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.

English Policy

READING

At Barrowford St Thomas', pupils read widely (across the curriculum). We have a well-stocked school library which has recently been rejuvenated with new furniture and an audit of books. We now have an engaging and inspiring library which provides even more opportunities for our children to read for pleasure.

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 take part in Lancashire Library's 'Fantastic Book Awards' and can become members of our 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.' 

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. 

Range of texts read at Barrowford St Thomas

This is subject to change as new novels are written and recommended.

 

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 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)

Home Reading: Children in the EYFS and KS1 take home a reading book each day (Phonics Bug). The home reading book closely links to the books read in school during guided reading. 

Guided Reading: The children have at least one group guided reading session (using Phonics Bug) per week in a small group. Occasionally, dependant on the objective, other texts will be used, i.e. Big Cat books, non-fiction texts. The guided session is led by the teacher and follows the following structure:

  • Book introduction, recap or overview of text;
  • Strategy check/phonics warm-up/vocabulary warm-up
  • Independent reading with a focus;
  • Returning to the text as a group for further exploration;
  • Response e.g. giving personal opinions,  drama to explore, link to follow up task 

Reading for pleasure: In KS1, we aim to read to the children every day. This may be a short story in a picture book that can be completed in one session or the children enjoy a longer novel over a number of days or weeks, such as 'Paddington' or 'The Owl who was afraid of the dark'. 

Phonics: In Reception and Key Stage 1 each child takes part in a daily phonics lesson of at least 15 minutes. 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! We utilise Bug Club Phonics as our key scheme in EYFS and KS1 which links with our Phonics Bug reading scheme. Bug Club Phonics was introduced in September 2021, replacing 'Letters and Sounds'. Further information regarding phonics can be located by clicking on the link below. 

We utilise intervention programmes such as Fast Track Phonics to provide intervention for pupils who are not working at the expected standard.

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

We hold an annual Phonics evening in the autumn term, where we outline our teaching strategies to parents to help them support their child in learning to read. 

 

Key Stage 2

In KS2, we 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, we have a wide range of class sets of novels. The class novel is at the heart of the fiction literacy unit each half term and also the basis of our daily whole class guided reading sessions. We believe it is very important for the children to enjoy reading and study 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'. We have classic novels/stories (for example, 'Alice in Wonderland' or 'The Iron Man') and new novels (for example, 'The boy at the back of the class') and books from a range of cultures (for example, ‘Kick’ by Mitch Johnson). All our texts have been carefully chosen because they are engaging and fit for purpose. We also strongly believe in finding time each day to read the class novel to the children so that all our pupils leave our school with a love for books and reading.   

Whole class guided reading: In KS2, each class is taught reading in a daily half hour whole class guided reading session. Children utilise the same text, which is usually the class novel (see range of text document) but there is also a focus on non-fiction texts and poetry.   We utilise the Lancashire Key Learning documents for reading (see below) for planning. Highlighted objectives are the focus for guided reading. On Monday there is usually a focus on vocabulary; on Tuesday the focus is on retrieval; on Wednesday to Thursday there will be a focus on another key objective dependant on the needs/understanding of the children

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. 

Home Reading: Children take home texts which are matched to their reading age and ability. We have a range of home reading texts available ranging from the recently purchased 'Phonics Bug' reading books for Years 3 to 6 in addition to actual novels. Children can also access the online resource 'Read Theory' which focuses on comprehension of the text.   

 

Planning Reading

To ensure that there is clear progression when teaching reading, we utilise Lancashire's LAPS (Learning and Progression Steps). The Learning and Progression Steps are designed to scaffold the learning required in order to meet the expectations of the National Curriculum.
Statements in the Lancashire Key Learning for Reading document have been broken down into smaller steps to support teachers in planning appropriate learning opportunities. These key pieces of learning will support pupils in becoming effective and reflective independent readers. The Learning and Progression Steps have been derived from the Lancashire Key Learning in Reading statements, identified primarily from the National Curriculum 2014 programmes of study.

Reading within the sequence for writing (Literacy lessons)

In addition to their daily guided reading lessons, children in KS1 and KS2 have a daily literacy lesson which is usually an hour in length. All our literacy lessons follow the teaching sequence:

Creating Interest

PHASE 1 Reading:

  • Reading and responding
  • Reading and analysing

PHASE 2: Gathering content

PHASE 3: Writing

PHASE 4: Presentation

Phase 1 is reading which includes 'Response to reading' and 'Reading analysis'. During Phase 1 (which may be taught over a week or more), the children develop their reading skills and build on previous knowledge. For example the children will increase their vocabulary knowledge, make connections, retrieve information from the texts, summarise, sequence and retell stories/information, develop an understanding of character, evaluate and visualise. A quality story or novel is the basis of every fiction literacy unit  (see 'Range of Texts' document). Literacy units will also focus on a range of non-fiction texts, such as non-chronological reports or biographies and a range of poetry.

