Since September 2015, English in Dragons has been taught by the class teacher and HLTA. Bears and Eagles are taught by Mrs Morgans, who specialises in English.
Spelling and phonics: Children in Dragons take part in daily phonics sessions using the Read, Write, Inc. programme. This introduces them to simple phonic sounds and builds up to word recognition. A firm grounding of phonics understanding enables children to go on to become confident readers.
Children in Bears and Eagles take part in weekly spelling sessions following The North Yorkshire Spelling Programme. This builds on children’s earlier phonics work before moving on to studying common letter strings and patterns which can be applied to a range of words.
Spelling and phonics is taught in an active and practical way with lots of opportunities for children to talk, share and take part in independent activities. We expect that, through this, children will be able to apply their spelling knowledge to their independent written work.
Reading: Children are introduced to reading books early in school. Often, first books will only contain pictures and are for discussion so that children can demonstrate their comprehension. As children move through EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 they work their way through a coded book band system from pink to lime. Once they have completed lime book band, they become ‘free readers’. It is up to the professional judgement of staff to decide when a child is ready to move on to the next book band – we do not expect every child to read every book in each band. We recognise that not all children like to read the same types of books, so we use a range of different series in our bands, e.g. Floppy’s Phonics, ORT, Book Bug, Tree Tops, Big Cat and Project X.
Once children become free readers, they are guided towards books which are suitable for them and we have, in classrooms and the library, a range of different levels of books for children to access.
Children are expected to read at least 3 times per week at home. In Dragons, we expect that parents sign and comment in books. As children move through Bears and into Eagles, we encourage them to write in their own reading diaries, although parents are still welcome to. Children on book bands are heard to read regularly by a teacher or TA in EYFS and KS1. Children on intervention programmes in KS2 are heard to read regularly as well as developing their independent reading skills.
The school runs daily guided reading sessions for all children. During these sessions, children either work with a teacher or TA to discuss their reading and work on their comprehension, or they complete independent tasks related to the book the group is reading. We use a range of different strategies for teaching guided reading in order to allow children to learn in lots of different ways.
Handwriting: We have a clear handwriting policy which sets out the stages children go through from early letter formation to fluent, joined handwriting. Staff in Dragons ensure they lead regular sessions to demonstrate how to form letters accurately – children are then given time to practise using a range of different media and mark making materials. As children move towards the end of KS1 they begin to learn how to join. It is expected that, by the end of Year 2 most children will join their handwriting. Bears and Eagles take part in weekly handwriting sessions. It is expected that they will apply and practise the skills learned in all writing that they produce. The new National Curriculum clearly states expectations in handwriting and we expect all children to join their handwriting and develop fluency throughout their time in Key Stage 2. We use the New Nelson Handwriting style.
Writing: We want all children to be proficient, confident writers by the time they leave our school. It is important that children understand that writing has a purpose. To this end, we link all writing tasks to themes and curriculum areas across the whole school.
Children in Dragons regularly use Storytelling into Writing to help them build their writing repertoire and understanding of basic grammar and punctuation. They also use their theme to study and create writing in the non-fiction genre and poetry.
In Bears and Eagles children are exposed to a range of writing styles and genres, which they then apply to their independent writing. Grammar and punctuation are interwoven into the teaching of writing as we firmly believe the two areas should not be separate if children are to become articulate and confident writers. Therefore, there are two key areas of writing that children work on: transcription and composition.
Throughout the school, all children are expected to edit and self-assess their writing using the systems set in place in our marking and feedback policy.