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 Twinkl Phonics 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. Children's phonics ability is carefully matched to fully decodable Rhino Reader text which consolidates sound that they have learnt previously.
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 Twinkl Go!
The children’s love for reading is celebrated in school and at home through rewards and prizes.
Quality Texts are chosen to read with certain criteria in mind. These texts have been chosen to engage readers and widen experiences.
The vocabulary, usage, syntax and context for cultural reference of texts over 50 or 100 years old are vastly different and typically more complex than texts written today. Students need to be exposed to and develop proficiency with antiquated forms of expression.
Non-Linear Time Sequences
In passages written exclusively for students—or more specifically for student assessments— time tends to unfold with consistency. A story is narrated in a given style with a given cadence and that cadence endures and remains consistent, but in the best books, books where every aspect of the narration is nuanced to create an exact image, time moves in fits and start. It doubles back. The only way to master such books is to have read them time and again and to be carefully introduced to them by a thoughtful teacher or parent.
Books are sometimes narrated by an unreliable narrator- Scout, for example, who doesn’t understand and misperceives some of what happened to her. Or the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” who is a madman out of touch with reality. Other books have multiple narrators such as Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Others have non-human narrators such as the horse that tells the story in Black Beauty. Some books have multiple intertwined and apparently (for a time) unrelated plot lines. These are far harder to read than books with a single plot line and students need to experience these as well.
Texts which happen on an allegorical or symbolic level. Not reflected in Lexile’s; critical forms of text complexity that students must experience.
Texts written to deliberately resist easy meaning-making by readers. Perhaps half of the poems ever written fall into this category. You have to assemble meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues
Throughout the year, a range of activities to develop ‘Reading for Pleasure’ take place including World Book Day, assemblies, Book Fair, reading competitions and displays in the library and corridors.
Reading for Pleasure
At Poppleton Road School, we know that children who read will do well at school and beyond. We aim to develop a positive attitude towards reading and to foster a love of books through our enthusiastic reading culture.
Reading for pleasure opens new worlds for children. It gives them the opportunity to use their imagination to explore new ideas, visit new places and meet new characters.
Reading for pleasure also improves children’s well-being and empathy. It helps them to understand their own identity and gives them an insight into the world and the views of others.
Research shows that reading for pleasure can be directly linked to children’s success throughout their time at school and even into adulthood.
We encourage children to read not only at school, but beyond the school gates too: at home, in the park, on holiday and anywhere in between.
We really urge you to encourage your child to keep up with all the brilliant reading they have been doing while at school. Every child brings home weekly reading books and can access online books using Twinkl Go or Bugclub.
There are numerous ways to access books and other reading resources, from our local Acomb library to online audio books. If you need any ideas for books, there are reading book lists for each age group below
Don't forget if you chid reads 3 times or more per week then they will receive reading token and will be entered into our prize box. The children they have the chance to pick a prize from our reading trolley!
Daily Class Storytime/DEAR is an important part of our timetable. During these sessions the teacher will model reading with their class using books chosen from our Recommended Reads. There are over 80 books that make up this Reading Spine and during their time at Poppy Road these books will be shared with the children. Our book list has been developed to capture children’s imagination, support vocabulary development, and to expose children to a more rich and varied text selection. The Reading Spine provides a clear progression from Foundation Stage through to Year 6 and we believe it reinforces a true love of reading.
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 these 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. Dictation sentences are used to consolidate key words and sounds that the children have learnt in phonics. Colourful Semantics is used across EYFS- Y6 to support and scaffold writing where appropriate.
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 a 3 phase sequence to write longer pieces of writing and embedded in this process is 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.