English Teaching at New Chapter Primary School
At New Chapter Primary School we encourage all pupils to develop a love of reading and writing.
At New Chapter we believe that reading is the foundation of all learning and enables children to access all areas of the curriculum. We aim to ensure that all pupils are taught the skills that they need to become independent, fluent and enthusiastic readers across a range of genres and topic areas.
We believe that:
- Each child has the right to learn to read and that there should be no limit placed on their ability to achieve.
- All children should have access to a range of reading books, both fiction and non-fiction, of all genres
- Opportunities for reading should be maximised across the whole curriculum to expose children to the widest range of texts and genres possible.
- Children should be encouraged to develop a love of reading and reading for enjoyment.
How Reading is taught:
- Reading in EYFS is continually modelled by the adults. Children are exposed to a variety of books throughout the curriculum, and storytelling and the reading of stories forms a large part of their learning experience.
- There are daily phonics sessions, as well as whole class and group reading sessions.
- During continuous provision, children have access to written English throughout their learning environment, such as through labelling, displays, alphabet prompts and mark making. Children have constant access to a range of text types suitable to their age, including ones that support their understanding of the weekly theme they are learning about.
- In KS1, children receive a daily 30-minute phonics session using the Read Write Inc programme.
- Those children who have completed the phonics programme have a daily whole group reading lesson which uses the same text for the week and supports the development of the children’s vocabulary and comprehension of the text.
- In addition to daily phonics sessions, children in KS1 have a daily story time session. These sessions provide opportunities for children to experience a wide range of children’s literature, explore vocabulary and join in with common words and phrases. A weekly poem is also learnt.
- Children are assessed every four weeks to inform groupings and moved on according to their phonics development. Sessions are taught on a stage, not age basis.
- In these sessions children are also introduced to comprehension-style questions based on the book they are reading:
- 10 mins – speed sounds
- 10 mins – reading & comprehension
- 10 mins – hold a sentence
- If children have not mastered phonics by the end of year 2,they receive phonics intervention in year 3
- The KS1 Phase leader, who is the Early Reading Lead, ensures that staff responsible for delivering the programme are fully trained and kept up-to-date with any revisions to the programme as well as any new developments in phonics teaching
- Teachers and LSAs throughout the school receive training on early reading through our CPD programme, delivered by our phonics specialists
In KS2, children have a planned half hour whole class reading lesson four times a week. The focus for the sessions is on developing different reading skills: vocabulary, retrieval, inference, prediction and summarising. These lessons give children opportunities to discuss a range of texts and to practise their comprehension skills.
High quality texts are also used within English lessons throughout the school to support the development of both children’s reading and writing skills.
Reading is assessed regularly according to the school’s assessment policy. Assessment is used to inform planning, to identify and address misconceptions, and to identify children who might need additional support with their reading.
Reading interventions are used to provide additional support to those children who are not reading at age-related expectations. Depending on the level of the child, they focus on:
- Word reading for those struggling to decode (usually 1:1 or very small group with a phonics focus)
- Reading comprehension for those children who are able to decode but struggle to understand what they have read (small group focus)
Interventions are aimed at enabling children to gain the necessary reading skills to catch up quickly with their peers. They are systematically and rigorously delivered using a clear understanding of individual children’s needs and adopting a personalised approach to support children in ‘closing the gap’.
Reading for pleasure:
A range of opportunities are provided to develop children’s engagement and pleasure in reading and expose them to a wider range of texts:
- EYFS and Year 1 children have a daily story time session, where a range of books are shared and discussed. Book boxes kept in each classroom provide additional book choices for children to read and share.
- A weekly reading for pleasure session is timetabled as part of reading lessons for all children in KS2. This provides an opportunity for children to read the library books they have chosen; explore other books kept in classrooms (including ones relating to the current topic they are studying); and make recommendations of books they have read to their peers. It also gives teachers the opportunity to introduce new texts or authors that might be of interest to the children in their classes.
- We have a library located at the heart of the school which houses a range of books, both fiction and non-fiction across a wide range of genres. The choice of books available is regularly kept up-to-date with current texts from new authors, old favourites and recommendations from children and staff. Children in UKS2 are encouraged to apply to be librarians and take on responsibility for contributing to the smooth running of the room, advising other children on book choices and sharing stories with younger children;
- A range of topic-related books, both fiction and non- fiction, specific to the year group topic being taught are provided to extend children’s understanding of a range of subject areas. These are changed half-termly.
- Each class listens to a range of high quality class readers during the year, read by the class teacher. This exposes children to a variety of authors and writing styles, providing them with opportunities to develop their imagination and appreciation of the spoken word.
- Further opportunities are provided in class for quiet reading of self-selected books during the school week.
- Celebration of local and national reading celebrations, eg. World Book Day, author visits.
- Book fairs provide opportunities for parents to purchase books to share with their children at home
Reading at home:
- Children are encouraged to read at home at least 4 times a week.
- In EYFS the children, supported by an adult, choose a differentiated reading book appropriate to their phonics awareness level to take home.
