English in Dragons is taught by the class teacher with assistance from Mrs Degnan. Eagles are taught by Mrs Stanley (English Leader) and Mr Hodgson with the assistance of Mrs McKnight.
SPELLING AND PHONICS: Children in Dragons take part in daily phonics sessions using Letters and Sounds, as well as adopting the high quality principles from 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. Our aim is that children will have learnt all their sounds by Easter of Y1.
For children who have completed the phonics programme, they are encouraged to continue the apply their phonic skills across the curriculum when reading and spelling. These children also spend time being introduced to the spelling strategies that they will meet in Y2 when they start to follow the No Nonsense Spelling scheme in order to successfully spell the common exception words for Y1/2. For children who have not achieved the expected standard in phonics by the end of Y1, they will continue to have daily phonic lessons in Y2.
From Y2 – Y6, No Nonsense Spelling scheme of work is followed. This scheme builds on the principles learnt through Letters and Sounds in EYFS and Y1. This is usually taught three times per week.
Children from Y1 upwards are given spellings to learn on a weekly basis which reflect the week’s spelling focus. EYFS are given a mixture of sound cards/words to learn to read.
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, Songbirds, 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 in Dragons are expected to read at least 5 times per week at home because we recognise in the early stages of learning to read, little and often works best! In Dragons, we expect that parents sign and comment in books. For children in Eagles, we expect them to read 4 times per week. We encourage them to write in their own reading diaries, although we do ask that a parent signs to confirm the reading has taken place. Children on book bands are heard to read regularly by an adult in EYFS and KS1.
Specific reading skills are taught to children from Y1 – Y6 using Prim-Ed Comprehension Strategies. Children are taught these skills for half an hour, four times per week. In addition to teaching these specific skills, all children, from EYFS – Y6 are encouraged to develop a range of comprehension skills through the reading of our high quality texts in our daily literacy lesson.
HANDWRITING: We regularly practise handwriting. The handwriting scheme we have adopted is Penpals. The letter formation used in this scheme, matches the preferred letter formation found in Letters and Sounds/Read, Write, Inc. To encourage this skills, we award 2 handwriting certificates each week in our celebration assembly. In addition to this, we award a special certificate for ‘beautiful work’ when children have clearly given great thought to their standard of presentation. In EYFS, we understand the value of improving our gross and fine motor skills before we can effectively learn to write. In order to do this, we use ‘Dough Disco’ and ‘Squiggle whilst you Wiggle’. Children are encouraged to mark make in many areas both in the classroom and in our extensive outdoor area We use the Penpals Handwriting scheme which has clear progression throughout the year groups. Our expectation is that by Y2, children are joining their letters however some children may do this earlier. 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. Children in KS2 have regular handwriting sessions.
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 ensure children are clear about the audience and purpose of the writing and that children are encouraged to write in all curriculum areas across the whole school. We choose texts recommended by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). The teaching of writing uses a range of techniques, including Talk for Writing in order to engage children with the texts. Children are also exposed to a wide range of writing styles and genres. Through the teaching of writing, we interweave the teaching of grammar and punctuation.
Throughout the school, all children are expected to edit and self-assess and peer assess their writing using steps to success, in line with our marking and feedback policy. We also expect children to use dictionaries, personal word books/word mats and thesauruses to support their writing and spelling. For children who struggle with the physical skill of capturing their ideas in the written form, we use a range of assistive technology to offer support and to encourage children’s independence.