English

Our English Curriculum

It is our intention when teaching the English curriculum that our pupils acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become lifelong learners and linguists. We strive to ensure that all our pupils receive a well-rounded learning experience when:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and listening

This will equip them with the fundamental tools to achieve in school and beyond. It is our intention to immerse pupils in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination through our text-led English curriculum. 

 English is a core subject of the National Curriculum and a prerequisite for educational and social progress as it underpins the work undertaken in all areas of the curriculum.  The acquisition of language and early reading skills are of the upmost importance to us here at Wood Ley Primary School and therefore the teaching of all aspects of English is given a high priority within school. Confidence in basic language skills enables children to communicate creatively and imaginatively, preparing them for their future journey through education and beyond.

We use books as a stimulus across all subjects and have developed a comprehensive Reading Spine which shows which books your child is likely to have access to in each stage of their reading journey.

Here is a link to our Reading Spine:  

Reading Spine

Engaging books are used to inspire writing within our English lessons. Quite often, the books that the children read within their English lessons will relate to other areas of the curriculum. Diversity, inclusion and increasing the children’s cultural capital are also key priorities that our teachers consider when choosing new texts.

If you would like to take a look at the texts your child will study this school year, please take a look at our Reading and Writing Pathways:

Reading and Writing Pathway

We take pride in our inclusive and empowering reading areas. If you would like to donate a book to your child’s class or our school library, please click on this link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/hz/wishlist/ls/226NSNZ7DUW4D/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_2?_encoding=UTF8&type=wishlist

School Engagement

We welcome guardians to visit their children within the classrooms within Reading and Writing Workshops throughout the year. This provides care givers with an opportunity to observe teachers modelling high-level questioning and useful strategies which may be useful for supporting learning at home too. A Reading Café is also held annually which allows children to explore a range of recently-released texts. This event promotes discussions about reading and encourages children to choose a new book based on recommendations from their community.

If you would like to familiarise yourself with the terminology which we use in our writing, reading, phonics and spelling lessons, feel free to download this informative guide:

English Guide and terminology 

Reading

Reading is a key tool for life. Teaching children to become confident and fluent readers, by developing a love and passion for reading is a large and exciting part of what we do at Wood Ley Primary School. We have lots of opportunities for reading exciting books and materials – supported by a rich, well-resourced library. We ensure reading books are carefully matched to the children’s ability.

A wide range of stories and genres are read frequently in class to inspire a life‐long enthusiasm for books and all that they offer children and adults alike. From Reception onwards, children enjoy regular guided reading sessions using high quality texts that engage the listener, develop a breadth of vocabulary and support ideas for writing.  We ensure that children are continually being encouraged to read for pleasure through events such as visiting the local library, author visits, celebrating World Book Day and enjoying bedtime stories from our special bedtime reading library.

To develop children’s reading skills in the Early Years and Key Stage 1 we use popular and well established reading scheme books, which provide the children with reading material that is pitched at exactly the right level. ‘Oxford Reading Tree’ is used as the ‘core resource’, which is supplemented with books from other schemes, for example Tree Tops and Project X, in order to provide an extensive library of books at every stage, to ensure children have a broad and rich reading experience. Within Key Stage two, children tend to have more autonomy when choosing their reading books. Teachers encourage their pupils to engage in a wide-range of literature to increase understanding of the wider world and vocabulary too.

VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of our reading curriculum.  They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.

VIPERS stands for:

The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc. As such, VIPERS is not a reading scheme but rather a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions. They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards. Many parents support their children’s reading at home by asking questions inspired by the VIPER’s resources while hearing their child/ren read. A VIPER questioning resource is available here:

https://www.literacyshedplus.com/en-gb/resource/reading-vipers-question-stems-ks1

https://www.literacyshedplus.com/en-gb/resource/reading-vipers-question-stems-ks2

Writing

The teaching of writing in our school adopts a range of known successful approaches, including text-led writing, Talk for Writing approach, scaffolding writing, innovation and invention to a range of non-fiction and fiction genres; and explicit teaching of spelling, grammar and punctuation. The children are continuously being encouraged to plan, draft and edit their work.

