ENGLISH

In studying English pupils develop skills in spoken language, reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. Literacy skills are applied across the curriculum and wherever possible, strong links are made between subjects.

Aims

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

We aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • 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.

READING

At Barrowford St Thomas', pupils read widely (across the curriculum). We have a well-stocked school library. and we currently have plans in place to improve and revamp this space. We wish to create a more engaging and inspiring library to provide even more opportunities for our children to read for pleasure. Plans are in place for a fantastic new library which should be in place during the autumn term 2019. Annual Reading Events and visits to our local library in Barrowford inspire a love of reading and literature in our children. We love to take part in events such as World Book Day. Children in Years 5 and 6 take part in Lancashire Library's 'Fantastic Book Awards' and can become members of a lunchtime FBA club. Many of our children also take part in Lancashire Library's 'Reading Trail'. We invite the Library service into school to encourage the children to take part in the 'Summer Reading Challenge.' We also borrow many books for the children to read, from the Library service, including fiction and non-fiction. We ensure that we borrow 'Topic Boxes' for our class topics, whenever possible which provide our children with a wide range of up-to-date non-fiction books for research. 

The school has a rigorous approach to the teaching of literacy with all children in Years 1 to 6 having a daily reading lesson in addition to their literacy lesson. All children from Reception to Year 6 currently receive a weekly guided reading session with the teacher. 

EYFS and Key Stage 1

During the EYFS and KS1, pupils will increase their fluency by learning to read words easily and automatically; this includes words which use common graphemes in addition to exception words. They will learn to retell familiar stories in addition to listening to and discussing a wide range of stories, poems, plays and information books.

Reading Scheme: In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, the children learn to read using our main scheme, 'Phonics Bug', which links the text to the Phonics phases. 

At Barrowford St Thomas, we aim to make the teaching of synthetic phonics a lot of fun. We have decided to use the Phonics Bug scheme as we believe it has everything we need to set all of our pupils on the path to a lifelong love of reading.

Phonics Bug scheme (click here to see some of the books)

They also read from a variety of texts which are book banded according to National Curriculum levels. These books may come from a scheme such as 'Oxford Reading Tree', 'Literacy Links' or may be an non-scheme picture book, short novel or non-fiction text. Children in all classes take home a reading book each day in addition to a book from our school library which is changed weekly. They also have at least one guided reading session per week. Guided reading books are occasionally sent home to complement the reading lessons in school.  

Phonics: In Reception and Key Stage 1 each child takes part in a daily phonics lesson of at least 15 minutes. The children are grouped into phases. By the end of Reception each child is expected to have achieved Phase 3; by the end of Year 1 each child is expected to have achieved Phase 5; by the end of Year 2 each child is expected to have achieved Phase 6. Phonics sessions are interactive and fun! The children read books from our newly purchased phonics scheme: 'Phonics Bug'. These books are used in guided reading and are home readers. Further information regarding phonics can be located by clicking on the link below. 

Phonics information for parents

Useful websites to support your child’s learning:

http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/

http://www.ictgames.com/resources.html

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school

At St Thomas' we follow the letters and sounds programme supported by Jolly Phonics actions. We hold an annual Phonics evening where we outline our teaching strategies to parents to help them support their child in learning to read. For more information, please see booklet below.

 

Key Stage 2

In KS2, we will continue to emphasise pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary, to support their reading. Pupils’ knowledge of language, gained from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction and textbooks, will support their increasing fluency as readers

In each KS2 classroom at Barrowford St Thomas, there are a wide range of guided reading books and class sets of novels. We continually buy new texts. Most recent additions are 'Wonder' by RJ Palacio and 'The Nowhere Emporium' by Ross McKenzie. We believe it is very important for the children to enjoy reading and studying a class novel. We select age-appropriate quality texts, full of rich language which challenge the children. At times, the class novel links to the over-arching topic although this is not the key reason for selecting a novel. For example, as part of the Year 5 and 6 topic, 'Survival' the children read and study 'Running Wild' by Michael Morpurgo; 'Street Child' by Berlie Doherty, links with Year 5 and 6's local Victorian topic; in Year 3 and 4 the pupils read and study Michael Morpurgo's 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin' as part of their topic 'The Great Plague'.

In KS2, we strongly believe in the power of reading journals to extend a child's understanding of a text. Reading journals are used in school as an important part of the children's response to their reading; they are also used as homework activities. However, as part of our 2019 - 20 school improvement plan, we will be introducing daily whole class guided reading sessions in KS2 in addition to their daily literacy lesson from September 2019. 

