English at Wantage CE Primary School
‘After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.’
By the end of Year 6 at Wantage CE School, we aspire to develop pupils who:
To fulfil the above, we teach English in the following strands, with different aspects being taught at different stages.
Speaking and Listening
We value the need to be able to ‘talk it’ before one can ‘write it’. To support this, we have adopted the Talk for Writing approach for teaching English. In accordance to this method, children have opportunities to engage in imitation activities, so that they can internalise speaking patterns (sentence construction within the text) and use those structures to then go on and write independently. We believe that this approach not only improves speaking and listening, but also significantly broadens pupils’ spoken and ultimately written vocabulary. In addition, we provide opportunities for children to develop speaking and listening in a broader sense, including: school council elections, mini-speaks competitions, performing poetry and year group productions, which are performed to parents.
Early Reading SkillsWe will provide systematic phonics teaching to enable our children to become successful readers and writers. We have adopted the Read, Write, Inc. Phonics programme to support consistency and progression in the teaching of early reading. This programme is designed for pupils in Year R to Year 2 but can be used to rapidly catch up reading for older pupils, through the Fresh Start programme. Although Phonics is the main way in which early reading is taught, we nurture a love of reading and books through RWINc and English lessons, using high quality reading texts to allow pupils to fully engage in reading for pleasure. Furthermore, we carefully develop recall and comprehension skills, using tailored ‘find it’ and ‘prove it’ questions.
Later Reading Skills
As readers become more fluent, we move towards embedding and deepening reading skills through a whole class text, in guided reading sessions. This is where pupils read whole books, looking in-depth at: characters, setting, inference, deduction and prediction. This approach nurtures a broadening of vocabulary and understanding the writers’ craft in much more detail. In turn, this feeds into pupil writing skills, reflecting on how authors write.
To foster a love of reading, we have adopted the Accelerated Reader Programme for Years 3-6. This provides pupils with a ZPD (zone of proximal development) score, which supports pupils choosing books which precisely match their reading capability, whilst provided the right degree of challenge. Our books in KS2 are colour banded using the AR system. With this programme, pupils quiz on the books they have read, leading to earning words on their wall. We have reward systems to aid pupil motivation, including monthly ‘lucky dip’ prizes for those children who quiz accurately and ‘Word Millionaire’ badges, for those pupils who earn one million words on their wall.
We recognise that writing draws on a wide range of skills, including: spelling, handwriting, composition and impact. We believe that ‘good readers become good writers’. To this aim, we acknowledge that there is a close link between reading a wide range of high-quality books and the impact that this can have on the ability to write well. We maximise on this through the Talk for Writing approach; enabling children to imitate the key language they need for a genre, before they try to write within that genre. Through fun activities pupils rehearse the ‘tune’ of the language they need, participate in shared writing and then go onto write in the same style. This builds on 3 key stages: Imitation, Innovation and Invent.
We believe fluent handwriting is an essential skill required by all children. Cursive handwriting is taught from the start of school and is continued throughout, to Year 6. We believe that high expectations in handwriting not only raises standards in presentation, but also develops confidence, enabling the pupil to focus on the composition of what they are writing as opposed to the transcription skill.
This is the order in which letter formation is taught:
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling is a crucial part of the writing process. We teach spelling and grammar discreetly, and as part of English lessons. We use the RWINc spelling programme to support the knowledge and understanding of spelling rule and the etymology of words.