Writing is always taught in context and where appropriate links are made to our curriculum topics; finding real-life purposes for children’s writing to enthuse and engage them.  Examples of well-loved writing units include:

Writing guides to look after our school tortoises, writing manifestos which engages the children in Politics Week, exploring Flotsam which links to our local beach study (Felixstowe).

The children are encouraged to apply taught grammar strategies within their independent writing.

 

Spelling

The teaching of spelling includes dictation exercises, investigations of spelling patterns, focused spelling activities within guided reading provision and weekly spelling lists sent home (KS1-KS2) for important consolidation.

EYFS

  • There are daily discrete phonic sessions of varying length.
  • Phonemes are taught using the Jolly Phonics programme alongside the phonic phases in Letters and Sounds.
  • Skills of segmenting and blending for spelling are developed and opportunities to practise, to learn and write the ‘tricky’ HFW are included in all phonics planning.
  • Phonics presentation for parents

KS1

  • There are daily discrete phonic sessions.
  • KS1 use a Letter and Sounds pathway.
  • When planning, teachers distinguish the 4 distinct stages for teaching a spelling objective:
  1. Revise, activate prior knowledge and revisit previous linked learning
  2. Teach, introduce new concept, explain, investigate, model
  3. Practise, extend / explore independently, investigate, generalise
  4. Apply and Assess, explain and demonstrate understanding, assess through independent application
  • Children are given opportunities to apply their phonic knowledge and spelling skills in purposeful reading and writing activities across the wider curriculum.
  • KS2
  • When planning, teachers distinguish the 4 distinct stages for teaching a spelling objective:
  1. Revise, activate prior knowledge and revisit previous linked learning
  2. Teach, introduce new concept, explain, investigate, model
  3. Practise, extend / explore independently, investigate, generalise
  4. Apply and Assess, explain and demonstrate understanding, assess through independent application
  • Spelling lists are sent home to learn ready for application in class.
  • Handwriting is taught alongside spelling.
  • A ‘have a go’ policy in the class is promoted.

Additional support is provided to children who find spelling difficult including bespoke interventions which cater for the child’s individual needs.

Consolidating learning

It is not enough for pupils to learn and know how to spell words out of context. Children need to transfer their knowledge successfully to their independent writing. This is when the learning takes place. Teachers encourage children to do this by:

  1. Expressing high expectations that pupils will apply the conventions in their own work, and reiterating those expectations when pupils do not do so; establish non negotiables. Children who find copying from a display/screen difficult will be provided with a paper sheet of words that they use side by side with their work. The editing process is extremely important for improving spelling.
  2. Reminding pupils about the conventions during teacher-led writing or editing and proof reading.
  3. Setting specific spelling conventions as one of the criteria for written work – only if applicable/ relevant (e.g. in discussion writing, the learning could focus on positive and negative prefixes – as oppose to simply ‘to spell words correctly’. Another example would be to focus on past tense verbs when writing a recount.)
  4. Marking for those conventions in the next piece of extended writing.
  5. Giving praise for improved spelling.
  6. Encouraging pupils to use wall posters or personal prompt sheets.
  7. Conducting frequent but brief spelling consolidation sessions and quick board activities

Speaking and Listening
We support our children in developing the skills necessary to read, write and speak fluently to communicate their ideas and emotions. Through our exciting and engaging curriculum, we actively encourage our children to communicate their thoughts and ideas. Children are given the opportunity to reflect on both their learning and feelings. We want your child to feel happy and confident at school and they will be provided with opportunities to take part in drama activities to support their recall of stories which will also allow them to express themselves creatively. School plays are put on annually which allows the children to shine.