- In KS1, those children who are following the phonics programme continue to choose a reading book appropriate to their phonics level. Once they have completed the programme, they choose a colour-banded reading book which is appropriate to their reading ability.
- EYFS and KS1 children also have the opportunity to choose a book from their class reading boxes to read for pleasure with an adult at home.
- In KS2, all children choose a banded book that is appropriate to their reading level to read at home. Within each level there is a wide range of titles, genres and authors so that children are exposed to a breadth of literature at each stage.
KS2 children also have the opportunity to select a book of their choice from the school library. The book is their personal choice and may be above/below their reading level and can be read to them by an adult at home. Each class is timetabled once a week to visit the library with their class teacher or teaching assistant.
At New Chapter we aim to provide pupils with the skills they need to express themselves effectively and confidently using both oral and written English. We are committed to teaching literacy skills that will enable pupils to access the whole school curriculum and develop as lifelong learners.
We believe that:
- children should be provided with a range of opportunities and stimuli to support the development of their writing skills;
- there is a strong link between the teaching of reading and writing, and that teachers will make frequent links between the two;
- the creative curriculum and writing curriculum should be integrated to provide more frequent and purposeful writing opportunities for children;
- the development of pupils’ speaking and listening skills is key to their understanding of the written word.
How writing is taught
- Daily writing lessons are 60 minutes in length and provide opportunities for children to apply their core skills to extended pieces of writing.
- The final written outcome is broken down into three stages:
- Children are given a purpose and audience for their writing and a relevant text is shared to support their understanding (WAGOLL). They are then taught the layout and language features of the text. Short writing opportunities are also used at this stage to scaffold their understanding (e.g. an incident report to support the teaching of a newspaper report).
- Children adapt the WAGOLL text and plan a different version. The teacher models a similar text using shared writing, and then the children write their own version. Written and verbal feedback is then provided by the teacher aimed at supporting children to improve on their writing.
- Children are then given a new stimulus (purpose) for the text type. They use this to plan and write independently. This work is then used for assessment.
- A range of high quality texts (often linked to the current topic area) are used to support the children’s writing experiences and to demonstrate how an author uses language to engage the reader.
- Drama is a tool that is used at every stage to allow children to understand existing texts and to explore ideas for their own writing. Examples of drama techniques to support writing outcomes may include: debating, hot-seating, conscience alley, freeze framing, thought tracking, role on the wall.
- Alan Peat sentences are used within English lessons to support the writing process. They have been arranged into year groups, linked to the relevant key stage requirements of the National Curriculum.
- Each class has an English working wall. The displays include an example of the intended writing outcome; the structure and features of the text type; ‘magpie’ vocabulary; examples of core skills to be applied in the writing; children’s own writing and ideas; photos and objects to stimulate writing; and key questions.
- A range of media (such as video clips from the Literacy Shed, Pobble 365, photographs and pictures) and children’s experiences on organised trips are also used as stimuli for additional extended writing opportunities.
- Further writing opportunities are provided within the creative curriculum to enable children to use topic-specific vocabulary and knowledge to develop their written skills further.
- Planned interventions are delivered to address any gaps in understanding so that all children are able to make progress. The curriculum is adapted to support the needs of SEND children where necessary, so that they are able to develop their writing skills at their own pace.
Marking is carried out in line with the schools marking policy. It is used to inform the next lesson and enables teachers to identify children who may need additional support or additional challenge.
- Daily phonics lessons teach KS1 children phonetic spelling patterns which they are encouraged to use in their writing
- Each week, the children are introduced to a spelling rule, or are given a spelling focus (e.g. homophones), which they investigate and practise in a core lesson. Children will be given a set of spellings to learn each week that relate to what is being taught in core, which they record in their planners.
- To help children to embed the spellings, they are used within writing lessons as much as possible and highlighted when reading texts.
- Children are also encouraged to use the statutory word lists within English lessons and apply them to their writing where relevant. These spellings are also included as part of writing assessments throughout the year.
Punctuation and Grammar
- Each half term, children are given a number of punctuation and grammar objectives that relate to the National Curriculum for their year group. These are taught within core sessions and applied during writing lessons. Children also investigate how these skills are used within reading texts and consider the effect they have on the reader.
- The continuous cursive style of handwriting is followed at New Chapter. Children are taught handwriting discretely in core sessions (four 10-15 minute sessions a week in KS1, three 15 minute sessions a week in LKS2 and 2 fifteen minute sessions a week in UKS2) and then encouraged to apply their skill in all subjects within the curriculum.
Throughout the school year we also organise events to promote Literacy. For example, ‘World Book Day’ where children and staff dress up as their favourite book characters to promote engagement, enjoyment and discusion. Each class often takes a theme. This theme is explored in detail and writing opportunities and links to the wider curriculum arise from it. We also regularly enter into the Young Writer’s Award competitions. Each year we also take part in Milton Keynes Summer Holiday Reading challenge. For children that take part, a winner is chosen at random where they receive a Waterstone’s book voucher. We also have author visits. For example we have had the author Luke Temple in our school to engage children in a love of reading and writing. More recently UKS2 met with Cressida Cowell to hear about the release of her new book ‘The Wizards of Once.’