English at Poppleton Road Primary School
English is at the heart of our school and society. It is vital that pupils are taught to communicate their ideas and emotions effectively through the four strands of our curriculum: reading, writing, grammar and speaking and listening.
When our children leave Poppleton Road we expect them to be avid readers, children who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their favourites. We want to produce children who write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes and audiences whilst developing their own individual flair.
We want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly using a neat handwriting style. We aim to expose our children to a wide range of vocabulary so that they able to decipher new words and then use them when speaking both informally and formally.
We also aim for our children to apply all of these English skills to all areas of the curriculum
Reading is an incredibly important skill which is the foundation for children’s learning throughout their time at Poppleton Road. We are committed to children being fluent, confident readers and support is given on an individual, paired, group and whole class basis. Our children begin their reading journey with us through the Letters and Sounds scheme in the Reception. They receive daily phonics sessions from Reception to Year 2, and are regularly assessed and grouped so that each pupil is supported and challenged at an appropriate level for their ability.
Whilst children are still learning to decode (at word-reading level), it is essential that they are taught comprehension skills too. At Poppleton Road, each year group receives whole-class reading lessons where a range of literature is discussed, dissected and explored. High-level, engaging texts are presented to the children and lively sessions promote the importance of reading for pleasure.
To provide children with a breadth of reading opportunities we use a range of reading texts and text progression maps out different genres to ensure a wide range and exposure. We ensure that fiction and non-fiction texts are linked and that these reading experiences lead directly to writing outcomes.
We are extremely lucky to have our fantastic library, which every class from Reception to Year 6 visit regularly to share stories and borrow books from our well-stocked shelves. Home reading books are carefully matched to reading ability and we offer children access to online reading and phonics resources such as Bugclub and Reading Eggs.
The children’s love for reading is celebrated in school and at home through rewards and prizes.
Throughout their time at Poppleton Road , children are taught to write in a variety of genres. Within the Reception setting, children are encouraged to begin making marks on paper, before learning correct letter formation and using their understanding of phonics to build words. In Reception the children begin this journey be following “Squiggle whilst your Wiggle” which is part of the Spread the Happiness EYFS scheme. As they move into Key Stage 1, the children build on their phonetic understanding to spell a wider range of words and to begin combining these words to form sentences, and use their imaginations to start telling stories, recount events and compose fictional pieces.
In Key Stage 2, there is more focus on developing the child’s narrative voice by exposing them to a wealth of rich, inspiring texts. There is an emphasis on the audience and purpose for writing and encouraging children to adapt their writing accordingly. Throughout their learning journey, children build their skills before publishing their final independent piece.
Across all classes teachers use and adapt The Writing Project sequence to write longer pieces of writing and embedded in this process in drafts and editing and the children use CUPS and ARMS to constantly improve their work.
Without words our curriculum wouldn’t exist. There is as strong focus, in every year group, to expose children to new words and ensure that there is a breadth of vocabulary taught and revisited. Exploring, clarifying and using vocabulary is at the centre of lessons across the wider curriculum and we have an ongoing commitment to close ant vocabulary gaps.
Often seen as the building blocks for writing, grammar is an essential part of the Curriculum. Discrete grammar lessons support the children in their grammatical understanding whilst teaching ensures that these objectives are interwoven into the writing learning journey so that children are given the chance to embed new concepts without dampening creativity.
Regular spelling lessons are delivered following Letters and Sounds and the curriculum spelling progression documents which ensure common exception words are taught alongside spelling patterns. Children are taught spelling rules and patterns through a range of activities. A school subscription to Spellingshed and Fast Phonics supports and enhances spelling in an engaging and interactive manner.
Some children at Key Stage 2 may be experiencing difficulty in reading and/or writing because they have missed or misunderstood a crucial phase of systematic phonics teaching. In their day-to-day learning some children may:
• experience difficulties with blending for reading and segmenting for spelling
• show confusion with certain graphemes and related phonemes
• have difficulty segmenting longer words containing adjacent consonants
• demonstrate general insecurity with long vowel phonemes. For example, children generally know the most common representation of a phoneme, for example, /ai/ as in train, but require more explanation and practice about the alternative spellings for any particular phoneme.
We do a number of things in KS2 to ensure these children gain knowledge and ensure they become confident readers and proficient at spelling. These things are done in class and in small group interventions.
Teachers provide spelling banks for children when writing. Teachers can provide content and activities that ‘glue’ the words in these spelling banks together, such as themed spelling stories involving grapheme searches, reading the stories with comprehension or acting out the words.
They choose appropriate words to enrich spoken language, with attention to homophones and including dictionary work and grammar activities alongside.
Oral Segmenting at KS2
Following oral segmenting (identification of the sounds from beginning to end of spoken words), teachers and learners can discuss which spelling alternatives are required for specific words, with reference to the chart (see below).
We only need letter names in spelling to relay a correct spelling from one person to another – letter by letter. The skill of oral segmenting for spelling (starting with syllable chunking in multi-syllable words) should continue in KS2 – including making it explicit that this spelling skill is an adult skill, not just 'baby stuff’.
Decoding at KS2
If children are able to decode age-appropriate texts, it improves their intellectual development and self-esteem – especially important for those receiving a phonics intervention beyond the main class.
For longer-term reading and increasing vocabulary, the ability to phonically decode new and unknown words is essential. If a printed word is new to the reader, it is sometimes possible to deduce its meaning according to its context. However, if the reader is not able to come up with pronunciation for that word – either aloud or silently – it cannot be added to spoken language. Therefore providing texts that build on children's knowledge of phonics, even in KS2, can increase their fluency and their understanding of the wider world.