children’s education in Literacy lessons through our approach to learning, in addition to our ‘Home Reading Scheme’ and our class stories we share at the end the end of the school day. Each ‘Read in to Writing’ unit teaches reading in depth, through a rounded study of the whole text. The books studied within our reading curriculum have been carefully selected to give children a breadth of reading experience. Teaching staff pose carefully thought out questioning that encourages children to engage with the text and, reinforced by recent research, ‘Read in to Writing’ promotes that adults read aloud regularly to the class and give children time to practice their reading skills of making meaning clear through pronunciation, expression, stress and pace. We aim to expose children to a range of books that not only develop a love of reading, but have been specifically chosen to develop their oracy, vocabulary and comprehension. Books are available to children through the teaching of literacy, guided reading, daily story sessions and are available for children to access independently.
Phonics is an integral part of the initial reading journey. In Reception and Year 1 pupils have explicit daily phonics sessions. In Year 2 there is a daily lesson for those pupils still needing to phonic input. This is in addition to English lessons and spelling lessons. We use the phonics scheme Essential letters and sounds. The scheme provides robust staff training and formative and summative assessment resources. Within phonic lessons there is an opportunity for whole class reading of a book matched to the phonic level covered in the lesson. We use the Oxford Owl eBook library to access this online reading resource.
At Clare Community Primary School, children use an online programme called 'Accelerated Reader' to support their reading. We have used the programme for a number of years, and it has been successful in motivating many children to read more, developing reading skills and raising standards in literacy. Accelerated Reader also enables teachers to monitor what children are reading more easily. Accelerated Reader books are just ‘normal’ books, but an online quiz has been devised to assess understanding when children have finished reading their books. Children start reading books on the Accelerated Reader programme once they have sufficiently mastered early reading skills and phonics. Some pupils will start on Accelerated reader in year 2, with the aim being that all pupils in Key Stage 2 are on the scheme from Year 3. Those pupils in Key Stage 2 who are finding it difficult to master reading skills will be supported to access both books at their phonic ability as well as books within the Accelerated Reading scheme.
Guided Reading is the method used to teach groups of children to become fluent in reading, decoding and comprehension skills, including inference and deduction. Guided Reading takes place as an adult-led activity throughout the week. A trained TA or the class teacher will lead a guided group whilst other children are engaged in continuous provision activities such as independent reading, handwriting and spelling activities, etc… As a school, we use Oxford Reading Tree inFact books to support our teaching in Key stage 2. In Key Stage 1 pupils are taught using books matched to their phonic ability.
At Clare Community Primary School, we use the Bedrock Vocabulary App. KS2 pupils use Bedrock Vocabulary to increase their cultural capital through reading a wide range of texts, and learning Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary and morphology. Learners need to be able to communicate their ideas across all subjects and Bebdrock Vocabulary supports this by enabling learners to become effective and clear communicators. Additionally, pupils are expected to complete online learning sessions at home and receive certificates in celebration assemblies for attainment and time spent. Further information about Bedbrock Vocabulary App can be accessed here.
Writing tasks are embedded within their reading of the whole text, as children’s deep reading knowledge and understanding of the text are crucial to their success as writers.
Within the ‘Read in to Writing’ scheme, punctuation and grammar is taught both directly and discreetly through quality first teaching ensuring that pupils build on prior learning and maximise purposeful curriculum connections, to enable children to be confident and secure in all areas.
Explicit vocabulary teaching is taught within the ‘Read in to Writing’ scheme with direct and clear teaching of Tier 2 and Tier 3 level vocabulary. Children are taught the morphology of words and the nuances of their meaning.
Pupils complete a ‘Big write’ every two weeks where pupils demonstrate what they have learnt in an independent piece of writing. These consist of a range of genres across the year.
Spelling is taught through ‘Rising Stars Spelling’ scheme in which teachers deliver explicit spelling lessons that support children as they progress from phonics to spelling rules. It builds on the children’s knowledge and revisits learning year on year. Children in Year 2 and Year 6 may use some spelling sessions to revise and practice for SATs. Specific class spelling lists can be found on class pages on our school website.
Handwriting is taught using the programme, Letter-Join. Pupils learn pre-cursive handwriting in Year 1 moving to cursive handwriting in Year 2. In Key Stage 2, pupils continue to develop their speed, fluency and presentation of handwriting. Further information, as well as further resources to help your child, can be found here.
For children who are not working at the age related expectation in literacy, we use intervention programmes and activities. Children undertake the short intervention regularly to accelerate their progress in reading and writing. This is outside of the normal English curriculum. We focus on teaching children to read accurately and fluently, developing good comprehension, spelling and punctuation skills through targeted activities. We also focus on the physical skills of handwriting, as well as phonic catch up sessions. For pupils with specific literacy difficulties we follow the Dyslexia Gold programme.
Pupils read regularly with staff and within these sessions, careful questioning is used to assess a pupil’s comprehension of the text. Pupils in Reception, Years 1, 3 and 5 complete termly Progress in Reading tests (PIRA) to assess their reading level and to identify pupils who may require further interventions. Pupils in Years 2 and 6 complete termly assessments aimed at supporting them in sitting the SATs in May.
Pupils In Key stage 1 (and those in Year 2 who have moved on to Accelerated reader) take an online reading assessment each six weeks called Star reader. This produces a standardized score and reading age as well as assigning pupils with a ZPD range for books to choose from. Staff use this data to carefully monitor progress and intervene when necessary. Staff also monitor how often pupils read at home from reception age and promote daily reading. Staff intervene when pupils are not reading regularly at home and when needed will add in extra opportunities to read in class. Pupils on Accelerated reading books quiz each time they complete a book. Staff monitor this data and track the amount of books each child reads, as well as the quiz results. Staff then use this to intervene when necessary.
Staff in Reception and Key Stage 1 monitor pupils’ ability to read common exception words.
Pupils have a phonic baseline taken in Reception in September and then GPC (Grapheme/phoneme correspondence) is checked each half term at least. Phonics is assessed throughout reception and Year 1. In Year 1 pupils undertake the phonic screening in June. Any pupils not achieving the pass mark will re-sit this in Year 2 in June. Pupils in Year 2 still working to achieve the phonic screening will also be assessed each half term.
Every two weeks pupils complete an independent ‘Big Write’ and teachers use this to assess progress and to identify next steps. Teachers also check spellings and link these in either with common exception and keywords or with those spelling patterns covered in the spelling scheme. Our English scheme ‘Read in to Writing’ encourages regular free writes, where pupils are encouraged to write independently in short bursts of time. Our aim is to develop children’s confidence to write independently as well as having the key skills to do so accurately.