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 within the sequence for writing (Literacy lessons)

Children in KS1 and KS2 have a daily literacy lesson which is usually an hour in length. All our literacy lessons follow the teaching sequence:

Creating Interest

PHASE 1 Reading:

  • Reading and responding
  • Reading and analysing

PHASE 2: Gathering content

PHASE 3: Writing

PHASE 4: Presentation

There are planned opportunities for writing throughout all the phases. In Phase 1 there are planned short writing opportunities, for example the children may write a short diary entry which demonstrates their understanding of a character.

During the gathering content phase (Phase 2), the teacher will provide a stimulus for gathering ideas e.g. visual literacy, integrated technologies or drama activities. Our pupils will talk about ideas and begin to map them out on a plan e.g. a writing skeleton or story map. They are preparing themselves for the writing phase.

Shared Writing: In the writing phase (Phase 3) our teachers use shared writing techniques to teach writing. Shared writing lies at the heart of teaching writing at Barrowford St Thomas. The teachers write with and in front of the children as a precursor to the class writing more independently. It is the key moment at which writing is taught. First, our teachers will model (demonstration). This is where our teachers shows the children how to do something in writing that is new, or difficult, and will help the children make progress. The teacher writes in front of the children on a flip chart or SMART board, giving a running commentary, revealing the decisions that are being made. The children are witnessing a writer at work! Following this, is supported composition. This is similar, except the children begin to take control, with the teacher scribing their ideas. There is a shift from the teacher as model towards the children doing more of the thinking, composing, explaining and working as writers. Gradually the teacher will step back so that the children take on more and more responsibility, moving from dependence to independence.

Writing Outcomes: Each unit of work should result in at least two (and possibly three) extended, written outcomes. This allows our children several opportunities to practise and apply newly acquired skills in context. Outcomes at Barrowford St Thomas are identified as follows:

1. Scaffolded outcome
This is completed on a daily basis during the writing phase (Phase 3). It is supported through daily, whole-class, shared and modelled writing. It may be further supported by small-group,
guided writing for some pupils. Each section is supported through teaching, with the
children working on their own version following the teacher’s model. The effectiveness of this model is enhanced by:
- feedback and marking on a daily basis and pupils being given time to respond; 
- use of ideas and vocabulary gathered during earlier phases displayed on the working wall;
- displaying the shared and modelled writing from across the writing phase.

At Barrowford St Thomas, when producing scaffolding writing, the children have a list of success criteria and other prompts to support them. They will write on the right hand page, leaving the left hand page for editing in response to the teacher's marking codes.

2. Independent extended writing outcome
This is a second opportunity for our children to write in the same genre or text-type, but this
time, more independently. Generally, this would take one (or at most two lessons) and should
take place soon after the completion of the unit. Our children should have time to think, plan
and discuss their ideas and they should also have access to prompts created through the
unit, e.g. content from the working wall, genre checklists, word banks, dictionaries etc.
Crucially however, there will be no adult modelling of writing to support the completion of this second outcome.
As well as giving children another opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills, this outcome is very useful to inform assessment and next steps in teaching and learning. Consequently, feedback and marking for this outcome might be less in-depth and feature on completion of the piece only.
This provides an ideal opportunity for our pupils to make improvements to their independent
writing via redrafting and self-editing. The piece can still be used for assessment purposes,
provided that the process is not over-scaffolded by the teacher and is the result of the child's
own improvement.

3. Cross curricular application
This works best for non-fiction units. It usually takes place some time after the completion of
the English unit and in another area of the curriculum. This provides opportunity for our children to revisit text types and revise skills. Our children are given time to refresh their knowledge and understanding of the text type, looking back at their own writing and prompts created. Again, this outcome is particularly useful for assessment purposes and children are given the opportunity to edit and improve their own writing.

Planning Writing

To ensure that there is clear progression when teaching writing, we utilise Lancashire's LAPS (Learning and Progression Steps). The Learning and Progression Steps are designed to scaffold the learning required in order to meet the expectations of the National Curriculum.
Statements in the Lancashire Key Learning for Writing document have been broken down into smaller steps to support teachers in planning appropriate learning opportunities. These key pieces of learning will support pupils in becoming effective and reflective independent writers. The Learning and Progression Steps have been derived from the Lancashire Key Learning in writing statements, identified primarily from the National Curriculum 2014 programmes of study.

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. 

Grammar: Grammar is taught as part of the sequence for writing. There is a whole class grammar lesson once a week and a series of grammar starters. Grammar knowledge is then applied in their scaffolded and independent writing.  

Spelling: 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.