To further improve standards, reading will become a key priority of our School Improvement Plan for 2019 - 20.

 

WRITING

During Key Stage 1, pupils encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing. They will be encouraged to develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing. During Key Stage 2, pupils develop the understanding that writing is both essential to thinking and learning, and enjoyable in its own right. They start to explore how the English language can be used to express meaning in different ways. They use the planning, drafting and editing process to improve their work and to sustain their fiction and non-fiction writing.  The children will also learn to write consistently with neat, legible and joined handwriting. 

Pupils are shown how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They are shown how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning.

Pupils are taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They are taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed in the National Curriculum 2014. Pupils are taught the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. They will learn the correct grammatical terms in English.

Teaching of writing at Barrowford St Thomas focuses on developing pupils’ competence in the two dimensions of transcription and composition. Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words.

Writing composition is taught through teaching 'The sequence for writing' which moves the children from Reading (comprehension/analysis), through to Gathering Content (for planning) and then Writing. Teachers will also use the strategy of shared writing to support the children: teacher modelling, scribing the children's ideas and supported composition. Guided Writing sessions are used to provide group support at all stages of the writing process. 

    

SPELLING, GRAMMAR AND VOCABULARY

Pupils are shown how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They are shown how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning.

Pupils are taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They are taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed in the National Curriculum 2014. Pupils are taught the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. They will learn the correct grammatical terms in English. 

At Barrowford St Thomas we use the 'No Nonsense Spelling' scheme when teaching spelling to pupils in Years 2 to 6. Spelling is taught in discrete 15 minute sessions (three per week in KS2) outside of the daily literacy lesson

USEFUL SPELLING WEBSITES

 BBC Bitesize (spelling): http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/english/spelling_grammar/spelling/play/

7 – 11 year olds. KS2 spelling activities

Doorway speller: http://www.doorwayonline.org.uk/literacy/speller/

5 – 11 year olds: Practise spelling using the ‘Looks, Say, Cover, Write and Check’ method. Enter text using their keyboard or the on-screen keyboard. A great selection of word families including high frequency words (Flash required)

Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check: http://www.amblesideprimary.com/ambleweb/lookcover/lookcover.html

5 – 11 year olds: A good spelling site for primary aged children to use either in school or at home. The word bank includes phonic and topic words. You can enter your own words if you have a spelling list to learn.

Prefixes and Suffixes: http://www.topmarks.co.uk/Flash.aspx?b=english/spelling

7 – 11 year olds: A game where you need to choose prefixes and suffixes to make a new word.

Spelling bee: http://www.learner.org/interactives/spelling/index.html

5 – 18 year olds: The spelling activities on this US site are for children aged 5 in September (Grade 1) up to age 17 in September (Grade 10). The primary age activities are good exercises for KS1 and KS2 spelling SATs in England as they follow a similar format. The more advanced spellings for older children would also be a challenge for some of our more able spellers.

Spelling Practice sheets: http://rossa.blogs.com/weblog/files/sats_spelling_practise.pdf

10 – 11 year olds: Eighteen spelling practice sheets to help with revision for the Key Stage 2 SATs spelling test. The words are usefully arranged in sets with similar spelling patterns. This is a PDF document so you need Acrobat Reader.

Spellbound: https://gridclub.com/activities/spellbound

5 – 12 year olds: A spelling game where you can improve spelling with three different methods: listening and responding; recognising visual patterns; researching with dictionary. Useful for high frequency words.

Fish ‘em up: http://www.missmaggie.org/scholastic/fishemup2_eng_launcher.html

7 – 11 year olds. Drop the fishing line to catch the right ending to words in this spelling game.

Look, say, cover, write, check: http://www.ictgames.com/lcwc.html

5 – 7 year olds: A brilliant version of the spelling site where you can test yourself on high frequency words or enter your own words easily to test your knowledge.

 

All these and other sites can be accessed through the Topmarks site http://www.topmarks.co.uk/Search.aspx?q=spelling&p=1

 The English subject leader is Mrs J Duckworth (headteacher)

Lancashire's 'We are Reading' Pledge

During the year of reading, we are committed to:

  • Becoming a reading school.
  • Seeking out every opportunity to improve standards in reading within our school.
  • Encouraging reading for pleasure.
  • Enabling children to read in depth in a wide range of subjects, deepening their knowledge and understanding across the curriculum. 
  • Working with other schools, our local library and other partners to promote reading as a life-long skill.